List of monarchs of Northumbria

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Northumbria, a kingdom of Angles, in what is now northern England and south-east Scotland, was initially divided into two kingdoms: Bernicia and Deira. The two were first united by Aethelfrith around the year 604, and except for occasional periods of division over the subsequent century, they remained so. The exceptions are during the brief period from 633 to 634, when Northumbria was plunged into chaos by the death of King Edwin in battle and the ruinous invasion of Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd. The unity of the Northumbrian kingdoms was restored after Cadwallon's death in battle in 634.

Another exception is a period from about the year 644 to 664, when kings ruled individually over Deira. In 651, King Oswiu had Oswine of Deira killed and replaced by Aethelwald, but Aethelwald did not prove to be a loyal sub-king, allying with the Mercian king Penda; according to Bede, Aethelwald acted as Penda's guide during the latter's invasion of Northumbria but withdrew his forces when the Mercians met the Northumbrians at the Battle of Winwaed. After the Mercian defeat at Winwaed, Aethelwald lost power and Oswiu's own son, Alchfrith, became king in his place. In 670, Aelfwine, the brother of the childless King Ecgfrith, was made king of Deira; by this point the title may have been used primarily to designate an heir. Aelfwine was killed in battle against Mercia in 679, and there was not another separate king of Deira until the time of Norse rule.

Kings of Bernicia[edit]

Reign Incumbent Notes
c. 500 Esa
Doubtful historicity as a king.
c. 520 Eoppa Doubtful historicity as a king. Son of Esa.
547 to 559 Ida The Historia Brittonum calls Ida the first king of Bernicia. Son of Eoppa.
Adda Order and dates uncertain.
568? to 572? Æthelric Order and dates uncertain. Son of Ida.
(order and dates uncertain) Theodric
son of Ida
(order and dates uncertain) Frithuwald
585[?] to 592[?] Hussa Order and dates uncertain.[2]
593(?) to 616 Æthelfrith son of Æthelric, also ruled Deira, killed in battle
Deira Dynasty
616 to 12/14 October 632 Edwin son of Ælla of Deira, which he also ruled, killed in battle by Penda, King of Mercia
Bernicia Dynasty
late 632 to 633 Eanfrith son of Æthelfrith
634 to 5 August 642 Oswald
(Osuualde, Osƿald)
son of Æthelfrith, also ruled Deira, killed by Penda, King of Mercia; Saint Oswald
late 642 to 654 Oswiu son of Æthelfrith, became King of united Northumbria

Kings of Deira[edit]

Reign Incumbent Notes
559/560 to 589 Ælla
589/599 to 604 Æthelric
Bernician Dynasty
593/604? to 616 Æthelfrith also king of Bernicia, killed in battle
Deira Dynasty
616 to 12/14 October 632 Edwin son of Ælla, also ruled Bernicia, killed in battle by Cadwallon of Gwynedd and Penda of Mercia; Saint Edwin
late 633 to summer 634 Osric
633 to 5 August 642 Oswald son of Æthelfrith, also ruled Bernicia, killed by Penda, King of Mercia; Saint Oswald
642 to 644 Oswiu son of Æthelfrith, also ruled Bernicia
644 to 651 Oswine son of Osric, murdered
summer 651 to late 654 or 655 Æthelwold son of Oswald
654 to 15 August 670 Oswiu restored
656 to 664 Alchfrith
670 to 679 Ælfwine Sub-king under his brother Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria. Killed in the Battle of the Trent against King Æthelred of Mercia

Kings of Northumbria[edit]

Reign Incumbent Notes
654 to 15 February 670 Oswiu Hither of Bernicia and Deira
February 670 to 20 May 685 Ecgfrith son of Oswiu, killed in battle against the Picts
May 685 to 14 December 704 Aldfrith
(Ealdfrith, Aldfrid)
son of Oswiu
late 704 to early 705 Eadwulf usurper
705 to 716 Osred I son of Aldfrith, killed in battle or murdered
716 to 718 Coenred distant descendant of Ida of Bernecia
718 to 29 May 729 Osric son of Aldfrith, adopted Ceolwulf as his heir
729 to 731 Ceolwulf brother of Coenred, deposed; Saint Ceolwulf
731 to 737/8 Ceolwulf restored; abdicated to become a monk
737 to 758 Eadberht son of Eata, a descendant of Ida of Bernicia, abdicated to become a monk
758 to 759 Oswulf
son of Eadberht, murdered by his servants
759 to 765 Æthelwald Moll deposed
765 to 774 Alhred distant descendant of Ida of Bernicia, deposed and exiled
774 to 779 Æthelred I son of Æthelwald Moll, deposed
779 to 23 September 788 Ælfwald I son of Oswulf, murdered
788 to 790 Osred II son of Alhred, deposed and exiled
790 to 18 April 796 Æthelred I restored
796 Osbald exiled after a reign of 27 days
14 May 796 to 806/8 Eardwulf deposed
806/8 to 808/10 Ælfwald II
(Elfwald II)
808 to 810 Eardwulf restored
810 to 841 Eanred son of Eardwulf
840/1 to 844 Æthelred II son of Eanred, deposed
844 Rædwulf
844 to c. 848/9 Æthelred II restored
c. 848/9 to 862/3 Osberht
862/3/7 to 23 March 867 Ælle II usurper, killed by the Danes with Osbeorht
867 to 21 March 867 Osberht
killed by the Danes with the usurper Ælle

Kings of Northumbria in the Norse era[edit]

Reign Incumbent Notes
867 to 872 Ecgberht I puppet king of the Danes
872 to 876 Ricsige
876 to 877 Halfdan Ragnarsson Hálfdan in Old Norse, Halfdene or Healfdene in Old English, Albann in Old Irish. Norse ruler in York. The northern part of Northumbria remained under Anglo-Saxon rule.
877 to 883 Interregnum
c. 883 to 895 Guthred Guðrøðr in Old Norse
late 9th century/early 10th century[3]:79 Siefredus Sigfroðr in Old Norse.
late 9th century/early 10th century[3]:79 Cnut Knútr in Old Norse. Sigfroðr and Knútr may have been joint kings for part or all of the period between 895 and 905[3]:79
fl. c. 900—902[3]:79 Æthelwold
c.902-910[3]:87 Hálfdan and Eowils Another king, Ingwær, their brother, may have also ruled. All three were killed at the Battle of Tettenhall.
914 (or before) to 921[4]:144–8 Ragnall Probably controlled much of Northumbria before finally becoming king of York in 918.
921 to 927[4]:148–51 Sigtrygg Known as Sitric Cáech in Irish chronicles.
927 Gofraid ua Ímair Guthfrith in Old English. Guðrøðr in Old Norse.
927 to 939 [4]:151,74 Æthelstan of Wessex As King of the English
939 to 941[4]:174,81 Olaf Guthfrithson son of Gofraid ua Ímair, known as Amlaíb mac Gofraid in Irish chronicles
941 to 943 or 944[4]:181–2 Amlaíb Cuarán son of Sigtrygg, known in England as Olaf Sihtricson. Óláfr Sigtryggsson in Old Norse.
943 to 944 (with Amlaíb Cuarán?)[4]:182 Ragnall Guthfrithson Old Norse: Røgnvaldr Guðrøðsson; Old Irish: Ragnall mac Gofraid. Son of Gofraid ua Ímair
roughly 944 to 946[4]:182,86 Eadmund of Wessex As King of the English
c. 947 to 948[4]:186–8 Eric Bloodaxe
949 to 952[4]:186,88 Amlaíb Cuarán restored
952 to 954[4]:188–90 Eric Bloodaxe restored
from 954[4]:190 Eadred of Wessex Claiming and enforcing rule from 946;[4]:185–90 Kingdom absorbed permanently into England after 954[4]:190

Family tree[edit]

- Kings of Bernicia; - Kings of Deira; - Kings of Northumbria

d. 559
d. 560
d. 568
d. 572
d. 579
d. 588
d. 585
d. 592
d. 616
of Deira
b.c.586; d. 633
Osric I
d. 634
b.c.595; d. 634
b.c.604; d. 642
b.c.612; d. 670
d. 651
King of the Picts
Æthelwald I
d. 655
d. 664
b.c.645; d. 685
d. 704
b.c.661; d. 679
Osred I
b.c.697; d. 716
Osric II
d. 729

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gething, Paul; Albert, Edoardo (1 October 2012). "Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom". The History Press – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Cannon, John; Hargreaves, Anne (26 March 2009). "The Kings and Queens of Britain". OUP Oxford – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b c d e Downham, Viking Kings.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Woolf, Pictland to Alba.