Cuthred of Wessex

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Cuthred
King of Wessex
Reign 740–756
Predecessor Athelheard
Successor Sigeberht
House House of Wessex
Died 756

Cuthred ( c. 756) was a West Saxon nobleman and atheling. He was King of Wessex from 740 to 756. Cuthred succeeded in restoring much of the prestige of Wessex.

King of Wessex[change | change source]

At the death of King Athelheard, his kinsman Cuthred became king.[1] During the time of Athelheard much of Wessex had been lost to King Aethelbald of Mercia.[2] Cuthred made it known he was not as weak a ruler as Athelheard and struggled against Aethelbald being his overlord.[1] In the first three years of Cuthred's rule he warred with Mercia. In 743 Cuthred joined Aethelbald in fighting the Welsh.[3] By all appearances this was a friendly alliance between the two kings. But the friendship soon ended.[3] In 748 Cuthred's son, Cynric, tried to depose his father and died in the rebellion.[4] According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the rebellion was encouraged by the Mercian king.[5]

Two years later in 750 Cuthred put down another rebellion by Athelhun, one of his ealdormen.[6] In the day-long battle, Athelhun had fewer men but was winning until he was severely wounded.[4] In 752, Cuthred again tried to get free of King Aethelbald.[6] This led to a battle at Burford[a] where Cuthred, assisted by a now faithful Athelhun, met Aethelbald and his army.[3] The battle ended up with Aethelbald fleeing the battlefield.[4] From that time on Cuthred maintained independence from Mercia for the rest of his reign.[2] Cuthred died in 756.[2] But he left a much stronger Wessex free of Mercian rule.[6] He was succeeded by Sigeberht.[6]

Family[change | change source]

The name of Cuthred's wife is unknown. His son:

  • Cynric was killed in 746.[3]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. This battlefield has not been identified. Earlier speculation that it was the same as Burford in Oxfordshire had been disproved.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (New york: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 310
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Frank Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England (Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 204
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sharon Turner, The history of the Anglo-Saxons from the earliest period to the Norman conquest, Volume 1 (Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1841), p. 267
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon, ed. & trans. Thomas Forester (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), p. 129
  5. Sharon Turner, The history of the Anglo-Saxons from the earliest period to the Norman conquest, Volume 1 (Philadelphia: Carey & Hart, 1841), p. 267, note i
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens (New york: Carroll & Graf, 1999), p. 311

Other websites[change | change source]