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Surrey, kingdom of

Surrey, kingdom of. The name ‘Surrey’ means the southern region, and at some time must have been linked with Middlesex north of the Thames. This could have been relatively late in the story of Anglo-Saxon settlement. There is no royal dynasty associated with Surrey, and the most impressive evidence for its early history is a charter of c.672–4 granting land at Chertsey to Eorcenwold, bishop of London, issued by Frithuwold, a subking for the Mercian ruler Wulfhere. Indeed the early history of Surrey must be looked for in the existence of small groups practising transhumance into the weald after the pattern of similar groups which have been identified in Sussex and Kent. These smaller units may well have developed into larger regions centred on Kingston and Wallington in central and eastern Surrey and on Woking and perhaps Godalming to the west. The fortunes of Surrey were naturally closely bound up with the fortunes of London. The powerful Mercian kings of the 8th cent. maintained control, but in 825, when Egbert of Wessex defeated the Mercians at Ellendun, the people of Kent and Surrey and the South Saxons submitted to him because, in the words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, ‘they had been wrongfully forced away from his kinsmen’. From that time Surrey was an integral part of greater Wessex.

Henry Loyn

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