Anglo-Saxon England AD
802 - Death of King Beorhtric of Wessex. He is buried at Wareham. Prince Egbert returns to Wessex and is accepted as King. Ealdorman Aethelmund of Hwicce attacks Wessex. He is met by Ealdorman Weohstan of Wiltshire and both are killed at the Battle of Kempsford, though the men of Wiltshire are victorious. Aethelmund is buried at Deerhurst Abbey. Cunred, a relative of King Coenwulf of Mercia, is appointed Abbot of St. Augustine's, Canterbury. First written record of the county of Wiltshire.
803 - The Synod of Clofeshoh (possibly Brixworth) is held, at which the Archbishopric of Lichfield is demoted to an ordinary Bishopric, with Papal permission obtained by King Coenwulf of Mercia.
806 - King Eardwulf of Northumbria is expelled from his kingdom by one Aelfwald who takes the throne as King Aelfwald II. Eardwulf flees to the Imperial Frankish Court of Charlemagne and later visits Pope Leo III in Rome.
807 - Death of King Cuthred of Kent. Kent possibly under direct Mercian rule.
808 - With the active support of Emperor Charlemagne of the Franks and Pope Leo III, the exiled King Eardwulf of Northumbria is able to return to his kingdom and oust the usurper, King Aelfwald II.
809 - The Papal Legate is kidnapped by Vikings while sailing for Northumbria.
c.810 - Death of King Eardwulf of Northumbria. He is succeeded by his son, Eanred. Canterbury Cathedral is probably demolished by Archbishop Wulfred of Canterbury and rebuilt on a more extravagant basilican scale
c.812 - King Sigered of Essex is reduced to the rank of Dux by his Mercian overlords.
818 - King Coenwulf of Mercia raids Dyfed.
821 - King Coenwulf of Mercia dies in Basingwerk, while preparing for another assault on Powys, and is buried in Winchcombe Abbey. His son, Cenelm, is chosen to succeed him, but he is killed, probably fighting the Welsh, though supposedly through the treachery of his jealous sister, Cwenthryth. He is also buried at Winchcombe Abbey and later revered as a saint. The Mercian throne passes to Coenwulf's brother, Ceolwulf I. One Athelstan makes a push for the East Anglian throne, but is halted by Ceolwulf I of Mercia.
823 - The Mercians invade Powys, but are beaten back by King Cyngen. They also destroy the Gwynedd capital, Degannwy. Death of King Ceolwulf I of Mercia. He is succeeded by Beornwulf, a descendant of the late King Beornred. Rise of King Baldred of Kent. His allegiance is uncertain, but he was propbably a relative of King Beornwulf of Mercia. Athelstan of East Anglia attempts to claim the East Anglian throne again.
825 - King Egbert of Wessex defeats the mighty Mercians at the Battle of Ellandon. He invades Kent and expels King Baldred. The former's son, Aethwulf, is installed as King of Kent. The sub-Kingdoms of Essex, Sussex and Surrey submit to Egbert. The Mercians are allowed to retain Berkshire and its boundaries are formally set. Athelstan of East Anglia begins to re-assert East Anglian independence. King Beornwulf of Mercia invades East Anglia, but is killed in battle. He is succeeded by one Ludecan. The men of Cornish Dumnonia clash with the Saxons of Devon at the Battle of Galford. First written record of the county of Devon in the Saxon form of the name.
827 - Athelstan of East Anglia establishes himself as King of that country after killing King Ludecan of Mercia in battle. Ludecan is succeeded in Mercia by Wiglaf, father-in-law (and probably distant cousin) of the late King Ceolwulf I's daughter.
828 - King Egbert of Wessex is recognized as overlord of other English Kings. He overruns Mercia, ousts King Wiglaf and attempts to rule directly from Wessex.
829 - King Eanred of Northumbria and King Ecgbert of Wessex clash at the Battle of the River Dore. Supposed submission of Northumbria to Wessex overlordship.
830 - King Wiglaf regains control of Mercia from Wessex.
c.833 - Rise of a Dux Sigeric II of Essex under Mercian patronage.
835 - The Isle of Sheppey comes under Viking attack.
836 - The army of King Egbert of Wessex is defeated by invading Vikings at the Battle of Carhampton.
838 - The British of Dumnonia join forces with the Vikings and attack Wessex. King Egbert defeats them at the Battle of Hingston Down.
839 - Death of King Egbert of Wessex & All England. His son, King Aethelwulf of Kent succeeds as King of Wessex. Aethelwulf's brother, Aethelstan, is made sub-King of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. Death of King Athelstan of East Anglia. He is succeeded by one Aethelweard.
840 - Viking raids turn away from Britain as the Frankish Empire is weakened by the Death of Emperor Louis the Pious. Death of King Wiglaf of Mercia. He is buried at Repton and briefly succeeded by his grandson, Wigstan. King Wigstan prefers the religious life and asks his widowed mother, Princess Elfleda to act as regent. A noble of the line of the late King Beornred, named Berhtric, wishes to marry this lady, but as he is a relative, Wigstan refuses the match. Berhtric murders Wigstan at Wistow. He is buried at Repton and later revered as a saint. The Mercian throne is seized by Berhtric's father, Beorhtwulf. First written record of the county of Dorset.
841 - Death of King Eanred of Northumbria. He is succeeded by his son as King Aethelred II.
844 - King Aethelred II of Northumbria is expelled from the kingdom by one Raedwulf, who takes the throne. King Raedwulf is later killed in battle against the Vikings, along with many of his noblemen, during a major raid. King Aethelred II returns.
845 - The ship of King Ragnar Lothbrok of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) is supposedly blown off course and he lands in East Anglia. He is entertained at the Royal Court but internal politics leads to him being kidnapped and smuggled into Northumbria where he is executed in a pit of vipers. Glastonbury Abbey is probably damaged by Viking raiders. Ealdorman Eanwulf of Somerset defeats them at the Battle of the River Parrett. First written record of the county of Somerset.
c.846 - King Aethelred II of Northumbria sends military assistance to the Picts in their fight against invading Scots.
848 - Assassination of King Aethelred II of Northumbria. He is succeeded by Osbeorht, of unknown lineage.
849 - Birth of Prince (later King) Alfred of Wessex at Wantage.
850 - The Saxons inflict a major naval defeat on Viking raiders off the Sandwich Coast.
850-858 - King Kenneth mac Alpin of Alba (Scotland) invades Northern Northumbria six times, burning Dunbar and Melrose.
851 - Death of sub-King Athelstan of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. He is succeeded by his nephew, Aethelbert.
852 - Death of King Beorhtwulf of Mercia. He is succeeded by his kinsman, Burghred.
853 - Mercia and Wessex attack Powys.
855 - Death of King Aethelweard of East Anglia. He is the last of the Royal House of East Anglia and a successor from their homeland in Angeln is sent for. A distant cousin, Edmund, arrives and takes the throne.
858 - Death of King Aethelwulf of Wessex. He is succeeded by his son, Aethelbald.
860 - Death of King Aethelbald of Wessex. He is succeeded by his brother, sub-King Aethelbert of Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. These latter kingdoms are formally merged with Wessex. The Viking Chief Weland, based in the Somme, sails to England and attacks Winchester. He is defeated and returns home. First written record of the county of Berkshire.
863 - King Osbeorht of Northumbria engages in a major dispute for Royal Power with a rival claimant named Aelle. He is variously described as Osbeorht's brother or specifically not of Royal descent. Osbeorht is badly defeated, though not expelled from his kingdom. King Aelle II wields power in Northumbria, but the Civil War continues.
865 - Death of King Aethelbert of Wessex. He is succeeded by his third son, Aethelred I. The 'Great Heathen Army' of Vikings, led by Princes Ivarr the Boneless and Halfdan Wide-Embrace of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia), invades East Anglia (supposedly in revenge for the execution of their father, King Ragnar Lothbrok). King Edmund of East Anglia buys peace with a supply of horses.
866 - 'The Great Heathen Army' of the Vikings ride north to Northumbria and mount a surprise attack on the City of York which they quickly capture.
867 - The rival monarchs of Northumbria, Aelle II and Osbeorht, join forces to expel the Vikings, but are thoroughly defeated at the Battle of York by Princes Ivarr the Boneless and Halfdan Wide-Embrace of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia). Osbeorht is killed, while Aelle II is supposedly captured and 'Spread-Eagled', for complicity in the murder of the invaders' father, King Ragnarr Lothbrok. Deira passes into Viking hands and what is left of the Northumbrian Royal Court flees north into Bernicia. Ecgberht I is established as a puppet King of Northumbria. The Viking armies make forays into Mercia. They are besieged at Nottingham by a joint Saxon force under Kings Aethelred I of Wessex and Burghred of Mercia. The Vikings withdraw to York.
869 - While Prince Halfdan Wide-Embrace of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) remains in York, his brothers, Ivarr the Boneless and Ubbe Ragnarrson, turn their 'The Great Heathen Army' on East Anglia once more. They are resisted by King Edmund.
870 - King Edmund of East Anglia is captured by Princes Ivarr the Boneless and Ubbe Ragnarson of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) who give him to their archers for use as target practice at Hellesdon. His head is then chopped off. He is buried in a small chapel near the place of his death and later revered as a saint. His brother, St. Edwold, flees to Cerne Abbas and becomes a hermit. The Vikings allow native sub-kings to rule in East Anglia for a while, starting with King Oswald. The Fens are ravaged by the invaders. The local people take refuge in Peterborough (Medshamstead) Abbey (Cathedral), but they are all slaughtered and the Abbey destroyed. Prince Ivarr the Boneless leaves for Northumbria and then Dublin where he becomes King. Coldingham Priory is destroyed by his Viking raiders. Ivarr's brother, Halfdan Wide-Embrace moves the Viking army to Wessex via the Thames and takes Reading which he makes his headquarters. The Vikings clash with Ealdorman Aethlewulf of Berkshire at the Battle of Englefield. The invaders are driven back to Reading and besieged by King Aethelred I and his brother, Alfred. Ealdorman Aethelwulf is killed in the fighting. The Danes are victorious and drive the English into the marshes.
871 - The English retreat onto the Berkshire Downs. Prince Halfdan Wide-Embrace of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) is joined by a 'Great Summer Army' under Prince Bagsecg and together they march out after the Saxons. Prince Alfred of Wessex leads the English against them in the Battle of Ashdown. His brother, King Aethelred I of Wessex, joins in after having been delayed at his prayers. The English are victorious and many Vikings, including Prince Bagsecg, are killed. Further, less fortunate, clashes, however, occur at the Battle of Basing and the Battle of Martin. King Aethelred I is mortally wounded at the latter and dies soon afterward. He is buried at nearby Wimborne Minster. He is succeeded by his brother, Alfred. King Alfred fights the Danes at the Battle of Wilton and his severely defeated.
872 - King Alfred the Great of Wessex buys a peace with the Vikings and they remove the 'Great Heathen Army' from Reading to London. Death of King Ecgberht I of Northumbria. The Vikings install one Ricsige in his place.
873 - The 'Great Heathen Army' of Vikings returns to York from where they attack Mercia. They capture the Royal capital at Repton and spend the winter there.
874 - From their base at Repton the Vikings drive King Burgred of Mercia into exile, conquer his kingdom and install his political opponent, Ceolwulf, as sub-King there. He was probably a member of the House of Ceolwulf I.
875 - 'The Great Heathen Army' of Vikings is divided. Prince Halfdan Wide-Embrace Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) takes a contingent back to York to consolidate his position there, while the 'Great Summer Army' moves on Cambridge under Guthrum, Oscetel and Anund. This latter force then returns to Wessex. King Alfred the Great fights them in a Naval engagement.
876 - The Vikings take Wareham under their leader, Guthrum, and King Alfred the Great of Wessex is forced to buy peace once more. The invaders retreat to Exeter. Death of sub-King Oswald of East Anglia. He is succeeded by one Aethelred. With the removal of the puppet King Ricsige of Northumbria, Prince Halfdan Wide-Embrace of Sjaelland & Uppsala (Scandinavia) formally establishes the Norse Kingdom of York with himself as its first monarch. The Viking settlement of the kingdom begins.
877 - King Alfred the Great of Wessex raises a large force of men and marches on the Viking Camp at Exeter. Although his navy is almost destroyed in a storm near Swanage, his army besieges Guthrum and forces the Vikings to flee north to Gloucester. The Northern Vikings take Eastern Mercia under direct rule. King Halfdan I Wide-Embrace of Norse York leaves for Ireland in an attempt to recover his brother's Dublin throne. He is killed and a probable interregnum follows in York.
c.877 - Eadulf of Bamburgh establishes himself as King of Bernicia. Cut-off from the rest of Saxon England, he is only recognised outside his kingdom as High-Reeve or Ealdorman of Bamburgh. He may or may not have been related to previous Kings of Northumbria. Eadulf allies himself with King Alfred the Great of Wessex.
878 - While spending the winter at Chippenham, King Alfred the Great of Wessex is surprised by the a Viking attack and he and his men flee into the Somerset Levels for safety. From his headquarters at Athelney, Alfred wages a guerrilla war against the Vikings. The supposed "Burning of the Cakes" episode occurs. The English gain a victory at Countisbury Hill and then Alfred decisively defeats the Vikings at Edington. Guthrum and his men are pushed back to Chippenham and besieged for three weeks. Eventually the Peace of Wedmore is agreed. England is divided between Wessex in the south and the Vikings in the Danelaw up north. Guthrum embraces Christianity, is baptised as Aethelstan and returns to East Anglia. The main Viking force winters in Fulham. King Ceolwulf II of Mercia clashes with the Welsh and kills King Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, Powys and Seisyllwg in battle.
879 - Death of sub-King Aethelred of East Anglia. The Vikings impose their own monarch on the kingdom. Guthrum takes the throne. King Alfred the Great of Wessex begins to build a large mobile army and naval fleet in order to counter any future Viking invasions. He also establishes defensive burghs around the country. Death of King Ceolwulf II of Mercia. One Aethelred takes the throne as King Aethelred II of the Mercians.
880 - The Mercian armies are defeated on the River Conwy by King Anarawd of Gwynedd in revenge for the death of his father, King Rhodri Mawr.
883 - Abbot Eadred of Carlisle travels across the Tyne (apparently at the request of the spirit of St. Cuthbert) and persuades the Viking Army there to elect a Christian slave named Guthfrith Hardicnutson as King of Norse York. The new king recognises the rights of the See of Chester-Le-Street.
884 - King Aethelred II of the Mercians marries Princess Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, accepts Wessex overlordship and apparently demotes himself to become Lord of the Mercians.
885 - King Alfred the Great of Wessex summons Asser, a relative of Bishop Nobis of St. Davids, to the English Court. He agrees to spend six months of the year in the King's service. Asser helps to enhance the literary status of the English Court and also to negotiate the recognition of Alfred as overlord of the South Welsh Kings. The Vikings attack Rochester but are beaten back by King Alfred.
c.885 - Kings Hyfaidd of Dyfed, Elisedd of Brycheiniog and Hywel of Glywysing, being harassed by the armies of King Anarawd of Gwynedd, seek the protection of King Alfred the Great of Wessex and submit to his overlordship. King Anarawd of Gwynedd seeks an alliance with the Norse King Guthfrith I of York.
886 - King Alfred the Great of Wessex recaptures London from the Vikings. He moves the community from Aldwich to within the safety of the city walls and hands the place over to his son-in-law, Lord Aethelred II of the Mercians. Alfred becomes the supreme monarch in the country and "all the English submitted to him, except those who were under the power of the Vikings".
888 - Foundation of Shaftesbury Abbey. King Alfred the Great of England founds Athelney Abey in thanksgiving for his triumph over the Vikings.
c.888 - Lord Aethelred II of the Mercians is struck down with a debilitating illness. His wife, Princess Aethelflaed of Wessex joins him as joint ruler of Mercia.
889 - Lord Aethelred II and Lady Aethelflaed of the Mercians begin their policy of fortifying Mercian cities as defensive burghs, starting with Worcester.
c.890 - Lord Aethelred II and Lady Aethelflaed of the Mercians found the Priory of St. Oswald in Gloucester (probably originally dedicated to St. Peter).
c.893 - Asser, the Welshman, is made Bishop of Sherborne.
894 - King Anarawd of Gwynedd is forced to ask for help from King Alfred the Great of England when his kingdom is ravaged by the Norsemen. He submits to Alfred's overlordship, but the latter imposes oppressive terms and forces Anarawd to confirmation in the Christian Church with Alfred as godfather. Bishop Asser of Sherborne, writes his "Life of King Alfred".
895 - King Alfred the Great of England supplies King Anarawd of Gwynedd with English troops to assist in his successful reconquest of Seisyllwg on behalf of his brother, King Cadell. Death of King Guthfrith I Hardicnutson as King of Norse York. He is buried in York Minster.