Sussex Castles




The Rise of Wessex


508 Cerdic and Cynric in Hampshire

Despite the victory at Badon Hill, the Saxons Cerdic and Cynric were raiding the Hampshire coast again and in 508 and they decisively defeated the Britons at Charford, Hampshire. The Britons put up further sporadic resistance, but Cerdic was able to establish himself as the first King of Wessex. After his death in 534, he was succeeded by his son Cynric who ruled for 26 years. 

607 Sussex Incorporation into Wessex

In 607 Ceolwulf, Cynric's grandson, fought and defeated the South Saxons incorporating Sussex into Wessex for the first time. The following century was unsettled with Sussex sometimes regaining and sometimes loosing autonomy. Pressure from Mercian expansion may have been a factor in Wessex expansion to the South  By 680 King Cædwalla of Wessex had defeated King Æthelwalh of Sussex incorporating Sussex into Wessex. While Æthelwalh’s successors Edric and Beorthun offered further resistance both were defeated, again incorporating Sussex into Wessex. Cædwalla signed a number of Sussex charters from 680 on as over-king of Sussex. Cædwalla died in 688 and was succeeded by Ine. Ine maintained his hold on Sussex via his kinsmen Noðhelm, better known as King Nunna of Sussex.

770 Mercian Ascendency

From 607 on, Sussex was chiefly under the dominion of Wessex until Æthelstan established the Kingdom of England in 924. One exception during this period was the expansion of Mercia under King Offa into Kent and Sussex. Sussex charters in the period 770 - 785 show Offa signing as king and countersigning some older Sussex charters, presumably to establish the legitimacy of his Kingship. Mercian ascendancy was ended in 825 when Egbert of Wessex defeated Beornwulf of Mercia at the battle of Ellandun. Egbert sent his son Æthelwulf to Kent with a large army, but Kent, Sussex and Surrey submitted without resistance. King Egbert appointed Æthelwulf to rule as sub-king over Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

Sussex Timeline