Anna of East Anglia

Anna (also: Onna, † 654 ) was a ruling in the 7th century king of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the dynasty of East Anglia Wuffinger.


Anna was born in the dynasty of the Wuffinger. His father was Eni. Æthelhere and Æthelwald were his brothers. The mentioned as Enis son in the Anglian collection Æthelric 's probably just a misspelling for Æthelhere.

Anna was probably married twice. However, it is disputed whether he was married to Hereswitha and / or Sæwara. His four daughters Seaxburg, Æthelthryth, Æthelburh ( illegitimate) and Wihtburh, and the stepdaughter Sæthryth are regarded as saints. After Liber Eliensis from the 12th century to have been his sons Ealdwulf and St. Jurmin.


Anna's year of birth and youth are unknown. He was baptized in the 630 model years of Felix of Burgundy, the " Apostle of East Anglia ". King Sigebert abdicated in 637 and retired as a monk in a monastery he built back. He handed the throne to his relatives Ecgric as sole king. To 640 attacked Penda, king of Mercia, East Anglia. Sigebert, who had the reputation of a famous and courageous military leader, was taken from the defeated East Anglia from the monastery in order to encourage the army in the ensuing battle. He should be mindful of his vow unarmed, drawn only with a staff in his hand in the middle of the army into battle. Sigebert and Ecgric fell in battle, the ostanglische army was massacred or fled.

East Anglia survived this defeat and the kingship passed to Anna. After the not always reliable Liber Eliensis Anna ascended already 635 or 637 the throne. The monastery was founded by Sigebert few years ago Cnobheresburg the abbot Fursa equipped Anna with more imposing buildings and donations. In the now-defunct monastery complex is likely to Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. Anna had to deal during his reign with the expansion plans of Penda of Mercia. Cenwalh King of Wessex was forced to flee to 645 before Penda of Mercia and lived for three years at Anna, of which he was converted to Christianity in exile. 648 succeeded then Cenwalh to regain its dominance over Wessex, but now Penda again turned against East Anglia. Around the year 650 Penda conquered East Anglia. Anna had to flee temporarily, but the kingdom was able to recover. Well in order to consolidate its position wed his daughter Anna Æthelthryth 652 with Tondberht, the princeps Australium Gyruiorum ( Ealdorman the South Gyrwier ), a small semi-autonomous base in the Fens on the border with Mercia. To 654 fell Anna and his son Jurmin in the Battle of Bulcamp in the battle against Penda, the East Anglia conquered a second time. He was interred in Blythburgh ( at Southwold, Suffolk ) and revered as a martyr to the 12th century. As the successor to Anna's brother Æthelhere was used, but which was totally dependent on Penda.


  • Venerable Bede Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, online in Medieval Source Book (English)
  • Janet Fairweather ( translator's ): Liber Eliensis. A History of the Isle of Ely from the Seventh Century to the Twelfth, compiled by a Monk of Ely in the Twelfth Century, Boydell, 2005, ISBN 978-1-84383-015-3. (English)