Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Timeline of the Saxon Novels by Bernard Cornwell

885 Vikings besiege Rochester An army of Vikings landed in Kent from the Continent and besieged Rochester. Alfred's work in improving the defences of the major towns paid off and the town held out long enough for Alfred to organise an army and force the Vikings to flee back across the Channel to the Continent.
886 Alfred captures London Alfred took full control of London and strengthened its defences in defiance against Viking attacks. London had not been a capital town before now but Alfred raised London's status.
802 Vikings raid Iona The monastic community founded by St. Columba on the tiny island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland was attacked by the Vikings. The Vikings returned in 806 killing over sixty of the people living there.
807 Vikings raid island of Inishmurray The monastic community on the tiny and remote island off the north west coast of Ireland was attacked by the Vikings.
835 Vikings invade Sheppey It appears that the raid on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent was the start of a trend of attacks by the Vikings.
836 Ireland raided by the Vikings Up until now the Vikings had raided islands and coastal communities but now they launched inland attacks. The Vikings attacked Southern Ui Néill and they took captives. Viking invade Devon A fleet of possibly 35 ships landed a Viking army in Devon. Egbert fought the Vikings at Carhampton but was defeated by the invaders.
837 Battle of Hingston Down A Viking raiding party assisted by local cornish men was defeated by Egbert of Wessex.
851 Danish invasion defeated The Danes landed at Wembury near Plymouth and were defeated by forces from Devon. A sea battle off the coast of Kent led by Athelstan (eldest son of Ethelwulf) defeated a Danish fleet of vessels and Ethelwulf defeated an army of Danes at the battle of Ockley who had arrived in the Thames and were attacking the south of the country. 852 Winter Vikings spend winter in England The first Viking raiding party to stay in England for a period of time landed at the Isle of Thanet in Kent. They spent the winter in England.
854 Danes attack Paris More information required.
865 The 'Great Army' invade A large army of Danes landed in East Anglia led by King Ivar the 'Boneless' and King Halfdan. No attempts were made to get rid of the invaders.
866 Vikings driven out of Ireland Vikings raiders were driven from the northern coasts of Ireland by Aed Finliath. The 'Great Army' arrive in East Anglia A large number of Vikings landed in East Anglia and gathered horses and supplies from the surrounding areas in preparation for their assault on Northumbria. Their leaders were Ivar the Boneless, son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and possibly Anlaf (Olaf) Cuaran, the King of Dublin. Winter Northumbria is invaded by the Danes The 'Great Army' moved north from their original landing site in East Anglia and into Northumbria. The Army split is two. One section took boats up the coast and sailed into the Humber while the other section went overland.
867 The Danes invade Northumbria and York The Danes led by the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, Ivar the boneless and Halfdan, attacked Northumbria and York. They wanted revenge for the death of their father who had been killed by Aella, the King of Northumbria. (Aella could have been an Irish Prince.) The Danes destroyed many churches and monasteries including Whitby Abbey. The monasteries remained ruined for two hundred years. Danes impose a king on Northumbria The Danes place a puppet King on the throne in Northumbria called Egbert. Danes are attacked and move south Armies from Northumbria attacked the Danes at York but were defeated. The Danes moved south attacking Nottingham and taking the city. The king of Mercia asked Ethelred and Alfred for assistance and an army from Wessex went to help.
868 Autumn A peaceful settlement is reached Ethelred and Alfred married Mercian noble women whilst assisting the King of Mercia with the Danes on his land. A peaceful settlement was reached with the Danes and a Danegeld was paid for them to leave.
869 Danes attack East Anglia Moving south again from York, The Danes entered East Anglia, attacking and destroying the many religious in the area including the monastery at was what to become Peterborough. The King of East Anglia, Edmund raised an army to attack the Danes but was captured and killed.
870 Crowland Abbey destroyed Danes attack Crowland Abbey and burn it down. Dec The Danes attack Wessex The Danes moved south into the Wessex area and captured Reading. 871 Qtr 1 Battle of Ashdown Athelred and Alfred defeated the Danes at Ashdown.
Qtr 2 More Danes arrive in Britain Another army of Danes landed in London and were joined by those at Reading. The army defeated Alfred at Wilton and so the king decided to pay the Danes some money to keep the peace.
872 Ivar the Boneless dies Ivar 'the Boneless', the king of Dublin died. He was succeeded by his brother Halfdan.
875 Danes move against the north. Led by Halfdan the Danes moved north to attack the Picts and the area of Strathclyde. The Danes divided Northumbria taking York for themselves and creating the area known as Danelaw. A second Danish King called Guthrum took his army back south to Cambridge where he prepared plans to attack Wessex.
876 Danes defeated in the south Led by Guthrum, an army of Danes moved to Wareham in Dorset where they were met by a new army from the sea who landed at Poole. Alfred trapped the army and demanded hostages in return for a peaceful settlement. The Danes divided, half fleeing to Exeter where they besieged the town while the other half escaped in their ships but were drowned in heavy seas. Those at Exeter were forced to surrender and were moved up to Gloucester.
878 Jan The Danes take the advantage After Exeter. Alfred was hoping that trouble with the Danes was over, but again led by Guthrum, an army headed for Alfred at his Chippenham residence. Alfred fled under overwelming odds leaving Chippenham in the hands of the Danes. Spring Alfred burns the cakes During the winter and spring period Alfred was in hiding. He ran a guerrilla warfare style war against the Danes and set up his headquarters on the Isle of Athelney in Somerset. It was on one of his scouting missions (the story goes) that he took refuge and not being recognised as the King was asked to watch the cakes which he burnt. Apr Battle of Edington Alfred called for his men to form an army and attack the Danes. He ordered the army to meet at a location known as Egbert's Stone and seven weeks after Easter an army was formed. Once formed the army quickly moved towards Guthrum and the Danes and the two armies met at Edington. The battle at Edington was won by Alfred and the Danes retreated to Chippenham. The Danes were surrounded and surrendered. Guthrum along with several other high ranking members of the Danish army were converted to Chistianity under Alfred's sponsorship. Guthrum and Alfred agreed on peace terms and the Danes returned to their holdings in East Anglia known as the Danelaw.
879 New Viking Invasion A new Viking fleet sailed up the Thames and and built a camp at Fulham. For Alfred this was a worrying situation as he was unsure if this new Viking army would move to join Guthrum. Alfred did not have to worry as the army soon broke camp and headed for France. Start of reoganisation After the success at Edington Alfred decided to construct of a series of fortified villages or burhs to help protect Wessex. He set up a system that provided Wessex with both a standing army and defence at a local level.
882 Alfred attacks Viking ships Alfred had been increasing the size of his new navy and in 882 used it to good affect when he sailed out to attack four Viking ships. Two Viking ships were captured and their crews killed.
885 Vikings besiege Rochester An army of Vikings landed in Kent from the Continent and besieged Rochester. Alfred's work in improving the defences of the major towns paid off and the town held out long enough for Alfred to organise an army and force the Vikings to flee back across the Channel to the Continent.
886 Alfred captures London Alfred took full control of London and strengthened its defences in defiance against Viking attacks. London had not been a capital town before now but Alfred raised London's status.
890 Guthrum dies
890 and his peace agreements with Alfred were maintained by his successor.
893 Danish Invasion A huge army of Danes travelled from from Boulogne using some 250 ships and crossed the Channel landing in Kent at the Lympne Estuary, now called the River Rother. The army found a half-completed Saxon fort at Appledore which they attacked and took control of. At the same time another Danish army led by Haesten had arrived in the Thames estuary and set up camp at Milton. Alfred was facing a serious threat but decided to position his army half way between the two enemy encampments and wait.
894 Battle at Farnham While Alfred concentrated his efforts against the Danes at Milton, the Danes at Appledore left their camp. Alfred's son Edward took an army and caught the Danes at Farnham. Edward dealt a heavy blow and forced the Danes to retreat to an island on the River Colne. At the same time Danes from East Anglia had sailed around to the Cornish coast and had besieged Exeter. Aflred, who had been on his way to help Edward deal with the Danes on the island, changed direction and headed for Exeter. Back in Essex Haesten had gained reinforcements and moved to a new fortified site at Benfleet, but the fort was attacked by the Saxons while the Danes were on a raiding trip and this forced Haesten to move to Shoebury. The Danes outside Exeter ended their siege and sailed around to the join Haesten at Shoebury.
895 Danes march west The combined Danish army left Shoebury and marched west up the Thames valley through Worcestershire and up the Severn valley finally reaching Chester where they were besieged by the Saxons who tried to starve the Danes out. The Danes managed to escape into Wales where they raided and left with a great deal of spoils.
902 Norwegians expelled from Dublin The Norse that had occupied Dublin were expelled with nowhere to go. Over the next few years they attacked Wales, Scotland and North West England.
906 Peace with Northumbria Edward the Elder managed to agree peace terms with the Danes in Northumbria but friendly relationships were not to last.
911 Rollo founds the Norman Dynasty Rollo, in return for land in Northen France, swore allegiance to the French king Charles III. Charles' motives were to use a settled band of Vikings in his country to help prevent more Viking attacks in the future. The hope that Charles may have had of removing the Vikings at a later date proved impossible to implement.
914 Vikings return to Ireland Vikings landed at Waterford in Ireland and established a base. 927 Athelstan defeats the Vikings When Sihtric died he left an heir Olaf. The king of the Norse in Dublin arrived to assist Olaf but Athelstan was ready for any trouble that they could do and defeated them. York was seized and its fortifications destroyed.
937 Danish invasion The Dane Anlaff (possibly Sihtric's son), Owen of Cumberland and Constantine, King of the Scots sailed into the Humber to invade Nothumbria. Athelstan's speed at raising his army that marched north put paid to any plans of invasion and a fierce battle occurred (Brunanburgh near Beverley ?) in which many Danish kings and earls were killed.
980 First Viking attacks With Athelred on the throne for a short time and possibly showing some weakness in his ability to rule the Vikings started their attacks. Consentrating on the south coast the raids were limited and the affect to the country as a whole was small.
988 Battle at Wachet In Somerset Viking raiders attacked and burnt the village at Wachet. Streonwold, the local English leader, called for help from the surrounding population and a battle was fought. The Vikings won the battle and Streonwold was killed.
991 Vikings paid to leave Athelred was advised by Archbishop Sigeric to talk to Olaf and arrange a truce rather than trying to defeat the Vikings in battle. The Vikings accepted a large payoff (Danegeld) and left. Battle of Malden The raiding Vikings attacked the Ipswich area of England before sailing into the Blackwater river estuary near Malden. The English were waiting for them and trapped the Vikings in rising tidal waters. The English fought bravely and a poem was written about their exploits but in the end the Vikings were victorious and the English were defeated. Vikings attack the wealthy south-east Under the leadership of Olaf Trygvasson the Vikings attacked the wealthy south-east coast of England and took as much riches as they could carry.
994 Swein Fork-Beard becomes King of Denmark Swein Fork-Beard had overthrone this father King Harold Blue-Tooth Gormsson, King of Denmark in 988. With a huge fleet of 94 ships he arrived in the Thames estutary with Olaf Trygvasson by his side. London put up a good defence and drove the Vikings back so Fork-Beard moved his forces again to attack the south-east coast to plunder what he could find. Winter Trygvasson converted to Christianity Through the Winter months Athelred provided the Vikings with lodgings and £16,000 in cash to stop the raids on his land. Athelred was also the sponsor at the baptism of Olaf Trygvasson. Olaf was given instruction from the Bishop of Winchester.
1001 Danish raids Danish raids on Sussex and Devon.
1002 Another Danegeld paid Athelred was forced to pay the Danes that were camped on the Isle of Wight another large amount of money for them to leave. Nov 13 Massacre of St Brice's day Athelred ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England because he was fearful of them plotting against him.
1003 Wilton and its abbey attacked Swein attacked the town of Wilton and possibly its abbey. 1006 Reading attacked by the Danes The Danes attacked attacked and burnt the town or Reading. Destruction of Walingford The Danes, led by Swein, attacked and destroyed the river crossing at Wallingford.
1008 A large fleet is ordered Athelred ordered England to build a massive fleet of ships. The people of England had to supply armour for the crew as well. It was a huge undertaking but was completed the following year.
1009 Danes repeatedly attack England Swein Fork-Beard and Olaf Trygvasson repeatedly attacked England over several years destroying the land.
1011 The Vikings murder Aelfheah The Vikings captured Canterbury and obtained a payment of £48,000. In a druken rage the Vikings murdered Aelfheah, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Aelfheah was the man that had baptised Olaf Trygvasson in the Winter of 994. Outraged by the actions of his fellow men Thorkell the Tall defected to the side of Athelred along with 45 Viking ships to help defend England from further Viking attacks.
1012 Danegeld paid The Danes were paid a large sum of money, known as the Danegeld, to leave England.
1013 Swein Fork-Beard and Canute attack England Swein Fork-Beard and his son Canute sailed from Denmark to attack England. Again London defended itself and the Vikings moved elsewhere, taking Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. Autumn Emma and Edward leave England Forced to leave England by the invasion from Denmark, Emma Athelred's wife, fled to Normandy assisted by the Bishop of Peterborough. Sons Edward (the Confessor) and Alfred followed later along with the Bishop of London. Ethelred was not far behind. Nov London surrenders to Swein London was the last part of the country to accept Swein as the new king of England. Swein and his Viking army had already taken control of the Danelaw and the rest of the country accepted him as their new ruler. Swein's rule of the country would only last a few months.
1014 Athelred goes into exile Athelred had to abandon his country to Swein and went to Normandy to join his wife Emma and his sons. Feb 3 Swein dies Swein Fork-Beard died. Canute left England not sure of his ability to hold the country but returned a year later. Athelred sent ambassadors to England, including his own son Edward (later the Confessor) to negotiate a possible return.
1015 Qtr 3 Canute returns to England Canute invaded England taking control of Mercia and Northumbria. Athelred was ill and England was in the hands of Edmund (Ironside).
1016 Apr Canute attempts to take the throne Canute advanced on London for a fight with Athelred but Athelred died in the same month. London accepted Edmund Ironside as their ruler. Canute would have to defeat Edmund if he was to become King of England. Oct 18 Treaty between Canute and Edmund Canute defeated Edmund Ironside at Ashingdon and a treaty was signed leaving Edmund with only the area of Wessex. Nov 30 Canute becomes King of England Edmund Ironside died only a month after the treaty with Canute. Canute then became King of England.
1017 Jul Canute marries Emma Canute married Emma, the widow of Athelred the Unready. This helped Canute secure ties with Normandy as Emma was the daughter of Count of Normandy.
1019 Canute takes Denmark Canute travelled to Denmark after the death of his brother to ensure his own succession to the Danish throne.
1031 Canute drives Scottish Kings into submission According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Canute travelled to Scotland where he forced the Scottish Kings into submission.
1035 Nov 12 Canute dies King Canute died at Shaftesbury leaving the rule of the country in dispute between Harthacnut (the son of Emma) and Harold Harefoot (the son of Aelfgifu). The Earls of Northumbria and Mercia supported Harold's claim while Earl Godwine supported Harthacanute's.
1037 Dec Harold Harefoot becomes king Harold Harefoot was proclaimed king of England and Emma was exiled to Bruges.
1040 Mar 17 Harold Harefoot dies Harold died at Oxford leaving the English throne open for Hathacanute to claim.
1042 Jun 8 Harthacanute dies and Edward the Confessor becomes King Harthacanute collapsed while attending a party and died shortly afterwards. He died without an heir and so the crown reverted back to the Saxons and Edward the Confessor was crowned King of England at Easter of 1043 at Winchester. After the death of Harthacanute Magnus took control in Denmark.

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