Ine of Wessex

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Ine was King of Wessex from 688 to 726. He was unable to retain the territorial gains of his predecessor, Cædwalla, who had brought much of southern England under his control and expanded West Saxon territory substantially. By the end of Ine's reign the kingdoms of Kent, Sussex and Essex were no longer under West Saxon domination; however, Ine maintained control of what is now Hampshire, and consolidated and extended Wessex's territory in the western peninsula.

Ine is noted for his code of laws, which he issued in about 694. These laws were the first issued by an Anglo-Saxon king outside Kent. They shed much light on the history of Anglo-Saxon society, and reveal Ine's Christian convictions. Trade increased significantly during Ine's reign, with the town of Hamwic (now Southampton) becoming prominent. It was probably during Ine's reign that the West Saxons began to mint coins, though none have been found that bear his name.

Ine abdicated in 726 to go to Rome, leaving the kingdom to "younger men", in the words of the contemporary chronicler Bede. He was succeeded by Æthelheard.


Genealogy and accession

Early sources agree that Ine was the son of Cenred, and that Cenred was the son of Ceolwald; further back there is less agreement.[1] Ine's siblings included a brother, Ingild, and two sisters, Cuthburh and Cwenburg. Cuthburh was married to King Aldfrith of Northumbria,[2] and Ine himself was married to Æthelburg.[1] Bede tells that Ine was "of the blood royal", by which he means the royal line of the Gewisse, the early West Saxon tribal name.[3]

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