According to both Anglican and Catholic canon law, a cathedral chapter is a college of clerics formed to advise a bishop and, in the case of a vacancy of the episcopal see in some countries, to govern the diocese during the vacancy. These chapters are made up of canons and other officers, while in the Church of England chapters now includes a number of lay appointees, they can be "numbered", in which case they are provided with a fixed "prebend", or "unnumbered", in which case the bishop indicates the number of canons according to the rents. In some Church of England cathedrals there are two such bodies, the lesser and greater chapters, which have different functions; the smaller body consists of the residentiary members and is included in the larger one. It referred to a section of a monastic rule, read out daily during the assembly of a group of canons or other clergy attached to a cathedral or collegiate church, it came to be applied to the group of clergy itself. Typical roles within England's cathedrals have included: Historically, there was no distinction between the monastic cathedral chapters and those of the secular canons, in their relation to the bishop or diocese.
In both cases the chapter was the bishop's consilium which he was bound to consult on all important matters and without doing so he could not act. Thus, a judicial decision of a bishop needed the confirmation of the chapter before it could be enforced, he could not change the service books, or "use" of the church or diocese, without capitular consent, there are episcopal acts, such as the appointment of a diocesan chancellor, or vicar general, which still need confirmation by the chapter. In its corporate capacity the chapter takes charge sede vacante of a diocese. In England, this custom has never obtained, the two archbishops having, from time immemorial, taken charge of the vacant dioceses in their respective provinces. When, either of the sees of Canterbury or York is vacant the chapters of those churches take charge, not only of the diocese, but of the province as well, incidentally, therefore, of any of the dioceses of the province which may be vacant at the same time; the normal constitution of the chapter of a secular cathedral church comprised four officers, in addition to the canons.
These are the precentor, the chancellor and the treasurer. These four officers, occupying the four corner stalls in the choir, are called in many of the statutes the quatuor majores personae of the church. A dean seems to have derived the designation from the Benedictine "deans" who had ten monks under their charge; the dean came into existence to supply the place of the provost in the internal management of the church and chapter. In England every secular cathedral church was headed by a dean, elected by the chapter and confirmed in office by the bishop; the dean is president of the chapter and within the cathedral has charge of the celebration of the services, taking specified portions of them by statute on the principal festivals. Deans sit in the principal stall in the choir, the first on the right hand on entering the choir at the west. Next to the dean is the precentor, whose special duty is that of regulating the musical portion of the services. Precentors preside in the dean's absence and occupy the corresponding stall on the left side, although there are exceptions to this rule, where, as at St Paul's Cathedral, the archdeacon of the cathedral city ranks second and occupies what is the precentor's stall.
The third officer is the chancellor. The chancellor of the cathedral church is charged with the oversight of its schools, ought to read theology lectures and superintend the lections in the choir and correct slovenly readers. Chancellors are the secretary and librarian of the chapter. In the absence of the dean and precentor the chancellor is president of the chapter; the easternmost stall, on the dean's side of the choir, is assigned to the chancellor. The fourth officer is the treasurer, they are ornaments of the church. It was their duty to provide candles and incense, they regulated such matters as the ringing of the bells. The treasurer's stall is opposite to that of the chancellor. In many cathedral churches there are additional officers, such as the praelector, vice-chancellor, succentor-canonicorum, whose roles came into existence to supply the places of the other absent officers, for non-residence was the fatal blot of the secular churches, in this they contrasted badly with the monastic churches, where all the members were in continuous residence.
There were ordinary canons, each of whom, as a rule, held a separate prebend or endowment, besides receiving their share of the common funds of the church. For the most part the canons speedily became non-resident, this led to the distinction of residentiary and non-residentiary canons, until in most churches the number of resident canons became limited in number and the non-residentiary canons, who no longer shared in the common funds, became known as prebendaries only, although by their non-residence they did not forfeit their position as canons and retained their votes in chapter like the others; this system of non-residence led to the institution of vicars choral, each canon having their own vicar, who sat in their stall in their absence and, when th
East Anglia is a geographical area in the East of England. The area included has varied but the defined NUTS 2 statistical unit comprises the counties of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, including the City of Peterborough unitary authority area; the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the East Angles, a tribe whose name originated in Anglia, northern Germany. Definitions of what constitutes; the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia, established in the 6th century consisted of the modern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and expanded west into at least part of Cambridgeshire. The modern NUTS 2 statistical unit of East Anglia comprises Norfolk and Cambridgeshire; those three counties have formed the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia since 1976, were the subject of a possible government devolution package in 2016. Essex has sometimes been included in definitions of East Anglia, including by the London Society of East Anglians. However, the Kingdom of Essex to the south, was a separate element of the Heptarchy of Anglo-Saxon England and did not identify as Angles but Saxons.
The county of Essex by itself forms a NUTS 2 statistical unit in the East of England region. Other definitions of the area have been proposed over the years. For example, the Redcliffe-Maud Report in 1969, which followed the Royal Commission on the Reform of Local Government, recommended the creation of eight provinces in England; the proposed East Anglia province would have included northern Essex, southern Lincolnshire and a small part of Northamptonshire as well as Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. The kingdom of East Anglia consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of the East Anglian princess Etheldreda, the Isle of Ely became part of the kingdom; the kingdom was formed about the year 520 by the merging of the North and the South Folk and was one of the seven Anglo-Saxon heptarchy kingdoms. For a brief period following a victory over the rival kingdom of Northumbria around the year 616, East Anglia was the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England, its King Raedwald was Bretwalda.
However, this did not last and over the next forty years East Anglia was defeated by the Mercians twice and continued to weaken in relation to the other kingdoms. In 794, Offa of Mercia had king Æthelberht killed and took control of the kingdom himself. Although independence was temporarily restored by rebellion in 825, on 20 November 869 the Danes killed King Edmund and captured the kingdom. By 917, after a succession of Danish defeats, East Anglia was incorporated into the Kingdom of England by Edward the Elder, afterwards becoming an earldom. Despite some engineering work in the form of sea barriers constructed by the Roman Empire, much of East Anglia remained marshland and bogs until the 17th century. From this point onward a series of systematic drainage projects using drains and river diversions along the lines of Dutch practice, converted the alluvial land into wide swathes of productive arable land. In the 1630s thousands of Puritan families from East Anglia settled in the American region of New England, taking much East Anglian culture with them that can still be traced today.
East Anglia, which based much of its earnings on wool and arable farming, was a rich area of England until the effects of the Industrial Revolution saw manufacturing and development shift to the Midlands and the North. During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces constructed many airbases in East Anglia for the heavy bomber fleets of the Combined Bomber Offensive against Nazi-occupied Europe. East Anglia was ideally suited to airfield construction as it comprises large areas of open, level terrain and is close to mainland Europe; the reduced flight time to mainland Europe therefore reduced the fuel load required and enabled a larger bomb load to be carried. Building the airfields was a massive civil engineering project and by the end of the war there was one every 8 miles. Many of these airfields can still be seen today from aerial photographs, a few remain in use today, the most prominent being Norwich International Airport. Pillboxes, which were erected in 1940 to help defend the nation against invasion, can be found throughout the area at strategic points.
East Anglia is bordered to the north and east by the North Sea, to the south by the estuary of the River Thames and shares an undefined land border to the west with the rest of England. Much of northern East Anglia is flat, low-lying and marshy, although the extensive drainage projects of the past centuries make this one of the driest areas in the UK. Inland much of the rest of Suffolk and Norfolk is undulating, with glacial moraine ridges providing some areas of steeper areas relief; the supposed flatness of the Norfolk landscape is noted in literature, such as Noël Coward's Private Lives – "Very flat, Norfolk". On the north-west corner East Anglia is bordered by a bay known as The Wash, where owing to deposits of sediment and land reclamation, the coastline has altered markedly within historical times. Conversely, over to the east on the coast exposed to the North Sea the coastline is subject to rapid erosion and has shifted inland since historic times. Major rivers include Suffolk's Stour, running through country beloved of the painter John Const
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Winchester in the Church of England. The bishop's seat is at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire; the Bishop of Winchester is appointed by the Crown, is one of five Church of England bishops who sit ex officio among the 26 Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, regardless of their length of service. The Diocese of Winchester is one of the most important in England, it was the see of the kingdom of Wessex, with the cathedra at Dorchester Cathedral under Saints Birinus and Agilbert. It was transferred to Winchester in AD 660. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the wealthiest English sees and its bishops have included a number of politically prominent Englishmen, notably the 9th century Saint Swithun and medieval magnates including William of Wykeham and Henry of Blois. A cathedral at Dorchester was founded in 634 by the Roman missionary Saint Birinus, it was the seat of a Bishop of the West Saxons. Winchester was divided in AD 909, with Wiltshire and Berkshire transferring to the new See of Ramsbury.
The domains of the Bishop of Winchester ran from the south coast to the south bank of the River Thames at Southwark, where the bishop had one of his palaces, making it one of the largest as well as one of the richest sees in the land. In more modern times, the former extent of the Diocese of Winchester was reduced by the formation of a new diocese of Southwark in south London, a new diocese of Guildford in Surrey and a new diocese of Portsmouth in Hampshire; the most recent loss of territory was in 2014 when the Channel Islands were removed from the diocese of Winchester after a dispute with Bishop Tim Dakin led to a breakdown in relations. However, this arrangement is expressed to be an interim one and will not become permanent; the Channel Islands remain part of the Diocese of Winchester under a scheme of episcopal delegation. The Bishop of Winchester delegated his episcopal authority in relation to the Channel Islands to the Archbishop of Canterbury who in turn placed the Channel Islands under the pastoral supervision of the Bishop of Dover.
The Channel Islands have not been incorporated within another diocese. Traditionally, in the general order of precedence before 1533, the Bishop of Winchester was given precedence over all other diocesan bishops - that is, the first English bishop in rank behind the archbishops of Canterbury and York, but in 1533, Henry VIII of England raised the rank of the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Durham, relegating Winchester to third. The Bishop of Winchester has always held the office of Prelate of the Order of the Garter since its foundation in 1348; the official residence of the Bishop of Winchester is Wolvesey Palace in Winchester. Other historic homes of the bishops included Farnham Castle, Bishop’s Waltham Palace and a town residence at Winchester Palace in Southwark, Surrey; the bishop is the visitor to five Oxford colleges, including New College, Oxford and St John's College, Oxford. The current Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, was enthroned on 21 April 2012, having been elected on 14 October 2011.
He was consecrated as a bishop at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 25 January 2012. Deans of Winchester Diocese of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester Academy
Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, which covers the northern regions of England as well as the Isle of Man; the Archbishop of York is an ex officio member of the House of Lords and is styled Primate of England. The archbishop's throne is in York Minster in central York and the official residence is Bishopthorpe Palace in the village of Bishopthorpe outside York; the incumbent, from 5 October 2005, is John Sentamu who signs as +Sentamu Ebor:. Six of the early bishops of York and one archbishop were canonised by the Roman Catholic Church, five more recent archbishops achieved the supreme Archbishopric of Canterbury. There was a bishop in Eboracum from early times. Bishops of York are known to have been present at the councils of Nicaea. However, this early Christian community was destroyed by the pagan Anglo-Saxons and there is no direct succession from these bishops to the post-Augustinian ones.
The diocese was refounded by Paulinus in the 7th century. Notable among these early bishops is Wilfrid; these early bishops of York acted as diocesan rather than archdiocesan prelates until the time of Ecgbert of York, who received the pallium from Pope Gregory III in 735 and established metropolitan rights in the north. Until the Danish invasion the archbishops of Canterbury exercised authority, it was not until the Norman Conquest that the archbishops of York asserted their complete independence. At the time of the Norman invasion York had jurisdiction over Worcester and Lincoln, as well as the dioceses in the Northern Isles and Scotland, but the first three sees just mentioned were taken from York in 1072. In 1154 the suffragan sees of the Isle of Man and Orkney were transferred to the Norwegian archbishop of Nidaros, in 1188 all the Scottish dioceses except Whithorn were released from subjection to York, so that only the dioceses of Whithorn and Carlisle remained to the archbishops as suffragan sees.
Of these, Durham was independent, for the palatine bishops of that see were little short of sovereigns in their own jurisdiction. Sodor and Man were returned to York during the 14th century, to compensate for the loss of Whithorn to the Scottish Church. Several of the archbishops of York held the ministerial office of Lord Chancellor of England and played some parts in affairs of state; as Peter Heylyn wrote: "This see has yielded to the Church eight saints, to the Church of Rome three cardinals, to the realm of England twelve Lord Chancellors and two Lord Treasurers, to the north of England two Lord Presidents." The bishopric's role was complicated by continued conflict over primacy with the see of Canterbury. At the time of the English Reformation, York possessed three suffragan sees, Durham and Sodor and Man, to which during the brief space of Queen Mary I's reign may be added the Diocese of Chester, founded by Henry VIII, but subsequently recognised by the Pope; until the mid 1530s the bishops and archbishops were in communion with the pope in Rome.
This is no longer the case, as the Archbishop of York, together with the rest of the Church of England, is a member of the Anglican Communion. Walter de Grey purchased York Place as his London residence, which after the fall of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, was renamed the Palace of Whitehall; the Archbishop of York is the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York and is the junior of the two archbishops of the Church of England after the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since 5 October 2005, the incumbent is the Most Reverend John Sentamu, an ex officio member of the House of Lords; the Province of York includes 10 Anglican dioceses in Northern England: Blackburn, Chester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, as well as 2 other dioceses: Southwell and Nottingham in the Midlands and Sodor and Man covering the Isle of Man. Accord of Winchester Story, Joanna. "Bede and the Letters of Pope Honorius I on the Genesis of the Archbishopric of York". English Historical Review. Cxxvii: 783–818. Doi:10.1093/ehr/ces142.
Regularis Concordia (Winchester)
The Regularis Concordia was the most important document of the English Benedictine Reform, sanctioned by the Council of Winchester in about 973. The document was compiled by Æthelwold, aided by monks from Fleury and Ghent. A synodal council was summoned to construct a common rule of life to be observed by all monasteries; the document served as a rule for how monastic life should be performed and included monastic rituals like the procedure for the election of bishops that differed from Continental practice, which led to a predominantly monastic episcopacy. One of the larger topics found within the manuscript is the Forward to the Harmony of the Rule, meant to apply to the monks and nuns of the entire nation, ruled under King Edgar; this section of the document proclaimed that every religious house in the kingdom was to follow the rules prescribed in the rest of the manuscript. This included; the prescriptions for monastic "office" are specific. The portion of the manuscript dedicated to the rites of Holy Week and Easter are the most detailed.
This is where the introduction of the quem quaeritis is introduced, is now credited to be the introduction of theatrical ritual. The Regularis creates the specific pattern and order that bells should be rung in for masses and holidays. Prior to the creation of the Regularis Concordia, there was an air of disorder and misconduct surrounding the church and its monasteries. Authoritative figures abused their power and drifted farther away from the spiritual nature, mandated for all Catholics; the church made a stride toward stability by unifying with the monarchy under King Edgar in the early 10th Century. Under King Edgar England experienced a short period of peace, as well as a revival of monasticism. Æthelwold of Winchester improved and expanded the Rule of Saint Benedict and wrote the Regularis Concordia as a result of Edgar's rule. The urgency for monastic reform was set in motion by the Rule of Saint Benedict coming into popularity in the mid 10th century. According to its proponents, King Edgar, Æthelwold of Winchester and Oswald of Worcester, monasticism had died in the 9th century and The Rule of Saint Benedict was the key for revitalization.
They elevated this text as the ideal form of monastic uniform way of life. Æthelwold of Winchester is known as the main contributor to the original Regularis Concordia Manuscript, which became an official document of 10th Century monastic reform in Anglo-Saxon England. Æthelwold was the sole translator of Rule of Saint Benedict, included in the Regularis Concordia. He was an appropriate leader for the passion needed to helm the English Benedictine Reform, he had a reputation for being "as terrible as a lion" to the rebellious and for zealously fighting corruption in the church. Æthelwold reformed the monasticism of France into Southern England Dunstan was an abbot of Glastonbury and is said to be the predecessor of Ethewold. Dunstan is responsible for a call for monastic revival in his own monastery and an internal codification of religious rule, said to have expanded into the revival that resulted in the 10th century, he ejected corrupted clerics from his monastery despite alleged threats. Dunstan became an icon for morality in his community, that image translated into his affect on the revival in general.
The earliest example of theatrical ritual is found in the Regularis Concordia with the rule of the divine service, referred to as the quem quaeritis. This rule includes the oldest documented theatrical recital of alternating song to be performed the night before Easter; the Regularis states that the importance of this visual ritual was to aid those who could not read or understand Latin in the understanding of the ritual. The Latin quote below describes "an alternating song between the three women approaching the grave, the angel watching on it, shall be recited. Quem quaeritis in sepulchro, o Christicolae? Jesum Nazarenum cruifixum, o caelicolae. Non est hic, sicut praedixerat. Ite, quia surrexit de sepulchro Dom Thomas Symons' 1953 English translation of the Regularis Concordia used both extant manuscripts: London, BL, MS Faustina B III, f. 159r-198r. London, BL, MS Tiberius A III, f. 3-27. Regularis ConcordiaRegularis Concordia, ed. and tr. D. T. Symons, Regularis Concordia Anglicae Nationis Monachorum Sanctimonialiumque.
The Monastic Agreement of the Monks and Nuns of the English Nation. London, 1953.Ælfric's Letter to the monks of EynshamLetter to the Monks of Eynsham, ed. and tr. C. A. Jones, Ælfric’s Letter to the Monks of Eynsham. Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 24. Cambridge, 1998. Old English versionsA continuous Old English interlinear gloss in BL, MS Tiberius A III f. ed. Lucia Kornexl, Die Regularis Concordia und ihre altenglische Interlinearversion. Edition mit Einleitung und Kommentar. Münchener Universitäts-Schriften 17. Munich, 1993. Two fragments of Old English prose translations: Old English translation of §§ 36-43 in London, BL, MS Tiberius A III, f. 174-7, ed. A. Schröer, "De consuetudine monachorum." Englische Studien 9: 290-96. Old English translation of §§ 14-19 in Cambridge, CCC
Æthelred the Unready
Æthelred II, known as the Unready, was King of the English from 978 to 1013 and again from 1014 until his death. His epithet does not derive from the modern word "unready", but rather from the Old English unræd meaning "poorly advised". Æthelred was the son of Queen Ælfthryth. He came to the throne at about the age of 12, following the assassination of his older half-brother, Edward the Martyr, his brother's murder was carried out by supporters of his own claim to the throne, although he was too young to have any personal involvement. The chief problem of Æthelred's reign was conflict with the Danes. After several decades of relative peace, Danish raids on English territory began again in earnest in the 980s. Following the Battle of Maldon in 991, Æthelred paid Danegeld, to the Danish king. In 1002, Æthelred ordered. In 1013, King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark invaded England, as a result of which Æthelred fled to Normandy in 1013 and was replaced by Sweyn. However, he returned as king for two years after Sweyn's death in 1014.
Æthelred's 37-year reign was the longest of any Anglo-Saxon king of England, was only surpassed in the 13th century, by Henry III. Æthelred was succeeded by his son, Edmund Ironside, but he died after a few months and was replaced by Sweyn's son, Cnut. Another of his sons, Edward the Confessor, became king in 1042. Æthelred's first name, composed of the elements æðele, "noble", ræd, "counsel, advice", is typical of the compound names of those who belonged to the royal House of Wessex, it characteristically alliterates with the names of his ancestors, like Æthelwulf, Ælfred and Eadgar.Æthelred's notorious nickname, Old English Unræd, is translated into present-day English as "The Unready". The Anglo-Saxon noun unræd means "evil counsel", "bad plan", or "folly", it was most used in reference to decisions and deeds, but once in reference to the ill advised disobedience of Adam and Eve. The element ræd in unræd is the same element in Æthelred's name that means "counsel", thus Æþelræd Unræd is an oxymoron: "Noble counsel, No counsel".
The nickname has been translated as "ill-advised", "ill-prepared", thus "Æthelred the ill-advised". Because the nickname was first recorded in the 1180s, more than 150 years after Æthelred's death, it is doubtful that it carries any implications as to the reputation of the king in the eyes of his contemporaries or near contemporaries. Sir Frank Stenton remarked that "much that has brought condemnation of historians on King Æthelred may well be due in the last resort to the circumstances under which he became king." Æthelred's father, King Edgar, had died in July 975, leaving two young sons behind. The elder, was illegitimate, was "still a youth on the verge of manhood" in 975; the younger son was Æthelred, whose mother, Ælfthryth, Edgar had married in 964. Ælfthryth was the daughter of Ordgar, ealdorman of Devon, widow of Æthelwold, Ealdorman of East Anglia. At the time of his father's death, Æthelred could have been no more than 10 years old; as the elder of Edgar's sons, Edward – a young man given to frequent violent outbursts – would have succeeded to the throne of England despite his young age, had not he "offended many important persons by his intolerable violence of speech and behaviour."
In any case, a number of English nobles took to opposing Edward's succession and to defending Æthelred's claim to the throne. Both boys, Æthelred were too young to have played any significant part in the political manoeuvring which followed Edgar's death, it was the brothers' supporters, not the brothers themselves, who were responsible for the turmoil which accompanied the choice of a successor to the throne. Æthelred's cause was led by his mother and included Ælfhere, Ealdorman of Mercia and Bishop Æthelwold of Winchester, while Edward's claim was supported by Dunstan, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Oswald, the Archbishop of York among other noblemen, notably Æthelwine, Ealdorman of East Anglia, Byrhtnoth, ealdorman of Essex. In the end, Edward's supporters proved the more powerful and persuasive, he was crowned king at Kingston upon Thames before the year was out. Edward reigned for only three years. Though little is known about Edward's short reign, it is known that it was marked by political turmoil.
Edgar had made extensive grants of land to monasteries which pursued the new monastic ideals of ecclesiastical reform, but these disrupted aristocratic families' traditional patronage. The end of his firm rule saw a reversal of this policy, with aristocrats recovering their lost properties or seizing new ones; this was opposed by Dunstan, but according to Cyril Hart, "The presence of supporters of church reform on both sides indicates that the conflict between them depended as much on issues of land ownership and local power as on ecclesiastical legitimacy. Adherents of both Edward and Æthelred can be seen appropriating, or recovering, monastic lands." Favour for Edward must have been strong among the monastic communities. When Edward was killed at Æthelred's estate at Corfe Castle in Dorset in March 978, the job of recording the event, as well as reactions to it, fell to monastic writers. Stenton offers
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