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Anglo Saxon Timeline 410-1066


410 to 706


c.410

According to historical records, the last Romans who were stationed in England departed from the country after being recalled by Emperor Honorius to Rome. This event marked the end of the presence of Roman soldiers in England, which had lasted for several centuries. It is interesting to note that the impact of Roman culture and architecture can still be seen in many parts of England today, a testament to the enduring legacy of the Roman Empire. Additionally, the recall of the Roman soldiers from England was part of a larger trend of decline and collapse of the Roman Empire, as it struggled to maintain its vast territories and faced numerous internal and external challenges.


c.430

According to historical records, Ninian was a Christian missionary who had a significant impact on the spread of Christianity in Scotland. He is credited with building the first Christian Church in Whithorn, which was a significant achievement at the time. His followers played a crucial role in the development of the local Christian community, and their efforts helped to establish the foundations of Christianity in Scotland. Although much about Ninian's life and work remains shrouded in mystery, he is remembered by his enduring influence of the Christian Church that he helped to establish.


c.432

Patrick, a Briton, was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish raiders. After he managed to escape, he felt compelled to return to Ireland as a Christian missionary. He tirelessly traveled throughout the country, spreading the word of God and establishing churches. Patrick is renowned for his drive and determination in converting the pagan Irish people to Christianity. Despite facing many challenges and obstacles, he persevered and ultimately became the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.


c.449

According to historical records, during the time when the Picts posed a threat to the Britons, King Vortigern invited Jutish leaders Hengist and Horsa to Kent for military support. The two leaders, along with their Angle and Saxon forces, arrived in Kent and joined the Britons in the fight against the Picts. It is said that the arrival of Hengist and Horsa had a significant impact on the outcome of the conflict, as their military prowess and leadership skills proved crucial in the battle. Additionally, their presence in Kent is believed to have influenced the region's culture and way of life, as the newcomers brought with them their own customs and traditions.


c.455

During the battle with King Vortigern, Horsa was killed. This was a tragic loss for the Anglo-Saxon army, as Horsa was a key figure in the battle. Not only that, but Vortigern's son, Catigern, also lost his life in the fighting. The death of both Horsa and Catigern left their respective sides reeling from the loss of their leaders. However, despite these losses, Hengist emerged victorious from the battle and declared himself King of Kent. This was a significant moment in the history of the Anglo-Saxons, as it marked the beginning of Hengist's reign and the establishment of Kent as a powerful kingdom.


c.477

The Kingdom of Sussex was established by Aelle, a powerful Saxon warlord. He and his followers arrived in England during the 5th century and soon began to assert their dominance over the local population. After several years of fighting, Aelle was able to establish his own kingdom, which would eventually become known as Sussex. Aelle's rule was characterized by a strong military presence, and he was known for his fierce tactics on the battlefield. Despite this, he was also a skilled diplomat, and he was able to establish peaceful relations with neighboring kingdoms. Over time, the Kingdom of Sussex grew in power and influence, becoming one of the most important political entities in England during the early medieval period. Despite facing many challenges over the years, the kingdom endured for centuries.


c.490

The Britons, who were the indigenous people of England, had been pushed to the western regions of the country. This displacement was the result of numerous invasions and battles fought against the Britons by various conquerors, including the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons. As a result, the Britons were forced to abandon their ancestral lands and retreat to the mountainous regions of Wales and Cornwall. This displacement had a profound impact on the Britons' way of life and culture, as they had to adapt to a new environment and preserve their traditions in the face of adversity. Despite the challenges they faced, the Britons managed to maintain their distinct identity and continue to be an integral part of English history and culture.



c.495

According to historical records, the Saxon leader Cerdic, who was a descendant of Woden, along with his son Cynric, led a group of warriors and sailed across the sea to the southern coast of England. Upon their arrival, they established a settlement and began to expand their territory through a series of battles and alliances with local tribes. The presence of Cerdic and Cynric in England marks the beginning of a new era in the island's history, one that would see the rise of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and the eventual unification of England under a single ruler.


c.500

The Battle of Mount Badon was a military encounter fought between the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons. It is believed to have taken place in the late 5th or early 6th century, although the exact date is uncertain. The battle is considered a pivotal moment in the history of Britain, as it marked the beginning of a period of relative stability in the region after years of conflict between the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons. The battle is also notable for being one of the few military engagements in which the Britons were able to successfully fight off the Anglo-Saxon invaders, at least for a time. The details of the battle are not well-documented, and much of what is known about it comes from later historical accounts. Nevertheless, the Battle of Mount Badon remains an important event in the history of Britain and continues to be studied and discussed by historians and scholars

today.


c.519

Cerdic, a legendary leader, established his power over the West Saxons and went on to found the Kingdom of Wessex, which would become one of the most significant and long-lasting kingdoms in English history. His reign marked the beginning of a new era in England, one that saw the consolidation of power under a single king and the growth of a strong, unified state. He is remembered as one of the great founding figures of the English nation.


c.527

The Kingdom of the East Saxons (Essex) was founded by a Saxon tribe that settled in the eastern region of London. This tribe played a significant role in the region's history, as their arrival marked the beginning of a new era of settlement and development. The tribe brought with them their unique culture, traditions, and way of life, which eventually blended with the local customs. Over time, the Kingdom of Essex grew in size and power, becoming one of the most important kingdoms in the region. The kingdom's legacy can still be seen today with multiple historical landmarks and cultural institutions that continue in the area.


c.540

Gildas, a British monk, is recognized for his work ‘The Ruin of Britain’ which is a chronicle of the fall of Roman Britain and the subsequent invasion of the Angles and Saxons. In his writing, Gildas provides a detailed account of the political, social, and economic factors that contributed to the collapse of Roman Britain. He also explores the cultural and religious changes that came with the arrival of the Angles and Saxons. Furthermore, Gildas offers insights into the evolving power structures of this period, the role of the Roman Catholic Church in early medieval Britain, and the emergence of new forms of political organization.


c.547

During the 5th and 6th centuries CE, a group of Germanic-speaking people known as the Angles migrated from modern-day Denmark and settled in the area that is now known as northern England. These people were known for their seafaring skills and their ability to adapt to new environments. After establishing their presence in the region, the Angles formed the Kingdom of Northumbria, which would become one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of its time. The kingdom was renowned for its military prowess, its skilled craftsmen, and its rich cultural traditions, which were heavily influenced by the Angles' Germanic heritage.


c.552

Cynric, son of Cerdic, the first King of Wessex, was a warrior and leader who played a significant role in the early history of England. In his successful campaign to expand Wessex, he conquered Wiltshire, a region known for its fertile soil and abundant natural resources. With this victory, Cynric increased the power and influence of Wessex.


c.556

Cynric of Wessex, son of Cerdic, earned one of his most notable achievements in 556. It was the victory over the Britons at Barbury Castle, which solidified the Saxon control over the area. This battle marked a turning point in the ongoing conflict between the Saxons and the Britons, and paved the way for further expansion of the Saxon territories. It is believed that Cynric's success was due to his ability to inspire and lead his troops, as well as his strategic planning and execution on the battlefield. Overall, Cynric is remembered as a skilled warrior and leader.


c.563

The monastery at Iona was founded by Columba in the 6th century. It served as an important center for Christian learning and missionary work, and played a significant role in the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and beyond. The island on which it was built is also home to several other ancient religious sites, including a series of standing stones and a Celtic cross. Despite its remote location, Iona has remained a place of pilgrimage for centuries, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to experience its blend of natural beauty and spiritual significance.


c.575

The Kingdom of East Anglia was founded by the tribes of Angles, who were known for their seafaring and agricultural skills. These skilled tribesmen were able to establish a thriving kingdom, which was renowned for its wealth and prosperity. The Kingdom of East Anglia was located in what is now known as the eastern part of England, and it was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region during the early Middle Ages. The tribes of Angles were a key factor in the success of the kingdom, as they brought with them their unique culture and traditions, which helped to shape the identity of the people of East Anglia. Today, the legacy of the tribes of Angles can still be seen in the architecture, language, and customs of the region, which continue to be influenced by the rich history of the Kingdom of East Anglia.


c.577

According to historical records, Ceawlin of Wessex, a prominent Anglo-Saxon king, succeeded in taking control of not one, but three important cities in England during his reign. These cities were none other than Cirencester, Gloucester, and Bath. The capture of these cities was a significant event in the history of Wessex, and it is believed that it played a key role in the expansion of the territory under Ceawlin's rule. It is fascinating to think about the strategies and tactics that Ceawlin may have employed to successfully take hold of these cities, and it is a testament to his leadership and military prowess that he was able to achieve such a feat. Additionally, the capture of these cities would have undoubtedly had a significant impact on the people living in these areas, and it is interesting to consider how their lives may have been affected by the arrival of a new ruling power. Overall, Ceawlin's conquest of Cirencester, Gloucester, and Bath was a pivotal moment in the history of England, and it provides valuable insight into the political and military landscape of the time.


c.586

The Kingdom of Mercia was formed by tribes of Angles. These tribes were believed to have come from the regions of Angeln and Schleswig in modern-day Germany. The Kingdom of Mercia was one of the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, with its territory covering much of central England. The kingdom had a complex political structure, with various sub-kingdoms and regions under its rule. The Mercians had a unique culture, with their own language, art, and architecture. They were also known for their military prowess, with their armies often clashing with neighboring kingdoms such as Wessex and Northumbria. Despite its eventual downfall, the legacy of the Kingdom of Mercia continues to be felt in England to this day.


c.597

In 597 AD, the Christian missionary Augustine arrived in Kent with the mission to spread Christianity across England. He was sent by Pope Gregory the Great and was welcomed by King Aethelberht of Kent. Augustine founded a Benedictine monastery at Canterbury and was given the land by King Aethelberht as a token of his appreciation for bringing the Christian faith to Kent. The monastery became a center of learning where monks studied and copied important manuscripts. The arrival of Augustine and the establishment of the monastery were significant events that shaped the religious and cultural landscape of England for centuries to come.


c.599

King Aethelberht of Kent, who reigned from 589 to 616 AD, is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential rulers in the history of England. During his reign, he established a legal code and promoted the spread of Christianity throughout his kingdom, making him a highly respected figure among his subjects. He also maintained strong diplomatic ties with neighboring kingdoms and managed to expand his territory through strategic alliances and military conquests. His legacy continued long after his death, with subsequent rulers building on his accomplishments and contributing to the development of England as a nation.


c.601

King Aethelberht of Kent, who was the ruler of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent from 560 to 616, made the significant decision to convert to Christianity, a religion which had only recently arrived in Britain. This was a monumental event in the history of England, as it marked the beginning of the spread of Christianity throughout the country and its eventual establishment as the dominant religion. Aethelberht's conversion was not only a personal religious decision, but also had political implications, as he allowed the Christian missionary, Augustine, to establish a church in Canterbury and to begin evangelizing the local population. This led to the conversion of many of Aethelberht's subjects, and later, the spread of Christianity throughout the rest of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.


c.616

After the death of King Aethelberht of Kent, there was a power vacuum in England. Raedwald of East Anglia saw an opportunity to establish himself as the most powerful leader in the land and seized it. He became known as the Bretwalda, a title given to powerful Anglo-Saxon kings who were able to exert their influence over other kingdoms. Raedwald's reign was marked by both military victories and political alliances, and he was able to expand his territory and solidify his rule.


c.627

King Edwin of Northumbria, one of the most prominent Anglo-Saxon kings of the 7th century, underwent a profound transformation when he converted to Christianity. This dramatic shift in his religious beliefs had a profound impact on his reign and his people, as Christianity was still a relatively new and unfamiliar religion in the region at the time. Edwin's conversion marked a significant turning point in the religious and political history of Northumbria, and paved the way for the spread of Christianity throughout the region. It is said that the King's conversion was inspired by a vision he had of a small bird, which represented the fragility and fleeting nature of human life. This vision led him to seek out the teachings of Christian missionaries, and ultimately to embrace the Christian faith. Despite facing opposition from some of his pagan advisors, Edwin remained steadfast in his commitment to Christianity, and continued to promote the religion throughout his kingdom.


c.633

In the year 633, a combined force of Mercians and Welsh led by Penda and Cadwallon ap Cadfan respectively, launched an invasion of Northumbria. This caught the Northumbrians off guard and unprepared. Despite the best efforts of King Edwin to repel the invaders, he was ultimately killed in the ensuing conflict. This marked a turning point in the history of Northumbria, as the kingdom was left vulnerable and in disarray. This led to a balance of power shift in England and new alliances were formed in the wake of King Edwin's death.

Aidan, who was originally from Ireland, played a pivotal role in spreading Christianity throughout Northumbria in the 7th century. It was during his time as Bishop of York that he founded the monastery at Lindisfarne, which quickly became one of the most important religious centers in the region. The monks at Lindisfarne were known for their exceptional craftsmanship, producing some of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, including the famous Lindisfarne Gospels.


c.642

The Battle of Maserfield, also known as the Battle of Maes Cogwy. It was fought between the kingdoms of Mercia and Powys, and is said to have resulted in a victory for the former. The battle is significant in British history as it is believed to have played a role in shaping the political landscape of the region during that time.


In the year 642, the Anglo-Saxon King Oswald of Northumbria was defeated and killed by Penda of Mercia, who was a prominent king of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. Penda was known for his fierce and ambitious nature, and his victory over Oswald was a significant event in the history of medieval England. The battle between these two kings was part of a larger struggle for power and influence in the region, as different kingdoms vied for control over land and resources. Despite his defeat, Oswald was remembered as a noble and virtuous ruler, and his legacy continued to inspire generations of English leaders and thinkers. Meanwhile, Penda's reign would continue for several more years, marked by further battles and political maneuvering as he sought to expand his authority and consolidate his position as one of the most powerful kings of his time.


c.643

King Oswiu, the ruler of Northumbria, claimed control of the region after defeating the powerful Penda of Mercia. This victory was seen as a significant turning point in the history of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, as it brought a period of relative stability and peace to the area. Oswiu was able to consolidate his rule by building alliances with neighboring rulers, establishing trade connections, and promoting the spread of Christianity throughout his lands. Despite facing several challenges during his reign, such as rebellions and invasions from other kingdoms, Oswiu was able to maintain his grip on

power.


c.658

Wulfhere of Mercia, who was the son of King Penda of Mercia, took control of the region from Oswiu of Northumbria. This happened in the year 658 AD, during a time when the two kingdoms were often at odds with each other. Wulfhere's victory was significant not only because it allowed him to expand his kingdom's territory, but also because it marked a turning point in the balance of power between Mercia and Northumbria. It is worth noting that Wulfhere's reign was not without its challenges, as he faced opposition from neighboring kingdoms and had to navigate complex political relationships in order to maintain his hold on power.


c.664

The Synod of Whitby was a significant religious meeting in the early medieval period of England. It was convened in 664 CE by King Oswiu of Northumbria to resolve the debate between the Roman and Celtic Christian churches over various issues, such as the calculation of the date of Easter and the style of clerical tonsure. The meeting was held in the town of Whitby and was presided over by Hilda, the Abbess of Whitby. The synod ultimately concluded that the Roman church practices should be adopted in England, which had a significant impact on the development of Christianity in the region. This decision led to the adoption of the Roman liturgy and the spread of Roman practices throughout England, and helped to establish a sense of unity among the different Christian communities in the country.


Oswiu, the King of Northumbria, played an instrumental role in resolving a theological dispute that threatened to divide the Christian church. In order to settle the matter, he ordered a conference to be held at the Abbey at Whitby, which had been founded by Hild of Whitby. The conference was attended by representatives of the Irish missionaries and the Church in Rome, both of whom presented their arguments on how the church should be governed. After listening to both sides, Oswiu made the decision to follow the teachings of Rome. This decision was significant because it helped to unify the Christian church and ensure that it remained cohesive in the face of schisms and divisions.


c.668

Theodore was appointed as the eighth Archbishop of Canterbury in 668 AD, succeeding Deusdedit. He was born in Tarsus, Cilicia (in present-day Turkey) and was trained in the Syrian tradition of Christianity. Theodore's appointment was a significant moment in the history of the Christian Church in England, as he played a key role in establishing the Church's organization and structure in the country. He was known for his administrative skills, and under his leadership, the Church in England became more organized and efficient. Theodore also played a crucial role in bringing together the various Christian traditions in England, including those of the Anglo-Saxons and the Celts.


c.681

During the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxon Bishop Wilfrid, who had been exiled from Northumbria due to a dispute over the date of Easter, traveled to the kingdom of Sussex. There, he engaged in missionary work, preaching the Christian faith to the local population. After much effort, Wilfrid was able to convert the leader of Sussex to Christianity, marking a significant milestone in the spread of the religion throughout England. This event not only paved the way for further conversions in Sussex but also served as an example for other regions throughout the country. Thus, the influence of Bishop Wilfrid's work in Sussex extended far beyond the borders of that kingdom.


685 (May 20th)

The Battle of Dun Nechtain, which took place in the early 7th century, was a major conflict between the Picts and Northumbrians in Scotland. It is significant not only for its historical importance, but also for its impact on the political structure of the region. The battle resulted in the defeat of the Northumbrians, and the establishment of an independent Pictish kingdom. The Picts were a group of Celtic-speaking people who inhabited the area that is now Scotland. They were known for their distinctive art, including stone carvings and metalwork. The Battle of Dun Nechtain is still studied today by historians and scholars, as it provides valuable insight into the political and military landscape of early medieval Scotland.


Ecgfrith, the son of Oswiu, became the King of Northumbria in 670 AD. In 685 AD, he invaded Scotland in an attempt to extend his kingdom's territory. Unfortunately, Ecgfrith's campaign was a disaster, as he was defeated and killed by the Picts led by King Bruide at Dunnichen Moss. This event was a turning point in the history of Northumbria, as the kingdom had lost a significant amount of its military prowess and its influence in the region. Additionally, Ecgfrith's reign was marked by ongoing conflicts with neighboring kingdoms, which drained the Northumbrian resources and weakened their position in the north of England. Despite his military failures, Ecgfrith is remembered as an important figure in the history of Northumbria, as he was the first Northumbrian king to be buried at York Minster, which became an important religious center in the following centuries.


In the year 685 AD, Ecgfrith, the King of Northumbria, launched an invasion into Scotland with the intention of expanding his kingdom's territory. However, the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and ended in tragedy with Ecgfrith and many of his men being killed in battle.


c.694

King Ine, who ruled Wessex from 688 to 726 AD, issued a comprehensive code of laws that sought to regulate many aspects of society. This code was designed to address a wide variety of issues, including theft, murder, and property disputes, and was intended to create a fair and just legal system. The laws established by King Ine were considered to be an important milestone in the development of English law, and they provided a framework for subsequent legal systems in England and beyond. The code included provisions for the payment of fines and the use of oaths as evidence, and it established the principle of collective responsibility for crimes committed by groups of people. Despite its importance, the code of laws issued by King Ine was not without controversy, and some scholars have debated the extent to which it was actually enforced in practice. Regardless, it remains an important historical document for historians today.


c.704

The Battle of Dun Nechtain was a significant event in the history of Scotland, taking place in the early 9th century. It was fought between the Picts, who were the original inhabitants of Scotland, and the invading Northumbrians from England. The battle is known for its impact on the political landscape of Scotland, as it marked the end of the Northumbrian expansion into Scottish territory and solidified the Pictish dominance in the region. The aftermath of the battle also saw the rise of King Eochaid mac Rhun, who became the first king of Fortriu, a Pictish kingdom that emerged as a result of the victory. The battle is remembered today as a turning point in Scottish history.


The Picts, who were led by King Bruide, proved to be a formidable opponent for the Northumbrians. They were able to effectively utilize their knowledge of the terrain and their superior tactics to gain the upper hand in the conflict. In particular, the Battle of Dunnichen Moss was a turning point in the conflict, as it marked a key victory for the Picts and effectively put an end to Ecgfrith's campaign.

Despite the defeat, Ecgfrith's campaign into Scotland had significant implications for the region. It highlighted the ongoing tensions between the kingdoms of Northumbria and Scotland, and it also demonstrated the Picts' prowess as a military force. Furthermore, it had a lasting impact on the political and social landscape of the region.

 

Bibliography

  • Campbell, J. (2000). The Anglo-Saxons. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

  • Chaney, W. A. (1970). The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England: The Transition from Paganism to Christianity. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

  • Higham, N. J. (1997). The Kingdom of Northumbria: AD 350-1100. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing.

  • Keynes, S., & Lapidge, M. (Eds.). (1983). Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources. London, UK: Penguin Classics.

  • Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.


Annotated Bibliography

  • Campbell, J. (2000). The Anglo-Saxons. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the Anglo-Saxon period in England, covering topics such as politics, religion, society, and culture. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of England during this time period.

  • Chaney, W. A. (1970). The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England: The Transition from Paganism to Christianity. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

This book explores the transition from paganism to Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England, with a particular focus on the role of kingship in this process. It provides valuable insights into the religious and cultural landscape of early medieval England.

  • Higham, N. J. (1997). The Kingdom of Northumbria: AD 350-1100. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing.

This book provides a detailed history of the Kingdom of Northumbria, covering its rise to power, its political and cultural achievements, and its eventual decline. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of this important Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

  • Keynes, S., & Lapidge, M. (Eds.). (1983). Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources. London, UK: Penguin Classics.

This book provides a collection of primary source documents related to King Alfred the Great, including Asser's Life of King Alfred. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the life and reign of this important Anglo-Saxon king.

  • Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of Anglo-Saxon England, covering topics such as politics, religion, society, and culture. It is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of England during this time period.

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