Sexburga (d.678) (DNB00)

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SEXBURGA, SEAXBURG, or SEXBURH (d. 673), queen of the West-Saxons, the wife of King Cenwalh, Kenwealh, or Coinwalch [q. v.], succeeded to the throne after her husband's death, and reigned for one year. William of Malmesbury says that her husband appointed her to succeed him, that she ruled with masculine energy, collecting armies, keeping her troops under control, and defying her enemies, and that her one year's reign was ended by her death. The St. Albans writer, whose work was accepted by Wendover and Paris, relates that at the end of a year she was banished from the kingdom by the nobles, who would not fight under the leadership of a woman. Bishop Stubbs notes that in reading William of Malmesbury's account of her, it should be remembered that the historian had ‘a special regard’ for her husband Cenwalh, and observes that possibly both Malmesbury and the St. Albans writer represent the ideas of the age of the empress Matilda. There was no reason why in the seventh century it should be thought unseemly that a queen should reign.

[Bede's Hist. Eccl. iv. c. 12; A.-S. Chron. an. 672; Ethelwerd, c. 7, ap. Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 506; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 65 (Rolls Ser.); Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, i. sect. 32; Flor. Wig. i. 273, Rog. Wend. i. 162 (both in Engl. Hist. Soc.); Dict. Chr. Biogr. art. ‘Sexburga’ (1), by Bishop Stubbs.]

W. H.