England’s earliest kings 2: Offa and the Mercian Supremacy

Course Dates: 20/11/21 - 27/11/21
Time: 11:00 - 13:30
Location: Online
In the mid-C7th Mercia rose to challenge Northumbria for supremacy but after a brief set back became the dominant kingdom in England for about a century from the early C8th to the early C9th under three remarkable kings, Ethelbald, Offa and Coenwulf. Offa is still well known today and nearly succeeded in making England a Mercian kingdom.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00

Course Code: HBH31

Sat, day, 20 Nov - 27 Nov '21

Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

To explore how the kingdom of Mercia rose and fell.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

Mercia was established later than most of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms but found a war leader to be feared in Penda, the last great pagan king of the early kings in England. Although he was ultimately defeated his sons helped to rebuild Mercian power leaving an important legacy for two of the longest reigning Anglo-Saxon kings Ethelbald and Offa. Ethelbald’s long reign enabled him to leave a powerful kingdom to his cousin. Unlike Ethelbald, Offa married and has a large family. He also raised the status of his queen, Cynethryth so that she was the first queen to appear on our coins. His dyke forming the border with Wales is still visible today. He also made the penny the main coinage of England. By conquest and marriage he nearly succeeded in becoming ruler of the whole of England but his plans failed to materialise. His successor Coenwulf came close to emulating him but Mercia was challenged for supremacy both by the growing power of Wessex and the Vikings.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Identify key stages in the early history of England
- Demonstrate understanding of the roles of the king in the C7-9th AD
- Contribute to discussions on how Mercia rose and fell.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an `introductory` course and does not assume previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Illustrated zoom lectures, discussions, questions and answers but no work outside the class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?


When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HBH32 England's Earliest Kings 3: Alfred the Great and the Vikings.

William Sterling Tutor Website

After a BA in History & Geography at Keele with Music, Education and Greek Studies as subsidiaries, William Sterling taught History full-time before becoming a Civil Servant working for the Departments of Transport and Education. This allowed him to study part-time for his MA from Birkbeck and PhD from King’s College, London. From 1992, he lectured in Adult Education at a number of colleges before joining the City Lit in 2008. Since 1994 he has been an official Gallery Guide at the British Museum, covering the whole museum but specialising in the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Etruscans, the Medieval & Modern European and Enlightenment Galleries. As a lecturer, he specialises in those same areas as well as Royal History (especially British Monarchs from 1603 to 1910), Composers’ Lives and other Cultural, especially interdisciplinary, topics. He also lectures on Cruise Ships on subjects ranging from Vikings to Shakespeare. He runs a website offering free resources on the subjects he teaches.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.