Eadwald (c.796-798) -
Silver penny of Eadwald of East Anglia (c.796-798/800), three line phase (Naismith E1.2), mint: East Anglia (Ipswich?), moneyer: BOTRED. Ref: Naismith 2011: 299. Coin complete but bent, small rip at 11 o'clock on obverse. Obverse: +LD/+EDVA/REX in three rectangular panels. Reverse: tribrach with rounded ends and pellet at centre, BO/TR/ED.
EMC 2018.0025. PAS ID: SF-619B89 Found near Eye by a metal detectorist, only one other example of this type exists-which was found during a metal detector survey of the Anglo-Saxon royal palace at Rendlesham. Both these coins can be die-linked to each other.
Eadwald was a somewhat shadowy figure who ruled East Anglia between 796 and 798. He is neither mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle nor other contemporary literary sources, his existence only known through the coins that he issued. The latter makes these particularly significant and rare finds in this regard, with only around 25-30 known to exist. All appear to have been minted locally at a currently unknown location in East Anglia, their distribution primarily concentrated in Norfolk and Suffolk- though a few examples are also known from Kent and Lincolnshire.
The coin from the Eye area is only the second known example of its type, the first discovered several years ago at the Anglo-Saxon royal site of Rendlesham. The inscription on its obverse face names Eadwald as king (EADVALD REX), while its reverse depicts a distinctive three-armed design known as a tribrach, around which the name BOTRED (that of the moneyer) appears. This motif is utilised on coinage of several other rulers during the final years of the 8th century and earliest years of the 9th, including Coenwulf of Mercia, Archbishop Aethelheard of Canterbury and Cuthred of Kent.
It seems from the scant evidence available about the kingdom of East Anglia in the final years of the 8th century that Eadwald may have opportunistically come to power following the death of Offa of Mercia (who originally seems to have subjugated East Anglia in the 780’s) and his son Ecgfrith five months later, creating a vacuum of power that resulted in East Anglia briefly regaining its status as a truly independent kingdom. It was again brought under Mercian control in c. 798 by Coenwulf (796-821), though it remains unknown whether Eadwald was killed or simply deposed. Sadly, the former seems more likely given the reportedly severe treatment meted out to other rebellious Mercian vassals (such as Eadberht 'Praen') during this period. (Courtesy of Alex Bliss).