(d. 675) king of the Mercians

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Was a young son of Penda and a brother of Peada. After the defeat at the Winwaed, Mercia fell under Northumbrian control, but in 658 three ealdormen, whom Bede named, raised a rebellion and placed Wulfhere on the throne. He lost little time in restoring Mercian power: Christianity and conquest went hand in hand. Florence of Worcester praised his zeal in supporting the Christian faith, ‘utterly rooting out the worship of idols’, and tells us that his wife was Eormenhild, a Kentish princess, of great devoutness. Essex was under his overlordship and he intervened to restore Christianity there after a period of apostasy. By 661 he was reported to be campaigning against Wessex, seized the Isle of Wight, and gave it to Aethelwald of Sussex, for whom he had stood sponsor in baptism. He seems to have repaid a Welsh raid on Lichfield by destroying Pengwen, near the Wrekin, and killing the prince Cynddylan. But towards the end of his reign, his power faltered. Though he initiated an attack upon Northumbria, he suffered a sharp defeat at the hands of Ecgfrith and was obliged to cede Lindsey. He was reported to have given battle to Aescwine of Wessex in 675, and though the outcome is not on record, Wulfhere died shortly afterwards.

Subjects: British History.

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