Offa (fl.709) (DNB00)

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OFFA (fl. 709), king of the East-Saxons, was son of Sighere, king of the East-Saxons, whose verloard was Wulfhere, king of the Mercians. Sighere was succeeded on his throne by his brother Sebbi, who, dying in 694, was himself succeeded by his sons Sigheard and Swefred. It is possible that Offa shared the rule withboth his uncle and cousin ; but it was not until the death of the latter that he became sole king of the East-Saxons (Bede, iii 30, iv. ll; Flor. Wig. Genealogies, i. 203). Being a young man of most lovable appearance, he was joyfully received as king by the whole people. He is said to have been in love with Kineswyth, daughter of Penda, king of the Mercians though, as Penda died in 655 must have been too old for so young a lover. She incited him to give up kingdon and land and wife—probably some other lady—for the Gospel's sake. In 709 he made a pilgrimage to Rome in the company of Coenred of Mercia and Ecgwine, bishop of Worcester. At Rome received by Pope Constantine, and, in common with Coenred, is represented as attesting a spurious letter of the pope to Archbishop Brihtwald [q. v.] He seems to be wrongly described in one charter as king of the Mercians, and in another as king of the East-Angles. He took the tonsure and died at Rome.

[Bede's Eccl. Hist. iii. 30. iv. 11, v. 19 (Engl. Hist. See.) ; Flor. Wig. Genealogies, i. 250, 263 (Engl. Hist. Soc.) : Will, of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum. i- 99 (Rolls Ser. and Gesta Pontiff.]

W. H.