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Cynewulf of Wessex facts for kids

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King of Wessex
Reign 757–786
Predecessor Sigeberht
Successor Beorhtric
Died 786
Burial Winchester Cathedral
House House of Wessex

Cynewulf ( 786) was a West Saxon nobleman, a member of the West Saxon , and was King of Wessex from 757 until his death in 786.


Cynewulf was a member of the West Saxon witan. He led that council in expelling Sigeberht. Cynewulf was elected by the witan to rule Wessex in place of Sigeberht. He attested a at the court of King Æthelbald of Mercia. The charter was for Cynewulf to grant land to an abbot in Wiltshire. This indicates Wessex was still a dependency of Mercia. Æthelbald died a few months later. Taking advantage of this Cynewulf took back lands he lost in Berkshire and Wiltshire. Cynewulf was occupied during much of his reign in wars against the Welsh of Dumnonia. He was never able to conqueror Cornwall however. In 779, Cynewulf was defeated by Offa of Mercia at the Battle of Bensington. and Offa then retook Berkshire, and perhaps also London. Despite this defeat, there is no evidence to suggest Cynewulf became subject to Offa (as his successor, Beorhtric was).

In 786 Cynewulf was surprised and killed by Cyneheard, the brother of the king Sigeberht. The entry for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 784 (actual date 786) was: "This year Cyneheard slew [killed] king Cenewulf, and he was there slain, and eighty-four men with him; then Beorhtric succeeded to the kingdom of the West Saxons..." Cynewulf had a long reign of twenty-nine years. He died leaving no heirs.

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