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Cwichelm of Wessex

7th-century English monarch

Cwichelm (died circa 636) was the King of the Gewisse,[a] although more commonly called the King of Wessex. He reigned from 626 until his death. He was a pagan king who became a Christian shortly before his death.

Cwichelm
Co-King of Wessex
Reign626–636
PredecessorCynegils
SuccessorCenwalh of Wessex
Died636
HouseHouse of Wessex

King in WessexEdit

Cwichelm was the son of Cynegils, King of Wessex.[2] He ruled jointly with his father.[3] The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 614 says Cynegils and Cwichelm fought at a place named Beandun, which cannot be identified.[b][4] The account went on to say they slew two thousand sixty-five Welsh.[5] Another chronicle entry for 627 (corrected to 626) states an Eomer was sent by "Cwichelm, king of the West Saxons, thinking to stab king Eadwine". It goes on to say Eomer stabbed his thane, Lilla, and a Forthere but only wounding the king.[6] The plot to kill the Northumbrian king failed and the following year Eadwine (Edwin) sent an army to punish Wessex.[7] The next mention of Cwichelm in the chronicle is for the year 628.[8] It states that Cyngils, king of Wessex, and Cwichelm his son 'fought with Penda at Cirencester and came to an agreement with him there'.[8] The agreement seems to have been to give Cirencester to Penda.[8] In 634 Pope Honorius I sent Bishop Birinus to England.[7] When he reached the territory of the Gewisse (Wessex) he found them almost completely pagan. He began to convert the West Saxons to Christianity. In 635 Cynegils was baptized and King Oswald of Northumbria stood as his Godfather.[9] In 636 Cwichelm was baptised at Dorchester. He died later in the same year (636).[3] Although he died before his father, both were succeeded by his brother Cenwalh in 643.[10]

FamilyEdit

Cwichelm had a son:

NotesEdit

  1. Bede thought of the Gewisse and the West Saxons as being the same people. That identification has been generally accepted by historians. But the Gewisse were not the only dynastic lineage in Wessex.[1]
  2. This is the first mention of Cwichelm in any records.
  3. When Cenwalh was exiled from Wessex from 645 to 648 it is not recorded who ruled Wessex in his absence.[10] But an entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 648 seems to indicate it might have been Cuthred, the son of Cwichelm. Cenwalh gave Cuthred three thousand hides of land (300–450 square miles) of land at Ashdown in Berkshire.[10] This may have been most, if not all, of Berkshire.[11] This was much larger than an estate a king might give a family member.[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. D. P. Kirby, The Earliest English Kings (London; New York: Routledge, 2000), pp. 38-39
  2. Detlev Schwennicke, Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, Neue Folge, Band II (Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1984), Tafel 77; Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 45
  3. 3.0 3.1 Barbara Yorke. Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England (London: Routledge, 1997), p. 143
  4. Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 63 & note 2
  5. Benjamin Thorpe, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle according to the Several Original Authorities: Translation (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1861), p. 19
  6. Benjamin Thorpe, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle according to the Several Original Authorities: Translation (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1861), p. 20
  7. 7.0 7.1 Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (New york: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 303
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 45
  9. Benjamin Thorpe, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle according to the Several Original Authorities: Translation (London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1861), p. 22
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (New york: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 304
  11. 11.0 11.1 Peter Hunter Blair, Roman Britain and Early England; 55 B.C.–A.D. 871 (New York; London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1966), p. 208