After Penda's death in 655, Mercia faced a grim future. Cowed by a dominant Northumbria and ruled by a puppet king there seemed to be little hope for the people of march. But, in the shadows, nobles plotted with Penda's second-born. The puppet was killed and when Oswiu's attention was elsewhere, they raised their banner in rebellion to expel the Northumbrian officials and set Wulfhere on the throne to rule them as a free people. Wulfhere would rebuild his father's supremacy and use the tools open to him as a Christian to parley simple military dominance into permanent overlordship. But prestige is fleeting and when the energy that set Wulfhere on the throne dissipated, the heirs of Penda began to lose authority until finally a new dynasty stepped in to take up the mantle of kingship.
Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening
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