RĘDWALD (died c.625)

For the full story of Rędwald, see my book, The Reckoning of King Rędwald, which is now available - for more information, click here.

The conjectural full Old English spelling of his name may have been (H)rędwald or (H)ręšwald.

He is known to have received primary baptism in Kent, c.605, and on his return home, following the advice of his wife, he is said to have set up a temple of two altars, one to his ancestral gods and one to his new god (HE II, 15).

Rędwald became High King of Britain after defeating Ęthelfrith, King of Northumbria, at the Battle of the River Idle, c.617 (HE II, 5, 12 & 15). The site of this battle appears to have been at point where the Roman road from Lincoln to Doncaster crosses the River Idle near Bawtry. My picture below (looking north) shows the later bridge which straddles the river just south of the Roman ford.

Although Bede is selectively unspecific about it, following this victory Rędwald appears to have been first king of England, both north and south of the Humber.

Rędwald is believed by many to have been buried in Mound One at Sutton Hoo, the famous ship-burial, c.625. For an imaginative painting showing how Rędwald might have looked wearing the full regalia from Sutton Hoo, click here.

For an imaginative poem in the Old English epic style on King Rędwald, click here

© Copyright Dr Sam Newton, Blotmonaž AD 2000

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