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Sunna (Saxon chief)

Sunna (Saxon chief)

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Sunna was a Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 chief whose people were widespread in eastern Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, southern England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. A number of English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 place names are derived from this name including Sonning
Sonning
Sonning, occasionally called Sonning-on-Thames is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Wokingham in the English county of Berkshire, a few miles east of Reading. The village is situated on the River Thames and was described by Jerome K...

 (historically spelled "Sunning"), Sonning Eye
Sonning Eye
Sonning Eye is a hamlet on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, in the civil parish of Eye & Dunsden, at the very southernmost tip of Oxfordshire.- Overview :...

, Sunbury
Sunbury-on-Thames
Sunbury-on-Thames, also known as Sunbury, is a town in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, England, and part of the London commuter belt. It is located 16 miles southwest of central London and bordered by Feltham and Hampton, flanked on the south by the River Thames.-History:The earliest evidence of...

, Sunningdale
Sunningdale
Sunningdale is a large village and civil parish in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England.-Location:Sunningdale is located close to the present border with Surrey, and is not far from Ascot, Sunninghill and Virginia Water. It is situated 24 miles west of London and 7...

, Sunninghill and Sunningwell
Sunningwell
Sunningwell is a village and civil parish about south of Oxford, England. The parish includes the village of Bayworth and the eastern part of Boars Hill...

, many close to the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

.

One historian notes that "Sunbury may be named after Sunna, the eponymous founder of the provincia quae appellatur Sunninges, whose territory lay in Berkshire west of the lands granted to Chertsey
Chertsey
Chertsey is a town in Surrey, England, on the River Thames and its tributary rivers such as the River Bourne. It can be accessed by road from junction 11 of the M25 London orbital motorway. It shares borders with Staines, Laleham, Shepperton, Addlestone, Woking, Thorpe and Egham...

 in the mid-670s". A historian of Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

 has commented "The Sunna of Sonning and related names... was clearly a local potentate of no small importance". Searle's Onomasticon finds that Sunna was a rare personal name.

However, another theory holds that "The meaning of sunna is likely to be wet or marshy land... in Sonning, hd. and par., Berks., near Reading
Reading, Berkshire
Reading is a large town and unitary authority area in England. It is located in the Thames Valley at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet, and on both the Great Western Main Line railway and the M4 motorway, some west of London....

, and in Sunninghill in south-west Berkshire".