The last Romans
left England after being recalled back to Rome by emperor Honorious.
The followers of Ninian, a Christian missionary, built the first Christian Church at Whithorn.
Patrick, a Briton who had been enslaved by Irish raiders, escaped and became the first Christian missionary in Ireland. He became patron saint of Ireland.
The Saxon leaders Hengist and Horsa landed in Kent at the head of an invasion force.
The Kingdom of Sussex was founded by Aelle, a Saxon warlord.
The Britons had been pushed to the west of England.
King Cedric founded the Kingdom of Wessex. The capital was at Winchester.
Battle of Mount Badon
A British warrior king, possibly Arthur, defeated the Anglo Saxon invaders in south-west England.
A Saxon tribe settled to the east of London and founded the Kingdom of the East Saxons (Essex).
Gildas, a British monk, wrote ‘The Ruin of Britain’ which details the collapse of Roman Britain and the invasion of the Angles and Saxons.
A tribe of Angles landed in the north and founded the Kingdom of Northumbria.
Cynric took Wiltshire for Wessex.
Cynric of Wessex defeated the Britons at Barbury Castle.
The monastery at Iona was founded by Columba.
Tribes of Angles founded the Kingdom of East Anglia.
Battle of Dyrham
Ceawlin of Wessex took Cirencester, Gloucester and Bath from the Anglo Saxons.
Tribes of Angles formed the Kingdom of Mercia.
The missionary Augustine arrived in Kent and founded a Benedictine monastery at Canterbury. He was given the land by King Aethelberht of Kent.
King Aethelberht of Kent was the most powerful ruler in England.
King Aethelberht of Kent converted to Christianity.
King Aethelberht of Kent died. Raedwald of East Anglia became the most powerful leader in England.
King Edwin of Northumbria converted to Christianity.
Battle of Hatfield Chase
A force of Mercians led by Penda and a force of Welsh led by Cadwallon ap Cadfan invaded Northumbria. King Edwin was killed.
Aidan, Bishop of York, founded the monastery at Lindisfarne.
Battle of Maserfield
Penda of Mercia defeated and killed King Oswald of Northumbria.
King Oswiu of Northumbria killed Penda of Mercia and took control of the region.
Wulfhere of Mercia took control of the region from Oswiu of Northumbria.
Synod of Whitby
Oswiu of Northumbria ordered a meeting be held at Whitby to determine whether the Christian church should follow the dictates of Irish missionaries or those of the Church in Rome. It was decided to follow those of Rome.
Bishop Wilfrid who had been exiled from Northumbria converted the leader of Sussex to Christianity.
685 (20th May)
Battle of Dun Nechtain
Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, invaded Sccotland but was defeated and killed by the Picts led by King Bruide at Dunnichen Moss.
King Ine of Wessex issued a code of laws.
704 (14th December)
Battle of Dun Nechtain
Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, invaded Sccotland but was defeated and killed by the Picts led by King Bruide at Dunnichen Moss.
Ine, King of the Wessex, resigned as King and went to Rome to die. He was succeeded by Aethelheard.
Bede completed his Ecclesiastical History of the English People.
Aethelbald of Mercia took land from Wessex.
Cuthred became King of Wessex after the death of Aethelheard.
Aethelbald of Mercia and Cuthred of Wessex joined forces against the Welsh.
Cuthred managed to secure independence for Wessex from Mercia after mounting a rebellion against the overlordship of Aethelbald of Mercia.
King Aethelbald of Mercia was murdered by his bodyguard. His death caused a civil war in Mercia which was won by Offa who became King.
King Offa of Mercia ordered the construction of an earthwork along the border of Wales. It is known as Offa’s Dyke.
Two papal legates, George of Osia and Theophylact of Todi, visited England.
force landed at Portland, Dorset. When the local reeve went to meet them he was killed. However, this was not an invasionary force but may have been a force that got blown off course.
The monastery at Lindisfarne was raided by Danish Vikings. They destroyed the abbey, killed a large number of monks and took others as slaves.
The monastery at Iona was attacked by a party of Danish Vikings.
The monastery at Iona was attacked again by a party of Danish Vikings.
became King of Wessex after Beorhtric of Wessex died.
The monastery at Iona was attacked a third time by a party of Danish Vikings. Sixty-eight monks were killed. Those that survived fled to the monastery of Kells in Ireland. They took with them an illuminated manuscript which is now known as the Book of Kells.
Battle of Ellendun
Egbert King of Wessex defeated Beornwulf of Mercia and ended Mercian supremacy over the southern kingdoms.
Egbert, King of the Wessex conquered Mercia and forced the Northumbrians to submit to him giving him control of all of England.
Battle of Carhampton
The Vikings attacked North Devon and Somerset. King Egbert of Wessex tried to defeat them but he was forced to retreat.
Battle of Hingston Down
King Egbert fought a combined force of Vikings and Cornishmen and was victorious.
King Egbert of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his son Aethelwulf
The Vikings began making raids along the south coast of England.
Kenneth MacAlpine united the Scots and Picts forming the Kingdom of Scotland.
King Aethelwulf’s son, Aethelstan, defeated a Viking force off the coast of Sandwich.
King Aethelwulf and his younger son, Alfred, went on a pilgrimage to Rome. While he was away his son Aethelbald took control of Wessex.
858 (13th January)
King Aethelwulf of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his son Aethelbald
King Aethelbald of Wessex died he was succeeded by his brother Aethelberht.
The Great Heathen army marched north and invaded Northumbria.
King Aethelberht of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his brother Aethelred I
866 (1st November)
The Danish Vikings in England took Jorvik (York) and used it as a base to make raids into Mercia.
867 (23rd March)
, rivals for the Northumbrian throne made an alliance and marched to expel the Vikings from York. They were badly defeated. Osberht was killed during the battle. Aelle was executed afterwards.
867 (after 23rd March)
Northumbria was controlled by the Vikings with Egbert as puppet king.
The Viking force, led by Ivar the Boneless, invaded Mercia and captured Nottingham. King Aethelred and his brother Alfred
marched north, but by the time they arrived Burgred
, King of Mercia had paid the Vikings off.
A Viking force known as the Great Summer Army, led by Bagsecg, arrived in England.
The Vikings attacked East Anglia and killed King Edmund. Legend states that the Vikings tied King Edmund
to a tree and shot arrows into him until he died. Later, his body was moved to a place which became known as Bury St Edmunds. The Vikings now controlled East Anglia.
871 (4th January)
Battle of Reading
King Aethelred and Alfred attempted to lay siege to Reading but the Vikings led by Halfdan had fortified the town with a dyke and palisade and the Saxons were defeated by the Vikings.
871 (8th January)
Battle of Ashdown
Bagsecg, King of Jutland and Wendland, leader of the Great Summer Army, was killed in this battle between the forces of the Great Heathen Army and those of King Aethelred and his brother, Alfred.
871 (22nd January)
Battle of Basing
King Aethelred of Wessex was defeated by the Vikings.
871 (22nd March)
Battle of Merton
King Aethelred, supported by his brother Alfred, fought the Vikings. The battle was inconclusive and both sides withdrew. Aethelred had been badly injured in the battle.
871 (23rd April)
King Aethelred of Wessex died from injuries sustained in the Battle of Merton. His sons were considered too young to succeed and so Aethelred’s younger brother, Alfred became King.
871 (early Summer)
Battle of Wilton
The Saxons were defeated by the Vikings.
The Vikings took Mercia after defeating King Burgred. Burgred fled overseas. A puppet King, Ceolwulf was installed.
The Vikings began dividing up Northumbria preparing to settle the land permanently.
Alfred made a deal with Guthrum, leader of the Vikings, but Guthrum did not keep the deal. He killed his Saxon hostages and moved to Exeter, leaving the Viking ships at Wareham.
The Vikings made further raids on Wessex taking land in Wiltshire and Hampshire.
Guthrum returned with a large force and marched on Chippenham. Guthrum killed many of the town’s inhabitants. It is likely that this was the last straw for the Witan and that Alfred lost their support due to the fact that his attempts to pay off the Vikings had not worked. Alfred was forced to leave Wessex in fear for his life. He sought refuge in the Somerset marshes at Athelney. The legend of King Alfred
and the Burnt Cakes stems from this period.
Battle of Edington
Alfred summoned his troops and defeated the Viking leader, Guthrum and agreed terms at Wedmore.
As per the treaty of Wedmore agreed between Alfred and Guthrum, the Viking leader and around 30 chief Vikings were baptised.
A band of Vikings arrived and attacked Rochester in Kent. The town had been fortified by Alfred in 878 and was able to hold out until Alfred arrived with the army and defeated the Vikings.
King Alfred of Wessex negotiated with the Vikings and allowed them control of the North under Danelaw. The Kingdom of Wessex controlled most of the South.
the Anglo Saxon Chronicle was begun.
Battle of Farnham
While King Alfred had been busy trying to make peace with Haesten, the Appledore Vikings had raided towns in Hampshire and Berkshire. They were returning to Appledore with their booty but were cut off by Alfred’s son, Edward
who recovered the stolen treasure and put them to flight. Edward then pursued the Vikings, caught up with them and held them under siege at Thorney.
While Alfred and Edward had been occupied with the Vikings in Kent and Appledore, the East Anglia Vikings had sailed to Exeter and lay siege to the city. Alfred had intended to help his son defeat the Vikings at Thorney but had to divert and go to Exeter to relieve the siege to the city. Alfred encircled the besiegers. A further group of Vikings marched west probably to relieve the siege of Exeter but they were met at Buttington by a large force led by the Ealdormen of Mercia, Somerset and Wiltshire who succeeded in putting them to flight and the Vikings returned to East Anglia. Soon afterwards the Vikings in Exeter withdrew and also returned to Thorney, East Anglia.
The Vikings were forced, through hunger, to leave Thorney, they moved north to Chester but were placed under siege and forced to leave.
The Vikings built a new fort about 20 miles north of London by the river Lea.
Alfred built two new fortresses by the river Lea which meant that the Viking force further up the river were unable to get their boats out to sea.
895 (late Autumn)
On learning of Alfred’s actions the Vikings abandoned their boats on the river Lea and marched overland to Bridgenorth on the river Severn where they built a new fort. Alfred marched to Bridgenorth and lay siege to the Vikings.
The Vikings gave up their raids on English towns and returned to East Anglia and Northumbria. Wessex was finally at peace.
899 (26th October)
King Alfred the Great died. He was succeeded by his son, Edward the Elder.
, cousin of King Edward the Elder, had contested Edward’s position as King. He had gained the support of the Vikings and was made King of York. He received the allegiance of the Northern Vikings.
Aethelwold of Wessex and the Northern Vikings landed in Essex and allied with the East Anglian Vikings
910 (5th August)
Battle of Tettenhall (Wednesfield)
The combined forces of Mercia and Wessex defeated the Northumbrian Vikings
Aethelred of Mercia died, he was succeeded by his wife, Aethelflaed who was known as Lady of the Mercians.
First battle of Corbridge
An Anglo Saxon force was defeated by the Vikings.
A force of Vikings from Northampton and Leicester attempted to take the fort at Towcester but were successfully repelled.
A force of East Anglian Danes constructed a fort at Tempsford and used it as a base from which to attack Bedford. They were unsuccessful and forced to retreat.
917 (late Summer)
Battle of Tempsford
The Anglo-Saxons defeated the Danes at Tempsford. The sole surviving Danish King of East Anglia was killed in the Battle.
King Edward took Colchester. The Danes retaliated by besieging the fort at Maldon but they were unsuccessful and many died.
King Edward the Elder received the submission of all the Danes south of the River Humber.
Battle of Corbridge
This was a battle between Viking forces led by Ragnall and Constantine II of Scotland supported by Ealdred of Bamburgh. Although the battle was indecisive the Vikings suffered huge losses and only a quarter of their force survived.
Aethelflaed, Lady of the Mercians, died. Her brother, King Edward the Elder took control of Mercia.
The Viking, Ragnall, took York and proclaimed himself King of York.
The Norse Vikings attacked Cheshire
924 (17th July)
King Edward the Elder died. He was succeeded by his son, Aethelstan
King Aethelstan married one of his sisters to Sihtric, the Viking ruler of Northumbria.
Sihtric of Northumbria died. He was succeeded by a son from a previous marriage who did not support an alliance with Aethelstan. Aethelstan therefore invaded Northumbria and captured York.
Battle of Brunanburh
This battle, fought between King Athelstan of England and the combined forces of Constantine of Scotland, Owain of Strathclyde and Olaf Guthfrithson King of Dublin lasted all day but saw Aethelstan victorious.
Eric Bloodaxe, became King of Northumberland.
939 (27th October)
King Aethelstan of England died. He was succeeded by his son Edmund
The Viking Olaf III Guthfrithson, with the support of the Archbishop of York, Wulfstan, conquered Northumbria and invaded Mercia.
Olaf III Guthfrithson was killed during a raid. He was succeeded by Olaf Sitricson who was not as strong as his predecessor. Edmund attacked and was able to take back Mercia.
King Edmund made an alliance with King Olaf of York. Edmund became godfather to Olaf.
Edmund re-took Northumbria from the Vikings
King Olaf of York was unable to retain his throne and so left England for Ireland where he became King of Dublin.
946 (26th May)
King Edmund I of England died. He was succeeded by his brother Eadred
Eric Bloodaxe captured Jorvik (York) and took control of Northumbria.
King Eadred managed to re-take Northumbria.
The former ruler of York, Olaf Sihtricson, returned to the North of England and was accepted as ruler of Northumbria.
King Eadred captured and imprisoned Archbishop Wulfstan of York who helped the Vikings.
Erik Bloodaxe, the last Viking King in England, was driven out of Northumbria and killed.
955 (23rd November)
King Eadred of England died. He was succeeded by his nephew, Eadwig
King Eadwig of England died. He was succeeded by his brother Edgar
King Edgar received the submission of eight kings of the North, including the Kings of Scotland and Strathclyde at Chester thus strengthening his position.
975 (8th July)
King Edgar of England died. He was succeeded by his son Edward
King Edward of England was murdered by supporters of his step-brother, Aethelred at Corfe Castle. He is known as Edward the Martyr. He was succeeded by his half-brother Aethelred, known as Unready
There were Danish Viking raids on Chester and Southampton.
There were Danish Viking raids on Devon and Cornwall.
There were Danish Viking raids on Dorset.
991 (10th August)
Battle of Maldon
Byrhtnoth of Essex was defeated by the Danish Vikings led by Olaf Tryggvason.
Following the Viking victory at Maldon King Aethelred was forced to pay the Vikings £10,000 pounds (3.3 kg of silver) to make them leave Wessex alone. The payment was known as a Danegeld.
A party of Viking raiders sailed up the River Thames and put London under siege. King Aethelred was forced to make another Danegeld payment to make the raiders leave. This time the Viking leader Olaf Trygvasson, demanded £16,000 (5.3 kg of silver)
St Brice’s Day Massacre
King Aethelred ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England. He hoped that by ridding England of Danes he would minimise the risk of attack from within. A significant number of Danes were killed including the sister of Sweyn Forkbeard.
Sweyn Forkbeard and a party of Vikings raided the South coast retaliation for the St Brice’s day massacre. They gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire.
King Aethelred had no choice but to pay the Danes to leave his land alone. The Danegled demanded was £24,000 (8kg of silver).
Sweyn Forkbeard destroyed the town of Norwich.
Sweyn Forkbeard and the Vikings returned and made a series of raids on Kent and Sussex.
King Aethelred was unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat the Vikings and so was forced to make another Danegeld payment to keep the Vikings away. The sum demanded this time was £36,000 (12 kg of silver).
King Aethelred decided that he could not keep paying off the Danes and so decided to build a new fleet of ships.
A group of Vikings led by Thorkell the Tall made a series of devastating raids on the coast. King Aethelred was unable to defeat the Vikings using his new ships because his Captain, Wulfnoth had taken 20 boats on a piracy mission. Another Captain, Brihtric, who had tried to stop Wulfnoth had run several ships aground.
The Danes invaded East Anglia. A battle was fought near Ipswich which left the Danes in control of the town.
The Danish Vikings captured Canterbury and took Archbishop Aelheah prisoner.
1012 (19th April)
The Danish Vikings in Canterbury went on a drunken raid and murdered Archbishop Aelheah of Canterbury. The Viking leader, Thorkell the Tall, tried to stop the murder but was unsuccessful. He was so angry at his comrades that he defected and joined Aethelred’s forces.
King Aethelred made another Danegeld payment of £48,000 (17 kg of silver) to stop the destruction being caused by the Vikings.
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and took Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. London alone held out against the Danes.
Having conquered the majority of England Sweyn Forkbeard proclaimed himself King of England. Aethelred, his wife Emma and their children fled to Normandy.
1014 (3rd February)
Sweyn Forkbeard died. The English rejected his son, Cnut
and asked Aethelred the Unready to return. Only the people of Lindsey had wanted Cnut to succeed.
1016 (early January)
Cnut began attacking more regions of England. King Aethelred’s son, Edmund Ironside
, summoned an army but the men refused to fight without authorisation from King Aethelred. Aethelred summoned an army but was warned that his son may betray him and returned to London.
Cnut took Northumberland then marched towards London.
Edmund Ironside marched to London to try to stop Cnut from taking the city.
1016 (23rd April)
King Aethelred II of England died. His son, Edmund Ironside, was proclaimed King Edmund II of England.
1016 (c. 9th May)
Battle of Brentford
Edmund Ironside managed to defeat the Danish army led by Cnut at Brentford.
1016 (18th October)
Battle of Assandun
This battle fought between Edmund Ironside and Cnut saw the Dane victorious and left Edmund in control of only Wessex.
1016 (after 18th October)
King Edmund had no choice but to agree to share rule with Cnut. Cnut ruled Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia while Edmund ruled Wessex. It was agreed that on the death of either party the other would rule all of England.
1016 (30th November)
King Edmund Ironside of England died and Cnut
seized the throne of England.
Edmund Ironside’s two children were taken to Hungary as it was feared that they would be murdered by Cnut.
The three children of Aethelred the Unready by Emma of Normandy
were taken to Normandy as it was feared their lives were in danger.
Cnut divided England into four earldoms: Wessex – controlled by Earl Godwin
, Mercia controlled by Eadric Streona, Northumbria controlled by Erik of Hlathir and East Anglia controlled by Thorkell the Tall.
1017 (6th January)
Cnut was crowned King of England at St Paul’s Cathedral.
1017 (2nd July)
Cnut married Aethelred’s widow, Emma. It was agreed that the succession would be with the children of Emma and Cnut.
1035 (12th November)
King Cnut died. His son and nominated heir, Harthacnut, was in Denmark claiming the Danish throne and unable to return to England immediately. The English throne was therefore taken by Harold Harefoot
, son of Aethelred the Unready by his first wife.
King Harold Harefoot of England died. He was succeeded by his Danish half-brother, Harthacnut
1042 (8th June)
King Harthacnut of England died and Edward the Confessor
, son of Aethelred the Unready became King of England. Earl Godwin gave his full support to Edward.
1045 (23rd January)
Earl Godwin and his family were exiled for refusing to punish men of Dover who had killed some Norman friends of the King. Godwin’s youngest son, Wulfnoth
and his grandson Hakon
remained in England as hostages of Edward the Confessor.
Harold and his family returned to England at the head of an army. King Edward was unable to raise a force that would defeat them and was forced to sue for peace terms. It was agreed that the Godwin family could return and their former lands would be restored to them. A large number of King Edward’s Norman supporters at court had fled to Normandy in the face of the Godwin invasion. It is likely that Harold’s brother Wulfnoth and his nephew Hakon were taken to Normandy as hostages.
1066 (5th January)
1066 (8th September)
1066 (20th September)
1066 (24th September)
Harald Hardrada took the city of York.
1066 (25th September)
Battle of Stamford Bridge
The forces of Harold Godwinson met and defeated the forces of Tostig and Hardrada. Both invaders were killed during the battle.
1066 (28th September)
William of Normandy invaded England landing at Pevensey on the south coast of England.
1066 (14th October)
Battle of Hastings
William of Normandy defeated Harold II at the Battle of Hastings. The battle had lasted all day but ended after King Harold was killed.
1066 (15th October)
The Witan proclaimed Edgar Aetheling, great grandson of Aethelred the Unready, King of England.
1066 (15th October)
Following his victory at Hastings, William expected the Anglo Saxons to submit to him. When they did not he was forced to begin the Norman Conquest
to take England by force.
1066 (10th Deccember)
Edgar Aetheling and the English nobility finally submitted to William.
1066 (25th December)
William of Normandy was crowned King at Westminster Abbey beginning the rule of the Normans.