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7th century 600-699 CE

The 7th century was a time of Anglo Saxon rule in Britain

When Bede was writing in the 8th Century he tells us about the rulers in the centuries preceding. He refers to the Bretwalda, a person who wields great power, not just over his own kingdom but far wider.

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In this century two great Bretwalda’s emerge, Aethelbert of Kent, the first ‘royal’ who converted to Christianity and Raedwald of East Anglia, whose remains it is thought lie in the famous Sutton Hoo burial.

7th century kingdoms emerge in Britain

As the century progressed there was a shift of power from the south to the north but this was not to last long because as fast as the Northumbrians were rising, the kingdom of Mercia was rising faster and came to dominate.

The ruler Penda of Mercia and his descendants stopped the southwards march of the Northumbrian lords and felt powerful enough to call themselves Kings of the southern English.

The claim was short lived though as the Wessex kings swept in with force and resolution so that by the end of the century, through leaders such as Caedwalla and Ine, the south was in control again.

7th century Christian missionaries from Ireland are beginning to evangelize across England.

The king of Essex, Sigebert converted to Christianity and there is a belief that aligning with Christianity brings power and credibility to these new leaders.

Religion in the 7th century.

Across the world other religions begin to emerge. Muhammad the Prophet begins to preach in this century firstly in his home town of Mecca. The Islamic faith is born and almost immediately there is conflict around the holy city of Mecca. By 660, the Koran is published for the first time.

In 694 King Ine gave Wessex it’s first law code

It lays down separate laws for his Anglo Saxon and his British people, showing that the two groups were not yet fully integrated.

Our 7th century British chronology and timelines are being created and curated but already via each century page you can quickly locate our collections for each 100 years of history. These will evolve as we explore topical themes, but if you are looking for something you can’t see here then please feel free to contact us and request, Thanks for taking a look.