Penda, king of Mercia (d.654)

Penda of Mercia was one the central figures of English history from 632 until his death in 654. He first appeared before he was king, as an ally of Cadwallon in his campaign against Edwin of Northumbria that ended in victory at Hatfield Chase, after which Penda became king of Mercia. In 641, he defeated and killed Oswald of Northumbria at Maserfelth, establishing himself as the most powerful of the southern English kings, although he never became Bretwalda (Overking). His final campaign, in 654, was against Oswiu, brother of Oswald, whom he considered to be a personal enemy. Penda invaded Northumbria with a large army that included many British allies, but despite apparently coming close to defeat, Oswiu defeated and killed Penda at the battle of Winwaed, near Leeds, temporarily eclipsing Mercian power.
Offa and the Mercian Wars - the Rise & Fall of the First Great English Kingdom, Chris Peers. Looks at the rise and fall of Mercia, the dominant English power of the Eighth Century, first emerging under the pagan Penda, before reaching its greatest power under Offa, one of the greatest of the Anglo-Saxon kings. Does a good job of dealing with the more obscure corners of Mercian history, and tells the interesting story of a kingdom that might have formed the nucleus of a united England (Read Full Review)
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (17 September 2000), Penda, king of Mercia (d.654),

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