Offa History

King Offa ruled Mercia (Middle England) for 39 years, from 757 until he died in 796. He was one of the most powerful kings in early Anglo Saxon England, and probably the most famous of the Middle Ages.

King Offa's most notable achievements were his establishment of a new form of coinage that influenced the design of English currency for many centuries and the earthworks, known as Offa's Dyke, that were built to mark the border between England and Wales.

He was a brilliant soldier and suppressed any resistance from the smaller kingdoms. He was also a clever statesman, politician and organiser, being fair and kind-hearted in everything that he did. The wealth and security he created had great influence, socially and culturally, on the English people. King Offa’s fame was widespread, he earned the respect of many European kings, and influenced political affairs all over Europe.

The fact that he was able to raise sufficient manpower to complete the enormous earthworks of the Dyke, which stretch for 70 miles, is an indication of King Offa's power. Offa's silver penny was the forerunner of modern coins, it had the king's name and the name of the person responsible for the quality of the coins stamped on it, he also produced some coins with a portrait of his wife, Cynethryth, as queen of Mercia. Offa's coins were probably minted at Canterbury, in Kent.