Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bretwalda (ruler of Britain).

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E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Bretwalda (ruler of Britain).
 
The chief of the kings of the heptarchy who exercised a certain undefined power over the other rulers; something like that of Hugues Cap’et over his peers.   1
        “The office of Bretwalda, a kind of elective chieftainship, of all Britain, was held by several Northumbrian kings, in succession.”—Earle; English Tongue, p. 26.
 


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