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d. 654, king of Mercia (c.632–654). A noble of the Mercian royal house, he fought (629) the king of Wessex for lands along the Severn River. He then allied himself with Cadwallon of Wales, defeated (632) EdwinEdwin
or Eadwin
, 585?–632, king of Northumbria (616–32), The son and heir of Ælla, king of Deira, he was kept from his inheritance by Æthelfrith.
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 of Northumbria, and made himself king of Mercia. A great fighting king, he was the central figure in the history of Anglo-Saxon England for nearly a generation thereafter. He defeated and killed (641) OswaldOswald, Saint,
d. 641, king of Northumbria (633–41), son of Æthelfrith. In exile during the reign of Edwin, Oswald and his brother Oswy became Christians. After Edwin's death Oswald defeated (633) Cadwallon, king of North Wales, and recovered his father's kingdom.
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 of Northumbria and extended his power over Wessex and East Anglia. His Greater Mercia included all the Midlands. However, he still had an enemy in the new king of Northumbria, OswyOswy
or Oswiu
, d. 670, king of Northumbria. He succeeded (641) his brother Oswald in Bernicia only, Deira (the other part of Northumbria) having become a dependency of Mercia.
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; Penda attacked him in 654 and was killed in the battle. Penda himself remained heathen, but at the time of his son Peada's marriage he consented to that son's Christian baptism. Eight of Penda's descendants ruled Mercia, beginning with his son Wulfhere.
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The gold may have belonged to Mercia's king, Penda, the last pagan leader, who is thought to have ruled from about 620 until he was killed in battle by the Northumbrians in 655.