List of monarchs of Mercia

The Kingdom of Mercia was an important state in the English Midlands from the 6th century to the 10th. For some two hundred years from the mid 7th century onwards it was the dominant member of the Heptarchy and consequently the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. During this period its rulers became the very first English monarchs to assume such wide ranging titles as 'King of Britain' and 'King of the English'.

This was a time when spellings varied widely, even within a single document, and a number of variants exist for the names given below. For example, the letter þ was sometimes replaced with ð, which stood for exactly the same sound - th.

Kings of the Mercians

Iclings (House of Icel)

Son of Éomer, last King of the Angles in Europe.

Son of Icel.

Son of Cnebba.

Son of Cynewald. Probable founder of the Mercian fortress at Tamworth.

Son of Créoda. Extended Mercian control into the western Midlands.

Possibly a brother or cousin of Pybba.

Son of Pybba. Raised Mercia to dominant status amongst the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Last Pagan ruler of England.

Brother of Penda. Co-ruler.

Son of Penda. Co-ruler in the south-east Midlands.

Mercia was briefly conquered by Oswiu of Northumbria.

Brother of Péada. Restored Mercian dominance in England.

Brother of Wulfhere. Abdicated and retired to a monastery at Bardney.

Son of Wulfhere. Abdicated and retired to Rome.

Son of Æþelred (I). Probably poisoned.

  • Céolwald (716)

Brother of Céolred. May not have existed.

Grandson of Éowa. Proclaimed himself King of Britain in 746. Murdered by Béornred.

Usurping King

No known relation to his predecessors. Deposed.

House of Offa

Supposedly a great-great-grandson of Éowa. The greatest and most powerful of all Mercian kings, he proclaimed himself King of the English in 774.

Son of Offa. Co-ruler.

House of Cœnwulf

Claimed to be a seventh generation descendant of Pybba. Assumed the title of 'emperor'.

Son of Cœnwulf. Co-ruler. Murdered and later canonised.

Brother of Cœnwulf. Deposed.

Elected Kings

Chosen by the Mercian Witan.

Chosen by the Mercian Witan.

Chosen by the Mercian Witan. Deposed.

Mercia was briefly conquered by Egbert of Wessex.

Restored to the kingship.

  • Wigmund (c. 840)

Son of Wigláf. Probably co-ruler.

Son of Wigmund. Refused the kingship.

Chosen by the Mercian Witan.

Chosen by the Mercian Witan. Fled to Rome in the face of a Danish invasion.

Possibly a son of Wigmund. Set up by the Danes as a puppet ruler.

Appointed by Alfred of Wessex, whom he recognised as his lord. Sometimes listed as 'éaldorman' rather than 'king', especially by the West Saxons.

Ladies of the Mercians

Widow of Æþelred (II) and daughter of Alfred of Wessex.

Daughter of Æþelflæd and Æþelred (II). Deposed by her uncle, Edward the Elder, who annexed Mercia to Wessex thus creating the Kingdom of England.

Traditional flag of Mercia
Traditional flag of Mercia

The Heptarchy
East Anglia | Essex | Kent | Mercia | Northumbria | Sussex | Wessex

Most of Wikipedia's text and many of its images are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-SA)

Return to Main Index