ercia was one of the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England. It was located at the centre of the country and was bounded in the north by the River Humber, and by the River Thames in the South. To the west was the River Severn. The kingdom was created in around 580 AD and remained one of the more powerful kingdoms until Alfted the Great united the kingdom almost 300 years later.
Over those 300 years the size and power of Mercia changed dramatically with the success or failures of its rulers. Offa was one of its more powerful rulers and from around 785 he could have been concidered to be the first 'King of England'.
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The rulers of Mercia are known as the Iclingas from Icel who was the great-grandfather of Creoda. Icel had a son called Cnebba, who had a son called Cynewald, who was the father of Creoda.
|Ruler||Relationship to Predecessor||To
|585(6)||Creoda||Son||593||Creoda is thought to be the first ruler of Mercia.|
|593||Pybba||Son||606||During the reign of Pybba Mercia gained territories in the west.|
|606||Cearl (Ceorl)||-||626||Bede states that Cearl was a King of Mercia but there is little other evidence.|
|626||Penda||Son of Pybba||655||Was very young when his father died so did not become ruler after this father.|
|635||Eowa||Son of Pybba||642||Jointly ruled Mercia with Penda.|
|653||Peada||Son of Penda||655||Ruled in the south of Mercia until his murder.|
|Between 655, after the death of Penda, and 658 Oswy of Northumbria took control of Mercia.|
|658||Wulfhere||Son of Penda||675||Ruler of Mercia as a whole after pushing Oswy out. Was first Christian king of Mercia.|
|675||Athelred (I)||Son of Penda||704||A religious man and a younger son of Penda. He abdicated in 704 to live in a monastery.|
|704||Cenred (Coenred)||Son of Wulfhere||709||Cenred abdicated and went to Rome where he became a monk.|
|709||Ceolred||Son of Athelred||716||Poisoned?|
|716||Athelbald||Grandson of Eowa||757||May have been responsilble for death of Ceolred. Murdered by his own men.|
|757||Beornred||-||757||Unknown relationship to previous rulers. May have been responsilble for death of Athelbald. Was removed by Offa.|
|757||Offa||Descended from Eowa||July 796||Came to power after conflicts of Athelbald and Beornred. Could be seen as the first King of England. Built defensive banks (dyke) between Mercia and Wales.|
|796||Ecgfrith||Son||Jul-Dec||Died within months of his father.|
Cenwulf became ruler of Mercia after the short reign of Ecgfrith. It is not known if Cenwulf had any part to play in Ecgfrith's death. Cenwulf was not directly related to the previous rulers of Mercia and it is claimed that he was descended from a sibling of Penda.
|Ruler||Relationship to Predecessor||To
|796||Cenwulf||-||821||Cenwulf claimed to be a descendent of a sibling of Penda and a member of the Hwicce royal family.|
|821||Ceolwulf||Brother||823||Brother of Cenwulf but was deposed quickly by Beornwulf.|
|823||Beornwulf||-||826||Overthrew Ceolwulf, but under Beornwulf the power of Mercia was greatly reduced.|
|826||Ludeca||-||827||Ludeca took control after Beornwulf was killed and was killed himself fighting against East Anglia.|
|827||Wiglaf||-||839||Wiglaf ruled twice in a short time. Between 829 and 830 Egbert of Wessex invaded Mercia and ruled for several months before Wiglaf regained control.|
|839||Wigmund||Son||840||Wigmund may have not been a ruler in his own right and may have been a sub-ruler of Merica alongside Wiglaf.|
|839/40||Beorhtwulf||-||852||Wigstan, the son of Wigmund had dedicated himself to the Church so did not become Mercia's ruler. Beorhtwulf took that position. Wigstan was murdered in a dispute with Beorhtwulf over a marriage proposal between Wigmund's widow Elfleda to Beorhtwulf's son.|
|852||Burgred||-||874||Closely aligned with Athelwolf of Wessex and married his daughter. Vikings invaded during his reign and forced Burgred from Mercia.|
|874||Ceolwulf II||-||883||Puppet king installed by the Vikings. May have just reigned to 879 rather than 833.|
|See later rulers of Mercia and England|