Their judgment was based more upon blind wishing than upon sound reasoning. For it is a habit of mankind to entrust to careless hope what they long for, and to thrust aside what they do not fancy. — Thucydides

Timelines of British Middle Ages

    Early Britain     Saxons and Normans     Plantagenet Kings     Tudors and Reformation     Stuarts and Civil War     Scotland     Ireland     European Middle Ages

Early Britain—43 to 800

Roman Conquest of Britain to First Viking Raid


AD YearEvent
54 BC Julius Caesar Invades Britain and demands tribute.
51 Emperor Claudius Reconquers Britain.
61 Rebellion of Boadicea is severely put down by the Romans.
77-84 Agricola romanizes Britain; builds schools, roads, aqueducts.
122 Hadrian's wall is built to protect Roman Britain from the Picts of Scotland.
304 Death of Saint Alban, the first Christain martyr in Britain.
402 Roman legions leave Britain.
433 Saint Patrick converts the Irish celts to Christianity.
460 Hengist and Horsa, German princes from Juteland, arrive in Britain.
460-685 Saxon Conquest of Britain—Saxons drive British Celts to Wales and Scotland.
540 Saint Mungo helps convert the Celtic Scots to Christianity.
542 Death of King Arthur.
596 Saint Augustine of Kent sent from Rome to convert Saxon kingdoms of Britain.
660 Celtic Christian, and Roman Christian churches are united.
700 Venerable Bede publishes an Ecclesiastic History of the English people.
757-96 Reign of king Offa of Mercia, most influential of the Saxon kings.

Saxons and Normans—800 to 1154

House of Wessex to Death of Stephen


AD YearEvent
787 First Viking (Danish) attack on Britain.
793 Sack of the monastery at Lindisfarne.
802 Egbert the Saxon reigns over united Anglo and Saxon Kingdoms.
871-899 Reign of Alfred the Great, greatest of the Saxon kings.
878 Wessex Saxons under Alfred defeat Danes at the Battle of Edington.
879 Treaty of Wedmore grants Danelaw to Guthrum if he is baptized and withdraws from Wessex.
823-1016 Danish Invasions of Saxon Britain continue throughout the tenth century.
937 Battle of Brunanburh—Wessex Saxons, lead by , defeat Celts and Danes.
991 Battle of Maldon—Saxons are defeated by the Danes and agree to pay tribute.
1002 Aethelred the Unready orders the death of all Danish citizens.
1013 Aethelred driven into exile in Normandy.
1016 Canute the Great defeats Saxons at the Battle of Ashingdon. Danish king assumes throne.
10161035 Reign of Canute the Great.
1042 Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred, recalled to the throne. Saxon rule is restored.
1065 Consecration of Westminster Chapel.
1066 Norman Conquest of Britain
Sept Battle of Stanford BridgeHarold Godwinson defeats Viking invaders.
Oct Battle of Hastings—Harold is killed and the Normans conquer England.
1086 Completion of Domesday Book.
1087 William Rufus assumes the throne on the death of his father, William the Conqueror.
1093 Saint Anselm appointed Archbishop of Canterbury; resists William Rufus's oppressions.
1095 Preparations for the First Crusade are made by William Rufus and his brother.
1100-1135 Reign of Henry I begins when Rufus is killed in a hunting accident.
1100 Henry I pleases his Saxon subjects by marrying Maude the Good , a Saxon Princess.
1120 The unexpected death of Henry's son William throws succession into question.
1135-1154 Anarchy and civil war between followers of King Stephen and Matilda, daughter of Henry II.
1154 Death of Stephen; crown passes to Henry II, son of Matilda.

Plantagenet Kings—1154 to 1485

Henry II Plantagenet to Battle of Bosworth Field


AD YearEvent
1151 Henry Plantagenet marries Eleanor of Aquitaine, heir in France.
1154 Henry Plantagenet assumes the throne on the death of Stephen.
1170 Saint Thomas a Becket is murdered after he defies Henry II.
1172 Henry II Conquers Ireland.
1190 Richard Coeur de Leon goes on Third Crusade.
1215 John Lackland signs Magna Carta.
1265 Meeting of first Parliament arranged by Simon de Montfort .
1284 Edward I conquers Wales.
1291 Edward I Conquers Scotland.
1314 Scots, under Robert the Bruce Win their Independence at the Battle of Bannockburn.
1348-1349 Black Plague devastates all of Europe.
1337-1453 Hundred Years War: England vs. France.
1346 Edward III, victor at the Battle of Crecy.
1356 The Black Prince, victor at the Battle of Poitiers.
1415 Henry V, victor at the Battle of Agincourt.
1428 Joan of Arc, victor at the Siege of Orleans.
1362 English becomes official legal language, displacing French.
1381 The government of Richard II puts down Wat Tyler's Rebellion.
1399 Richard II deposed by Henry Bolingbroke.
1400 Death of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales
1403 Henry IV puts down a rebellion at the Battle of Shrewsbury.
1415-1453 Henry V invades France and re-opens the Hundred Years War.
1415 Henry V, victor at the Battle of Agincourt.
1428 Joan of Arc, victor at the Siege of Orleans. Tide turns in favor of France.
1455-1485 War of the Roses
1461 Yorkists prevail at Battle of Towton; Lancastrians exiled.
1469 Lancastrians regain throne thanks to the machinations of Earl of Warwick.
1471 Yorkists again prevail at Battle of Barnet.
1483 Richard III usurps throne at death of Edward IV.
1484 Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Battle of Bosworth Field.
1476 William Caxton bring a printing press to England. Publishes first book.

Tudors and Reformation—1485 to 1603

Henry VII Tudor to Death of Elizabeth I


AD YearEvent
1486 Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at Bosworth Field and marries Elizabeth of York.
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.
1497 John Cabot sails for England, explores North America.
1517 Martin Luther incites wide-spread rebellion against the Church of Rome.
1534 Act of Supremacy—Henry VIII breaks ties with the Church of Rome.
1535 Execution of Saint Thomas More for failing to acknowledge Henry VIII's divorce.
1536 Execution of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.
1540 Dissolution of the monasteries enriches the Protestant gentry.
1549 Prayer Book Rebellion results in a massacre of rebels opposed to the new liturgy.
1553 Lady Jane Grey Attempts to Usurp the Throne at the death of Edward VI.
1553-58 Reign of Mary Tudor. Failed attempt to return England to the Catholic faith.
1558-1603 Reign of Elizabeth I.
1569 Northern Rising, a Catholic attempt to depose Elizabeth, is put down harshly.
1577-80 Francis Drake circumnavigates the globe.
1584 Founding of the 'Lost Colony' at Roanoke. First British colony in America.
1587 Execution of Mary Stuart, Elizabeth's rival for the throne.
1588 English sailors defeat the Spanish Armada dealing a blow to Spanish naval supremacy.
1591 Edmund Spenser publishes the Fairie Queen.
1594-1603 Tyrone Rebellion in Ireland delivers Ulster to English rule.

Stuarts and Civil War—1603 to 1714

James I Stuart to Death of Anne


AD YearEvent
1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament is discovered, Guy Fawkes held responsible.
1607 Founding of Jamestown colony in Virgina.
1607 Voyages of Henry Hudson to the new world.
1611 King James version of the Bible first published in England.
1616 Death of William Shakespeare.
1620 Voyage of the Mayflower; Puritans settle in New England.
1641-49 English Civil Wars. Parliament vs. King.
1642 Battle of Edgehill—opening battle in Civil War.
1645 Battle of NasebyCharles I is taken prisoner.
1649 Execution of Charles I, Oliver Cromwell invades Ireland.
1649-1658 Commonwealth, lead by Cromwell.
1653 First Anglo-Dutch War: naval war fought over commercial interests.
1659 Restoration of Charles II.
1665 Great Plague of London.
1667 Great Fire of London.
1688 Glorious Revolution: James II deposed by William III and Mary.
1689 Williamiate War in Ireland—James II exiled to France after the Battle of Boyne.
1689 Toleration Act is passed, providing freedom of worship to "non-conforming" Christians.
1701-1714 War of the Spanish Succession checks the growing influence of France under Louis XIV.
1704 British victory at the Battle of Bleinhiem under Duke of Marlborough.
1704 British gain possession of the gateway to the Mediterranean at the Siege of Gibralter.
1707 England and Scotland join to become Great Britain.

Scotland—1403 to 1707

Macalpine Unifies Scots to Act of Union


AD YearEvent
540 Saint Mungo arrives in Glasgow from Ireland as a missionary to Scotland.
563 Saint Columba founds the Monastery of Iona.
843 Picts and Scots unite under Kenneth Macalpine.
1040 Duncan, the King of Scots, is killed by the usurper, Macbeth.
1058-96 Reign of Malcolm Canmore; and his wife Saint Margaret of Scotland.
1286 Death of Alexander III leaves the Scottish throne vacant, chaos ensues.
1297 William Wallace leads the Scots in Revolt against Edward I.
1306 Robert the Bruce is crowned king of Scotland in defiance of Edward I.
1314 Scottish victory at the Battle of Bannockburn assures Scotland's Independence from England.
1371 Robert II ascends the throne as the first Stuart King of Scotland.
1424 James I is released by Henry VI after many years in prison.
1460 Fall of the Black Douglases.
1513 James IV dies at the Battle of Flodden Field, a disastrous loss for Scotland.
1560 The Scottish Parliament, lead by John Knox, establishes National Church.
1567 Mary Stuart is exiled from Scotland and imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth.
1603 James I (formerly James VI of Scotland) assumes the throne of England.
1641 Scotland declares against Charles I in the English Civil Wars.
1649 After the execution of Charles I, Scotland for Charles II in the English Civil Wars.
1692 Massacre of Glencoe results from Scots resistance to William III.
1707 Act of Union unites England and Scotland into Great Britain.
1715 First Jacobite Uprising in Scotland in support of the Old Pretender.
1745 Second Jacobite Uprising in Scotland in support of Bonnie Prince Charles.

Ireland—450 to 1922

Life of Saint Patrick to Irish Independence


AD YearEvent
450 Saint Patrick converts Ireland to Christianity.
850 Brian Boru drives vikings out of Ireland, and briefly unites tribes.
1169 Norman Invasion, puts east Ireland under nominal English control.
1315 Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce, attempts to drive English out of Ireland.
1497 Lambert Simnel, pretender to English throne, lands in Dublin.
1536-1603 Henry VIII begins Tudor Reconquest of Ireland under Protestant rule.
1594-1603 Under Elizabeth I the English conquer Northern Ireland and assume control of Ulster.
1641-51 The English Civil Wars leads to a major Rebellion in Ireland.
1641 Catholic uprisings tied to civil unrest in England; massacre of Protestants in Ulster.
1649 Oliver Cromwell invades Ireland, slaughters civilians at the Siege of Drogheda.
1688-169 Williamite War in Ireland, following the "Glorious Revolution" in Britain.
1688 Siege of Londonderry is relieved by protestant army.
1690 James II returns to France after the Battle of Boyne.
1691 Penal laws enforced which oppress, dispossess Irish Catholics.
1782 Henry Grattan establishes independent Irish Parliament.
1798 Irish rebellion of 1798 occurs during the French Revolutionary Wars.
1801 Ireland (unwillingly) merged into the "United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland";
1829 "Catholic Emancipation" Catholics in Ireland allowed to vote.
1845-1849 Irish potato famine.
1869 Disestablishment of the Anglican Irish State Church
1882 Murder of Cavendish in Ireland.
1893 Parnell's Home Rule Bill defeated by small majority.
1919-1921
1916 Irish War of Independence.
1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, raises sympathy for Irish Rebels.
1922 Partition of Ireland: Formation of Irish Free State.

European Middle Ages—600 to 1650

Rise of the Franks to Thirty Years War


AD YearEvent

Christian Conversion

500 Conversion of Clovis to Catholic Christianity.
520 Saint Benedict founds Western Monasticism.
785 Baptism of Wittekind the Saxon, chief of the Saxons.
865 Cyril and Methodius convert Slavs to Christianity.
1000 Olaf I converts Vikings to Christianity.
1000 Steven of Hungary converts Hungarians to Christianity.

The Viking Menace

885 Vikings Besiege Paris.
911 Rollo the Viking becomes the first Duke of Normandy.

The Moslem Threat and the Crusades

732 Charles Martel stops the Mohammedan invasion at the Battle of Tours.
1096 Peter the Hermit organizes the First Crusade.
1270 Saint Louis IX dies on his final Crusade in Tunis.
1453 Mohammed II Conquers Constantinople, expands Turkish empire in Balkans.
1492 Ferdinand the Catholic Conquers Granada, last of the Moors are driven from Spain.
1517 Don John of Austria defeats Turkish Army at the Battle of Lepanto.
1683 Second Siege of Vienna relieved by Polish king John III Sobieski .

Church-State Conflicts

800 Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.
1076 Pope Gregory VII seeks to reform lay bishoprics; excommunicates Henry IV.
1303-1378 "Avignon Papacy" is captive of the French Crown.
1378-1417 Western Schism. Multiple claimants for the office of pope.

New World Exploration

1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.
1498 Vasco da Gama opens up a trade route to Asia.
1521 Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigating the globe.

The Reformation

1450 John Gutenberg publishes the first Bible.
1517 Martin Luther initiates Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1572 St. Bartholomew Day's Massacre of Huguenots in France.
1568 Revolt of the Netherlands led by William the Silent
1598 Henry IV issues edict of Nantes, granting rights to Protestants.
1620-1650 The Thirty Years War devastates Germany, and reduces power of the Catholic Hapsburgs.