Timeline of Anglo Saxon England 801 AD-898 AD
THE FIRST DANISH RAIDS
809 - The Papal Legate is kidnapped by
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
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
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.
858 - Death of King Aethelwulf of Wessex. He is succeeded by his
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
THE GREAT ARMY
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
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 on the River Trent, 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 atEdington. 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.
AELFRED TAKES COUNTERMEASURES
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
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
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
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