Dark Ages timeline

Saxon pirates, Anderida, Pevensey, GinnettHere is a simple timeline of events during the so-called Dark Ages, the early medieval period, from the 5th century to the Norman Conquest in 1066.

WHEN WHAT
449 The traditional date, according to Bede, for the arrival of Anglo-Saxons in South-East England.
c500 Saxons are settled in southern England.
516 A possible date for the mysterious Battle of Mount Badon, in which the Britons under an unknown leader defeat the Saxons. The battle later became associated with the legendary King Arthur – the last of 12 fabled battles he is said to have fought.
c550-c650 Angles, Saxons and Jutes conquer lowland England. ¬†They evolve multiple ‘kingdoms’. British culture is generally extinguished from England but continues in western Britain.
563 St Columba founds a monastery on the island of Iona.
596 Pope Gregory saw Angles in Rome’s slave market.
597 St Augustine lands in Thanet to convert the pagan Saxons in Kent.
602 King Ethelbert of Kent donates a site in Canterbury for a new cathedral. His Frankish wife, Bertha, was already Christian.
627 Edwin of Northumbria is the first Christian king in the north of England.
629 Elsewhere – Muhammad seizes Mecca.
633 St Aiden founds a monastery at Lindisfarne.
c650 By the end of the 7th century, there are 7 main Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in what is now modern England: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex, Kent, Sussex and Essex. To the south-west are the West Welsh in Dumnonia (Devon) and Kernow (Cornwall). Further British kingdoms are Powys, Gwynedd, Gwent, Rheged (Cumbria) and Strathclyde.
654 St Cedd, a Northumbrian priest in the Celtic tradition, set out to evangelise the heathen East Saxons.
664 The Synod of Whitby determined that the English church would follow Rome, rather than the Celtic Christian tradition.
685 Battle of Dunnichen (or Dun Nechtain) – King Bridei’s Picts stop the northern expansion of the Northumbrian Angles.
731 Bede completes his History of the English Church and People.
757 Offa becomes King of Mercia
789 Vikings raid Dorset – the first recorded Viking attack on Britain.
793 Vikings attack Lindisfarne.
795 Vikings attack Iona.
829 Egbert, King of Wessex, conquers Mercia.
843 Kenneth MacAlpine united Picts and Scots to form a kingdom of Scotland.
869 Edmund, King of East Anglia, is martyred by the Danes.
867 The Danes capture York.
870 Vikings destroy Dumbarton, stronghold of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.
871-900 The reign of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex.
877 Danes attack Chippenham at Christmas, forcing Alfred into hiding in Athelney (Somerset).
878 Alfred defeats the Danes at Edington.
886 Alfred makes a treaty with the Danes that secures the Kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia and establishes the area of ‘Danelaw’ north of the Thames and south of the Tees.
925 Aethelstan is crowned King of Wessex. He is generally accepted as the first king of all England.
927 Having defeated the Danes in the north, Aethelstan accepts the submission of the kings of the Scots, Strathclyde Welsh, Cumbria and the Earl of Northumbria at Eamont Bridge, Cumbria.
937 A combined invasion of Vikings, Welsh and Scots is crushed by Aethelstan at Brunanburh (no one knows where this was).
978 Edward, King of England, is martyred at Corfe, Dorset.
991 Battle of Maldon – an English army is defeated by invading Vikings in Essex. The King, Ethelred, pays Danegeld (ie protection money) to buy peace.
1002 St Brice’s Day massacre – King Ethelred orders the massacre of all Danes in England.
1013 Swein Forkbeard successfully invades England. Once again, the Danes rule the land.
1016 Cnut of Denmark becomes King of England.
1017 Cnut marries Emma of Normandy, the widow of Ethelred. Cnut divided England into four earldoms – Northumbria Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia – each at one time kingdoms in their own right.
1018 Battle of Carham. Malcolm II, King of Alba, defeats Uhtred of Northumbria, becomes first king of a united Scotland and establishes a border very similar to today’s.
1040 Macbeth defeats Duncan and becomes King of Scotland.
1042 Edward the Confessor becomes King of England.
1066 Edward the Confessor dies. Harold becomes King of England. England is invaded by Vikings from the north, culminating in the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and Normans from the south leasing to the defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings. William, Duke of Normandy, is crowned King of England on 25th December.

Sutton Hoo, Saxon helmet, British museum