Ęthelwold, also known as Ęthelwald or Ęželwald (Old English: Ęželwald "noble ruler"; reigned c. 654\endash 664), was a 7th-century king of East Anglia, the long-lived Anglo-Saxon kingdom which today includes the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. He was a member of the Wuffingas dynasty, which ruled East Anglia from their regio (centre of royal authority) at Rendlesham. The two Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Sutton Hoo, the monastery at Iken, the East Anglian see at Dommoc and the emerging port of Ipswich were all in the vicinity of Rendlesham.
Ęthelwold lived during a time of political and religious upheaval in East Anglia, whose Christian kings in the decades prior to his succession all died violent deaths, having proved unworthy of the task of defending the newly converted kingdom against attacks from its neighbouring kingdom, Mercia, led by its pagan king, Penda. Ęthelwold was the last of the nephews of Rędwald to rule East Anglia. He died in 664 and was succeeded by Ealdwulf, the son of his brother Ęthelric.
Few records relating to East Anglia have survived and almost nothing is known of Ęthelwold's life or reign. He succeeded his elder brother Ęthelhere, after Ęthelhere was killed with Penda of Mercia at the Battle of the Winwęd in about 655. During his rule he witnessed a setback in the aspirations of Mercia to dominate its neighbours, following the Battle of the Winwęd and the murder of Penda's son, Peada.
He was king during the last decade of the co-existence in England of the Christian Roman rite, centred at Canterbury, and the Celtic rite based in Northumbria. At the Synod of Whitby, in 664, the Roman cause prevailed and the division of ecclesiastical authorities ceased. In 662, Swithelm of Essex was persuaded to adopt Christianity and was baptised at Rendlesham, with Ęthelwold present as his sponsor. East Anglia became more closely allied to Northumbria, Kent and lands in the Fens by means of royal marriages such as that between the Northumbrian Hereswitha and the East