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Edbald King of Kent circa 616-640

Edbald or Eadbald, was the son of AEthelbert of Kent who was an overlord mentioned by Bede. He was married to Bertha. His father had converted to Christianity but Edbald seemed reluctant to relinquish his pagan background. On succession he seems to have briefly reverted to the pagan traditions but  Archbishop Laurence of Canterbury managed to win the new King over and he eventually accepted conversion. He converted either for the 1st or 2nd time in early 624.

His siblings were;

  • Aethlwald was his brother
  • Aethlburga his sister

On the death of his father, Edbald according to tradition, married his widow. Presumably Bertha had died before then.

  • Kent lost some ground to the other southern Saxon kingdoms during Eadbald’s kingship and he is not mentioned in the line of Bretwaldas as Overlords in Bede. It was King Redwald of East Anglia who initially took his father’s role but with the rise of Edwin King of Northumbria he entered into terms and a pact which saw his sister marry Edwin.
  • His sister became an influential figure in the conversion of the North and with the pact Eadbald managed to preserve Kent’s independence at least. Edwin was killed and now as Queen AEthelburga returned to Kent with her daughters, but did not trust her sons to her brothers protection. They were entrusted to King Dagobert of the Franks.
  • Eventually Eadbald restored the alliance with Northumbria by the marriage of his eldest son Ermenred to the Northumbrian Princess Oslava
  • His children via his marriage to his step-mother included a daughter Mildred and his later wife Emma gave him a son Ermenred and Erconbert and Et Enswith.
Erconbert would eventually succeed him, he had managed to hang on to Kent but not to improve it’s fortunes and had lost the role of Bretwalda.
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