Cuthwine of Wessex was born 565 in Wessex to Caewlin of Wessex (-593) .


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.

Later Life[]

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.

Research Notes[]

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:

Anglo Saxon Chronicles[]

Source: Online Medieval and Classical Library Part 1 (400-750 AD)

  • 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.


Offspring of Cuthwine of Wessex and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Cynebald (585-)
Cedda (590-)
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.


Offspring of Caewlin of Wessex (-593) and unknown parent
Name Birth Death Joined with
Cuthwine of Wessex (c565-) 565 Wessex