Kings of Essex Timeline 527-829

Wessex on a Map Kings of Wessex

This timeline details all Kings of Essex from 527 to 829

See also: Kings of Kent
Kings of Mercia
Kings of Wessex
Kings of Sussex
Kings of East Anglia


Aescwine – 527 – 587
Lineage unknown
Aescwine, sometimes referred to as Erchenwine or Erkenwine, is reputed to have unified the East Saxons. He was possibly of Kentish origin. Very little is known of his life and the dates of his reign are disputed as being unusually long for that period.
Sledd – 587 – c.604
Son of Aescwine
Married Ricula, sister of Aethelberht, King of Kent
Succeeded his father as King. Little is known of his life or reign. It is believed that he ruled until his death around 604.
Saeberht – c.604 – 616
Son of Sledd
Became King after the death of his father. Saeberht was the first Christian King of Essex and was baptised by Mellitus, first Bishop of London.
Sexred, Saeweard, Seaxbald – 616 – 623
Sons of Saeberht
The three eldest sons of Saeberht succeeded their father as joint rulers. It may be that they took decisions together or split the kingdom. Christianity was revoked and Essex became Pagan again. The three brothers were killed in battle against Wessex in 623.
Sigeberht I (the Small) – 623 – 653
Son of Saeberht
Ruled after the death of his three elder brothers. It is thought that he made an alliance with Penda of Mercia.
Sigeberht II (the Good)
A kinsman of Sigeberht I – 653 – 660
Sigeberht II restored Christianity to Essex. He was murdered by two brother (possibly Swithelm and Swithfrith, sons of Seaxbald) who were angry ‘because he was too ready to pardon his enemies’.
Swithelm – 660 – 664
Son of Seaxbald
A Pagan by birth, he converted to Christianity in 662. In 664 a ‘great plague’ reached Britain and Swithelm was one of its victims.
Sighere 664 – 689
Son of Sigeberht I
Ruled jointly with Saebbi in the aftermath of the ‘great plague’ of 664, probably under the overlordship of Wulfhere of Mercia.
Saebbi – 664 – 694
Son of Saeward or Sexred
Ruled jointly with Sighere in the aftermath of the ‘great plague’ of 664. Then ruled alone until he abdicated in favour of his son. His rule was probably under the overlordship of Wulfhere of Mercia.
Sigeheard and Swaefred – 694 – c709
Sons of Saebbi
Ruled jointly. It is likely that around 700 they split the kingdom and ruled separately. They both died around 709
Saelred – c709 – 746
Son of Sigeberht
Ruled alone until 715 the ruled jointly with Swaefberht until 738. From 738 he ruled alone until he died in 746.
Swaefberht 715 – 738
Lineage unknown
Ruled jointly with Saelred. Virtually nothing is known of his life.
Swithred – 746 – 759
Grandson of Sigeheard, possibly son of Saebbi
Very little is known of his life or reign.
Sigeric – 759 – 798
Son of Swaefberht
Little is known of his life. In 798 he abdicated in favour of his son and went on a pilgrimate to Rome.
Sigered – 798 – 829
Son of Sigeric
Ruled until King Egbert of Wessex defeated Mercia at the Battle of Ellandon. Essex. Sigered was initially allowed to continue as a sub-king of Wessex. In 829 he was either deposed by Egbert or submitted to Wessex.


Published Apr 18, 2020 @ 1:10 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Kings of Essex 527 – 829. Last accessed [date]


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