PW: King Ecgric of East Anglia

King Ecgric is a little known king of East Anglia from the late 640s to about 652. Bede tells us that Ecgric was a kinsman of King Sigeberht son of Rædwald of East Anglia. When Sigebert abdicates the throne and enters a monastery that he founded, he hands the kingdoms over to Ecgric, “who had previously ruled part of the kingdom”. So its seems that Ecgric was a local ruler who was conquered or submitted to Sigebert as King of East Anglia and then Sigebert handed the entire kingdom over to him. Given that he was once a provincial ruler and Sigeberht handed the kingdom over to him, over Anna’s family, suggests that Ecgric was indeed from the same royal dynasty. Its possible that he was related to Ricberht who had assassinated and succeeded Eorpwald son of Rædwald (who was after all also Sigeberht’s rival).

Ecgric does not seem to have won the confidence of the people. When King Penda of Mercia invades East Anglia, Ecgric and the people force former king Sigeberht to leave the monastery and lead them in battle. Sigeberht, now a monk, refuses to carry a weapon and only carries his royal scepter. Penda of Mercia kills both Sigeberht and Ecgric and destroys their army. We hear nothing else of Ecgric’s family. He is succeeded by King Anna whose family holds East Anglia for the next century.

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