Paeda King South Mercia was born to King Penda of Mercia.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 655. This year [his father] Penda was slain at Wingfield, and thirty royal personages with him, some of whom were kings. One of them was Ethelhere, brother of Anna, king of the East-Angles. The Mercians after this became Christians. From the beginning of the world had now elapsed five thousand eight hundred and fifty winters, when Peada, the son of Penda, assumed the government of the Mercians. In his time came together himself and Oswy (age 43), brother of King Oswald, and said, that they would rear a minster to the glory of Christ, and the honour of St. Peter. And they did so, and gave it the name of Medhamsted [Map]; because there is a well there, called Meadswell. And they began the groundwall, and wrought thereon; after which they committed the work to a monk, whose name was Saxulf. He was very much the friend of God, and him also loved all people. He was nobly born in the world, and rich: he is now much richer with Christ. But King Peada reigned no while; for he was betrayed by his own EalhflAed Bernicia, in Easter-tide. This year Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester, consecrated Deus-dedit to Canterbury, on the twenty-sixth day of March.
On 15 Nov 655 King Oswiu of Northumbria (age 43) defeated the Mercian army (probably) at Cock Beck during the Battle of the Winwaed ending the period of Mercian dominance. The battle is believed to have ended Anglo-Saxon paganism.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 656. This year was Peada slain; and [his brother] Wulfhere (age 16), son of Penda, succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians. In his time waxed the abbey of Medhamsted [Map] very rich, which his brother had begun. The king (age 16) loved it much, for the love of his brother Peada, and for the love of his wed-brother Oswy (age 44), and for the love of Saxulf the abbot. He said, therefore, that he would dignify and honour it by the counsel of his brothers, [his brother] Ethelred and [his brother] Merewalh Iclingas; and by the counsel of his sisters, [his brother] Cyneburh Iclingas and [his brother] Cyneswith Iclingas; and by the counsel of the archbishop, who was called Deus-dedit; and by the counsel of all his peers, learned and lewd, that in his kingdom were. And he so did. Then sent the king after the abbot, that he should immediately come to him. And he so did. Then said the king to the abbot: "Beloved Saxulf, I have sent after thee for the good of my soul; and I will plainly tell thee for why. My brother Peada and my beloved friend Oswy (age 44) began a minster, for the love of Christ and St. Peter: but my brother, as Christ willed, is departed from this life; I will therefore intreat thee, beloved friend, that they earnestly proceed on their work; and I will find thee thereto gold and silver, land and possessions, and all that thereto behoveth." Then went the abbot home, and began to work. So he sped, as Christ permitted him; so that in a few years was that minster ready. Then, when the king (age 16) heard say that, he was very glad; and bade men send through all the nation, after all his thanes; after the archbishop, and after bishops: and after his earls; and after all those that loved God; that they should come to him. And he fixed the day when men should hallow the minster. And when they were hallowing the minster, there was the king, Wulfere (age 16), and his brother Ethelred, and his sisters, Cyneburh Iclingas and Cyneswith Iclingas. And the minster was hallowed by Archbishop Deusdedit of Canterbury; and the Bishop of Rochester, Ithamar; and the Bishop of London, who was called Wina; and the Bishop of the Mercians, whose name was Jeruman; and Bishop Tuda. And there was Wilfrid, priest, that after was bishop; and there were all his thanes that were in his kingdom. When the minster [Map] was hallowed, in the name of St. Peter, and St. Paul, and St. Andrew, then stood up the king before all his thanes, and said with a loud voice: "Thanks be to the high almighty God for this worship that here is done; and I will this day glorify Christ and St. Peter, and I will that you all confirm my words.-I Wulfere give to-day to St. Peter, and the Abbot Saxulf, and the monks of the minster, these lands, and these waters, and meres, and fens, and weirs, and all the lands that thereabout lye, that are of my kingdom, freely, so that no man have there any ingress, but the abbot and the monks. This is the gift. From Medhamsted to Northborough; and so to the place that is called Foleys; and so all the fen, right to Ashdike; and from Ashdike to the place called Fethermouth; and so in a right line ten miles long to Ugdike; and so to Ragwell; and from Ragwell five miles to the main river that goeth to Elm and to Wisbeach; and so about three miles to Trokenholt; and from Trokenholt right through all the fen to Derworth; that is twenty miles long; and so to Great Cross; and from Great Cross through a clear water called Bradney; and thence six miles to Paxlade; and so forth through all the meres and fens that lye toward Huntingdon-port; and the meres and lakes Shelfermere and Wittlesey mere, and all the others that thereabout lye; with land and with houses that are on the east side of Shelfermere; thence all the fens to Medhamsted; from Medhamsted all to Welmsford; from Welmsford to Clive; thence to Easton; from Easton to Stamford [Map]; from Stamford as the water runneth to the aforesaid Northborough." - These are the lands and the fens that the king gave unto St. Peter's minster.-Then quoth the king: "It is little-this gift- but I will that they hold it so royally and so freely, that there be taken there from neither gild nor gable, but for the monks alone. Thus I will free this minster; that it be not subject except to Rome alone; and hither I will that we seek St. Peter, all that to Rome cannot go." During these words the abbot desired that he would gant him his request. And the king granted it. "I have here (said he) some good monks that would lead their life in retirement, if they wist where. Now here is an island, that is called Ankerig; and I will request, that we may there build a minster to the honour of St. Mary; that they may dwell there who will lead their lives in peace and tranquillity." Then answered the king, and quoth thus: "Beloved Saxulf, not that only which thou desirest, but all things that I know thou desirest in our Lord's behalf, so I approve, and grant. And I bid thee, brother Ethelred, and my sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, for the release of your souls, that you be witnesses, and that you subscribe it with your fingers. And I pray all that come after me, be they my sons, be they my brethren, or kings that come after me, that our gift may stand; as they would be partakers of the life everlasting, and as they would avoid everlasting punishment. Whoso lesseneth our gift, or the gift of other good men, may the heavenly porter lessen him in the kingdom of heaven; and whoso advanceth it, may the heavenly porter advance him in the kingdom of heaven." These are the witnesses that were there, and that subscribed it with their fingers on the cross of Christ, and confirmed it with their tongues. That was, first the king, Wulfere, who confirmed it first with his word, and afterwards wrote with his finger on the cross of Christ, saying thus: "I Wulfere, king, in the presence of kings, and of earls, and of captains, and of thanes, the witnesses of my gift, before the Archbishop Deus-dedit, I confirm it with the cross of Christ." (+)-"And I Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, the friend of this minster, and o[oe] the Abbot Saxulf, commend it with the cross of Christ." (+)-"And I Sighere, king, ratify it with the cross of Christ." (+)-"And I Sibbi, king, subscribe it with the cross of Christ." (+)-"And I Ethelred, the king's brother, granted the same with the cross of Christ." (+)-"And we, the king's sisters, Kyneburga and Kyneswitha, approve it."-"And I Archbishop of Canterbury, Deus-dedit, ratify it."-Then confirmed it all the others that were there with the cross of Christ (+): namely, Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester; Wina, Bishop of London; Jeruman, Bishop of the Mercians; and Tuda, bishop; and Wilfrid, priest, who was afterwards bishop; and Eoppa, priest, whom the king, Wulfere, sent to preach christianity in the Isle of Wight; and Saxulf, abbot; and Immine, alderman, and Edbert, alderman, and Herefrith, alderman, and Wilbert, alderman, and Abo, alderman; Ethelbald, Brord, Wilbert, Elmund, Frethegis. These, and many others that were there, the king's most loyal subjects, confirmed it all. This charter was written after our Lord's Nativity 664-the seventh year of King Wulfere-the ninth year of Archbishop Deus-dedir. Then they laid God's curse, and the curse of all saints, and all christian folks, on whosoever undid anything that there was done. "So be it," saith all. "Amen."-When this thing was done, then sent the king to Rome to the Pope Vitalianus that then was, and desired, that he would ratify with his writ and with his blessing, all this aforesaid thing. And the pope then sent his writ, thus saying: "I Vitalianus, pope, grant thee, King Wulfere, and Deus-dedit, archbishop, and Abbot Saxulf, all the things that you desire. And I forbid, that any king, or any man, have any ingress, but the abbot alone; nor shall he be Subject to any man, except the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury. If any one breaketh anything of this, St. Peter with his sword destroy him. Whosoever holdeth it, St. Peter with heaven's key undo him the kingdom of heaven."-Thus was the minster of Medhamsted begun, that was afterwards called Peter-borough. Afterwards came another archbishop to Canterbury, who was called Theodorus (age 54); a very good man and wise; and held his synod with his bishops and with his clerk. There was Wilfrid, bishop of the Mercians, deprived of his bishopric; and Saxulf, abbot, was there chosen bishop; and Cuthbald, monk of the same minster, was chosen abbot. This synod was holden after our Lord's Nativity six hundred and seventy-three winters.
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 675. This year [his brother] Wulfere (age 35), the son of Penda, and Escwin King Wessex, the son of Cenfus Wessex, fought at Bedwin. The same year died Wulfere (age 35), and [his brother] Ethelred succeeded to the government. In his time sent he to Rome Bishop Wilfrid to the pope that then was, called Agatho, and told him by word and by letter, how his brothers Peada and Wulfere (age 35), and the Abbot Saxulf, had wrought a minster, called Medhamsted; and that they had freed it, against king and against bishop, from every service; and he besought him that he would confirm it with his writ and with his blessing. And the pope sent then his writ to England, thus saying: "I Agatho, Pope of Rome, greet well the worthy Ethelred, king of the Mercians, and the Archbishop Theodorus of Canterbury (age 73), and Saxulf, the bishop of the Mercians, who before was abbot, and all the abbots that are in England; God's greeting and my blessing. I have heard the petition of King Ethelred, and of the Archbishop Theodorus (age 73), and of the Bishop Saxulf, and of the Abbot Cuthbald; and I will it, that it in all wise be as you have spoken it. And I ordain, in behalf of God, and of St. Peter, and of all saints, and of every hooded head, that neither king, nor bishop, nor earl, nor any man whatever, have any claim, or gable, or gild, or levy, or take any service of any kind, from the abbey of Medhamsted. I command also, that no shire-bishop be so bold as to hold an ordination or consecration within this abbacy, except the abbot intreat him, nor have there any claim to proxies, or synodals, or anything whatever of any kind. And I will, that the abbot be holden for legate of Rome over all that island; and whatever abbot is there chosen by the monks that he be consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I will and decree, that, whatever man may have made a vow to go to Rome, and cannot perform it, either from infirmity, or for his lord's need, or from poverty, or from any other necessity of any kind whatever, whereby he cannot come thither, be he of England, or of whatever other island he be, he may come to that minster of Medhamsted, and have the same forgiveness of Christ and St. Peter, and of the abbot, and of the monks, that he should have if he went to Rome. Now bid I thee, brother Theodorus (age 73), that thou let it be proclaimed through all England, that a synod be gathered, and this writ be read and observed. Also I tell thee, Bishop Saxulf, that, as thou desirest it, that the minster be free, so I forbid thee, and all the bishops that after thee come, from Christ and from all his saints, that ye have no demand from that minster, except so much as the abbot will. Now will I say in a word, that, whoso holdeth this writ and this decree, then be he ever dwelling with God Almighty in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso breaketh it, then be he excommunicated, and thrust down with Judas, and with all the devils in hell, except he come to repentance. Amen!" This writ sent the Pope Agatho, and a hundred and twenty-five bishops, by Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, to England. This was done after our Lord's Nativity 680, the sixth year of King Ethelred. Then the king commanded the Archbishop Theodorus (age 73), that he should appoint a general Wittenmoot at the place called Hatfield. When they were there collected, then he allowed the letter to be read that the pope sent thither; and all ratified and confirmed it. Then said the king: "All things that my brother Peada, and my brother Wulfere (age 35), and my sisters, [his brother] Cyneburh Iclingas and [his brother] Cyneswith Iclingas, gave and granted to St. Peter and the abbot, these I will may stand; and I will in my day increase it, for their souls and for my soul. Now give I St. Peter to-day into his minster, Medhamsted, these lands, and all that thereto lyeth; that is, Bredon, Repings, Cadney, Swineshead, Hanbury, Lodeshall, Scuffanhall, Cosford, Stratford, Wattleburn, Lushgard, Ethelhun-island, Bardney [Map]. These lands I give St. Peter just as freely as I possessed them myself; and so, that none of my successors take anything therefrom. Whoso doeth it, have he the curse of the Pope of Rome, and the curse of all bishops, and of all those that are witnesses here. And this I confirm with the token of Christ." (+) "I Theodorus (age 73), Archbishop of Canterbury, am witness to this charter of Medhamsted; and I ratify it with my hand, and I excommunicate all that break anything thereof; and I bless all that hold it." (+) "I Wilfrid, Archbishop of York, am witness to this charter; and I ratify this same curse." (+) "I Saxulf, who was first abbot, and now am bishop, I give my curse, and that of all my successors, to those who break this."-"I Ostritha, Ethelred's queen, confirm it."-"I Adrian, legate, ratify it."-"I Putta, Bishop of Rochester, subscribe it."-"I Waldhere, Bishop of London, confirm it."-"I Cuthbald, abbot, ratify it; so that, whoso breaketh it, have he the cursing of all bishops and of all christian folk. Amen."