Talk:Coenred of Mercia

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Article name[edit]

It seems that sources either spell this king "Cenred" and also use "Cenwulf" for Coenwulf of Mercia, or else they use "Coenred" and "Coenwulf". Some examples:

  • Cenred: Whitelock, English Historical Documents; Campbell, The Anglo-Saxons; D.P. Kirby; Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England; Walker, Mercia.
  • Coenred: Lapidge, Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England; Barbara Yorke; Brown & Farr, Mercia (just "Coenwulf", no mention of Cenred/Coenred); Zaluckyj, Mercia (also just "Coenwulf"); Swanton, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle".

Not a strong argument either way, but it would be nice to be consistent with Coenwulf. Any objections to a move to Coenred of Mercia? Mike Christie (talk) 13:43, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Not from me, so I moved it. You should put this up for DYK when you're done. We don't get many Anglo-Saxon rulers on the front page. Angus McLellan (Talk) 02:53, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the move. I'd be glad to do the DYK thing but I never get the article expanded in time to submit it -- as I recall there's a time limit. We did get at least one Anglo-Saxon king on the front page -- Aelle of Sussex was on the main page some time last year. Mike Christie (talk) 03:39, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Good luck with the review. I certainly hope this succeeds as there are quite a few subjects where an article of this size is possible while the more traditional 20K and up is not. Angus McLellan (Talk) 02:49, 21 December 2008 (UTC) (P.S. Beorhtwulf of Mercia might not take a huge amount of work to get it through a review, if you're in the mood for more Mercians. It was on the front page already in DYK, which is surely a good omen!)
Thanks for the help on the FAC fixes. Yes, I might have a go at Beorhtwulf. I keep track of the kings here, and I am vaguely thinking about going for a featured topic at some point; it would require getting everything else at least to GA, which is all that can be done for some of them. Not sure what to do about people like Ceolwald, but he can wait till everyone else is done. Mike Christie (talk) 11:29, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Also consider writing this article's name with the more proper œ, as the head of that article shows its use in Old English. Thus, Cœnred of Mercia. —ᚹᚩᛞᛖᚾᚻᛖᛚᛗ (ᚷᛖᛋᛈᚱᛖᚳ) 10:18, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

We do use "æ" in article titles because that gets used in the sources, and is still in use in modern English. I would prefer not to use "œ" since neither of those things are true, though of course it should be used in quoted Old English. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 14:13, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
As both a speaker of Old English, and the most prominent editor at the Old English Wikipedia, I can indeed say that œ was used during the Old English period. The beginning of the œ article states how this letter was used for the runestaff (œðel/odal). In fact I'd say that the letter combination oe was more rare. —ᚹᚩᛞᛖᚾᚻᛖᛚᛗ (ᚷᛖᛋᛈᚱᛖᚳ) 15:56, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Are you saying we should use it? I don't think it's necessary; we typically don't use thorns or yoghs or eths in article titles. The only exceptions are articles such as œthel. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 18:58, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
For both consistency and historic accuracy. It's sorta strange to have æ in various Anglo-Saxon-related article titles, yet its o-based counterpart is not represented, rendered instead as the less-accurate oe. While the consonants mentioned are not used in English article titles, I at least feel Old English vowel representation should be consistent, and since the use of æ is dominant across Wikipedia, it would make sense for œ to be used as well. —ᚹᚩᛞᛖᚾᚻᛖᛚᛗ (ᚷᛖᛋᛈᚱᛖᚳ) 04:11, 27 June 2011 (UTC)
The most relevant page for this discussion is probably WP:DIACRITICS; that section does mention both æ and œ, but I don't see a definite answer there, perhaps because it is still debated. You might want to post on the talk page there and see what responses you get. My own feeling is that we should reflect the sources; if secondary sources used œ then so should we, but in general they do not -- only the primary sources do. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 10:52, 27 June 2011 (UTC)


I find the section on Bede confusing. I have made a couple of amendments to clarify it, but there are still issues I am not clear about. The article states that Bede had no contact for the Mercian church, but then says that Charters etc provide additional information on his reign, which appears a non-sequitur. Coenred (as Cenred) is mentioned several times in Bede, and Mercia more often in the index than any other kingdom, so it seems that even if he knew little about the Mercian church, he knew a fair amount about its kingdom, which is what matters for this article. Dudley Miles 21:04, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

The point Yorke is making in that source is made in several sources: it's that Bede gathered his information from a variety of sources, primarily ecclesiastical; this is important in understanding the limitations of Bede's coverage. See the second half of Bede#Sources for more on his correspondents. Since this is an article on Coenred, not Bede, I think it was worth just a passing comment -- that section does talk about sources, after all, and it should mention the limitations of the sources. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 01:00, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I do not have access to the sources you mention, but Bede#sources and the preface to Bede's history seem to me to refer to his sources for the earlier history of the English church. Coenred on the other hand was a contemporary, and one for whom he had a great respect. The - very good - article could have quoted Bede's description (p. 267 of Oxford World Classics edition) of Coenred ruling his kingdom nobly and even more nobly renouncing his throne. Bede has little to say about Coenred because he was writing ecclesiastical history, as the article makes clear. Stating that Bede had no contact in Mercia and then that charters provide additional information appears a non-sequitur and exaggerates Bede's ignorance of Mercian affairs in his own time. Dudley Miles 20:35, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it's the earlier history that's most coloured by Bede's lack of a Mercian correspondent. I think you're right; it's confusing as is. How about just cutting the whole sentence that starts "Bede lived in Northumbria"? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 21:32, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Fine, and how about quoting Bede's praise in the introduction? Dudley Miles 22:25, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I'd be less comfortable with that -- I don't like using a primary source in that way unless a secondary source also finds the material worth quoting. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:41, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

You no doubt know that Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources states that primary sources are permitted if used carefully. I think that citing him as a source for a statement of fact without referring to a secondary source would be dubious, but quoting his opionion of an individual is OK, but views of editors on this are bound to differ. Dudley Miles 12:42, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I'd suggest you either put here on the talk page a suggested version of the relevant part of the lead, or else just be bold and make the edit and we can discuss. I agree primary sources can be helpful -- for colour, if nothing else -- but I'm not completely clear what your edit would look like, so I'm not sure how you would like to use the source. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 12:20, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Move back to Coenred?[edit]

I think this should be moved back to Coenred of Mercia; see the above discussion. Secondary sources don't use the ligature and so I think we shouldn't either. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 05:49, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

I've moved it back. If anyone still thinks it should be moved, please request the move via WP:RM so it can be discussed. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 15:45, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Coenred is literally incorrect. It's every bit as incorrect as writing the US president's name as Barrack Obama because a secondary source wrote it that way. oe, as a letter combination, did not exist in Cœnred's native language. You also need to remember that oe is not the same as œ, in the same way that O, is not the same as Q. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wōdenhelm (talkcontribs) 18:42, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I understand, but I think we need to follow the usage of secondary sources, which almost without exception don't use the ligature. I suggest you post a move request at WP:RM if you want to argue for the move; that way we can ask for other opinions. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 20:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
The point I'm making though, is that it's not a ligature; it's a letter unto itself. We now have the means of listing it correctly (through Unicode) whereas many sources in the past did not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wōdenhelm (talkcontribs) 18:42, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The one page of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle I have found which uses the 'oe' form rather than 'e' is in the Parker Chronicle here. It looks to me in each case like two separate letters, but I am happy to be proven wrong. The ASC is largely West Saxon not Mercian - has anyone seen a manuscript Bede, whether in Englisc or in the Latin.Hogweard (talk) 16:43, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
Might you be able to get us a bigger image? Espreon (talk) 17:33, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

The library might be able to. Viewing at 200% it is visible but certainly a better image would help. On the page on the link, you will find 'Coenred' in the 1st para line 3, 2nd para line 5 and para 3 line 4. Hogweard (talk) 21:24, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

It would be interesting to see images of an "œ" in the original mss, but I don't think it has a bearing on this discussion, does it? Whatever we find would be our research in primary sources; we would need reliable sources discussing the usage of "œ" to make use of that information. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:39, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested Move[edit]

  • Coenred of MerciaCœnred of Mercia (move (@subpage))Cœnred is the correct name, as œ was a singular letter in the person's native language, and not a ligature of oe, which, as a letter combination, simply did not exist. Modern secondary sources about the person wrote his name as Coenred most likely due to technical limitations, such as not having a proper typeface available, or a lack of Unicode. Unicode allows the name to finally be represented correctly. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 20:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Hopefully I've done this Requested Move correctly. If not, someone please fix it. The instructions on the page for this were rather confusing. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 20:34, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Outside of runological transcriptions, when is œ actually used for writing Old English? I've looked in various books (including Campbell's book, which talks about even more obscure things, like Kentish broken ash) hoping to find information on the use of œ rather than oe, but alas, I could only find information on the use of oe. I believe I've read that ae was used to represent /æ æ:/ before they started to use æ (of course, I would not advocate using ae instead of æ), so it could be that by the time they started writing ae as a single letter, the oe sounds dropped from the innovating scribes' dialect(s) and thus œ never came to be used in authentic Old English orthographies. Now, if you do have a source that says otherwise or have images of manuscripts, please show us. I wish to have this matter settled once and for all.
Either way, they could probably use e instead of oe or œ and get away with it since the oe sounds merged with their unrounded counterparts (written e) in certain dialects (including West Saxon) during the Old English period.
Espreon (talk) 22:02, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
User:Wōdenhelm, you used the template for technical, uncontroversial moves. From the history of Cœnred of Mercia, I see that the move is potentially controversial, so please follow the instructions for a single page move at WP:RM/CM. Thanks, Wbm1058 (talk) 01:28, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
It seems I must repeat this part: Hopefully I've done this Requested Move correctly. If not, someone please fix it. The instructions on the page for this were rather confusing. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 03:29, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I will fix it when I next have time; probably by the end of the weekend if someone else doesn't get to it first. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 04:23, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. And, a raised-pinky-from-a-cup-of-tea to us both for showing a lil chivalry with this. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 04:32, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 05 January 2014[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. (non-admin closure) Red Slash 17:40, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Coenred of MerciaCœnred of MerciaCœnred is the correct name, as œ was a singular letter in the person's native language, and not a ligature of oe, which, as a letter combination, simply did not exist. Modern secondary sources about the person wrote his name as Coenred most likely due to technical limitations, such as not having a proper typeface available, or a lack of Unicode. Unicode allows the name to finally be represented correctly. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 04:19, 5 January 2014 (UTC)


Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Oppose This may be a matter of individual preference, but I prefer using the normal modern English alphabet. If modern secondary sources use the current spelling then this is what we should go for. The English Wikipedia is written in modern English, not old English. PatGallacher (talk) 14:12, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Cœnred is very rare in modern secondary sources. The only case I could find is the Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain. I think we have to go with academic usage rather than a view on whether œ was a letter or a ligature, which arguably amounts to WP:OR. Incidentally the Wikipedia article œ says it is a ligature. However I think Cœnred should be shown as an alternative spelling. Dudley Miles (talk) 15:28, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
The article says it's a ligature in Latin. Wodenhelm (Be polite before proceeding) 03:15, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose, unless someone can show us that œ was indeed used for writing Old English (outside of runological transcription); I cannot find anything that says that œ was used in authentic texts — just oe and maybe another digraph. If it can't be demonstrated, then the argument that we should use something more authentic falls apart. Espreon (talk) 22:22, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We do use "æ" in some Anglo-Saxon names, because the secondary sources do so; I don't think we can do the same with "œ" unless the secondary sources support it, and as far as I can see they do not. I think Wōdenhelm's comment about the ligature being unavailable is incorrect, as it was (and maybe still is) in fairly common use in words such as "manœuvre", so there would have been no difficulty in type-setting it. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:31, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Indeed. If older books on OE (from the 19th century, even; yes, I've actually touched one before) could have proper ashes, then I'm sure they could get œ right. Espreon (talk) 22:53, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose use Cenred of Mercia instead -- (talk) 02:33, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
    See above; there's not a strong argument either way for Coenred or Cenred based on the short list of recent sources I looked at there. If we were to change to Cenred I think we'd need to review secondary sources again and see whether there is a clear preference. Personally I like the consistency with Coenwulf. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:02, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
    To play devil's advocate, we could also change Coenwulf to Cenwulf ... however I just checked the first four books I could find and only Walker's Mercia & the Making of England used the Cenwulf version. I would think we should be consistent in the way we spell these names. It's not a case, like Alfred for example, where the name is well known in its modern form. Angus McLellan (Talk) 03:06, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Sure -- I agree that consistency is good. See Talk:Coenwulf of Mercia#Article name, which I posted over five years ago; it was about a fifty-fifty split then and I doubt it's changed a lot since then. Either way would be fine with me, but inertia tends to rule when the choices are equally sensible. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 03:13, 9 January 2014 (UTC)


Any additional comments:


  • I think Cœnred should be added to the list of alternative names as it is the spelling Ann Williams uses in the Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:29, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
    • I support this. Gottistgut (talk) 20:36, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
      Dudley, since you have a source supporting this, could you add it and cite it? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 23:40, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
      There are many other spellings. According to the Prosopography of Angle-Saxon England (PASE) online, they are: Cenræd, Ceonred, Coenredus, Coinred, Conred, Kenred, Kenredus, Koenred and Kænred. These are all found in primary sources. The most popular is Coenred. They do not use the œ ligature, but his entry is under "Cenred". Srnec (talk) 23:55, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
      For a candidate spelling to be listed in the article as an alternative spelling, I think we'd need to see it used in a reliable secondary source. The PASE, as a compilation of primary sources, doesn't count, I would think. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 02:48, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

When was Mercia part of England?[edit]

@Dudley Miles: It currently reads as if Coenred reigned from 675–709, and that Mercia then became part of England, from 704 to 709-- but something else is meant. My change here made in much more clear, but you gave no reason for your revert. tahc chat 16:26, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

It was also worded more clearly back when it was the day's featured article. tahc chat 16:35, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
I thought your version did not sound right as it seems to imply that Mercia still exists. However, I agree that the version I reverted to is also unsatisfactory. The version when it was a TFA is better, as you say. Alternatively we could change your sentence to "Mercia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the English Midlands." The comma between "Mercia" and "from" should be deleted. What do you think? Dudley Miles (talk) 16:59, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Any version of "Mercia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the English Midlands." sounds good. tahc chat 17:28, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

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