The Monarchs of Mercia, England and the United Kingdom

Each post is hung with two tiles as a background that came from the chancel roof during a 2019 restoration. The coloured stripes on the post represent the colours of the national flag at the time, yellow and blue for Mercia, red and white for England, red, white and blue for the United Kingdom.

As .pdf files:  Introduction  500's-600's  700's  800's  900's  1000's-1  1000's-2  1100's  1200's  1300's  1400's-1  1400's-2  1500's  1600's-1  1600's-2  1700's  1800's  1900's  2000's

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

Monarchs of Great Paxton

The earliest known humans arrived in this land about 900,000 years ago. The benign environment of the Great Ouse valley has been occupied for tens of thousands of years at least. The history is unwritten until the Roman invasion in AD 43. Britain was a Roman province until 410 AD.

The time from 500 AD to the Norman Conquest in 1066 is known as the "Dark Ages". During this time a kingdom of England emerged with an English identity and language.

Great Paxton was at the eastern edge of the Kingdom of Mercia from 527 AD, one of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms that individually waxed and waned in power until they were unified into the Kingdom of England in 927 AD. In 1707, the act of union led to the formation of the United Kingdom.

This time-line lists the monarchs of these kingdoms from Mercia to the present day. It records the Mercian, then English, then British monarchs of the land where Great Paxton lies with the length of their reigns.

mercia The left hand flag denotes the kingdom at the beginning of the century.

englandThe right hand flag denotes the kingdom at the end of the century.

The reign of monarchs overlapped from one to the next century, the last monarch of a century is given only the once to avoid repitition. The length of the reign rather than start and end dates are given to be more concise.

The 1000's, 1400's and 1600's have two boards as there was a lot going on then!


Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

Very little is known of the early Mercian kings, sometimes only their name.


ICEL - 20 yrs.
An Angle invader, the first true king of Mercia.

CNEBBA - 10/18 yrs.
Actual reign unknown.

CYNEWALD - 35 yrs.

CREODA - 15 yrs.
The first king able to hold Mercia securely after giving up part of East Anglia.

PYBBA - 13/22 yrs. actual reign unknown.
Expanded the Mercian kingdom westwards.


CEARL - 19 yrs.
Possibly lost his kingship after a disastrous battle against the Northumbrians.

PENDA - 30 yrs.
Last pagan ruler, a battle hungry king who took his kingdom from 2nd rate to the most powerful in England, killed in battle.

OSWIU of Northumbria - 3 yrs.

WULFHERE - 17 yrs.
First Christian king restored Mercian dominance in England.

ÆTHELRED I - 29 yrs.
Abdicated, retired to a monastery at Bardney, Lincs. that he had set up.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


COENRED - 5 yrs.
Abdicated and retired as a monk to Rome.

CEOLRED - 7 yrs.
Died at a feast, probably poisoned.

ÆTHELBALD - 41 yrs.
One of the strongest kings of Mercia, murdered by his bodyguards.

BEORNRED - under a year.
An unpopular tyrant, deposed by Offa, forced to flee, killed the same year.

OFFA - 39 yrs.
Greatest and most powerful of all Mercian kings, one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kings, murdered most of his rivals. Built Offa's Dyke to keep the Welsh out.

ECGFRITH - 141 days.
Co-ruler with his father Offa, probably assassinated after Offa's death.

COENWULF - 25 yrs.
Styled himself as "Emperor" the last Mercian to exercise dominance over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Died in a raid into the Welsh kingdoms.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


CEOLWULF I - 2 yrs.
Deposed by Beornwulf.

BEORNWULF - 3 yrs.
His reign saw the collapse of Mercian supremacy and reversal of 200 years of gains, killed in battle against the East Anglians.

LUDECA - 1 yr.
Killed in battle against the East Anglians trying to take vengeance for the death of his predecessor.

WIGLAF (1st reign) - 2 yrs.
Deposed by Ecgberht.

ECGBERHT of Wessex - 1 yr.

WIGLAF (2nd reign) - 9 yrs.
Mercia regained its independence but dominance in England was lost.

WIGMUND - 1 yr.

WIGSTAN - under a year.
Possible co-ruler with his mother ÆLFFLÆD, murdered by his successor.

BEORHTWULF - 12 yrs.
Witnessed the first Viking raids on British soil, his reign ended with an invasion of 350 Viking ships.

BURGRED - 22 yrs.
Allied with Wessex against the Vikings, deposed, expelled and retired to Rome.

CEOLWULF II - 5 yrs.
Last king of an independent Mercia, reduced in size.

ÆTHELRED II - 30 yrs.
Allied with Wessex, gained much of the kingdom back.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

Mercia to 927 then England

Lady of the Mercians, reconquered eastern Mercia.

Killed in battle against the Welsh.

ÆTHELSTAN - 14/15 yrs.
King of the Anglo-Saxons, then First King of England, defeated an army of Scots, Celts, Danes and Vikings.

EDMUND I - 7 yrs.
King at 18, killed in a brawl with an outlaw at 25.

EADRED - 9 yrs.
Expelled the last Scandinavian King of York, Eric Bloodaxe, in 954.

EADWIG - 4 yrs.
King at 15, seen as irresponsible, died still a teenager.

King at 16, united a fractured England and introduced a rare period of stability and peace.

King at 13, murdered by supporters of ÆTHELRED, possibly by his mother.

King at 10, "unready" because he was unable organise against the Danes.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1000's - 1

His name came from valour in fighting against the Danes led by CNUT. After defeat in battle he agreed to divide the Kingdom but was probably assassinated by CNUT who then took it all.

CNUT THE GREAT (Canute) - 19 yrs. 26 days.
Ruled a "North Sea Empire" of England, Denmark and Norway. Called "The most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history".

HAROLD I HAREFOOT - 4 yrs. 127 days.
Elected king by the nobles. Died of a "mysterious illness" while preparing against an invasion by the Danes, HARTHACNUT had his body dug up, beheaded, and thrown into the Thames, the parts were collected and re-buried by his supporters.

HARTHACNUT - 2 yrs. 84 days.
Son of CNUT, also King of Denmark, died at a wedding at 24 while toasting the bride, possibly from the actions of EDWARD III. The last Dane to rule England.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1000's - 2

EDWARD III THE CONFESSOR - 23 yrs. 212 days.
Childless, a power struggle followed for the throne. Patron Saint of England before St. George.

An earl and nobleman elected king by other nobles. After driving the Vikings from England he was killed the next month at the Battle of Hastings, the last Anglo-Saxon King.


WILLIAM I THE CONQUEROR 21 yrs. 259 days.
Invaded England in 1066, ordered the Domesday Survey in 1086 to value his kingdom. He died on campaign in France the next year.

WILLIAM II RUFUS - 12 yrs. 311 days.
Unpopular, killed by an arrow while hunting, abandoned where he fell by fellow nobles who hurried to secure the treasury and his succession, his body was found later.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


HENRY I - 35 yrs. 119 days.
Seized the throne when his brother died in a hunting accident. He died of food poisoning.

STEPHEN - 18 yrs. 308 days.
A weak king, most of his reign was a civil war known as "The Anarchy" in England and Normandy against his cousin Matilda, which resulted in widespread breakdown of law and order. The country was almost destroyed.

HENRY II - 34 yrs. 200 days.
A brilliant soldier, laid the basis for much of English common law, ruled most of France too. Regarded as the greatest of all Medieval English kings.

RICHARD I THE LIONHEART - 9 yrs. 216 days.
Spent about 6 months as king in England, the rest spent on crusades, defending his land in France or being held captive for ransom which almost bankrupted the country.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


JOHN - 17 yrs. 146 days.
Called "the worst English king", lost most of his father HENRY II's French lands, forced to sign the Magna Carta by the barons. Lost the English Crown Jewels in The Wash.

HENRY III - 56 yrs. 20 days.
King at 9 years old. Captured in battle in 1264 freed by his son a year later. The longest reign in medieval times.

EDWARD I LONGSHANKS - 34 yrs. 230 days.
Established parliament as a permanent institution. Hammer of the Scots. Respected by his people for embodying the medieval ideal of king as soldier, administrator and man of faith.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


EDWARD II - 19 yrs. 197 days.
Weak and unsuccessful, pushed out of Scotland at Bannockburn. His wife allied with his enemies and helped with an invasion from France. The king was forced to abdicate in favour of his son and was possibly murdered 7 months later.

EDWARD III - 50 yrs. 148 days.
King at 14. An able soldier and inspiring leader, restored authority after the disastrous reign of his father. Plunged England into the 100 Years War, a conventional king whose main interest was warfare. Half the population died during his reign in the Black Death.

RICHARD II - 22 yrs. 100 days.
King at 10. Cultivated a less warlike and more refined monarchy. The last years of his reign were known as his "tyranny" - he executed or exiled many nobles which led to an invasion and his being deposed. Thought to have been starved to death in captivity.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1400's - 1


HENRY IV - 13 yrs. 172 days.
First English king since the Norman Conquest with English rather than French as his first language. Died probably of leprosy.

HENRY V - 9 yrs. 164 days.
One of the greatest warrior kings of medieval England, defeated the French at Agincourt. His militaristic pursuits in the Hundred Years' War created a strong sense of English nationalism and set the stage for the rise of England and then later Britain to prominence as a dominant global power.

HENRY VI - 38 yrs. 185 days, 1st reign.
King of England and France at 9 months old. Founded King's College Cambridge. An ineffective reign, deposed and imprisoned in the Tower of London.


EDWARD IV - 9 yrs. 214 days, 1st reign.
An unpopular king, deposed and fled to Flanders where he gathered support and invaded England the next year.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1400's - 2


HENRY VI - 191 days, 2nd reign.
Died in the Tower of London.


EDWARD IV - 11 yrs. 364 days.
2nd reign. His court was described by a visitor from Europe as "the most splendid - in all Christendom".

EDWARD V - 78 days.
Age 12, one of the "Princes in the Tower", disappeared.

RICHARD III - 2 yrs. 58 days.
Alleged murderer of his nephews in the Tower of London. Defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, end of the Middle Ages.


HENRY VII - 23 yrs. 243 days.
Many administrative, economic and diplomatic initiatives led to the wealth of the country increasing greatly during his reign.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation


HENRY VIII - 37 yrs. 282 days.
Separated the Church of England from papal authority. Dissolved the monasteries, used the money to build the navy, 6 wives. One of the most charismatic English monarchs, his reign has been described as the "most important" in English history.

EDWARD VI - 6 yrs. 160 days.
King from 9 to 15 yrs. sickly, possibly with TB of which he died.

LADY JANE GREY - 9 days.
Queen at 16, deposed, tried for treason, beheaded 7 months later.

MARY I BLOODY MARY - 5 yrs. 122 days.
Attempted to force England to revert to Catholicism plunging the country into a blood bath.

ELIZABETH I - 44 yrs. 128 days.
"Gloriana", "Good Queen Bess". Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. A remarkable woman and popular monarch, a glorious period in English history, English drama, maritime adventurers, defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1600's - 1

JAMES I and VI of Scotland - 22 yrs. 4 days.
Lord of Ireland styled himself as King of Great Britain and Ireland. Reigned for over 57 years in Scotland. Faced the Gunpowder Plot. The Jacobean Era.

CHARLES 1 - 23 yrs. 310 days.
Parliament tried to curb his royal prerogative but he believed in the divine right of kings. Opposed by his subjects and executed by beheading for high treason on 30th Jan 1649 during the English Civil War.

Monarchy Abolished
Declared 19th May 1649

OLIVER CROMWELL, Lord Protector. 4 yrs. 262 days.
MP for Huntingdon then Cambridge before becoming active in the civil war. One of the most important statesmen in English history.

RICHARD CROMWELL, Lord Protector. 247 days.
Failed to gain respect or support from the army, resigned 17th May 1659 and went into exile.


Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

1600's - 2


Asked to become king after nine years in exile following the flight of RICHARD CROMWELL to France. Received back in London to popular acclaim on his 30th birthday in 1660. One of the most popular English kings, a playboy monarch.

JAMES II and VII of Scotland 3 yrs. 321 days.
Last catholic monarch, persecuted protestants and hated by the people, fled to France, deposed in the Glorious Revolution confirming the primacy of parliament over the crown. His removal was thought necessary to avert a civil war after riots.

WILLIAM III OF ORANGE 13 yrs. 24 days. and MARY II - 5 yrs. 319 days.
Arrived unopposed in a fleet of over 450 ships from the Netherlands supported by influential British political and religious leaders. On their arrival JAMES II's army deserted and he went into exile. WILLIAM and MARY ruled jointly and established that sovereignty was derived from parliament and not birth.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

England to 1707 then Great Britain
or the United Kingdom of Great Britain

ANNE - 12 yrs. 147 days.
United Kingdom formed during her reign from the union of England and Scotland as a single sovereign state.


GEORGE I - 12 yrs. 315 days.
From Bohemia, king at 54, never learned English, spent little time here, the power of the monarchy diminished during his reign. Sir Robert Walpole became first Prime Minister to conduct national policy.

GEORGE II - 33 yrs. 126 days.
The last English king to be born outside of Great Britain and the last English king to lead an army into battle in 1743.

GEORGE III - 59 yrs. 97 days.
Unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover. His long life and reign were marked by a series of military conflicts involving much of Europe, parts of Africa, the Americas and Asia. He suffered from mental illness, his son ruled as Prince Regent for the last 10 years.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1801

GEORGE IV - 10 yrs. 147 days.
Prince Regent for 10 years before his accession to the throne. Known as the "First Gentleman of Europe" for his style and manners, but earned the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. Considered a buffoon, his death was seen as a relief.

WILLIAM IV - 6 yrs. 360 days.
The "Sailor King", known for his lack of pretension, wanted to dispense with the coronation, passed reforms preventing child labour and slavery. The last British monarch to appoint a prime minister contrary to the will of Parliament.

VICTORIA - 63 yrs. 217 days.
Queen at 18, the last monarch of the House of Hanover. A reign of great social, economic and technological change. Britain became a world leading industrial power; by her death the British Empire was at its height. Was given the additional title "Empress of India".

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Northern Ireland from 1922


EDWARD VII - 9 yrs. 105 days.
A much-loved king.

name change in 1917

GEORGE V - 25 yrs. 260 days.
Became king when his brother EDWARD VII died, first royal (radio) broadcasts on Christmas Day.

EDWARD VIII - 327 days.
Very popular as Prince of Wales, abdicated to marry a divorcee and lived abroad.

GEORGE VI - 15 yrs. 58 days.
Became king when his brother EDWARD VIII abdicated, a popular wartime monarch.

ELIZABETH II - 70 yrs. 215 days.
Much loved and missed monarch, the only one that most of us have ever known. Head of the Commonwealth that she expanded during her reign. The UK's longest serving monarch, Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Great Paxton monarchs time line, 2023 coronation

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


CHARLES III - Became king on the 8th of September 2022, on the death of his mother, ELIZABETH II. At 73 he is the oldest ascending monarch in British history. He was also the longest serving Prince of Wales at 64 years and 44 days. Coronation date 6th of May 2023.

King Charles III Coronation