In 786 King Cynewulf was murdered throwing Wessex into disorder. In the midst of the feuding that followed King Offa of Mercia moved in to secure the West Saxons’ passivity by elevating a puppet to the throne. He did this in the form of his son-in-law Beorhtric. This manoeuvre did not go unchallenged, though, and Beorhtric faced opposition from at least one West Saxon nobleman, Ecgberht, who warred against Beorhtric but wa ultimately driven into exile in Francia for his troubles. Upon Beorhtric’s death in 802, Ecgberht would return from his exile and claim the West Saxon throne, and so would begin a period in which the political map of southern England was changed forever as Ecgberht led a reconquest of all the lands south of the Thames and secure West Saxon pre-eminence in southern England.
Music: ‘Wælheall’ by Hrōðmund Wōdening
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