Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War. Known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the'divine right of kings'; the goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom. Most Roundheads sought constitutional monarchy in place of the absolutist monarchy sought by Charles. However, at the end of the English Civil War in 1649, public antipathy towards the king was high enough to allow republican leaders such as Oliver Cromwell to abolish the monarchy and establish the Commonwealth of England; the Roundhead commander-in-chief of the first Civil War, Thomas Fairfax, remained a supporter of constitutional monarchy, as did many other Roundhead leaders such as Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester and Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex. England's many Puritans and Presbyterians were invariably Roundhead supporters, as were many smaller religious groups such as the Independents.
However many Roundheads were members of the Church of England. Roundhead political factions included the proto-anarchist Diggers, the diverse group known as the Levellers and the apocalyptic Christian movement of the Fifth Monarchists; some Puritans, but by no means all, wore their hair cropped round the head or flat and there was thus an obvious contrast between them and the men of courtly fashion, who wore long ringlets. During the war and for a time afterwards, Roundhead was a term of derision—in the New Model Army it was a punishable offence to call a fellow soldier a Roundhead; this contrasted with the term "Cavalier" to describe supporters of the Royalist cause. Cavalier started out as a pejorative term—the first proponents used it to compare members of the Royalist party with Spanish Caballeros who had abused Dutch Protestants during the reign of Elizabeth I—but unlike Roundhead, Cavalier was embraced by those who were the target of the epithet and used by them to describe themselves."Roundheads" appears to have been first used as a term of derision toward the end of 1641, when the debates in Parliament in the Clergy Act 1640 were causing riots at Westminster.
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition quotes a contemporary authority's description of the crowd gathered there: "They had the hair of their heads few of them longer than their ears, whereupon it came to pass that those who with their cries attended at Westminster were by a nickname called Roundheads". The demonstrators included London apprentices and Roundhead was a term of derision for them because the regulations to which they had agreed included a provision for cropped hair. According to John Rushworth the word was first used on 27 December 1641 by a disbanded officer named David Hide. During a riot, Hide is reported to have drawn his sword and said he would "cut the throat of those round-headed dogs that bawled against bishops". However, Richard Baxter ascribes the origin of the term to a remark made by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, at the trial of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, earlier that year. Referring to John Pym, she asked; the principal advisor to Charles II, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, remarked on the matter, "and from those contestations the two terms of Roundhead and Cavalier grew to be received in discourse... they who were looked upon as servants to the king being called Cavaliers, the other of the rabble contemned and despised under the name of Roundheads."Ironically, after Anglican Archbishop William Laud made a statute in 1636 instructing all clergy to wear short hair, many Puritans rebelled to show their contempt for his authority and began to grow their hair longer though they continued to be known as Roundheads.
The longer hair was more common among the "Independent" and "high ranking" Puritans toward the end of the Protectorate, while the "Presbyterian" faction, the military rank-and-file, continued to abhor long hair. By the end of this period some Independent Puritans were again derisively using the term Roundhead to refer to the Presbyterian Puritans. Roundhead remained in use to describe those with republican tendencies up until the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681. During the Exclusion Bill crisis, the term Cavalier was replaced with "Tory", an Irish term introduced by their opponents, initially a pejorative term. Macaulay, Thomas Babington; the History of England from the Accession of James II. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers. P. 105. ISBN 0-543-93129-3. Hanbury, Benjamin. Historical Memorials Relating to the Independents Or Congregationalists: From Their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy. 3. Pp. 118, 635. Hunt, John. Religious Thought from the Reformation to the End of Last Century. 2. General Books LLC. p. 5.
ISBN 1-150-98096-6. Roberts, Chris. Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme. Thorndike Press. ISBN 0-7862-8517-6. Worden, Blair; the English Civil Wars 1640–1660. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100694-3. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Anonymous. "Roundhead". In Chisholm
Thorney is a village about 8 miles east of Peterborough city centre, on the A47 in England. In the Isle of Ely, considered part of Cambridgeshire, Thorney was transferred to the short-lived county of Huntingdon and Peterborough in 1965 and became part of the Peterborough district in 1974, on the merger into Cambridgeshire. Thorney began as a Saxon settlement in about 500 AD; the existence of Thorney Abbey made the settlement an important ecclesiastical centre, until 2014 was the most northerly point of the Anglican Diocese of Ely. By 2007 the previous Thorney Abbey church, now the Church of St Mary and St Botolph, was part of the Deanery and Diocese of Peterborough. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the estate became crown property and it was granted to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford in 1550. At this time only a few hundred acres of the land was cultivatable. In the 1630s Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford spent a reputed £100,000 draining the fens, bringing all of the estate and parish of nearly 18,000 acres into agricultural use.
A community of Walloon Protestant refugees from areas of Flanders that are now northern France, was settled here in the 17th century with their own church and minister, employing the ruins of the abbey for services in their own language. The Walloons had expertise in fenland drainage; the Russell family's rents from the Thorney estate increased from £300 in 1629 to £10,000 by the early 19th century. The family, whose main seat was at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire resided at the manor house in Thorney village, known as Abbey House; the estate was sold to the tenants in 1910. Much of the village was built at the command of the Dukes of Bedford, who wished to have a healthy place in which their estate workers could live. In the mid-19th century many buildings were added to the designs of the architect S. S. Teulon, himself a descendant of Huguenots; the 7th Duke of Bedford's model agricultural village included a modern water supply and sewerage scheme. The neo-Jacobean Tankyard building, now known as Bedford Hall, included a 96 ft high water tower, erected in 1855, that supplied fresh water to the village.
The building houses part of the Greater Fens Museum Partnership. The windmill on the outskirts contains six floors. During the war four German prisoners of war used it as a base during the day while working the land. Thorney railway station was on the old Peterborough to Wisbech line, with an additional station in the parish at Wryde; the station and the line were closed in the early 1960s. Little evidence to suggest a rail link now remains, apart from level crossing gates at the side of Station Road; the A47 bypass opened in Winter 2005. On 28 August 1976, a United States Air Force Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, 67-0006, on a flight from McGuire Air Force Base to RAF Mildenhall crashed near the village; the accident killed all crew on board. A memorial is maintained for the lost aircrew. In 2010, planning permission was given for two wind turbines on land at French Farm, near French Drove in Thorney parish. In 2011 REG WindPower announced plans to install a further four wind turbines at the French Farm site.
As of 2013, other windfarms are proposed at Willow Hall, Nuts Grove and Wryde Croft. The village's local school is the Duke of Bedford Primary School, next to Wisbech Road. There is a specialist school at Park House for children with special educational needs; the village has a magazine called the Thorney Post, printed three times a year. The magazine has its own website. Alec Goodman – Grand National winning jockey 1852 on Miss Mowbray & 1866 on Salamander, lived here, farming at Bar Pasture Farm, English Drove Farm and Willow Hall Farm, although born in Upwell on 30 July 1822. First farmer on Thorney Estate to introduce steam ploughing in 1865. Moved to Nottinghamshire in 1879. Retired to Leamington Spa in 1884. Ron Jacobs – Rugby Union – played for England and Northampton. President of the RFU 1984 who took England on tour to South Africa farmed in Thorney. Thorney RUFC play at Ron Jacobs Field. Pam Sly – 1,000 Guineas winning trainer in 2006 with Speciosa, the first British female trainer to win a Classic race.
Vernon Watson aka "Nosmo King" – buried in Thorney Cemetery, father of Jack Watson. Jack Watson – actor who starred in Coronation Street, This Sporting Life and The Wild Geese was born in Thorney in 1915. Thorney Abbey Thorney Rural District Thorney railway station Media related to Thorney, Cambridgeshire at Wikimedia Commons Parish history at British History Online Thorney Parish Council Thorney Heritage Museum Thorney Abbey Fields Community dig
The River Welland is a lowland river in the east of England, some 65 miles long. It drains part of the Midlands eastwards to The Wash; the river rises in the Hothorpe Hills, at Sibbertoft in Northamptonshire flows northeast to Market Harborough and Spalding, to reach The Wash near Fosdyke. It is a major waterway across the part of the Fens called South Holland, is one of the Fenland rivers which were laid out with washlands. There are two channels between spaced embankments with the intention that flood waters would have space in which to spread while the tide in the estuary prevented free egress. However, after the floods of 1947, new works such as the Coronation Channel were constructed to control flooding in Spalding and the washes are no longer used as pasture, but may be used for arable farming. Significant improvements were made to the river in the 1660s, when a new cut with 10 locks was constructed between Stamford and Market Deeping, two locks were built on the river section below Market Deeping.
The canal section was known as the Stamford Canal, was the longest canal with locks in Britain when it was built. The river provided the final outlet to the sea for land drainage schemes implemented in the seventeenth century, although they were not successful until a steam-powered pumping station was built at Pode Hole in 1827. Navigation on the upper river, including the Stamford Canal, had ceased by 1863, but Spalding remained an active port until the end of the Second World War; the Environment Agency is the navigation authority for the river, navigable as far upstream as Crowland, with shallow draught to West Deeping Bridge, where further progress is hindered by the derelict lock around the weir. The traditional head of navigation was Wharf Road in Stamford; the management of the lower river has been intimately tied up with the drainage of Deeping Fen, the river remains important to the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board, for whom it provides the final conduit to the sea for pumped water.
Wildlife in the river varies along its length, the faster headwaters being a habitat for trout and the slower lower reaches for perch. The estuary conditions and flat landscapes beyond Fosdyke favour wading birds and migratory species; the River Welland, with its tributaries, form a river system with a catchment area of 609 square miles. Within this area, 257 miles of waterway are designated as "main river", are therefore managed for flood control by the Environment Agency under the River Welland Catchment Flood Management Plan. Of this total, the 14 miles below Spalding are tidal, have sea walls to protect the adjacent land from flooding, while 56 miles are fresh water, but run through low-lying land, are therefore embanked. Within the catchment area, 179 square miles are below sea level, would be flooded without such defences; the basin runs in a broadly south-west to north-east direction, with an extension to the north around the West Glen and East Glen rivers. The underlying geology consists of Lias clays at the western end of the catchment, with Lincolnshire limestone in the centre, including the valleys of the Glen.
The eastern third is alluvial soils, it is this part that relies on artificial pumping to prevent flooding. Rainfall over the area varies between 26 and 30 inches per year, quite light, because the land is efficiently drained during the winter months, there are few reserves, making the area prone to drought in the summer months. For much of its length the Welland forms the county boundary between Northamptonshire and Leicestershire or Rutland, lower down between Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire; the Welland rises in the Hothorpe Hills in the parish of Sibbertoft, Northamptonshire and it issues at Spring Croft, Church Street. Sibbertoft sits astride one of the principal watersheds in England. Within 2 miles, the small stream forms the border between Leicestershire, it flows westwards, before looping round, passing through the grounds of Hothorpe Hall in Theddingworth, now a conference centre, to flow eastwards through Lubenham to Market Harborough. One of the driveways to Thorpe Lubenham Hall is carried over the river by an early nineteenth century ashlar bridge, a Grade II listed structure.
To the east of Lubenham, the river passes Old Lubenham Hall, part of an H-plan house built in the late sixteenth century and modified in the early eighteenth century. King Charles I is believed to have stayed there before the Battle of Naseby. Three arms of a square moat surround the house, the site is a scheduled ancient monument; the county border leaves the river on the west side of Market Harborough, as the town is wholly in Leicestershire, picks it up again on the east side. The River Jordan joins the Welland in the centre of Market Harborough, flowing northwards to the railway station. Langton Brook and Stonton Brook join from the west near Welham; the county border meanders from side to side across straight sections of the river, suggesting that the channel has been engineered. A three-arched bridge, built in 1881 of fine ashlar masonry, with a causeway to the south, carries the Welham to Weston by Welland road over the river, while a four-arched bridge dating from the early nineteenth century carries the Ashley to Medbourne road.
Macmillan Way, a long distance footpath, crosses on its way from Abbotsbury in Dorset to Boston, Lincolnshire. Medbourne Brook joins from the north, after which the river approaches a dismantled railway and is joined by the Stoke Albany Brook, approaching from the south; the river remains on the south side of the railway, while the county border follows a meandering course to the no
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
Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway
The Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway, colloquially referred to as "the Joint Line" was a railway line connecting Doncaster and Lincoln with March and Huntingdon in the eastern counties of England. It was owned jointly by the Great Eastern Railway, it was formed by transferring certain route sections from the parent companies, by the construction of a new route between Spalding and Lincoln, a number of short spurs and connections. It was controlled by a Joint Committee, the owning companies operated their own trains with their own rolling stock; the Joint Line amounted to nearly 123 miles of route. The motivation for its formation was chiefly the desire of the GER to get direct access to the coalfields of South Yorkshire and elsewhere, the wish of the GNR to discourage more ambitious incursion by the GER into its own territory, as well as the provision of relief to its congested main line; the dominant traffic was coal, but a wide variety of manufactured and agricultural products was carried.
There was some local passenger business, some long-distance passenger trains used the route. The route became a trunk artery for freight traffic coal, a large marshalling complex developed at Whitemoor, near March, for the sorting of wagons. In the 1920s a modern mechanised system was installed at Whitemoor, the most advanced such installation in Great Britain at the time. Running through flat terrain, the line had numerous level crossings in the southern section, as wagon-load freight movements of coal declined after about 1960, the cost of operating the line became excessive compared to the use made of it. In 1982 the section from Spalding to Whitemoor was closed, trains being diverted via the Spalding to Peterborough line; the nomenclature "the Joint Line" was transferred to mean the route via Peterborough. In the 21st century congestion on the East Coast Main Line had again become a problem, resignalling, loading gauge enhancements, partial upgrade of the remaining route took place, to enable freightliner trains from Felixstowe and elsewhere to use the line.
Most of the line remains in use for a light local passenger service. In the 1830s the imagination of railway promoters led to proposed schemes to link the major centres of Great Britain. In 1834 a "Grand Northern and Eastern Railway" was proposed, in 1835 a "Great Northern Railway" was projected. Both of these schemes were for a line from London to York through Cambridge. Many of the early schemes failed, none was built north of Cambridge for many years. In 1847, the Eastern Counties Railway opened its line from Ely to Peterborough; the Eastern Counties Railway chairman was George Hudson referred to as the Railway King. Hudson was determined, his dubious methods were exposed and he was disgraced, but in the meantime he sought to extend the ECR northwards, to get access to the huge flows of coal from South Yorkshire and elsewhere to London, of merchandise. As well as the income from carrying a share of this traffic, the company would get better access to engine coal for their own business; the Great Northern Railway was authorised in 1846, to build a line from London to York with a loop line from Peterborough to Bawtry by way of Boston and Lincoln.
In 1848 the Great Northern Railway opened a line from near Peterborough through Spalding via Boston to Lincoln, Retford to Doncaster in 1849. The section from London to Peterborough was opened in 1850, in 1852 Peterborough to Retford was opened, completing the main line from London to Doncaster, part of the present-day East Coast Main Line. An extension from Lincoln to Gainsborough was opened in 1849. GNR trains arriving at Gainsborough reversed into the Manchester and Lincolnshire Railway station there; the GNR wished to complete the loop from there to rejoin the main line at Doncaster and this was authorised in 1864, opening on 15 July 1867. In 1863 a branch from Spalding to March was authorised. March was an important junction on the GER system where traffic for much of East Anglia could be exchanged; the future Joint Line route was therefore in place between March and Spalding, between Lincoln and Doncaster. It was the GNR which provided the siding group at March that became the nucleus of the Whitemoor Yard complex.
In 1862 the Great Eastern Railway was formed by the amalgamation of the Eastern Counties Railway, the Eastern Union Railway, other smaller concerns in East Anglia. The GER dominated the railway scene in its own area, but the sparse population density and the undeveloped industrial activity limited the railway's commercial potential. Once again thoughts turned to the lucrative traffic in coal from South Yorkshire, in manufactures to and from London, export traffic to the docks. In 1863, the Great Eastern Railway submitted a Bill to build a line from March to Spalding, to get running powers over the Great Northern Railway from there to Doncaster; the GNR wished to fend this off, it deposited a Bill to build a line from Spalding to March. The GER was given running powers over this line, but only as far as Spalding and not further over the GNR lines. In frustration, the GER presented another bill in 1864, to build an independent line from Longstanton, on its Cambridge to St Ives line
Æthelbald of Mercia
Æthelbald was the King of Mercia, in what is now the English Midlands from 716 until he was killed in 757. Æthelbald was the son of Alweo and thus a grandson of King Eowa. Æthelbald came to the throne after the death of his cousin, King Ceolred, who had driven him into exile. During his long reign, Mercia became the dominant kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons, recovered the position of pre-eminence it had enjoyed during the strong reigns of Mercian kings Penda and Wulfhere between about 628 and 675; when Æthelbald came to the throne, both Wessex and Kent were ruled by stronger kings, but within fifteen years the contemporary chronicler Bede describes Æthelbald as ruling all England south of the river Humber. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not list Æthelbald as a bretwalda, or "Ruler of Britain", though this may be due to the West Saxon origin of the Chronicle. St. Boniface wrote to Æthelbald in about 745, reproving him for various dissolute and irreligious acts; the subsequent 747 council of Clovesho and a charter Æthelbald issued at Gumley in 749—which freed the church from some of its obligations—may have been responses to Boniface's letter.
Æthelbald was killed in 757 by his bodyguards. He was succeeded by Beornred, of whom little is known, but within a year, the grandson of Æthelbald's cousin Eanwulf, had seized the throne after a brief civil war. Under Offa, Mercia entered its most influential period. Æthelbald came of the Mercian royal line, although his father, was never king. Alweo's father was Eowa, who may have shared the throne for some time with Penda; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle does not mention Eowa. Two sources name Eowa as king: the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae; the Annales Cambriae is the source for Eowa's death in 644 at the battle of Maserfield, where Penda defeated Oswald of Northumbria. Details on Penda's reign are scarce, it is a matter for speculation whether Eowa was an underking, owing allegiance to Penda, or if instead Eowa and Penda had divided Mercia between them. If they did divide the kingdom, it is that Eowa ruled northern Mercia, as Penda's son Peada was established as the king of southern Mercia by the Northumbrian Oswiu, who defeated the Mercians and killed Penda in 656.
It is possible. During Æthelbald's youth, Penda's dynasty ruled Mercia. An early source, Felix's Life of Saint Guthlac, reveals that it was Ceolred who drove Æthelbald into exile. Guthlac was a Mercian nobleman who abandoned a career of violence to become first a monk at Repton, a hermit living in a barrow at Crowland, in the East Anglian fens. During Æthelbald's exile he and his men took refuge in the Fens in the area, visited Guthlac. Guthlac was sympathetic to Æthelbald's cause because of Ceolred's oppression of the monasteries. Other visitors of Guthlac's included Bishop Haedde of Lichfield, an influential Mercian, it may be that Guthlac's support was politically useful to Æthelbald in gaining the throne. After Guthlac's death, Æthelbald had a dream in which Guthlac prophesied greatness for him, Æthelbald rewarded Guthlac with a shrine when he had become king; when Ceolred died of a fit at a banquet, Æthelbald became ruler. It is possible that a king named Ceolwald a brother of Ceolred, reigned for a short while between Ceolred and Æthelbald.
Æthelbald's accession ended Penda's line of descent. Other than his father, little of Æthelbald's immediate family is known, although in the witness list of two charters a leading ealdorman named Heardberht is recorded as his brother. Æthelbald's reign marked a resurgence of Mercian power, which would last until the end of the eighth century. With the exception of the short reign of Beornrad, who succeeded Æthelbald for less than a year, Mercia was ruled for eighty years by two of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kings, Æthelbald and Offa; these long reigns were unusual at this early date. By 731, Æthelbald had all the English south of the Humber under his overlordship. There is little direct evidence of the relationship between Æthelbald and the kings who were dependent on him. A king subject to an overlord such as Æthelbald would still be regarded as a king, but would have his independence curtailed in some respects. Charters are an important source of evidence for this relationship. A charter granting land in the territory of one of the subject kings might record the names of the king as well as the overlord on the witness list appended to the grant.
The titles given to the kings on these charters could be revealing: a king might be described as a "subregulus", or underking. Enough information survives to suggest the progress of Æthelbald's influence over two of the southern kingdoms and Kent. At the start of Æthelbald's reign, both Kent and Wessex were ruled by strong kings. Wihtred of Kent died in 725, Ine of Wessex, one of the most formidable rulers of his day, abdicated in 726 to go on a pilgrimage to Rome. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Ine's successor, fought that year with
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K