Penda of Mercia
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is today the English Midlands. He took over the Severn Valley in 628 following the Battle of Cirencester. Penda and his family seem to have given their names to a number of places in the West Midlands, including Pinbury, Peddimore, and Pinvin.
About Penda of Mercia in brief
Penda was a 7th-century King of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom in what is today the English Midlands. He took over the Severn Valley in 628 following the Battle of Cirencester. He repeatedly defeated the East Angles and drove Cenwalh the king of Wessex into exile for three years. He continued to wage war against the Bernicians of Northumbria. Penda and his family seem to have given their names to a number of places in the West Midlands, including Pinbury, Peddimore, and Pinvin. The etymology of the name Penda is unknown. He is the only person recorded in the comprehensive Prosopography of Anglo- Saxon England with this name. It has been suggested that the firm alliance between Penda and various British princes might be the result of a racial cause. He was a son of Pybba ofMercia and said to be an Icling, with a lineage purportedly extending back to Wōden. Another Mercian king, Cearll, is mentioned as ruling at the same time as the Northumbrian king Æthelfrðr. It is also possible that Cearrithon and Penda were rivals to each other in the early part of the 7th century. According to the 12th century writing of Huntingdon, Penda was also a kinsman of Henry III of England, and so may have been related to Henry.
The time at which Penda became king is uncertain, and it is also unclear whether they were related, and if so how closely so. He seems also to be mentioned, as Panna ap Pyd, in the perhaps seventh-century Welsh praise-poem Marwnad Cynddylan, which says: ‘pan fynivys mab pyd mor fu parawd’ Penda’s son Peada is also mentioned in the ninth-century Historia Brittonum, which adds a little more possibly reliable information to Bede’s account. The names of members of a Northumbrians brotherhood are recorded in this list and are categorised as a British name. These royal names include those of Penda’s fatherPybba, and of his son Peeda. Besides Eowa, the pedigrees also give Penda a brother Coenlawh from whom two later kings were said to descend, although this may instead represent his brother Penda-in-law Cenlaw-Law Cenwilh from Wessex. The HistoriaBrittonum says that Pybbba had 12 sons, including Penda, but that Peda and Eowa were those best known to its author. It also says that he had a son named Coenwal-Law, from whom Penda also had a brother named Cearlaw-law, but this may also represent his-inlaw-Cenwall-Law.