Ine of Wessex

Ine (died 728) was the King of Wessex from 688 to 726, noted particularly for his code of laws.

According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he was the son of Cenred, who was the son of Ceolwald; Ceolwald was the brother of Cynegils; Ceolwald and Cynegils were the sons of Cuthwine, who was the son of Ceawlin; Ceawlin was the son of Cynric, and Cynric was the son of Cerdic.

He succeeded to the throne after the abdication of Caedwalla in 688. The nature of this succession is unclear, and Ine's father Cenred was still alive during the early years of his reign. Ine made peace with Kent in 694, when its king Wihtred gave him a sum in compensation for the death of Mul, brother of Caedwalla, who had been killed during a Kentish rebellion in 687. The amount offered to Ine by Wihtred is uncertain; most manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle record it as thirty-thousand, and some specify thirty-thousand pounds. Ine also sought to keep the South Saxons, conquered by Caedwalla in 686, in subjugation; around the year 692, he installed a kinsman of his, Nunna, as a client king over them.

In 694, Ine became the second Anglo-Saxon king to issue a written code of laws, after Ethelbert of Kent. This changed the nature of administration in Wessex and did a great deal to centralize the kingdom, which had previously been composed of sub-kingdoms more loosely united. Ine is also said to have built the minster at Glastonbury.

In 710 Ine, together with Nunna of Sussex, defeated Geraint of Dumnonia, according to Florence of Worcester, and it was probably around this time that Devon was conquered by the West Saxons. Ine was unable to establish his authority over neighboring Cornwall, however; in 722, the West Saxons were defeated by the Cornish by a river called Hehil. In 715 he fought a battle with the Mercians under Ceolred at Woodborough in Wiltshire, but the result is not recorded.

Shortly after this time a quarrel seems to have arisen in the royal family. In 721 Ine slew Cynewulf, and in 722 his queen Æthelburg destroyed Taunton, which her husband had built earlier in his reign. In 722 the South Saxons, previously subject to Ine, rose against him under the exile Aldbryht, who may have been a member of the West Saxon royal house. In 725, Ine fought the South Saxons and slew Aldbryht.

In 726 he abdicated and went to Rome, and in 727 he founded in today's rione of Borgo the Schola Saxonum hospice for poor English pilgrims. He died the following year, with no obvious heir and, according to Bede, left his kingdom to "younger men".

Preceded by:
King of Wessex
688 to 726
Succeeded by:


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