ELLA, or Ælla, the name of three Anglo-Saxon kings.
Ella (d. c.514), king of the South Saxons and founder of the kingdom of Sussex, was a Saxon ealdorman, who landed near Arundel in Sussex with his three sons in 477. Defeating the Britons, who were driven into the forest of Andredsweald, Ella and his followers established themselves along the south coast, although their progress was slow and difficult. However, in 491, strengthened by the arrival of fresh bands of immigrants, they captured the Roman city of Anderida and "slew all that were therein." Ella, who is reckoned as the first Bretwalda, then became king of the South Saxons, and, when he died about 514, he was succeeded by his son Cissa.
Ella (d. 588), king of the Deirans, was the son of an ealdorman named Iffa, and became the first king of Deira when, in 559, the Deirans separated themselves from the neighbouring kingdom of Bernicia. The English slaves, who aroused the interest of Pope Gregory I. at Rome, were subjects of Ella, and on this occasion the pope, punning the name of their king, suggested that "Alleluia" should be sung in his land. When Ella died in 588 Deira was conquered by Bernicia. One of his sons was Edwin, afterwards king of the Northumbrians.
Ella (d. 867), king of the Northumbrians, became king about 862 on the deposition of Osbert, although he was not of royal birth. Afterwards he became reconciled with Osbert, and together they attacked the Danes, who had invaded Northumbria, and drove them into York. Rallying, however, the Danes defeated the Northumbrians, and in the encounter both Ella and Osbert were slain. In certain legends Ella is represented as having brought about the Danish invasion of Northumbria by cruel and unjust actions.
See The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, edited by C. Plummer (Oxford, 1892-1899); Bede, Historiae ecclesiasticae, edited by C. Plummer (Oxford, 1896); Henry of Huntingdon, Historia Anglorum, edited by T. Arnold, Rolls Series (London, 1879); Asser, De rebus gestis Aelfredi, edited by W.H. Stevenson (Oxford, 1904); J.R. Green, The Making of England (London, 1897), and the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. i. (London, 1895).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)