Ine (DNB00)

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INE, INI, or Latin INA (d. 726), West-Saxon king, the son of Cenred, an underking of the West-Saxons, and probably of the tribe inhabiting Somerset, was, like his predecessor Cædwalla (659?-689) [q.v.], of the line of Ceawlin [q.v.], and was chosen king of the West-Saxons in 688 in the lifetime of his father. His wife was Æthelburh, sister of the underking Æthelheard, and of the same royal line as her husband. In a West-country legend, possibly of the tenth century, Ine is represented as a ceorl, who, in accordance with a divine command, was taken from driving his father's oxen at Somerton in Somerset, and chosen by the bishops and nobles at London to be king of England south of the Humber; he marries Adelburh, heiress of the king of northern England, at Wells, rules over the whole country, and gives Wells to Bishop Daniel [q.v.], who makes it the seat of his bishopric (Historiola, pp. 10-14; for an examination of this legend see Somersetshire Archæological Journal, xviii. ii. 17-21). Following the example of Cædwalla, Ine invaded Kent to avenge the death of Mul, the brother of Cædwalla, who seems also to have been his own uterine brother, both Mul and Ine being probably the sons of a Welsh woman. Wihtred, the Kentish king, met him in 694, and agreed to purchase peace by paying him thirty thousand pieces of money as a wergild for Mul. This war established his supremacy over all the country held by the English south of the Thames. Probably before it ended he made an incursion into East Anglia and routed all the forces of the kingdom, and as his way thither lay through Essex it is natural to suppose that it was at this period that he gained supremacy over that kingdom also, including London, where he was certainly supreme before 694. It may moreover be inferred that in his war with Kent he had to deal with an alliance between that kingdom, East Anglia, and Essex, and that the submission of Wihtred was consequent upon the defeat of his allies. Some difficulties arose between Ine and the rulers of the East-Saxons in 705 about certain West-Saxon exiles who had been received in Essex. Ine was willing to come to a peaceful settlement, and agreed to meet the East-Saxon rulers at a conference at Brentford in October to submit the matter to the two bishops of the East- and West-Saxons, and to abide by their decision. In 710, in company with Nunna, his kinsman, and probably his successor as underking in Somerset, he made war on Gerent, king of the British Dyvnaint, and put him to flight. This war seems to have advanced the West-Saxon boundary from the Quantock hills, to which it had been extended by the conquests of Centwine [q.v.], over the western districts of Somerset, and it was probably during the course of it that Ine built a fortress on the Tone, from which the town of Taunton has sprung. It is not unlikely that his kingdom included some part of Devonshire, for there is reason to believe that Exeter was partly at least peopled by English in his time. Two years later died his only brother Ingild, who, as the great-grandfather of Egbert [q. v.], became the forefather of the West-Saxon kings of England. In 715 the Mercians under Ceolred [q.v.] invaded Wessex, and after a desperately contested battle at Wanborough were forced by Ine to retreat. In 715 he suppressed the rebellion of two æthelings of the race of Cerdic, and probably of the rival line of Ceol, which had been set aside after the death of Centwine. One of them, named Cynewulf, he slew; the other, Eadbriht, in 722, perhaps in alliance with the Welsh, seized on Ine's new fortress, Taunton, but was driven out by his queen Æthelburh. Eadbriht then fled for refuge to Surrey and Sussex. Ine made war on the South-Saxons, and in 725 slew the ætheling. Between 690 and 693 he published a series of laws, the earliest extant specimens of West-Saxon legislation. In the preamble he states that they were made with the counsel and teaching of his father, Cenred, of Heddi [q.v.], his bishop, and Erkenwald [q.v.], his bishop, with all his ealdormen, the witan of his people, and a large assembly of God's servants. The mention of Erkenwald shows that London was then included in his dominions. His laws are of the nature of amendments of custom, and deal chiefly with penalties and compensations for injuries. Some relate to church matters, such as the baptism of children, the payment of church-scot, and the jurisdiction of bishops. A special interest attaches to those which concern the Welsh within the West-Saxon kingdom, for they illustrate the change in the treatment of the conquered people consequent upon the acceptance of Christianity by their conquerors. Under Ine English and Welsh lived peacefully side by side, and his laws recognise the right of the Welshman to hold property, and declare the weight to be given to his oath and the legal value of his life. While he was in an inferior position to the Englishman he was protected by the law, and had a definite place in the state. Personally it is evident that Ine had some close relations with the Welsh, who seem to adopt his exploits as those of their legendary hero, Ivor, turning English victories under Ine into Welsh victories under Ivor. A wild legend makes him marry a second wife, named Wala, after whom the name Wales is said to have been adopted in place of Cambria, receiving through her Wales and Cornwall, and uniting English and Britons under his rule; it is possible that this imaginary Welsh wife may be a survival of a tradition of an actual Welsh mother. Ine was renowned for his piety as well as his vigour in war. He was a benefactor to Glastonbury, and is said to have built the first of the churches raised to the east of the ancient wooden church of British times. His preservation of the sanctuary of the conquered people may be connected with his other relations with them. While he certainly did not, as tradition asserts, place a bishop's see at Wells, it is extremely likely that he was a benefactor, if not a founder, there. At Abingdon he annulled a number of grants previously made to the monastery, but afterwards endowed it richly. A fellow-worker with his kinsman Aldhelm [q.v.], abbot of Malmesbury, he obeyed all Aldhelm's wishes and carried out his plans. Aldhelm's effort to persuade the Welsh to conform to the Roman Easter must have been agreeable to Ine, and his success may to some extent have been due to the king's influence. On the death of Bishop Heddi, Ine carried out the scheme, proposed some years before, of dividing the West-Saxon diocese by creating in 705 the bishopric of Sherborne, to which Aldhelm was appointed as first bishop. The insurrection of the æthelings and the South-Saxon war seem to have disgusted Ine with the world, and in 725 or 726, after he had reigned thirty-seven years, he abdicated, and, in company with his wife, Æthelburh, made a pilgrimage to Rome, where he died apparently soon after his arrival (Gesta Pontificum, p. 385). According to a legend he was persuaded to resign the crown by Æthelburh, who, after he had held a feast with kingly state in one of his houses, and had gone on towards another, ordered his steward to fill the house with refuse and filth, and cause a sow and her litter to lie in the bed on which he had slept. Then she caused him to return, and, pointing out the change, discoursed to him on the vanity of earthly pomp. Her device was successful. On arriving at Rome, where he was received by Gregory II, he forbore to make a public show of his religion by adopting the tonsure as others did, dressed in the garments of a man of plebeian rank, and lived quietly with his wife. Their deaths are said to have been followed by miracles. Ine's sisters were Cwenburh and Cuthburh [q. v.], who founded Wimborne nunnery. He was succeeded in Wessex by his brother-in-law Æthelheard.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron. ann. 688-728; Florence, ann. 688-728 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Henry of Huntingdon, pp. 723-5 (Mon. Hist. Brit.); William of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, i. cc. 35-8 (Engl. Hist. Soc.), Gesta Pontiff, pp. 191, 354,374, 380, 385 (Rolls Series); Glaston. Antiq. p. 310, Gale; Hist. Abingdon,i.9, 13, 120, ii. 272 (Rolls Series); Kemble's Codex Dipl. i. 83 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Brut, ann. 683, 698 (Rolls Series); Historiola, Eccl. Docs. pp. 10-14 '(Camden Soc.); Liber Custumarum, ii. ii. 638, 639 (Rolls Series); Haddan and Stubbs's Eccl. Docs. iii. 214, 219, 274; Thorpe's Ancient Laws, pp. 45-65; Stubbs's Select Charters, pp. 60, 61; Freeman's Old English History, pp. 70-2; Somersetshire Archæol. Proc., 'Ine,' by E. A. Freeman, xviii. ii. 1-59, xx. ii. 1-57; Green's Conquest of England, pp. 199 386, 388, 392.]

W. H.