Eorpwald of East Anglia

Eorpwald Of East Anglia

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Eorpwald of East Anglia

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Eorpwald; also Erpenwald or Earpwald, (reigned from circa (c.) 624, assassinated c. 627 or 632), 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.

Little is known of Eorpwald's life or of his short reign, as little documentary evidence about the East Anglian kingdom has survived. The primary source for Eorpwald is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by Bede in the 8th century. Soon after becoming king, Eorpwald received Christian teaching and was baptised in 627 or 632. Soon after his conversion he was killed by Ricberht, a pagan noble, who may have succeeded him and ruled for three years. The motive for Eorpwald's assassination was probably political as well as religious. He was the first early English king to suffer death as a consequence of his Christian faith and was subsequently venerated by the Church as a saint and martyr.

In 1939, a magnificent ship-burial was discovered under a large mound at Sutton Hoo, in Suffolk. Although Rædwald is usually considered to have been buried with the ship (or commemorated by it), another possibility is Eorpwald. Alternatively, he might also have had his own ship-burial nearby.

Background and family

By the beginning of the 7th century, southern England was almost entirely under the control of the Anglo-Saxons.Hunter Blair, Roman......
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