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Cædwalla (c.659–89), king of Wessex (685–7). A member of the royal kin of Wessex, Cædwalla is first met as an exile in the wild lands (deserti) of the Chilterns and the Weald. He made himself king of Wessex and extended his power widely. In particular he conquered the Isle of Wight, exterminating its royal dynasty. In this conquest he was associated with the great bishop Wilfrid. Not long after, he abdicated and went to Rome. There he was baptized, died, and was buried in St Peter's with a noble Latin epitaph. Anyone who claims to understand the inwardness of 7th-cent. England should think again about Cædwalla.

James Campbell

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