William Paget, 1st Baron Paget
William Paget, 1st Baron Paget of Beaudesert, was an English statesman and accountant who held prominent positions in the service of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I. He was one of the serjeants-at-mace of the city of London, he was born in Staffordshire in 1506, was educated at St Paul's School when William Lily was its headmaster, at Trinity Hall, proceeding afterwards to the University of Paris. At St Paul's, he befriended the future antiquary John Leland and acted as one of his benefactors, he served as Member of Parliament for Lichfield in 1529 and for Middlesex in 1545. Through the influence of Stephen Gardiner, who had early befriended Paget, he was employed by King Henry VIII in several important diplomatic missions, he became secretary to Anne of Cleves in 1539. In April 1543 he was sworn of the privy council and appointed secretary of state, in which position Henry VIII relied on his advice, at last appointing him one of the council to act during the minority of King Edward VI. Paget at first vigorously supported the protector Somerset, while counselling a moderation which Somerset did not always observe.
In 1547 he was made controller of the king's household, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, elected knight of the shire for Staffordshire and made a knight of the Garter. About the same time he obtained extensive grants of lands, including Cannock Chase and Burton Abbey in Staffordshire, in London the residence of the bishops of Exeter, afterwards known successively as Lincoln House and Essex House, on the site now occupied by the Outer Temple in the London, in 1547 he was granted the lordship and manor of Harmondsworth, he obtained Beaudesert in Staffordshire. Paget shared Somerset's disgrace, being committed to the Tower in 1551 and degraded from the Order of the Garter in the following year, besides suffering a heavy fine by the Star Chamber for having profited at the expense of the Crown in his administration of the duchy of Lancaster, he was, restored to the king's favour in 1553, was one of the twenty-six peers who signed Edward's settlement of the crown on Lady Jane Grey in June of that year.
He made his peace with Queen Mary I, who reinstated him as a knight of the Garter and in the privy council in 1553, appointed him Lord Privy Seal in 1556. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558 Paget retired from public life. By his wife Anne Preston, Paget had four sons, Thomas and Edward, six daughters, who married Sir Christopher Allen. Paget's two eldest sons and Thomas, succeeded in turn to the peerage. A younger son, Charles Paget, was a well-known Catholic conspirator during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Thomas Paget, 3rd Baron Paget, a zealous Roman Catholic, was-suspected of complicity in Charles's plots and was attainted in 1587; the peerage was restored in 1604 to his son William, 4th Lord Paget, whose son William, the 5th lord, fought for Charles I at the Battle of Edgehill. William, the 6th lord, a supporter of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was ambassador at Vienna from 1689 to 1693, at Constantinople, having much to do with bringing about the important treaty of Carlowitz in 1699.
Henry, the 7th baron, was raised to the peerage during his father's lifetime as Baron Burton in 1712, being one of the twelve peers created by the Tory ministry to secure a majority in the House of Lords, was created Earl of Uxbridge in 1714. His only son, Thomas Catesby Paget, the author of an Essay on Human Life and other writings, died in January 1742 before his father, leaving a son Henry, who became 2nd Earl of Uxbridge. At the latter's death the earldom of Uxbridge and barony of Burton became extinct, the older barony of Paget of Beaudesert passing to his cousin Henry Bayly, heir general of the first baron, who in 1784 was created earl of Uxbridge, his second son, Sir Arthur Paget, was an eminent diplomat during the Napoleonic wars, Sir Edward Paget, the fourth son, served under Sir John Moore in the Peninsula, was afterwards second in command under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The eldest son Henry William, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge, was in 1815 created Marquess of Anglesey. BibliographyArchbold, William Arthur Jobson.
"Paget, William". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 43. London: Smith, Elder & Co. Banks, T. C.. The Dormant and Extinct Baronage of England. II. London: T. Bensley. Retrieved 19 November 2012. Chambers, E. K.. Sir Henry Lee. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Holmes, Peter. "Paget, Charles". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21103. Jack, Sybil M.. "Paget, first Baron Paget". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21121. "PAGET, Wil
Orton on the Hill
Orton on the Hill is a small village forming part of the Twycross civil parish in the Hinckley and Bosworth district of Leicestershire, England. It is furthermore located in the Sparkenhoe Hundred; the name is derived from its high situation on a hill overlooking four counties. Orton adjoins Morebarne and Newhouse Grange on the south and Austrey to the east; the population of the village is included in the civil parish of Sheepy. Domesday Book records it in the possession of Henry the Earl Ferrers with six ploughs; this was one of the 35 lordships bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers by William the Conqueror who ceded Orton and Morebarne to the Cistercian abbey of Merevale. In the Tudor period, according to John Nichols' survey, the manor belonged to the Bradshaw family, a citation of Robert Bradshaw being made in 1579; the diocesan census of 1564 records 31 families in the parish. In 1588 Robert Bradshaw owned the grange at Morebarne; the Knights Templar and the manor of Warton held lands in the parish.
During the English Civil War Reverend Porter, the Vicar of Orton, appears to have harboured royalist sympathies and faced ejection. According to John Walker's chronicle of the Sufferings of the Clergy during the grand Rebellion, Porter was cited by the Committee for Compounding and faced sequestration. Mathew Mathews the new incumbent was appointed to administer the church, but when two sequestrators went to the vicarage house to take possession in July, 1647, Porter's mother denied them access; the key had been taken from the church. Roger was imprisoned three times and plundered leaving him destitute with a wife and eleven children. Orton was visited by parliamentary troops from the local parliamentary garrisons who made off with horses. Captain Ottaway's soldiers from Coventry garrison took horses from John Orton. Soldiers from Tamworth took a gelding and two mares from Mr Porter, the vicar, in November, 1643. About 1,000 acres in Orton were enclosed in 1782. Not long after, in 1786, most of the old Orton Hall was taken down and rebuilt.
According to the parliamentary census of 1792 there were 330 inhabitants and 58 dwellings, as compared to only three houses in Orton Parva. According to the parliamentary census returns the population had decreased to 303 inhabitants by 1801, 279 inhabitants by 1811. John Nichols, Antiquities of Leicestershire, Volume IV, pp 845–847, 808. A. G. Matthews, Walker Revised. Being a Revision of John Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy during the Grand Rebellion, 1642-60, Oxford, 1948. Orton Church view and lost horses
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Warwickshire is a landlocked county in the West Midlands region of England. The county town is Warwick; the county is famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The county is divided into five districts of North Warwickshire and Bedworth, Rugby and Stratford-on-Avon; the current county boundaries were set in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972. The historic county boundaries include Solihull, as well as much of Birmingham; the county is bordered by Leicestershire to the northeast, Staffordshire to the northwest and the West Midlands to the west, Northamptonshire to the east and southeast, Gloucestershire to the southwest and Oxfordshire to the south. The northern tip of the county is only 3 miles from the Derbyshire border. An average-sized English county covering an area of 2,000 km2, it runs some 60 miles north to south. Equivalently it extends as far north as Shrewsbury in Shropshire and as far south as Banbury in north Oxfordshire; the majority of Warwickshire's population live in the centre of the county.
The market towns of northern and eastern Warwickshire were industrialised in the 19th century, include Atherstone, Bedworth and Rugby. Of these, Atherstone has retained most of its original character. Major industries included coal mining, textiles and cement production, but heavy industry is in decline, being replaced by distribution centres, light to medium industry and services. Of the northern and eastern towns, only Nuneaton and Rugby are well known outside of Warwickshire; the prosperous towns of central and western Warwickshire including Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon, Alcester and Wellesbourne harbour light to medium industries and tourism as major employment sectors. The north of the county, bordering Staffordshire and Leicestershire, is mildly undulating countryside and the northernmost village, No Man's Heath, is only 34 miles south of the Peak District National Park's southernmost point; the south of the county is rural and sparsely populated, includes a small area of the Cotswolds, at the border with northeast Gloucestershire.
The plain between the outlying Cotswolds and the Edgehill escarpment is known as the Vale of Red Horse. The only town in the south of Warwickshire is Shipston-on-Stour; the highest point in the county, at 261 m, is Ebrington Hill, again on the border with Gloucestershire, grid reference SP187426 at the county's southwest extremity. There are no cities in Warwickshire since both Coventry and Birmingham were incorporated into the West Midlands county in 1974 and are now metropolitan authorities in themselves; the largest towns in Warwickshire in 2011 were: Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Kenilworth. Much of western Warwickshire, including that area now forming part of Coventry and Birmingham, was covered by the ancient Forest of Arden, thus the names of a number of places in the central-western part of Warwickshire end with the phrase "-in-Arden", such as Henley-in-Arden, Hampton-in-Arden and Tanworth-in-Arden. The remaining area, not part of the forest, was called the Felden – from fielden.
Areas part of Warwickshire include Coventry, Sutton Coldfield and some of Birmingham including Aston and Edgbaston. These became part of the metropolitan county of West Midlands following local government re-organisation in 1974. In 1986 the West Midlands County Council was abolished and Birmingham and Solihull became effective unitary authorities, however the West Midlands county name has not been altogether abolished, still exists for ceremonial purposes, so the town and two cities remain outside Warwickshire; some organisations, such as Warwickshire County Cricket Club, based in Edgbaston, in Birmingham, still observe the historic county boundaries. The flag of the historic county was registered in October 2016, it is a design of a bear and ragged staff on a red field, long associated with the county. Coventry is in the centre of the Warwickshire area, still has strong ties with the county. Coventry and Warwickshire are sometimes treated as a single area and share a single Chamber of Commerce and BBC Local Radio Station.
Coventry has been a part of Warwickshire for only some of its history. In 1451 Coventry was separated from Warwickshire and made a county corporate in its own right, called the County of the City of Coventry. In 1842 the county of Coventry was abolished and Coventry was remerged with Warwickshire. In recent times, there have been calls to formally re-introduce Coventry into Warwickshire, although nothing has yet come of this; the county's population would increase by a third-of-a-million overnight should this occur, Coventry being the UK's 11th largest city. The town of Tamworth was divided between Warwickshire and Staffordshire, but since 1888 has been in Staffordshire. In 1931, Warwickshire gained the town of Shipston-on-Stour from Worcestershire and several villages, including Long Marston and Welford-on-Avon, from Gloucestershire. Warwickshire contains a large expanse of green belt area, surrounding the West Midlands and Coventry conurbations, was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of the belt.
The following towns and villages in Warwickshire have populations of over 5,000. Warwickshire came into being as a divisio
Atherstone is a town and civil parish in the English county of Warwickshire. Located in the far north of the county, Atherstone forms part of the border with Leicestershire along the A5 national route, is only 4 miles from Staffordshire, it lies between the larger towns of Tamworth and Nuneaton and contains the administrative offices of North Warwickshire Borough Council. At the 2011 census the population of the civil parish of Atherstone was 8,670; the population of the larger urban area which includes the adjoining village of Mancetter was 10,573. Atherstone has a long history dating back to Roman times. An important defended Roman settlement named Manduessedum existed at Mancetter near the site of modern-day Atherstone, the Roman road, the Watling Street ran through the town, it is believed by some historians that the rebel Queen of the Britons, Boudica was defeated at the Battle of Watling Street by the Romans in her final battle near Manduessedum. The Domesday Book of 1086, records; the ancient St. Mary's Chapel in Atherstone dates from the early 12th century when the monks of Bec made a donation of 12 acres to a house of friars and hermits referred to as "Austin friars".
During the reign of Edward IV the Crown granted lands in Atherstone to the Carthusian order situate at Mount Grace Priory, Yorkshire. According to Nichols, the chapel was granted to Henry Cartwright in 1542 left abandoned and neglected until 1692 when Samuel Bracebridge settled a yearly sum for the parson of Mancetter to preach there every other Sunday in the winter seasonAfter this, St. Mary's Chapel seems to have experienced something of a revival, its square tower being rebuilt in the fashionable "Gothic" style in 1782. This drastic alteration aroused some controversy. Although the fine architectural drawing of the chapel made by Mr. Schnebbelie in 1790 prompted Nichols to assert that "the new tower provides a good effect". St Mary's was further redesigned in 1849 by Thomas Henry David Brandon, it is said that the Battle of Bosworth took place in the fields of Merevale above Atherstone. Reparation was made to Atherstone after the battle and not to Market Bosworth. Local legend is. In Tudor times, Atherstone was a thriving commercial centre for clothmaking.
The town's favourable location laid out as a long ‘ribbon development’ along Watling Street, ensured its growth as a market town. While it remained an agricultural settlement in medieval times, attempts were made to encourage merchants and traders through the creation of burgage plots, a type of land tenure that provided them with special privileges. A manuscript discovered by Marjorie Morgan among the muniments of Cambridge's King's College, refers to the creation of nine new burgage strips from land belonging to seven of the tenants in Atherstone vill. By the late Tudor period Atherstone had become a centre for leatherworking, clothmaking and brewing. Local sheep farmers and cattle graziers supplied wool and leather to local tanners and shoemakers, while metalworkers and nailers fired their furnaces with local coal and the alemakers supplied thirsty palates on market days; the surviving inventories from 16th century Mancetter provide a fascinating glimpse into Atherstone's Elizabethan merchants and traders, before the town was economically overshadowed by the bustling cities of Coventry and Birmingham.
They show Atherstone at this time as a typical Midlands market town, taking full advantage of its location and agricultural setting. Atherstone was once an important hatting town, became well known for its felt hats; the industry began in the 17th century and at its height there were seven firms employing 3,000 people. Due to cheap imports and a decline in the wearing of hats, the trade had died out by the 1970s with just three companies remaining, Denham & Hargrave Ltd, Vero & Everitt Ltd and Wilson & Stafford Ltd; the production of felt hats in the town ceased altogether with the closure of the Wilson & Stafford factory in 1999. As of 2018 the factory has received the go-ahead to be redeveloped into canalside residential apartments. Atherstone is part of the parliamentary constituency of North Warwickshire, with the current MP for the area being Conservative's Craig Tracey; the local authority is North Warwickshire Borough Council, since May 2015, has been under Conservative control. The town is situated 6 mi northwest of Nuneaton, 9.5 mi southeast of Tamworth and 15 mi north of the nearest major city, Coventry.
Atherstone is close to the River Anker which forms the boundary between Warwickshire and Leicestershire. Witherley village is on the opposite bank of the river in Leicestershire, whilst the village of Mancetter is contiguous with Atherstone to the southeast. Other nearby villages include Sheepy Magna, Ratcliffe Culey, Fenny Drayton, Dordon and Baddesley Ensor, its co-ordinates are 52°35′00″N 01°31′00″W 1. In part due to its central location in the UK, Atherstone's economy has expanded since the 1980s, with several major companies such as TNT, 3M setting up their head office operations and/or national distribution centres in the town; the British Home Stores warehouse which had operated in the town for 40 years, closed in August 2016 Atherstone is on the main A5 national route and close to the M42 motorway. The Coventry Canal and a series of eleven locks runs through the town, as does the West Coast Main Line railway. Atherstone has its railway station on this line, with an hourly service 7 days a week to both
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The name is a Latinisation of the Old English Mierce or Myrce, meaning "border people". Mercia dominated what would become England for three centuries, subsequently going into a gradual decline while Wessex conquered and united all the kingdoms into Kingdom of England; the kingdom was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries, in the region now known as the English Midlands. The kingdom did not have a single capital as such. In times before a sizable civil service the'capital' was wherever the king was at any given time. Early in its existence Repton seems to have been the location of an important royal estate. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was from Repton in 873-4 that the Great Heathen Army deposed the King of Mercia. Earlier, King Offa seems to have favoured Tamworth, it was there where he was spent many a Christmas. For 300 years, having annexed or gained submissions from five of the other six kingdoms of the Heptarchy, Mercia dominated England south of the River Humber: this period is known as the Mercian Supremacy.
The reign of King Offa, best remembered for his Dyke that designated the boundary between Mercia and the Welsh kingdoms, is sometimes known as the "Golden Age of Mercia". Nicholas Brooks noted that "the Mercians stand out as by far the most successful of the various early Anglo-Saxon peoples until the ninth century", some historians, such as Sir Frank Stenton, believe the unification of England south of the Humber estuary was achieved during the reign of Offa. Mercia was a pagan kingdom; the Diocese of Mercia was founded in 656, with the first bishop, based at Repton. After 13 years at Repton, in 669 the fifth bishop, Saint Chad, moved the bishopric to Lichfield, where it has been based since. In 691, the Diocese of Mercia became the Diocese of Lichfield. For a brief period between 787 and 799 the diocese was an archbishopric, although it was dissolved in 803; the current bishop, Michael Ipgrave, is the 99th. At the end of the 9th century, following the invasions of the Vikings and their Great Heathen Army, much of the former Mercian territory was absorbed into the Danelaw.
At its height, the Danelaw included all of East Anglia and most of the North of England. The final Mercian king, Ceolwulf II, died in 879, it was ruled by a lord or ealdorman under the overlordship of Alfred the Great, who styled himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons". The kingdom had a brief period of independence in the mid-10th century, again briefly in 1016. Mercia is still used as a geographic designation, the name is used by a wide range of organisations, including military units, public and voluntary bodies. Mercia's exact evolution at the start of the Anglo-Saxon era remains more obscure than that of Northumbria, Kent, or Wessex. Mercia developed an effective political structure and adopted Christianity than the other kingdoms. Archaeological surveys show that Angles settled the lands north of the River Thames by the 6th century; the name "Mercia" is Old English for "boundary folk", the traditional interpretation is that the kingdom originated along the frontier between the native Welsh and the Anglo-Saxon invaders.
However, P. Hunter Blair argued an alternative interpretation: that they emerged along the frontier between Northumbria and the inhabitants of the Trent river valley. While its earliest boundaries will never be known, there is general agreement that the territory, called "the first of the Mercians" in the Tribal Hidage covered much of south Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and northern Warwickshire; the earliest person named in any records as a king of Mercia is Creoda, said to have been the great-grandson of Icel. Coming to power around 584, he built a fortress at Tamworth, his son Pybba succeeded him in 593. Cearl, a kinsman of Creoda, followed Pybba in 606; the Mercian kings were the only Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy ruling house known to claim a direct family link with a pre-migration Continental Germanic monarchy. The next Mercian king, ruled from about 626 or 633 until 655; some of what is known about Penda comes from the hostile account of Bede, who disliked him – both as an enemy to Bede's own Northumbria and as a pagan.
However, Bede admits that Penda allowed Christian missionaries from Lindisfarne into Mercia, did not restrain them from preaching. In 633 Penda and his ally Cadwallon of Gwynedd defeated and killed Edwin, who had become not only ruler of the newly unified Northumbria, but bretwalda, or high king, over the southern kingdoms; when another Northumbrian king, Oswald and again claimed overlordship of the south, he suffered defeat and death at the hands of Penda and his allies – in 642 at the Battle of Maserfield. In 655, after a period of confusion in Northumbria, Penda brought 30 sub-kings to fight the new Northumbrian king Oswiu at the Battle of Winwaed, in which Penda in turn lost the battle and his life; the battle led to a temporary collapse of Mercian power. Penda's son Peada, who had converted to Christianity a