Oshere (DNB00)

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OSHERE (fl. 680), under-king of the Hwiccii, was perhaps a brother of Osric, who was also king of the Hwiccii [see Osric, d. 729]. Bishop Stubbs, on the other hand, thinks it probable that Oshere was a son of Oswald, the brother of Osric (Dictionary of Christian Biography, iv. 160, 164). This theory would, however, seem to put him a generation too late. On the first nypothesis, which is well supported, Oshere was a member of the royal house of Northumbria, and a nephew of the queen of Ethelred, king of the Mercians. Under Ethelred he ruled the Hwiccii, the people of the present Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, then subject to Mercia. In a spurious charter, granting land for a monastery at Ripple in Worcestershire in 680, Oshere is represented as calling himself king, though acting under Ethelred, and he is also described as King among the witnesses to a charter of 793, granting land for a monastery for the abbess Cutswythe. In another deed he appears as under-king and as a follower of Ethelred, and as counselling him to make a grant of land at Withington, in Gloucestershire. A letter from the abbess Egburga or Eadburh, apparently the second abbess of Gloucester and sister of the first abbess Kyneburga and of Osric and Oswald, to Bishop Wynfrith or Boniface, written 716-722, speaks of her brother Oshere as then dead. Oshere had at least two sons, Æthelward and Æthelric, who ruled over the Hwiccii, though they are not, as far as we know, described as kings.

[Kemble's Codex. Dipl. Nos. 17, 36,82,56, 57 (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Jaffe's Monumenta Moguntinn, p. 64; Dict. Chr. Biogr. iv. 160, art. 'Oshere,' by Bishop Stubbs.]

W. H.