(d. 726) king of the West Saxons

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king of Wessex (688–726). The reputation of Ine rests on two foundations, legal and ecclesiastical. He reigned from 688 for a very long period, 37 years, and was confident enough to resign his throne to younger men, making his way as a pilgrim to Rome where he died. His laws were impressive. Alfred (871–99), who was descended from Ine's brother, used Ine's decrees when he drew up his own statement of just law. In the ecclesiastical field Ine himself presided over the first synods known to have been held among the West Saxons, and founded the bishopric at Sherborne to serve his people west of Selwood. Internal evidence within the law code betrays a deep concern with ecclesiastical law. Heavy penalties were imposed on failure to see that a child was baptized or to pay proper dues to the church. His laws also show a significant concern with the status of Welshmen assimilated to the kingdom. The Welshmen of the code of laws clearly referred to the British inhabitants of the west country taken over and governed according to Germanic law by the West Saxon king. Ine was also from time to time busy in the south‐east. In 694 he compelled the Kentishmen to pay an immense compensation for the murder of the West Saxon prince Mul, the brother of Ine's own predecessor. But his main efforts and achievement lay in the heartlands of Wessex and the south‐west. Scholarship flourished under the inspiration of Aldhelm, abbot of Malmesbury, and then first bishop of Sherborne (705–9). Ine's master achievement was to complete the political conquest of Devon, following on a generation or so of steady Saxon migration and agrarian settlement under arms in the fertile valleys of the south‐west.

Subjects: British History.

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