CHRONOLOGY

360s

Incursion of the Scotti (inhabitants of Ireland), the Picti (inhabitants of Scotland) and the Saxones from northwest Germany, or already resident as foederati (mercenaries in the service of the empire) into the province of Britain

410

The sack of Rome by Alaric the Visigoth Honorius, the western Roman emperor, notifies the Romano-British civitates that thenceforward they must fend for themselves

429

Germanus, bishop of Auxerre, makes first visit to Britain in response to request by the British church

431

Palladius sent by Pope Celestine as first bishop ‘to the believers in Ireland’

443

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (A-SC) date for Britons’ appeal to Aetius, the principal Roman commander in Gaul, for aid against the barbarian incursions

447

Second visit of Germanus; he dies in Ravenna the following year

449

A-SC date for arrival of Hengest and Horsa

470s

A-SC notes landing of Aelle on coast of Sussex

490s

A-SC notes landing of Cerdic and his son Cynric in the Solent

c. 500

British victory at Mount Badon under ‘Ambrosius Aurelianus’, location unknown. The battle checks the incursions of the heathen Angles and Saxons for 44 years, according to Gildas, who was born in the same year

c. 540

Gildas writes his De excidio et conquestu Britanniae (‘Concerning the Overthrow and Conquest of Britain’). It inveighs against the moral decadence of the British and attributes their defeats to this

563

Irish monk Columba comes to Britain and founds the monastic community at Iona

570

Presumed death of Gildas

590

Gregory I (the Great) becomes pope

591

Columbanus, monk at Bangor in Co. Down, goes ‘in peregrinatio’ to the Frankish kingdom of Burgundy and soon thereafter founds the monastery at Luxueil

592–616

Northumbrian Kingdoms: the pagan Æthelfrith, king of Bernicia from 592, rules also in Deira from c. 604

597

Augustine and his party, sent by Pope Gregory I to preach Christianity to the English, arrive at the court of King Æthelberht of KENT and his Christian queen, Bertha of Paris; Æthelberht is baptized no later than 600

603

Northumbria: Æthelfrith defeats the king of Dál Riata at the battle of Degsastan and within twelve months succeeds, by right of his wife, to Deira, forcing her brother Edwin into exile (604)

613 or 615

Æthelfrith wins major battle against the Britons (possibly of Powys) at the Battle of Chester

c. 615

Possible date for the promulgation of the first code of laws in a European vernacular by Æthelberht of KENT

616

In Kent, the death of Æthelberht is followed by a brief pagan resurgence under his son Eadbald Rædwald, king of East Anglia, with his client Edwin of Deira defeats and kills Æthelfrith at the Battle of the River Idle. Edwin becomes king in Northumbria

c. 619

At about this time Edwin marries Æthelburh of Kent, who is accompanied north by Paulinus, later bishop of York

c. 625

Death of Rædwald of East Anglia; paganism strong in the kingdom

627

Edwin of Northumbria baptized at Easter with his baby daughter Eanflæd

630/31

East Anglia: Sigeberht, in exile in Burgundy under Rædwald, returns as king and installs Felix as bishop

633

Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Gwynedd defeat and kill Edwin of the Northumbrians at the Battle of Hatfield

634

Oswald of Northumbria defeats and kills Cadwallon at the Battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham

635

Cynegils of Wessex baptized by Birinus, bishop of Dorchester. Oswald founds Lindisfarne

642

Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Northumbria at the Battle of Maserfelth. His brother Oswiu becomes king in Bernicia, and his cousin Oswine in Deira

651

Oswiu becomes king in Deira, though his rule is resisted there

653

Penda of Mercia’s son Peada, sub-king of the Middle Angles, converts to Christianity. Cedd is sent to Bradwell on Sea in Essex; the following year Cedd becomes bishop of the East Saxons

655

Penda of Mercia and allied Britons force Oswiu of Bernicia to restore plunder at an encounter near Stirling on the River Forth. On 15 November Oswiu crushes the allies at the Battle of Winwaed and kills Penda

658

The Mercians drive out Northumbrian forces and make Wulfhere king

664

Synod of Whitby

Oswiu of the Northumbrians aligns the church in his dominions with Rome in the calculation of Easter and matters of ritual

669

Theodore of Tarsus, consecrated in Rome as archbishop by Pope Vitalian, arrives at Canterbury. That year he installs Wilfrid as bishop of York and arranges the appointment of a bishop in Mercia

670

Oswiu of Northumbria dies peacefully

674

Benedict Biscop founds his monastery at Monkwearmouth

678

Wilfrid, expelled as bishop of Northumbria, leaves England to appeal to the pope; Theodore divides the huge diocese into three, Bernicia, Deira and Lindsey, all kingdoms or former kingdoms

679

Synod of Hatfield convened to affirm the allegiance of the church in England to orthodox Trinitarian Christianity and refute the monothelete heresy. Theodore presides with the style ‘archbishop of the island of Britain and of Canterbury’ At the Battle of the Trent, Æthelred of Mercia defeats Ecgfrith of the Northumbrians

681

Benedict Biscop founds the monastery at Jarrow, with Ceolfrith as its first abbot

685

Ecgfrith of Northumbria defeated and killed by the Picts at the Battle of Nechtansmere

686/8

Cædwalla of Wessex absorbs the Isle of Wight; he makes a pilgrimage to Rome, where he receives baptism from the pope. He dies there

688

Ine succeeds as king in Wessex; some time within the next ten years he promulgates his Laws

690

Death of Archbishop Theodore St Willibrord begins his mission to the Frisians from Utrecht

695

Laws of Wihtred, king of Kent

706

Wilfrid restored as bishop of Hexham

709

Death of Wilfrid

710s

Nechtan mac Derile, king of the Picts, applies to Monkwearmouth for help in adopting Roman Easter and in building a stone church

714

St Willibrord baptizes the future Frankish king, Pippin the Short

716

Abbot Ceolfrith leaves for Rome, bearing the Codex Amiatinus

719

Pope Gregory II at Rome mandates St Boniface to mission in Germany

725

Æthelbald of Mercia exerts imperium in Kent on death of King Wihtred

732

Battle of Poitiers: Charles Martel ends Arab advance north of the Pyrenees

735

Death of Bede Bishop Ecgberht becomes the first full archbishop of York

742

St Boniface convenes ‘Germanic Church Council’, dated AD, Bedan style

744

Foundation of abbey of Fulda

747

Third Council of Clofesho

751

Coronation of Pippin the Short as first non-Merovingian king of the Franks St Boniface present at the ceremony

754 or 755

5 June, St Boniface on mission to Frisians martyred at Dokkum (aged 78?)

757

Æthelbald of Mercia murdered, and his successor too. Offa accedes

776

Battle of Otford; Kent reasserts independence of Mercia for a time

787

Council of Chelsea confirms the elevation of Lichfield to an archbishopric Ecgfrith son of Offa anointed king of Mercia, perhaps on this occasion: co-ruler with his father

793

Vikings sack Lindisfarne

796

Death of Offa of Mercia; succeeded by his son Ecgfrith, who is murdered soon after. Revolt in Kent against Mercia led by Eadberht Præn

798

Coenwulf of Mercia deposes Eadberht Præn

800

Christmas Day, Charles the Great, king of the Franks, crowned emperor by Pope Leo III

825

Battle of Ellendun: Ecgberht of Wessex defeats Beornwulf of Mercia

820s

Historia Brittonum with its ‘Arthurian’ elements set down at Welsh court of Gwynedd. ‘Nennius’ one of the writers associated with it

854

Æthelwulf of Wessex and his son Alfred travel to Rome

865

The ‘Great Army’ of Danish Vikings campaigning in East Anglia

867

York falls to Viking force Æthelred of Wessex adopts Mercian ‘lunette’ penny type and thus in effect inaugurates a monetary union that anticipates the Anglo-Saxon kings’ nationwide unitary coinage

869

Battle of Hoxne and death of King Edmund of the East Angles

870

Battle of Ashdown: victory for King Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred over the Viking Danes

871

Alfred becomes king of Wessex

873–4

The ‘Great Host’ winters at Repton in Mercia and defeats King Burgred, who goes into exile at Rome, where he dies

875–6

Vikings under Halfdan settle lands in Northumbria

876

Danes divide Mercia with Ceolwulf

878–9

Following surprise Danish attack at Twelfth Night, Alfred is a fugitive in marshes of Athelney. He regroups. Following victory at Edington he stands sponsor at the baptism of their king, Guthrum

880

Danes settle in East Anglia

885

Submission to Alfred of all the English not subject to the Danes

886

Alfred ‘inaugurates’ burh at London

899

Alfred, king of the Anglo-Saxons, dies

903

King Edward (the Elder) crushes rebellion of Æthelwold

910

Battle of Tettenhall: Edward defeats Northumbrian Danes

918

Death of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians. Mercia taken over by Edward, king of the Anglo-Saxons

924

Death of Edward, accession of Æthelstan

925

Coronation of Æthelstan at Kingston Æthelstan coinage with style ‘REX TOTIUS BRITANNIAE’ Grately Code issued about this time

934

Æthelstan makes pilgrimage to shrine of St Cuthbert at Chester-le-Street

937

Battle of Brunanburh: Æthelstan’s victory over the Vikings of York and their northern allies

939

Death of Æthelstan and accession of Edmund

943

Baptism of Olaf, Viking king of Dublin and York, Edmund standing as his sponsor

946

Murder of Edmund at Pucklechurch, accession of Eadred

952–4

Eadred achieves submission of York Vikings Eric Bloodaxe killed at Battle of Stainmore

955

Death of Eadred, accession of Eadwig

957

Edgar king in Mercia and Northumbria

959

Death of Eadwig, Edgar king of all the English kingdom Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury

961

Oswald becomes bishop of Worcester and, two years later, Æthelwold bishop of Winchester. The three principal figures of tenth-century church reform now in post.

973

Edgar’s ‘imperial’ coronation at Bath

970s

Edgar’s reign sees reforms of Anglo-Saxon coinage with royal mints established nationwide

c. 973

Council of Winchester approves the Regularis Concordia (i.e. an accord for the ‘regular’ clergy, the monks), governing the reformed Benedictine monasteries throughout England

975

Death of Edgar, accession of Edward the Martyr

978

Murder of Edward, accession of Æthelred II

981

Seven Danish ships sack Southampton: the first incursion since death of King Edgar

990

Sigeric, archbishop of Canterbury, travels to Rome for his pallium. A detailed account of his journey survives

991

Battle of Maldon: Ealdorman Byrthnoth killed resisting Norse raiders. Archbishop Sigeric advises paying tribute of 10,000 pounds, the first in Æthelred’s reign

994

Swein Forkbeard and Olaf Tryggvason of Norway lay siege to London

995

Community of St Cuthbert move from Chester-le-Street to Durham

1002

Wulfstan becomes archbishop of York and bishop of Worcester. St Bryce’s Day Massacre

1009

Arrival of army of Thorkell the Tall

1012

First levy of heregeld, tax levied nationwide (Europe’s first such impost) to pay Danish mercenaries. Payment continued until 1051, revived under the Norman kings and last raised in 1162. Martyrdom of St Ælfeah

1013

Swein of Denmark invades; Æthelred and his family flee to Normandy

1014

Death of Swein

1015

Return of Æthelred; Cnut campaigns against Edmund Ironside

1016

Death of Æthelred; accessions of Cnut and Edmund, who dies 30 November

1017

Cnut marries Queen Emma

1020

Cnut’s first letter to the English

1021

Thorkell the Tall exiled

1027

Cnut’s journey to Rome

1035

Death of Cnut; Harold I proclaimed at Oxford

1040

Death of Harold I, accession of Harthacnut

1042

Accession of Edward the Confessor

1044

Robert of Jumièges appointed bishop of London

1051–2

Expulsion and return of the Godwine family

1053

Reputed visit to England by Duke William of Normandy

1055

Tostig Godwineson appointed earl of Northumbria

1063

Earls Harold and Tostig campaign successfully against the Welsh

1065

Rising in the north against Tostig Harold has King Edward appoint Morcar of Mercia earl of Northumbria

1066

January, King Edward dies; Harold crowned king in Westminster Abbey Harald of Norway invades England with Tostig but Harold defeats them at Stamford Bridge, 25 September; William invades, 28 September. William defeats the English army at Hastings, 14 October.

1068–9

Northern rebellions against William

1071

Rebel force on Isle of Ely surrenders to William; Hereward the Wake makes good his escape

1075

Death of Edith, queen of Edward the Confessor, at Winchester. King William has her body brought solemnly to Westminster to be interred beside that of her husband in the abbey

1085–6

The Domesday survey

1087

Death of William the Conqueror

1088

William II, facing rebellion led by Odo of Bayeux, ‘summoned Englishmen and placed his troubles before them [and they] came to the Assistance of their lord the king . . .’

1092

Death of Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester – the last English bishop in post The last consecutive entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

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