He wanted to take
over the Whole Country!
was a small kingdom in the middle of England. Its people were pagans. They were not powerful. They did not have a big
- In the early 7th century, a new
King came to the Throne. He was called Penda. He was a warrior
and set up a well
organised Mercian army.
- Penda was fed up with being told
what to do by Edwin, the powerful
Christian King of Northumbria.
He decided to make friends with whoever would help him make
Mercia strong. These friendships were called 'alliances'.
- His best alliance was with the British king, Cadwallon of Gwynedd
(North Wales). Together, their armies attacked Northumbria and killed
Edwin in battle.
Their soldiers burnt the homes and the crops of the people
& made them their slaves
for 3 years.
- The Mercians came home with lots
of treasure. some people think the Staffordshire
Hoard was part of this treasure.
- Cadwallon was eventually killed
in battle by Edwin's nephew, King Oswald,
but Penda was safe back in Mercia.
- Mercia was now strong &
armies made it big by taking over 6 neighbouring areas as
'sub-kingdoms'. Lots of people
were killed in bloody battles, including King Oswald of Northumbria.
- The East
Anglians were worried about invasion from Mercia. They probably
strengthened the huge defensive ditches on the borders of
their country, but this didn't stop Penda. They were forced to accept
him as their
- Penda wanted to crush Northumbria
once and for all. He took a big army north, but this was a
brother, King Oswy, fought back & Penda was killed. It
took his son, Wulfhere, 3 years to make himself the next King