Cuthwine, born c. 565, was a member of the House of Wessex, son of Ceawlin of Wessex. After the deposition of his father Ceawlin from the throne of Wessex in 592 he did not inherit the throne which passed to his cousin, Ceol. Instead he went into exile for many decades, remaining a strong leader of the Saxons and passing on the royal line through his three sons.
As stated above, the following year (593) saw the deaths of his father and uncles in unclear circumstances, although likely in another battle. Cuthwine escaped from this defeat also, and went into exile to the east with his young family (see below). For the first few years at least he lived as an outlaw, although his persecution seems to have waned somewhat when Ceol was supplanted by his brother.
In his princely years before the death of his father Cuthwine had at least three sons; Cynebald, born 585; Cedda, born 590, and Cutha Cathwulf, born 592. The name of their mother is not recorded, but it is possible that she died in the tumult surrounding Cuthwine's flight into exile given that Cuthwine had no more children after that time. Cedda became the father of Coenberht, in turn the Caedwalla of Wessex and his brother Mul of Kent, both kings in later years. Through Cutha Cathwulf, Cuthwine's youngest son, were ultimately descended the Kings of Wessex after the line of Ceol became extinct in 685.
Cuthwine of Wessex lived a long life, remaining in a powerful position throughout the reign of Cynegils son of Ceol; and then Cenwalh, son of Cynegils, became king. In the year 645 Penda of Mercia overran the kingdom (in return for Cenwalh's repudiation of Penda's sister) and was for three years king, sending Cenwalh into exile in East Anglia. Cuthwine is recorded as having been present at the negotiations along with his sons, but little more is known of his activities. Nevertheless, much can be deduced. If this experienced prince was not the sole ruler of Wessex during the years of Cenwalh's exile (naturally in a subservient position to Penda) then it is likely that he was a member of the ruling body; but, given the tangled diplomacy of the times and his eastern power base, it is equally likely that he aided Cenwalh in his successful attempt to regain the throne in 648.
After this, he appears infrequently as a shadowy figure, apparently already passing into legend among the common people as a result of his long-held position against the (at times) brutal role of Ceol and his family. There is reason to suggest that he was already dead by this time; at any rate he would have been past eighty by the beginning of Cenwalh's reign and it seems inconceivable that he would have lived to see the reinstatement of his line to the throne of Wessex.
This enigmatic prince and his long roster of descendants were not forgotten by the West Saxons, however. When the line of Ceol finally became extinct, first Caedwalla of Wessex and then Ine of Wessex became king; both great-grandsons of Cuthwine. Egbert of Wessex, ancestor of the later Kings of England, descends from Ine's brother and hence also from Cuthwine.
Some Genealogical Sources confuse Cuthwine with his uncle Cutha who died in battle in 584 AD.
Royal Lineage Family of Kent
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles compiled at the time of Alfred the Great generally agree as to the royal lineage of the early English kings through the House of Wessex. They show that lineage as follows:
- Cerdic of Wessex, d. 534, earliest known Saxon ancestor
- Cynric of Wessex, son of Cerdic of Wessex.
- Caewlin of Wessex (-593), son of Cynric of Wessex.
- Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-), son of Caewlin of Wessex.
- Cutha Cathwulf (592-), son of Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-).
- Ceolwald of Wessex, son of Cutha Cathwulf (592-).
- Cenred of Wessex, King of Wessex and son of Ceolwald of Wessex,
- Ingild of Wessex (-718), royal prince and son of Cenred of Wessex
- Eoppa of Wessex, son of Ingild of Wessex. Lifespan (c707-c770)
- Eafa of Wessex, son of Eoppa. Lifespan (c720-c790)
- Ealhmund of Kent, son of Eafa, ruled briefly as King of Kent in the year 784. Lifespan Estimate (c745-c810)
- Egbert, King of Wessex (c769-839) son of Ealhmund of Kent, he was able to wrest control of both Wessex and Kent from the King of Mercia (c 790-839) and back to the royal family of Wessex.
- Æthelwulf, King of Wessex (c795-858), helped his father conquer the Kingdom of Kent in 825 and inherited his fathers throne in 839. While king he repelled several Viking invasions and undertook a pilgrimage to Rome in 855. Several of his sons succeeded to his thone in turn until the youngest, thru which the royal line continued.
- Alfred the Great, King of Anglo-Saxons (ruled 871-899), son of King Æthelwulf of Wessex and Osburga.
Anglo Saxon Chronicles
- Succession: Ethelwulf was the son of Egbert, Egbert of Ealmund, Ealmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa, Eoppa of Ingild, Ingild of Cenred (Ina of Cenred, Cuthburga of Cenred, and Cwenburga of Cenred), Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cuthwulf, Cuthwulf of Cuthwine, Cuthwine of Celm, Celm of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda, Creoda of Cerdic.
|Cutha Cathwulf (592-)||592 Wessex||Gwynhafar of Dumnonia|
- Cynebald, born 585;
- Cedda, born 590, and
- Cutha Cathwulf (592-) - born 592 thru whom is the royal line of the House of Wessex traced.
|Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-)||565 Wessex|
- Cuthwine of Wessex - Wikipedia
- House of Wessex - Family Tree Chart on Wikipedia
- Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - Pt 1 A.D. 250-750 - Online Medieval & Classical Library
- "Prince Cuthwine of Wessex." Render Plus. 20 April 2009
- Yorke, Barbara (1990). Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England. London: Seaby. ISBN 1-85264-027-8.
- Kirby, D.P. (1992). The Earliest English Kings. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09086-5.