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Ecgfrith (d. 685), king of Northumbria (670–85). During the reign of Ecgfrith the kingdom of Northumbria reached the peak of its political power and influence. He extended the range of lordship of his father Oswiu, even sending a strong military expedition to Ireland. In his attempts to stabilize his northern frontier he subdued the British kingdom of Strathclyde and the Irish in Argyll, but he overreached himself on campaign against the Picts and was defeated and killed at what proved a decisive battle at Nechtansmere, in 685. With that disaster all hope of Northumbrian predominance within England disappeared. Even so his achievements were not negligible. Modern scholars point to the secular wealth and dynamism that made possible the great period of the Northumbrian renaissance, the age of Bede (672–735) as it is sometimes called. The foundation of the monastery of Jarrow/Wearmouth and the activities of Bishop Wilfrid at York and Ripon were a product of the early, confident days of Ecgfrith's reign.

Henry Loyn

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