Egfrid (also known as ECFRID, ECHGFRID, EGFERD), King of Northumbria, b. 650; d. 685. He ascended the Northumbrian throne at Oswy’s death in 670, and after defeating the Picts who had thought to impose upon his youth by asserting their independence, turned his attention to Wulphere, King of Mercia, and broke, for a time, the power of the southern kingdom. In 679 new trouble with Mercia arose, and in the course of the subsequent struggle Aelfwin, Egfrid’s brother, was slain. Through the intervention of Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, peace was at last restored and in lieu of vengeance Egfrid was prevailed upon to accept the legal wergild (fine) for his brother’s death.
Egfrid now consolidated his kingdom by diplomacy, annexation, and treaty, bringing Cumberland, Galloway, and North Lancashire under Northumbrian influence. The desire for conquest, however, had entered his veins, and in 684 he dispatched an expedition into Ireland. The invasion was unsuccessful, but nevertheless was productive of much damage and bitterness to a hospitable, friendly people who had conferred numerous benefits on the Angles and who found violence where they expected gratitude. Disregarding the advice of his counsellors, Egfrid led an expedition against the Picts the next year, and, being decoyed into the mountain passes, was trapped and slain. He was buried by the victors in the cemetery on the isle of Hii or Iona, and his brother succeeded to the Northumbrian throne.
See also Saint Etheldreda; Diocese of Ely.
STANLEY J. QUINN