Cwichelm (DNB00)

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CWICHELM (d. 636), king of the West Saxons, eldest son of Cynegils [q. v.], was associated with his father in the kingship in 614, and with him inflicted a severe defeat on the Britons at Beandûn, probably Bampton in Oxfordshire, slaying two thousand and sixty-five of the enemy (A.-S. Chron. sub an. 614). Fearful of the rapidly growing power of Eadwine, king of Northumbria, and conscious probably that he was about to attack the West-Saxon kingdom [see Cynegils], Cwichelm in 626 sent an assassin named Eumer to slay him. Eumer found Eadwine holding his Easter-court near the Derwent, and obtained an audience by feigning to bring a message from his master; he attacked the king with a poisoned dagger, and would have slain him had not the faithful thegn Lilla sacrificed his own life for the king (Bæda, H. E. ii. 9). Cwichelm shared the defeat inflicted on his father by Eadwine. He assisted him in his victorious war against the East Saxons, and in the fierce and undecided battle with the Mercian king Penda at Cirencester. In 636, the year after his father had received christianity, he too was baptised by Birinus at Dorchester in Oxfordshire. He died before the end of the year, leaving a son Cuthred [see Cenwealh]. Cwichelm's memory is preserved by Cwichelmshloewe (Scutchamfly), a mound covered with a clump of trees in the midst of the Berkshire hills, about midway between Wallingford and Ashbury.

[Bæda's Hist. Eccl. (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Rolls Ser.); Florence of Worcester (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Henry of Huntingdon (Mon. Hist. Brit.); Parker's Early History of Oxford (Oxford Hist. Soc.).]

W. H.