Eowa, king of the Mercians

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Eowa, king of the Mercians's Geni Profile

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Birthdate: (35)
Birthplace: Mercia, England
Death: August 5, 642 (35)
Maserfield, Oswestry, Shropshire, England (Battle of Masefield)
Immediate Family:

Son of Pybba, king of Mercia
Husband of N.N.
Father of Osmod, king of the Mercians and Alweo
Brother of Coenwalh; Osyth; Princess Thurida Of Munster; Cearl of Mercia; Cueldgils king of Lindsey and 3 others

Occupation: koning van Mercia
Managed by: Douglas John Nimmo
Last Updated:

About Eowa, king of the Mercians


Eowa (or Eawa) was a son of the Mercian king Pybba and a brother of the Mercian king Penda; according to the Historia Brittonum[1] and the Annales Cambriae.[2] These two sources state that Eowa was a king of the Mercians himself at the time of the Battle of Maserfield (or Cogwy), in which he was killed, on August 5 of what was probably the year 642. The later Mercian kings Ethelbald, Offa and Ecgfrith were descended from Eowa; the period of their rule began in 716 following the death of Penda's grandson Ceolred and ended with Ecgfrith's death in December 796.

It was in the battle of Maserfield that Oswald of Northumbria was defeated and killed by the Mercians under Penda. Eowa also died in this battle, although little is known about this. It has been suggested that Eowa may have been a co-ruler of the Mercians alongside Penda, or possibly even superior in status to Penda at this time (if so, this could explain why the Historia Brittonum seems to date Penda's reign from the battle of Maserfield), and that he may have been subject to Oswald and fighting as his ally in the battle.[3] It is possible that it was customary among the Mercians until this time for there to be more than one king, and Penda and Eowa may have ruled over the southern and northern Mercians respectively.[4]

Neither Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, nor the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle mention Eowa's participation or death at Maserfield, or his previously being a Mercian king, although the Chronicle later mentions him when tracing the descent of Ethelbald and Offa.

Nicholas Brooks wrote that, if Eowa is considered to have ruled during the period between roughly 635 and Maserfield, this could account for an obscure recorded Welsh raid into Mercian territory, during which it is said that no mercy was shown to "book-holding monks". Brooks noted that if Eowa was a Northumbrian puppet, there would be the possibility that Oswald may have made moves to promote Christianity in Mercia at this time, thus accounting for the presence of monks in what was still a pagan kingdom. Since Penda is known to history as an ally of the Welsh, this along with the presence of monks makes it seem unlikely that the raid could have taken place during his rule.[3]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the lineage of Eowa's grandson Ethelbald, who ruled from 716 until 757:

Aethelbald was Alweo's offspring, Alweo Eawa's offspring, Eawa Pybba's offspring...[5]

Later, it gives the lineage of Eowa's great-great-grandson Offa, who ruled from 757 to 796 and was descended from Eowa's son Osmod rather than Eowa's son Alweo. The descent purportedly extends back to Woden:

That Offa was Thingfrith's offspring, Thingfrith Eanwulf's offspring, Eanwulf Osmod's offspring, Osmod Eawa's offspring, Eawa Pybba's offspring, Pybba Creoda's offspring, Creoda Cynewald's offspring, Cynewald Cnebba's offspring, Cnebba Icel's offspring, Icel Eomer's offspring, Eomer Angeltheow's offspring, Angeltheow Offa's offspring, Offa Wermund's offspring, Wermund Wihtlaeg's offspring, Wihtlaeg Woden's offspring.[6]

The Historia Brittonum says that Pybba had 12 sons, but that Penda and Eowa were the ones best known to him.[7]

See also

Kings of Mercia family tree

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Eowa, king of the Mercians's Timeline

Mercia, England
Age 31
Mercia, Anglo Saxon England
August 5, 642
Age 35
Maserfield, Oswestry, Shropshire, England
Age 35