Beorhtric of Wessex


Beorhtric of Wessex

Infobox Monarch
name = Beorhtric
title=King of Wessex


reign = 786 — 802
date of birth = unknown
place of birth = Wessex, England
date of death = 802
place of death =
place of burial = Wareham
consort = Eadburh, daughter of Offa, king of Mercia
father = unknown
mother=

Beorhtric (died 802) (means 'Magnificent ruler') was the King of Wessex from 786 until his death.

In 786, Cynewulf, king of Wessex, was killed by the exiled noble Cyneheard, brother of the former King Sigeberht. Beorhtric was supported by Offa, king of the Mercians against Egbert. It is not entirely clear why Offa intervened in Beorhtric's favour, though it seems likely that the opportunity to influence West Saxon politics, and thus preserve the Mercian Ascendancy were important factors. Additionally, it is suggested that Egbert was a descendant of the Kentish dynasty that, under Eahlmund, had rebelled against Offa's rule and beaten him at the battle of Otford.

To an extent, Beorhtric seems to have been subject to Offa's authority. In 787, he held the Synod of Chelsea jointly with Offa, and in 789 he married one of Offa's daughters, Eadburh Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Land that had traditionally been on the borders of Mercian and Wessex were administered by the Mercian court, as is seen in Charters of Offa, and his son Ecgfrith. West Saxons seem to have used Offa's currency: a recent survey of early medieval single coin finds reveals a trail of Offa pennies running from the Upper Thames to Wareham, a site connected with Beorhtric. In 1854 a coin from his reign was found 2 miles ouside of Andover. It weighed 22 grains and is extremely rare. [ [http://detecting.merseyblogs.co.uk/2007/03/coin_of_beorcht.html Coin Article and Image] ]

It was during Beorhtric's reign that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the first Viking raids on England occurred. In 789, they landed on the Dorset coast, near the Isle of Portland, where they killed a royal official, the shire reeve.

After Offa's death in 796, Mercian power over England was weakened, and Beorhtric may have exercised more independence during this period. The only two West Saxon coins to have survived from Beorhtric's reign were produced at this time, suggesting that he had established a new mint. Within a few years Offa's successor, Coenwulf, had restored Mercia's position, and after 799, Beorhtric's relationship with the Mercians seems to have been largely similar to the situation before Offa's death.

In later years Asser, a scholar at Alfred the Great's court, recorded the story that Beorhtric had died from being accidentally poisoned by his wife, Eadburh. She fled to a nunnery in Francia, from which she was later ejected after being found with a man. The provenance of this story is dubious.

ee also

*House of Wessex family tree

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Beorhtric — de Wessex Beorhtric (mort en 802) fut roi du Wessex de 786 à sa mort. En 786, le roi Cynewulf de Wessex fut tué par le noble exilé Cyneheard, frère de l ancien roi Sigeberht. Beorhtric fut soutenu par Offa de Mercie contre Egbert. L intervention… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beorhtric — († 802) war in den Jahren 786 802 König von Wessex. Beorhtric gelangte auf den Thron von Wessex, nachdem König Cynewulf 786 ermordet worden war; offenbar geschah die Thronerhebung Beorhtrics unter Mithilfe von Offa, dem König von Mercia und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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