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The description of 7th‐cent. England as a ‘heptarchy’ probably derives, ultimately, from the historian Henry of Huntingdon, writing in the earlier 12th cent. The idea was that there were seven kingdoms, Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex, and Wessex. Reality was more complicated. But the formulation was a useful one and had a long life.

Subjects: British History.

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