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n. pl. hep·tar·chies
a. Government by seven persons.
b. A state governed by seven persons.
2. often Heptarchy The informal confederation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from the fifth to the ninth century, consisting of Kent, Sussex, Wessex, Essex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -chies
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) government by seven rulers
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a state divided into seven regions each under its own ruler
3. (Historical Terms)
a. the seven kingdoms into which Anglo-Saxon England is thought to have been divided from about the 7th to the 9th centuries ad: Kent, East Anglia, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, Mercia, and Northumbria
b. the period when this grouping existed
ˈheptarch, heptarchist n
hepˈtarchic, hepˈtarchal adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈhɛp tɑr ki)

n., pl. -chies.
1. (often cap.) the seven principal concurrent Anglo-Saxon kingdoms supposed to have existed in the 7th and 8th centuries.
2. government by seven persons.
3. an allied group of seven states or kingdoms, each under its own ruler.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. government by seven persons.
2. a group or confederacy of seven political units.
3. English History. the seven principal concurrent early English kingdoms. — heptarch, heptarchist, n.heptarchal, heptarchic, heptarchical, adj.
See also: Government
English History. the seven principal concurrent early English kingdoms. — heptarch, n. — heptarchic, heptarchical, heptarchal, adj.
See also: England
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
* of the Heptarchy, but as those of the Druids, and to have furnished
Their number varied somewhat from time to time as they were united or divided; but on the whole, seven figured most prominently, whence comes the traditional name 'The Saxon Heptarchy'
England, for over 400 years, operated what was known as Heptarchy, a system where England was divided up into seven major kingdoms of Northumbria, Wessex, Mercia, East-Anglia, Essex, Kent and Sussex.
Quickened, revivified, it is in our bones, as it has been since our counties were carved out of the dissipating fragments of the Heptarchy. (Baldwin v)
The author takes the most complicated four decades of English history since the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy and tells the story in 60 pages--or rather, in 30 pages with the same story retold, in a further 30 pages.
He mentions the 5th Century, the very early days of Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy (Wessex, Northumberland, Mercia, Kent etc.).
The tribes settled in England, which became a heptarchy (seven distinct kingdoms).
The Heptarchy is a term used to describe a part of which British historical period?
The new logo shows the crest of Middlesex County (now part of Greater London) with the 'coats of arms' which were attributed by the mediaeval heralds to the Kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy.