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Alfred the Great Timeline

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Detailed Information

23 April 871 Accession of Alfred King Alfred succeeded his brother Ethelred to the throne of Wessex and Danish Mercia.
870 Birth of Edmund A son, Edmund, was born to Alfred and his wife, Ethelswitha.
871/2 Birth of Edward the Elder A son, Edward, was born to Alfred and Ethelswitha.
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872 Danes bought off After suffering a year of minor defeats by the Danes, Alfred was forced to buy them off. They promised to leave Wessex alone for five years.
872-877 Danes invade Mercia The Danes invaded Mercia, expelled King Burgred and replaced him with a Dane. They also began dividing up Yorkshire for permanent settlement.
874 Death of Burgred The King of Mercia, Burgred, died. His widow, Ethelswitha, became a nun.
875-6 Danes attack Wessex The Danes launched another attack on Wessex, but success was limited.
877 Danes partition Mercia The Danes began to partition Mercia ready for colonisation. The partitions included present day Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
before May 878 Danes attack Wessex A smaller Danish force made a surprise attack on Chippenham, gaining much of Wiltshire and Hampshire and forcing Alfred to retreat to Athelney in the Somerset marshes.
May 878 Battle of Edington After spending some time raising forces, Alfred defeated the Danish army and forced the Danish leader Guthrum to accept baptism and peace terms. The peace terms recognised Danish occupation of England north of the line from London to Chester.Guthrum was to withdraw to behind this line and be recognised as King of his own independent kingdom.
878 onwards Danelaw The area behind Guthrum’s boundary, became subject to Danelaw and the Danish soldiers established a society of their own. Evidence of this still exists today as Yorkshire, Leicestershire and to some extent, East Anglia, are still full of places ending in -by or -thorp.
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880 Danes settle in East Anglia The Danes had left Wessex and begun to settle in East Anglia.
886 Alfred takes London Alfred the Great captured London, allegedly after defeating a Danish garrison. However, as London was in the Kingdom of Mercia, Alfred, turned London over to Mercian control.
886/7 Marriage of Ethelfleda Alfred’s daughter, Ethelfleda, married Ethelred, Ealdorman of Mercia.
888/9 Ethelswitha on pilgrimage Ethelwulf’s widowed daughter, Ethelswitha, went on a pilgrimage to Rome but died on the journey.
890s Alfred Defends Wessex Following defeat of the Danes in 878, Alfred had reorganised the defence of Wessex. He introduced a system where only half the army was to be on service at any one time, thus producing a smaller but more efficient army. Alfred also spent time and money building ships to match those of the Vikings. Alfred also covered Wessex with a network of public strongholds, several of which have a regular grid of streets that can still be seen today. Examples are Winchester, Chichester and Wareham.
890s onwards Alfred’s government Alfred had a clerical staff of priests, headed by a chief clerk. The office of chief clerk evolved into that of Chancellor. Part of their duties involved record keeping for the purpose of taxation.
893 Danes invade London A large Danish force landed in the Thames estuary. They made raids on local towns and villages.
895 Birth of Aethelstan A son, Aethelstan, was born to Edward the Elder, Alfred’s son, and Egwina his wife.
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25/26/28 Oct 899 Death of Alfred King Alfred died. He was buried in Newminster Abbey, Winchester.

Edward the Confessor & Harold I Timeline

Edward the Confessor

8 June 1042 Accession of Edward the Confessor Edward returned from exile in Normandy to claim the English throne. However, he was not popular with the  Anglo-Danish aristocracy established by Cnut.
3 April 1043 Coronation of Edward the Confessor Edward was crowned King of England at Winchester Cathedral.
23 Jan 1045 Marriage of Edward to Edith Edward married Edith, the daughter of Godwine, Earl of Wessex, the wealthiest and most powerful English subject. However, because of his religious views, Edward was unwilling to consummate the marriage. There would therefore be no heir to the throne from the marriage.
1045 Harold Godwineson titled Harold Godwineson was created Earl of East Anglia.
1051 Rebellion by Godwine Edward ordered Godwine, as Earl of Wessex, to sack Dover in retaliation for a brawl in which several men were killed. Godwine, however, refused and raised troops against the King. The Earls of Mercia and Northumbria were ordered to raise troops against Godwin. The situation could have resulted in civil war, but many nobles feared foreign invasion and withdrew their support from Godwine. Godwine and his family were exiled.
1052 Rebellion by Godwine Godwine returned to England with a large force and insisted that the King banish several of his Norman nobles. The king had no choice but to do as Godwine asked.
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15 April 1053 Godwine died. Godwine died. His son, Harold Godwineson succeeded to the Earldom of Wessex and became the dominant power.
1055 Tostig inherited Northumbria. Harold Godwinson’s brother Tostig inherited the Earldom of Northumbria.
1057 Return of Edward and Edgar Ironside. Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, who had been exiled by Cnut, returned from Hungary with his infant son Edgar. He was heir to the throne of England but died soon after returning. His son, the young prince Edgar, was technically the heir to the throne, but the prospect of an infant King was not favourable.
1058 Harold Godwineson Harold Godwineson was created Earl of Hereford.
1060-66 Westminster Abbey Edward devoted much of the rest of his life to the building of Westminster Abbey. He left the running of the country to the Nobles, especially Harold Godwineson.
1062 Welsh raid England King Gruffydd ap Llewelyn of Gwynedd, ruler of Wales, made a series of raids on England. The combined forces of Harold Godwinson and his brother Tostig were needed to drive ap Llewelyn back to Wales. He died in 1063
1064 Godwineson meets Duke William of Normandy Harold Godwineson was shipwrecked off the coast of Normandy. Some historians believe that Duke William of Normandy held him captive until he had sworn on Holy Relics to enforce William’s claim to the throne of England. Others believe that Harold offered his support willingly.
1065 Tostig exiled. The Saxons of Northumbria rebelled against Earl Tostig, Harold Godwineson’s brother. Although Harold mediated Tostig was eventually exiled. As an exile he was technically Harold’s enemy.
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4/5 Jan 1066 Death of Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor died at the Palace of Westminster. He was buried in the new Westminster Abbey.

Harold Godwineson (Harold II)

4/5 Jan 1066 Accession of Harold Godwineson Although he had promised to support William, Duke of Normandy’s claim to the English throne, Harold allowed himself to be elected King as soon as Edward had died. The move was taken because it was feared that the Norwegian King, Magnus, and his son, Harald Hardrada, would invade England to claim the English throne through their descent from Harthacnut.
6 Jan 1066 Coronation of Harold II King Harold II was crowned King of England at St Paul’s Cathedral
Jan 1066 Invasions planned As news of the accession and coronation of Harold Godwineson spread, both William of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway, Harold’s rivals for the English throne, raised forces and planned to invade England.
1066 Marriage of Harold to Edith Harold married Edith, the daughter of Alfgar, Earl of Mercia.
20 Sept 1066 Battle of Fulford Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, allied with the Orkney Vikings and Harold Godwinson’s brother Tostig and invaded the north of England. The combined forces of Mercia and Northumberland led by earls Edwin and Morcar were heavily defeated outside York. Harold was forced to march his army north to fight off the Norwegian invasion.
25 Sept 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge Harold Godwineson surprised Harald Hardrada’s forces as they rested outside York. Both Hardrada and Tostig were killed and the invading forces defeated. Harold had recovered Northumbria but his army was considerably weakened.
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27 Sept 1066 Normans set sail When he heard that Harold had been forced North, William mounted his invasion. A fleet of ships carrying about 5,000 warriors, horses, arms and supplies left France, paid for by William’s brother, Odo, bishop of Bayeux.
28 Sept 1066 Normans invade William Duke of Normandy landed at Pevensey in the South of England and began a march towards Hastings where a wooden fort was built. Harold Godwinson’s weakened army were forced to march rapidly South.
14 Oct 1066 Battle of Hastings Harold’s army had returned South and Harold, hoping to surprise the Normans, as he had the Norwegians, decided not to wait for reinforcement by the fyrd or thegns.

The battle took place at Senlac Hill. Harold ordered his Saxon army to make a shield wall at the top of the hill. William’s army made the first attack but were held off by the shield wall. Successive attacks by the Normans continued to be held off by the shield wall. Some time later, however, some Saxons thought they heard a cry that William had been killed. The Saxon’s believing that they had won the battle, broke the shield wall and chased the retreating Normans down the hill. This gave the Norman horseman the opportunity they had been waiting for. Charging into the Saxon foot soldiers they cut them down before riding up the hill to break the remnants of the shield wall.

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The battle lasted all day and towards the end of the day Harold fell, popularly thought to be from an arrow in the eye, but actually from a sword blow wielded by a mounted Norman Knight. The English infantry was broken, William had won the battle. He gave thanks for victory by founding an altar and later an abbey at the place known afterwards as Battle.

William II (Rufus) Timeline

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1057 Birth A third son, William, was born, in Normandy, to William, Duke of Normandy and his wife Matilda of Flanders.
9 Sept 1087 Death of William the Conqueror William died in France from wounds received at the siege of Mantes. He left Normandy to his eldest son, Robert Curthose. He left both his sword and the English crown to his second son William. William I was buried in St Stephen’s Abbey, Caen, Normandy.
9 Sept 1087 Accession William, known as Rufus because of his ruddy complexion, succeeded his father to the English throne. However, he did not have the full loyalty of the barons because many of them believed that the throne should have been inherited by William’s eldest son, Robert Curthose.
26 Sept 1087 Coronation William II was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey.
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1088 Rebellion A number of Anglo-Norman barons led by Odo of Bayeaux, rebelled against William Rufus. They believed that while Normandy and England were ruled by separate rulers there would not be stability. Loyalty to one ruler automatically meant disloyalty to the other and this was a problem since many barons also owned land in both England and Normandy. Robert Curthose did not join the rebellion, choosing to stay in Normandy. The rebels were defeated by an English force that had been recruited by William with false promises.
1089 William claims Normandy William used English silver to buy support and lay claim to Normandy. Although he had some success he was unable to claim Normandy.
1089 Death of Lanfranc – Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, died. William delayed the appointment of a successor.
1092 William took Cumbria William seized Cumbria from Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland.
1093 Archbishop of Canterbury Anselem of Bec William II had not appointed an Archbishop of Canterbury because he was wary of giving churchmen too much power and he had not found a man loyal enough to fill the post. In 1093, when he was taken ill and believed himself to be dying he decided that he should fill the post. He appointed Anselem of Bec, a scholarly man, as Archbishop of Canterbury. The appointment proved to be a disaster for William, who was not dying after all. Bec called for churchmen to be more politically aware and began a period where churchmen played a prominent role in government.
1094 Court Life The court was full of people hoping to gain the King’s favour and William’s favourite was Ranulf Flambard, a ruthless despoiler of the church. Unlike his father, William was not religious and his court was full of gaiety. He set new fashions such as long hair.
1094 William unpopular with the Church William was very unpopular, especially with the church. He increased taxation and sold church positions to the highest bidder rather than filling them by appointment. Many church positions were left empty so that William could take the money they earned for himself.
1095 Conspiracy William faced another plot to replace him with his brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy.
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1095 Council of Rockingham Following a ruling by the Pope that all churchmen must firsly be loyal to their Pope and put their King second,  William called this council to deal with the ever increasing gap between himself and his Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselem of Bec. Anselem appealed to Rome, arguing that as Archbishop of Canterbury he could not be judged by the King’s council.
1096 Curthose leases Normandy to William Robert Curthose decided that he would like to join the Pope’s crusade to recover Jerusalem from the Muslims. He decided to lease Normandy to William for 10,000 marks and use the money to equip a force for the Crusade. William’s brother Odo was also among those Normans that joined the Pope’s crusade.
1096 William takes Normandy Although Robert had only leased Normandy to William, William had no intention of giving the land back. He made plans to recover Maine and the Vexin, both of which had been part of William I’s Normandy but had been lost by Robert.
1097 Anselem of Bec leaves England The Archbishop of Canterbury, Anselem of Bec, decided that he could not cope with the conflict with William. He sailed from Dover to France leaving the estates of Canterbury in the King’s hands.
1097 William Rufus recorded as a bad King. Although the departure of Anselem of Bec was a victory for William, the dispute has served to leave a legacy of William as a bad King.

In the eleventh century it was churchmen who wrote biographies of Kings. William was hated by the churchmen of the day –  they disliked his preference for long hair, seeing it as a sign of an effeminate and low morals. They also disliked his fondness for gaiety and extravagance and his coolness towards religion. The biographies of William Rufus were therefore written by men who hated him and were often extremely biased.

1099 Land gains in Normandy William II had succeeded in recovering Maine and the Vexin, the land lost by Robert Curthose.
1099 Bishop of Durham The King’s hated favourite, Ranulf Flambard, was made Bishop of Durham. The appointment of a man who had no respect for the church, served to anger the people of England still further.
2 Aug 1100 William II killed William was mysteriously killed by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. The murder is surrounded with speculation as William’s younger brother, Henry, was in the forest at the same time. Whether the murder was committed by Henry, committed on Henry’s behalf, committed on Robert’s behalf or simply an accident we will never know. But no one at the time claimed that Henry was responsible.

William II was buried in Winchester Cathedral.

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King Stephen Timeline

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Summary

Detailed Information

1096/97 Birth A son, Stephen, was born to Stephen, Count Palatine of Blois, Brie, Chartres and Meaux and his wife Adela, daughter of William I and Matilda of Flanders at Blois, France.
1125 Marriage Stephen, count of Blois, married Matilda, daughter of Eustace III of Boulogne and his wife Mary, daughter of Malcolm III, and sister of the Queen.
Nov 1135 Succession Problems Henry I was dying. He had named his daughter, Matilda as his successor and had forced the Barons to promise to be loyal to her. However, Matilda, who was in France, was not popular and few men wanted her to be Queen. Henry’s nephew Stephen was in Boulogne and only a days’ travel from England.
22 Dec 1135 Death of Henry I Stephen, hearing of the death of his uncle, rode to Winchester, where, with the support of his brother, Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, he took control of the treasury. Roger of Salisbury supported Stephen’s bid to be King instead of Matilda.
22 Dec 1135 Accession Stephen, with the support of the Barons, who generally felt that women were unfit to rule, took the throne of England.
26th Dec 1135 Coronation The Archbishop of Canterbury was persuaded to crown Stephen. It was argued that the oath of allegiance sworn to support Matilda was invalid as it had been exacted by force. A fictitious story was also put about that King Henry had changed his mind about the succession on his deathbed.
22 March 1136 Coronation of Queen Stephen’s wife, Matilda, was crowned Queen Consort at Westminster Abbey.
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1138 Matilda’s Rebellion Matilda had spent the two years since her cousin’s accession tot he English throne raising forces to fight on her behalf. When her half-brother Robert of Gloucester joined her cause, she had a base from which to operate in England. Stephen then made two serious mistakes; he upset his brother Henry when he did not appoint him Archbishop of Canterbury, he also arrested three influential bishops, one of whom was Roger of Salisbury.
1138 Stephen as King The country needed a strong King but Stephen was not strong. He was charming and courageous but he could neither control his friends nor subdue his enemies. Some who had supported Stephen’s claim to the throne now believed that they were wrong and called for Matilda to take her rightful place on the throne.
22nd Aug 1138 Battle of the Standard David I of Scotland invaded England both in support of Matilda dnd to extend his own lands. He was defeated by an army raised by Archbishop Thurstan of York. The battle took place at Cowton near Northallerton in Yorkshire and was fought round a wagon bearing the banners of the northern saints.
1139 Stephen makes peace with Scotland To secure peace with Scotland, Stephen ceded Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmoreland to David. David’s son, Henry, was created Earl of Northumberland.
Oct 1139 Civil War begins Matilda and her forces landed at Arundel. Stephen was aware of her arrival and had the opportunity to imprison her. However, he allowed her to go free. She joined her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, in Bristol.
2 Feb 1141 Battle of Lincoln A force of Matilda’s supporters, led by Robert of Gloucester and Ranulf, Earl of Chester, defeated and captured Stephen while he was laying siege to Lincoln castle. Stephen was imprisoned in the city of Bristol.
Summer 1141 Matilda Matilda was living royally in London. She took the title, Lady of the English and could have taken the English throne. However her arrogance and dictatorial behaviour destroyed her chances of being crowned in Stephen’s place.
Late Summer 1141 Matilda driven out of London Stephen’s Queen, Matilda of Boulogne, had raised an army for her husband. They now marched to London and were joined by large numbers of Londoners who disliked Matilda. The ‘Lady of the English’ was driven out.
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14 Sept 1141 Battle of Winchester Stephen’s Queen, Matilda, and her supporters lay siege to Henry of Blois’ palace at Winchester. They managed to encircle the town which forced Matilda to withdraw. Robert of Gloucester was captured and Matilda was forced to release Stephen in exchange.
1 Nov 1141 Stephen Restored Stephen was restored to the throne.
25 Dec 1141 Second Coronation Stephen was again crowned King of England in Canterbury Cathedral, Kent.
1144-7 Civil War Civil war between Matilda and Stephen continued with neither side making headway. The war was conducted through a series of sieges which were generally won by the defenders.
Oct 1147 Death of Robert of Gloucester Robert of Gloucester, Matilda’s right-hand man, died.
1148 Matilda leaves England Disheartened by her failure to win the civil war and by the death of Robert of Gloucester, Matilda left England, never to return.
7 Sept 1151 Death of Geoffrey
Plantagenet
Matilda’s husband, Geoffrey of Anjou died. Their son, Henry, became Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou.
1152 Henry to England Matilda’s son, Henry Plantagenet sailed for England. He believed he was the rightful heir to England through his mother Matilda. However, he had no more success than his mother in taking the English throne.
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1152 Treaty of Wallingford This treaty made provision for the English crown to pass to Matilda’s son, Henry of Anjou. Stephen’s legitimate children, Eustace and William would be passed over.
Dec 1153 Treaty of Westminster This treaty allowed Stephen to remain King of England for life. It also stated that Stephen had adopted Henry Plantagenet as his heir. Stephen’s second son, William, was to inherit all Stephen’s baronial lands.
25 Oct 1154 Death of Stephen King Stephen died. He was buried next to his wife and son in the monastery at Faversham.

Norman & Plantagenet Timeline

Norman and Plantagenet Timeline

Tudor and Stuart Timeline

Tudor and Stuart Timeline

Georgian and Victorian Timeline

Georgian and Victorian Timeline

Twentieth Century Timeline

Twentieth Century Timeline

Cite This Article
"British Monarchy Timeline: A Comprehensive Dateline of British Royals" History on the Net
© 2000-2019, Salem Media.
August 24, 2019 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/british-monarchy-timeline-comprehensive-dateline-british-royals>
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