Sigheri (DNB00)

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SIGHERI or SIGHERE (fl. 665), king of the East-Saxons, son of Sigebert or Sebert called The Little (fl. 626) [q. v.], succeeded his kinsman Swithelm, who died about 665, and reigned in dependence on Mercia conjointly with his uncle Sebbi [q. v.], son of Sæward, one of the sons of Sebert or Saberct (d. 616?) [q. v.] (Sebbi was not his brother, as stated in the article on Offa, fl. 709 [q. v.]) When Sigheri and his uncle became kings the pestilence was raging, and this led Sigheri and part of the people to relapse into idolatry, though Sebbi remained steadfast in the faith. Wulfhere [q. v.], king of Mercia, hearing of this apostasy of the East-Saxons, sent Bishop Jaruman to preach to them, and he brought Sigheri and his party back to Christianity. The names of both Sigheri and Sebbi are affixed to a charter of extremely doubtful value purporting to have been granted by Wulfhere to the abbey of Medeshamstede, afterwards Peterborough; and in another spurious charter Sigheri is represented as confirming a grant to Abbot Egbald, after he had obtained the dominion over Kent, which Bishop Stubbs suggests may represent a tradition that the East-Saxon kings, probably as dependent on Mercia, had some authority in Kent [see under Sigered]. Sigheri and Sebbi were both reigning when Erkenwald [q. v.] was consecrated to the see of London in 675. Sigheri is said by Florence of Worcester and William of Malmesbury to have died before Sebbi, who then reigned alone. (Bishop Stubbs thinks, on the other hand, that as Sigheri's son is described as ‘juvenis’ in 709, Sigheri may have survived Sebbi.) Sigheri is said also to have shared the kingship with Sighard [q. v.] He appears in legend as the husband of the virgin St. Osyth [q. v.], and was the father of Offa (fl. 709) [q. v.], who became king of the East-Saxons after the reigns of Sighuard and Suefred, the sons of Sebbi.

[Bede's Hist. Eccles. iii. 30, iv. 6, v. 19; Flor. Wig. sub an. 664 and Geneal.; Mon. Hist. Brit. pp. 629, 637; Will. Malm. Gesta Regum, i. c. 98; A.-S. Chron. sub an. 656, Peterborough version (ed. Plummer, p. 32); Monasticon, i. 375; Kemble's Codex Dipl. No. 40; Dict. Chr. Biogr. art. ‘Sigheri,’ by Bishop Stubbs.]

W. H.