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The kingdom of the East Angles during the period it was ruled by the Wuffingas, bordered by the North Sea, the River Stour, the Devil's Dyke and the Fens East Anglian kingdom.svg
The kingdom of the East Angles during the period it was ruled by the Wuffingas, bordered by the North Sea, the River Stour, the Devil's Dyke and the Fens

The Wuffingas, Uffingas or Wuffings were the ruling dynasty of East Anglia, the long-lived Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The Wuffingas took their name from Wuffa, an early East Anglian king. Nothing is known of the members of the dynasty before Rædwald, who ruled from about 599 to c. 624. The Viking invasions of the ninth century destroyed the monasteries in East Anglia where many documents relating to the rule of the Wuffingas would have been kept.

Kingdom of East Anglia Anglo-Saxon kingdom in southeast Britain

The Kingdom of the East Angles, today known as the Kingdom of East Anglia, was a small independent kingdom of the Angles comprising what are now the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and perhaps the eastern part of the Fens. The kingdom formed in the 6th century in the wake of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain. It was ruled by the Wuffingas in the 7th and 8th centuries, but fell to Mercia in 794, and was conquered by the Danes in 869, forming part of the Danelaw. It was conquered by Edward the Elder and incorporated into the Kingdom of England in 918.

Anglo-Saxons Germanic tribes who started to inhabit parts of Great Britain from the 5th century onwards

The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century, and the direct ancestors of the majority of the modern British people. They comprise people from Germanic tribes who migrated to the island from continental Europe, their descendants, and indigenous British groups who adopted many aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture and language; the cultural foundations laid by the Anglo-Saxons are the foundation of the modern English legal system and of many aspects of English society; the modern English language owes over half its words – including the most common words of everyday speech – to the language of the Anglo-Saxons. Historically, the Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period in Britain between about 450 and 1066, after their initial settlement and up until the Norman conquest. The early Anglo-Saxon period includes the creation of an English nation, with many of the aspects that survive today, including regional government of shires and hundreds. During this period, Christianity was established and there was a flowering of literature and language. Charters and law were also established. The term Anglo-Saxon is popularly used for the language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England and eastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. In scholarly use, it is more commonly called Old English.

Norfolk County of England

Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and, to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).


The last of the Wuffingas kings was Ælfwald, who died in 749 and who was succeeded by kings whose lineage is unknown.

Ælfwald of East Anglia

Ælfwald was an 8th-century king of East Anglia, an Anglo-Saxon kingdom that today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The last king of the Wuffingas dynasty, Ælfwald succeeded his father Ealdwulf, who had ruled for forty-nine years. Ælfwald himself ruled for thirty-six years. Their combined reigns, with barely any record of external military action or internal dynastic strife, represent a long period of peaceful stability for the East Angles. In Ælfwald's time, this was probably owing to a number of factors, including the settled nature of East Anglian ecclesiastical affairs and the prosperity brought through Rhineland commerce with the East Anglian port of Gipeswic. The coinage of Anglo-Saxon sceattas expanded in Ælfwald's time: evidence of East Anglian mints, markets, and industry are suggested where concentrations of such coins have been discovered.

Family tree

The following family tree includes the Wuffingas kings from Wehha to Ælfwald. They are numbered in order of ruling. [1] Ecgric of East Anglia was also a member of the Wuffingas house, but his exact descent is not decided. He may have been Sigebert's brother, or his step-brother.

Wehha was a pagan king of the East Angles who, if he actually existed, ruled the kingdom of East Anglia during the 6th century, at the time the kingdom was being established by migrants from what is now Frisia and the southern Jutland peninsula. Early sources identify him as a member of the Wuffingas dynasty, which became established around the east coast of Suffolk. Nothing of his reign is known.

Ecgric was a king of East Anglia, the independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom that today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a member of the ruling Wuffingas dynasty, but his relationship with other known members of the dynasty is not known with any certainty. Anna of East Anglia may have been his brother, or his cousin. It has also been suggested that he was identical with Æthelric, who married Hereswith and was the father of Ealdwulf of East Anglia. The primary source for the little that is known about Ecgric's life is Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.

Anna 7

The kingdom of East Anglia was invaded by peoples from northern Europe during the 5th and 6th centuries. Historical sources relating to the genealogy of the East Anglian kings include the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Bede's Ecclesiastical History , both compiled many years after the kingdom was formed, as well as a pedigree of Ælfwald contained in the Anglian collection that dates from the 9th century. In the pedigree, Ælfwald is claimed to descend from the god Wōden. [2]

<i>Anglo-Saxon Chronicle</i> Set of related medieval English chronicles

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple copies were made of that one original and then distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated. In one case, the Chronicle was still being actively updated in 1154.

Bede 7th and 8th-century Anglo-Saxon monk, writer, and saint

Bede, also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable, was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles. Born on lands likely belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery in present day Sunderland, Bede was sent there at the age of seven and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery, both of whom survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles, even visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria. He is well known as an author, teacher, and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title "The Father of English History". His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired with controversy. He also helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ, a practice which eventually became commonplace in medieval Europe. Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800.

<i>Ecclesiastical History of the English People</i> 8th-century Latin history of England by Bede

The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by the Venerable Bede in about AD 731, is a history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between the pre-Schism Roman Rite and Celtic Christianity. It was originally composed in Latin, and is considered one of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history and has played a key role in the development of an English national identity. It is believed to have been completed in 731 when Bede was approximately 59 years old.

East Anglian tally (Textus Roffensis).png
Ælfwald (Alfwold Aldwulfing)
Ealdwulf (Aldwulf Æðelricing)
Ethelric (Æþelric Ening)
Eni (Eni Tytling)
Tytla (Tytla Wuffing)
Wuffa (Wuffa Wehhing)
Wehha (Wehh Wilhelming)
Wilhelm (Wilhelm Hrypping)
Hryth (Hryp Hroðmunding)
Hrothmund (Hroðmund Trigling)
Trygil (Trygil Tytimaning)
Tytiman (Tytiman Casericg)
Caesar (Caser Wodning)
Wōden (Woden Frealafing)
Pedigree of Ælfwald from the Anglian collection,
preserved in the Textus Roffensis

After 749, East Anglia was ruled either by the Mercians or by kings whose genealogy is not known.

Cultural associations

Sam Newton has claimed that the poem Beowulf may have been composed during the reign of Ælfwald of East Anglia. Before the end of his rule, Ælfwald's kingdom contained a group of ecclesiastical centres, all of which had strong associations with the Wuffingas dynasty. These included the sees at Dommoc and Helmham, St. Botulph's monastery at Icanho, the religious foundations at Ely and Dereham founded by daughters of Anna, the minster at Blythburgh and the monastery founded by Sigeberht prior to his abdication and subsequent death in battle. [3]

<i>Beowulf</i> Old English epic story

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is arguably one of the most important works of Old English literature. The date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. The author was an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the "Beowulf poet".

Dommoc village in the United Kingdom

Dommoc, a place not certainly identified but probably within the modern county of Suffolk, was the original seat of the Anglo-Saxon bishops of the Kingdom of East Anglia. It was established by Sigeberht of East Anglia for Saint Felix in c. 629–31. It remained the bishopric of all East Anglia until c. 673, when Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, divided the see and created a second bishopric at either North Elmham, Norfolk, or South Elmham, Suffolk. The see of Dommoc continued to exist until the time of the Viking Wars of the 860s, after which it lapsed.

North Elmham farm village in the United Kingdom

North Elmham is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It covers an area of 7.41 sq mi (19.2 km2) and had a population of 1,428 in 624 households at the 2001 census, including Gateley and increasing slightly to 1,433 at the 2011 Census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the Elmham and Mattishall division of Norfolk County Council and the Upper Wensum ward of Breckland District Council. The village is located along the B1145 a route which runs between King's Lynn and Mundesley.

After comparing Sutton Hoo with archaeological sites in Sweden, Sune Lindqvist suggested in 1948 that the Wuffingas may have been related to the Royal House of Uppsala descended from Wiglaf. [4] [5]

Sutton Hoo archaeological site near Woodbridge, Suffolk

Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, Suffolk, is the site of two 6th- and early 7th-century cemeteries. One cemetery contained an undisturbed ship-burial, including a wealth of Anglo-Saxon artefacts of outstanding art-historical and archaeological significance, most of which are now in the British Museum in London. The site is in the care of the National Trust.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.4 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

Sune Lindqvist was a Swedish archaeologist and scholar. He worked at the Swedish History Museum, where he was responsible for the finds from the boat graves at Valsgärde, and later at Uppsala University, where he wrote two major works alongside several hundred other publications.

Related Research Articles

Rædwald of East Anglia 7th-century Anglo-Saxon king

Rædwald, also written as Raedwald or Redwald, was a 7th-century king of East Anglia, a long-lived Anglo-Saxon kingdom which included the present-day English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. He was the son of Tytila of East Anglia and a member of the Wuffingas dynasty, who were the first kings of the East Angles. Details about Rædwald's reign are scarce, primarily because the Viking invasions of the 9th century destroyed the monasteries in East Anglia where many documents would have been kept. Rædwald reigned from about 599 until his death around 624, initially under the overlordship of Æthelberht of Kent. In 616, as a result of fighting the Battle of the River Idle and defeating Æthelfrith of Northumbria, he was able to install Edwin, who was acquiescent to his authority, as the new king of Northumbria. During the battle, both Æthelfrith and Rædwald's son Rægenhere were killed.

Æthelhere was King of East Anglia from 653 or 654 until his death. He was a member of the ruling Wuffingas dynasty and one of three sons of Eni to rule East Anglia as Christian kings. He was a nephew of Rædwald, who was the first of the Wuffingas of which more than a name is known.

Anna was king of East Anglia from the early 640s until his death. He was a member of the Wuffingas family, the ruling dynasty of the East Angles. He was one of the three sons of Eni who ruled the kingdom of East Anglia, succeeding some time after Ecgric was killed in battle by Penda of Mercia. Anna was praised by Bede for his devotion to Christianity and was renowned for the saintliness of his family: his son Jurmin and all his daughters – Seaxburh, Æthelthryth, Æthelburh and possibly a fourth, Wihtburh – were canonised.

Tytila was a semi-historical pagan king of East Anglia, a small Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Early sources, including Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, identify him as an early member of the Wuffingas dynasty who succeeded his father Wuffa. A later chronicle dates his reign from 578, but he is not known to have definitely ruled as king and nothing of his life is known. He is listed in a number of genealogical lists.

Eadwald of East Anglia

Eadwald of East Anglia was an obscure king of the small Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia, from around 796 to 798. He lived at a time when East Anglia was eclipsed by its more powerful neighbour, Mercia: after his deposition or death, Mercian control was restored under Coenwulf and the East Anglians lost their independence for a quarter of a century.

Æthelberht II of East Anglia Saint and king of East Anglia

Æthelberht, also called Saint Ethelbert the King, was an eighth-century saint and a king of East Anglia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Little is known of his reign, which may have begun in 779, according to later sources, and very few of the coins issued during his reign have been discovered. It is known from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that he was killed on the orders of Offa of Mercia in 794.

Ealdwulf was king of East Anglia from 663 to around 713. His forty-nine year reign was extraordinary in length, with only Æthelbald of Mercia and Offa of Mercia having comparable longevity. Little is known of Ealdwulf, but his long rule reflects the success of alliances formed in the decades before his ascension. During his reign, East Anglia experienced a long period of stability and growth, not least in its commercial centre at Gipeswic.

Eorpwald of East Anglia East Anglian monarch and saint

Eorpwald; also Erpenwald or Earpwald,, succeeded his father Rædwald as ruler of the independent Kingdom of the East Angles. Eorpwald was a member of the East Anglian dynasty known as the Wuffingas, named after the semi-historical king Wuffa.

Ricberht, may have briefly ruled East Anglia, a small independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Little is known of his life or his reign.

Eni of East Anglia

Eni or Ennius was a member of the Wuffing family, the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of East Anglia. He was the son of Tyttla and brother of Raedwald, both kings of East Anglia.

Æthelwold, also known as Æthelwald or Æþelwald, was a 7th-century king of East Anglia, the long-lived Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a member of the Wuffingas dynasty, which ruled East Anglia from their regio at Rendlesham. The two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Sutton Hoo, the monastery at Iken, the East Anglian see at Dommoc and the emerging port of Ipswich were all in the vicinity of Rendlesham.

Wuffa is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon genealogies as an early king of East Anglia. If historical, he would have flourished in the 6th century.

Beonna was King of East Anglia from 749. He is notable for being the first East Anglian king whose coinage included both the ruler's name and his title. The end-date of Beonna's reign is not known, but may have been around 760. It is thought that he shared the kingdom with another ruler called Alberht and possibly with a third man, named Hun. Not all experts agree with these regnal dates, or the nature of his kingship: it has been suggested that he may have ruled alone from around 758.

Alberht of East Anglia

Alberht was an eighth century king of East Anglia. He shared the kingdom with Beonna and he is believed to have also shared rule with a supposed ruler named Hun. He may still have been king in around 760. He is recorded by the Fitzwilliam Museum and Simon Keynes as Æthelberht I.

A number of royal genealogies of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, collectively referred to as the Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies, have been preserved in a manuscript tradition based in the 8th to 10th centuries.


  1. Yorke, Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, p. 68
  2. Newton, The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, p. 77
  3. Newton, The Origins of Beowulf and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia, p 133–134
  4. Osbert Guy Stanhope Crawford (1948). "Sutton Hoo and Beowulf" by Sune Lindqvist in Antiquity, Volume 42, Page 140. Antiquity Publications. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. Colin Chase; University of Toronto. Centre for Medieval Studies, p. 6 (1997). The Dating of Beowulf. University of Toronto Press. pp. 7–. ISBN   978-0-8020-7879-7 . Retrieved 30 November 2012.