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The Genealogy of the Kentish Kings.
In the time of the emperor Martian, the Anglo-Saxons, on the invitation of the Britons, sailed over to Britain in three ships, under pretence of fighting in defence of that country, but in reality with intent to subdue it. Their first leaders were Hengst and Hors; Hors was slain in battle, by the Britons, but Hengest, having gotten the victory, began to reign in the year 455 from the incarnation of our Lord; and was the first of the Angles who was king of the Kentish-men.
St. Augustine, who was sent by the blessed pope Gregory, converted Aethelbert, king of the Kentish-men, to the faith of Christ, in the thirty-fifth year of his reign, in the 597th year of our Lord's incarnation; he built the church of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, a short distance to the east of the city of Canterbury, and enriched it with divers presents. Moreover, he built the church of St. Paul the apostle, in the city of London, and the church of St. Andrew the apostle, in the city of Rochester. To the bishops of each of these churches, and also to the archbishop of Canterbury, he gave many presents, and added landed possessions and revenues for the use of their successors. His queen, Berta, was daughter of the king of the Franks: St. Aethelburg, their daughter, was the queen of Eadwin, king of the Northumbrians; she built a monastery, at a place called Limene, and lies buried there. Rigula, sister of the said king Aethelbert and queen of the East Saxons, gave birth to St. Sebert, king of that province. King Aethelbert died, and entered the kingdom of heaven, in the fifty-sixth year of his reign.
His son Eadbald succeeded him: who, desiring to consult the welfare of the church, and favour it in every way he could, studied to live according to the divine ordinances. His queen, Emma, was daughter of the king of the Franks: they had a daughter, St. Eanswith, who lies buried at a place called Folcestan, and a son, the regulus Eormenred. Eormenred's queen, Oslava, bore him four daughters and two sons; namely, St. Ermenberg, who was the queen of Merewald, king of the West Angles, St. Ermenburg, St. Aetheldrith, St. Ermengith, and the holy martyrs Aethelred and Aethelbriht, whom Thunor, the prefect of Egbert, king of the Kentish-men, martyred by his orders. King Eadbald died, in the 25th year of his reign, and left his son Erconbert his successor. He was the first of the kings of the Angles who ordered the idols to be destroyed in his kingdom, and the fast of the forty days [of Lent] to be observed. His queen, St. Sexburg, daughter of Anna, king of the East Angles, built for him a monastery, in Sheppey. St. Ercongota, daughter of the said king Erconbert and his queen, St. Sexburg, being sent into Gaul, served God all her life, under the abbess St. Aethelburg (her aunt by the mother's side), in the monastery of Brie [Fare-moustier en Brie], and lies buried there.
Their other daughter, Ermenilda, was queen of Wulfer, king of the Mercians. King Erconbert died, in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, leaving his kingdom to his son Egbriht, who died in July, in the ninth year of his reign, and was succeeded in the kingdom by his brother Lothere. Lothere was wounded in a battle against the South Saxons, whom Eadric, the son of Egbert, collected against him, and died while his wounds were being dressed, in the month of February, in the twelfth year of his reign. Edric, the son of his brother Egbert, succeeded to his kingdom, and reigned one year and a half. His brother Wihtred succeeded him in the kingdom, and built the church of St. Martin at Dover. King Wihtred died, in the thirty-fourth year of his reign, leaving his son Aethelbert heir to his kingdom: the latter died in the thirty-sixth year of his reign; and was succeeded by his brother Eadberht, also called Pren. Kenulph, king of the Mercians, while he was ravaging Kent, took him [Eadbert] prisoner, and led him away into Mercia. Cuthred succeeded him, and died in the ninth year of his reign. He was succeeded by Baldred, who was driven from his kingdom by Ecgbert, king of the West Saxons, in the year of our Lord's incarnation, according to [the computation of] Dionisius, 823. For 368 years, down to this point, the Kentish kingdom stood; but afterwards it became subject to the West-Saxon rule.
The Origin of the Kingdom of the Kings of the East Angles. The kingdom of the East Angles arose later than the Kentish kingdom, but before the West-Saxon kingdom. It was governed by several powerful kings, but Redwald was more powerful than any for all the southern provinces of the Angles and Saxons, with their kings, to the confines of the river Humber, were subject to him. He slew Aethelfrid, king of the Deiri and Bernicians, in a battle in which his son Reinher was killed: and helped Eadwin, the son of Aella, to obtain the kingdom. His other son, Eorpwald, succeeded to the rule; and, with all the province, at king Eadwin's persuasion, embraced the faith of Christ. He was shortly afterwards slain in battle, by a pagan named Ricgbert: he was succeeded by Sigbert, his half-brother on the mother's side. Sigbert gave to St. Fursey, who came over to him from Ireland, a grant of land, and assigned a spot for the erection of a monastery, in a certain fortified place, called in the English language Cnobheresburh [Burghcastle]; and afterwards he abdicated his kingdom (preferring a celestial one), and transferring it to his kinsman Ecgric, he became a monk in the monastery which he had prepared for himself. A long time afterwards, in order to encourage the soldiers, although much against his will, he was led out to battle against Penda, king of the Mercians (mindful of his profession, he would carry only a wand in his hand), and was slain, together with king Ecgric: Anna, the son of Eni, who was Redwald's brother, succeeded to their kingdom. His daughter, St. Sexburg, was married to Erconbert, the Kentish
king. St. Aethelburg, another daughter, was made abbess of the monastery of Brie [Fare-moustier en Brie] in Gaul. The third, St. Aetheldrith, first became queen of the Northumbrians, and afterwards abbess of Ely. The fourth, St. Withburg, was a nun in the same monastery [of Ely]. Their father, king Anna, was slain by Penda, king of the Mercians, leaving his brother Aethelhere heir to his kingdom. By his queen, the holy Hereswith, sister of the abbess Hild, he had two sons, named Aldwulf and Alfwold: he was slain by Oswi, in a battle against king Penda. He was succeeded by his brother Aethelwold; on whose death Aldwulf succeeded to the kingdom, and reigned for several years. After Aldwulf's death, his brother Alfwold succeeded to the government of the kingdom. During the reign of Offa, king of the Mercians, Beorna reigned in East Anglia; and after him Aethelred, who by his queen Leofruna had [a son named] Aethelbert. He held the kingdom of the East Angles for a short time only after his father, for he was slain (although he had committed no offence) by Offa, king of the Mercians, during the continuance of a treaty of peace. For the next sixty-one years, very few powerful kings reigned in East Anglia, until St. Eadmund, the last of them, obtained the supreme power, and he was martyred in the sixteenth year of his reign, by the pagan king, Hinguar.
From this time the Anglo-Saxons ceased to reign in East Anglia for nearly fifty years. For East Anglia was without a king for full nine years, being given up to the plunderings and utter devastations of the pagan Danes, who endeavoured at that time to bring all England under their sway. Afterwards the Danish king, Guthrum, reigned there, and also in nearly all East Saxony, for twelve years; and Eohric, whom the Angles slew in battle, fourteen years. Subsequently both provinces were under the tyranny of Danish earls, until king Eadward the Elder, after slaying many and compelling others to go beyond sea, received the submission of the rest, and annexed both kingdoms to the West Saxon kingdom.
The kingdom of the East Saxons had its rise after the Kentish kingdom, in like manner as the kingdom of the East Angles had. Their kings were nearly always subject to other sovereigns, and oftener, and for a longer period, to the Mercian kings. Previously to Sebert, who was the nephew of Aethelbert, the Kentish king, by his sister Rigula, they were idolaters: but he, on the preaching of Mellitus, was the first to embrace the word of truth. When he departed for the heavenly kingdom, he left his sons, Sexred and Seward, who remained obstinate pagans, the heirs of his earthly kingdom. They were shortly afterwards slain in battle, by the West Saxons. They were succeeded by Sigebert, surnamed the Little, son of the said Seward. On his death, Segebert, the son of Segebald, succeeded to the government of the kingdom. On the exhortations of Oswi, king of the Northumbrians, he turned to the
faith of Christ, and was baptized in Northumbria, by bishop Finan; and in his reign the East Saxons, on the preaching of the holy bishop Cedd, received the faith which they had before rejected. After a long lapse of time, he was slain by his own relations; for he obeyed the gospel precepts, and was too indulgent to his enemies, and was wont to pass over too easily their offences against him. His brother Suithelm succeeded him in the kingdom, and was baptized in East Anglia, by the said Cedd. After his death the helm of the kingdom was taken by Sebbi, son of king Seward, who was the son of the holy king Sebert, and by Sigher, son of king Sigebert the Little. After the death of Sigher, Sebba was king: in the thirtieth year of his reign he assumed the monastic habit, at the hands of Waldher, bishop of London, and shortly afterwards died, and entered the kingdom of heaven. His sons, Sigheard and Swefred, reigned in his stead. After their deaths, Offa, the son of king Sigher, was made king. He was a most charming and graceful youth, and it was the fondest wish of all his people that he might hold and maintain the sceptre of the kingdom: by the exhortations and persuasion of the holy Kineswith, daughter of Penda, king of the Mercians, [a maiden] whom he deeply loved, he quitted his country and kingdom for the gospel's sake, and made a pilgrimage to Rome, in company with Kenred, king of the Mercians, and the holy Ecgwin, bishop of the Hwiccas: there he received the tonsure; and, ending his life in the monastic habit, attained to the vision of the blessed apostles, which he had so earnestly longed for. Selred, son of king Sigebert, succeeded him in the kingdom. He was slain in the thirty-eighth year of his reign; whereupon Suithred obtained the regal throne, and held it for several years.
After his death, but few kings reigned separately over the East Saxons. For in the same year when the Kentish kingdom came to an end, they voluntarily, and in company with the Kentish-men and the South Saxons, made submission to Ecgbert, the brave king of the West Saxons, and remained in subjection to him and his successors, until Guthrum, the Danish king, got the mastery over them. But London, with the adjacent territory, remained subject to the Mercian kings as long as they reigned.
The kingdom of the Mercians had its origin after the commencement of the Kentish kingdom. The Mercians, who, with their kings, were for many years idolaters, little by little extended the bounds of their kingdom. But Penda, who began to reign in the 626th year of our Lord's incarnation, according to the computation of Dionysius, extended it much further than any of his predecessors. Moreover, he slew in battle two Northumbrian kings, namely, St. Eadwin and St. Oswald, and three of the kings of the East Angles, namely, St. Sigebert, Ecgric, and Anna. His queen, Kineswith, bore him five sons, namely, Peada, Wulfer, St. Aethelred, St. Merewald, and St. Mercelm [Mercelin ?], and two daughters, namely,