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WULFHERE (d. 675), king of the Mercians, was a younger son of King Penda, and was kept in concealment for some time after his father's defeat and death in 655. In 658 or 659, however, the Mercians threw off the supremacy of Oswio, king of Northumbria, and Wulfhere became their king. He took energetic measures to spread Christianity, and was greatly helped by his bishop, Jaruman, and afterwards by St Chad. Outside Mercia he did something to induce the East and the South Saxons to accept Christianity, and is said to have founded one or two monasteries. He gained Lindsey from Northumbria in 657, and was successful against Wessex. He extended his borders in all directions, and was the founder of the passing greatness of Mercia, although he lost Lindsey just before his death. Wulfhere's wife was Eormenhild, a daughter of Erconberht, king of Kent, and he was succeeded by his brother Aethelred. His only son Coenred became king in 704 in succession to Aethelred. His only daughter was St Werburga or Werburh, abbess of Ely.

See Bede, Historia ecdesiastica, ed. C. Plummer (Oxford, 1896); and J. R. Green, The Making of England (1897-1899).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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