c.2300

c.2300 - Construction began on Britain's largest stone circle at Avebury

c.2000

c.2000 - Construction began on Stonehenge's inner ring of bluestones

55

55 - Julius Caesar's first invasion of Britain.

54

54 - Julius Caesar's second invasion of Britain.

5

5 - Rome acknowledges Cymbeline, King of the Catuvellauni, as king of Britain

43

43 - Claudius' invasion of the island. Caratacus leads British resistance, but is finally defeated in 51.

51

51 - Caratacus, British general, is captured and taken to Rome

61

61 - Boudicca, queen of the Iceni, led uprising against the Roman occupiers, but is defeated and killed by the Roman governor, Suetonius Paulinus

63

63 - Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury on the first Christian mission to Britain.

77

77 - The Roman conquest of Britain; Julius Agricola is imperial governor (to 84)

122

122 - Construction of Hadrian's Wall ordered along the northern frontier, for the purpose of hindering incursions of the aggressive tribes there into Britannia

133

133 - Julius Severus, governor of Britain, is sent to Palestine to crush the revolt

167

167 - At the request of King Lucius, the missionaries, Phagan and Deruvian,were said to have been sent by Pope Eleutherius to convert the Britons to Christianity. This is, perhaps, the most widely believed of the legends of the founding of Christianity in Britain.

197

197 - Clodius Albinus, governor of Britain, another claimant to the Imperial throne, is killed by Severus at the battle of Lyon

208

208 - Severus goes to defend Britain, and repairs Hadrian's Wall

209

209 - St. Alban, first British martyr, was killed for his faith in one of the few persecutions of Christians ever to take place on the island, during the governorship of Gaius Junius Faustinus Postumianus (there is controversy about the date of Alban's martyrdom. Some believe it occurred during the persecutions of Diocletian, in the next century, although we opt for the earlier dating).

c.270's

c.270 - Beginning (highly uncertain dating) of the "Saxon Shore" fort system, a chain of coastal forts in the south and east of Britain, listed in a document known as "Notitia Dignitatum."

287

287 - Revolt by Carausius, commander of the Roman British fleet, who rules Britain as emperor until murdered by Allectus, a fellow rebel, in 293

303

303 - Diocletian orders a general persecution of the Christians

306

306 - Constantine (later to be known as "the Great") was proclaimed Emperor at York.

311

311 - Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ends.

312

312 - Constantine defeats and kills Maxentius at battle of Milvian Bridge; Constantine realizes Christian God may be a powerful ally and decides to attempt to co-opt him for his own purposes.

313

313 - Edict of Toleration proclaimed at Milan, in which Christianity is made legal throughout the empire.

314

314 - Three British bishops, for the first time, attend a continental church gathering, the Council of Arles.

324

324 - Constantine finally achieves full control over an undivided empire.

337

337 - Constantine received "Christian" baptism on his deathbed. Joint rule of Constantine's three sons: Constantine II (to 340); Constans (to 350); Constantius (to 361)

360's

360's - Series of attacks on Britain from the north by the Picts, the Attacotti and the Irish (Scots), requiring the intervention of Roman generals leading special legions.

369

369 - Roman general Theodosius drives the Picts and Scots out of Roman Britain

383

383 - Magnus Maximus, a Spaniard, was proclaimed Emperor in Britain by the island's Roman garrison. With an army of British volunteers, he conquered Gaul and, in 388, occupied Rome itself. However, Theodosius, the eastern Emperor, defeated and beheaded him in July, 388. The net result to Britain was the loss of many valuable troops needed for the island's defense.

388

388 - Theodosius captures Magnus Maximus and executes him

395

395 - Theodosius, the last emperor to rule an undivided empire, died, leaving his one son, Arcadius, emperor in the East and his other son, the young Honorius, emperor in the West. At this point the office of Roman Emperor changed from a position of absolute power to one of being merely a head of state.

396

396 - The Roman general, Stilicho, acting as regent in the western empire during Honorius' minority, reorganized British defenses decimated by the Magnus Maximus debacle. Began transfer of military authority from Roman commanders to local British chieftains.

c.398

c.398 - Stilicho repulsed an attack on Britain by Picts, Scots and Saxons.

c.400-2

c.400-2 - Troops again moved from Britain, this time by Stilicho for the defense of Italy from Alaric and the Goths.

c.400-30

c.400-30 - Encouraged by weakening British defenses, Pictish and Irish incursions increased in frequency and intensity. Threat of Saxon raids caused increased worry among Britons.

407

407 - Constantine III proclaimed new emperor by Roman garrison in Britian.

408

408 - Britain endures devastating attacks by the Picts, Scots and Saxons.

410

410 - Britain given its independence from Rome. The Goths, under Alaric, sack Rome.

418

418 - The preaching of the heresy of Pelagianism was outlawed in Rome.

421

421 - Honorius issued a decree forbidding any Pelagians to come nearer to Rome than the one-hundredth mile marker.

c.425

c.425 - Vortigern comes to power in Britain, possibly as "high-king."

c.428

c.428 - Vortigern authorizes the use of Saxon mercenaries for the defense of island against barbarian attack. This time is known in Latin as the "adventus Saxonum" or the coming of the Saxons. It is sometimes, mistakenly, dated at around AD 447-9.

429

429 - Bishops Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes dispatched to Britain to combat Pelagian heresy.

c.432

c.432 - St. Patrick begins mission to Ireland

c.430-50

c.430-50 - Increasing Saxon settlement in Britain. Raids on British towns and cities by Saxons becoming more frequent.

446

446 - Second visit of St. Germanus to Britain. Britons appeal to Aetius, Roman governor of Gaul, for military assistance.

449

449 - The Jutes under Hengest and Horsa conquer Kent, in southern Britain

c.455

c.455 - Full-scale revolt in progress; Saxon control spreading westward. Vortigern dies.

460

460 - Mass migration of Britons across Channel to Armorica (later named Brittany). Leader of Britons named Riothamus.

c.465

c.465 - Ambrosius Aurelianus assumes command of British forces. Saxons driven back to settlements and contained.

c.500

c.500 - Britons, under "war leader" Arthur, defeat Saxons at Mount Badon. A generation of peace ensues. Corrupt leaders, civil turmoil and public apathy erode Romano-British culture over next fifty years, making Britain ripe for Saxon "picking."

c.500-50

c.500-50 - Spread of Celtic monasticism throughout Europe

550

550 - St. David takes Christianity to Wales

563

563 - Irish monk, St. Columba founds a monastery on island of Iona and begins conversion of the Picts to Christianity

584

584 - Foundation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in England

597

597 - The Roman brand of Christianity is brought to Britain for the first time by St. Augustine, the missionary sent from Pope Gregory to convert the Saxons. Augustine founded a monastery and the first church at Canterbury, and was proclaimed its first Archbishop.

633

633 - Mercians under Penda defeat Northumbrians

642

642 - Mercians under Penda again defeat the Northumbrians

655

655 - Oswy, king of Northumbria, defeats and kills Penda of Mercia

664

664 - Synod of Whitby; Oswy abandons the Celtic Christian Church and accepts the faith of Rome: decline of the Celtic Church

731

731 - Venerable Bede, British monk, completes his history of the Church in England

735

735 - Death of the Venerable Bede

757

757 - Offa, King of Mercia (to796): he builds Offa's Dyke to keep out the Welsh

779

779 - Offa, King of Mercia, becomes King of all England

782

782 - Charlemagne summons the monk and scholar Alcuin of York to head the palace school at Aachen: revival of learning in Europe

793

793 - Vikings invade Britain for the first time in a surprise attack on the monastic community at Lindisfarne (Holy Island).

796

796 - Death of Offa: end of Mercian supremacy in England

802

802 - Egbert, King of Wessex (to839)

828

828 - Egbert of Wessex is recognized as overlord of other English kings

839

839 - AEthelwulf, son of Egbert, King of Wessex (to 858)

844

844 - Kenneth MacAlpine, King of the Scots, conquers the Picts; founds a unified Scotland

858

858 - AEthelbald, eldest son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 860)

860

860 - AEthelbert, second son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 865)

865

865 - AEthelred I, third son of AEthelwulf, King of Wessex (to 871)

871

871 - The Danes attack Wessex; are defeated by AEthelred at Ashdown

878

878 - Alfred decisively defeats the Danes at Edington; by the Peace of Wedmore, England is divided between Wessex in the south and the Danes in the north, the Danelaw

886

886 - Alfred captures London from the Danes

899

899 - Edward the Elder, King of Wessex (to 924)

901

901 - Edward the Elder takes the title "King of the Angles and Saxons"

913

913 - Edward the Elder recaptures Essex from the Danes

924

924 - Athelstan, son of Edward the Elder, becomes king of Wessex and effective ruler of most of England (to 939)

926

926 - Athelstan annexes Northumbria, and forces the kings of Wales, Strathclyde, the Picts, and the Scots to submit to him

937

937 - Battle of Brunanburh: Athelstan defeats alliance of Scots, Celts, Danes, and Vikings, and takes the title of "King of all Britain"

939

939 - Edmund, brother of Athelstan, King of England (to 946)

945

945 - Dunstan becomes abbot of Glastonbury

946

946 - Edred, younger brother of Edmund, King of England (to 955); Dunstan is named his chief minister

955

955 - Edwy, son of Edmund, King of England (to 959)

956

956 - Dunstan sent into exile by Edwy

957

957 - Mercians and Northumbrians rebel against Edwy

959

959 - Edgar the Peaceful, younger brother of Edwy, King of England (to 975)

975

975 - Edward the Martyr, son of Edgar, King of England (to 978)

978

978 - Edward the Martyr murdered at Corfe Castle; AEthelred II, the Unready (ill-counselled), younger brother of Edward the Martyr, King of England (to 1016)

980

980 - The Danes renew their raids on England attacking Chester and Southampton

991

991 - Battle of Maldon: Byrhtnoth of Essex defeated by Danish invaders; AEthelred II buys off the Danes with 10,000 pounds of silver (Danegeld)

992

992 - AEthelred makes a truce with Duke Richard I of Normandy

994

994 - Danes under Sweyn and Norwegians under Olaf Trygvesson sail up river Thames and besiege London; bought off by AEthelred

1003

1003 - Sweyn and an army of Norsemen land in England and wreak a terrible vengeance

1007

1007 - AEthelred buys two years' peace from the Danes for 36,000 pounds of silver

1012

1012 - The Danes sack Canterbury: bought off for 48,000 pounds of silver

1013

1013 - Sweyn lands in England and is proclaimed king; AEthelred flees to
Normandy

1014

1014 - The English recall AEthelred II as King on the death of Sweyn; Canute retreats to Denmark

1015

1015 - Canute again invades England; war between Danes and Saxons

1016

1016 - Edmund Ironside, son of AEthelred II, King of England: he and Canute divide the kingdom, Canute holds the north and Edmund Wessex; Edmund is assassinated; Canute, King of England (to 1035)

1017

1017 - Canute divides England into four earldoms

1019

1019 - Canute marries Emma of Normandy, widow of AEthelred II

1035

1035 - Death of Canute: his possessions are divided

Harold I, Harefoot, King of England (to 1040)

1040

1040 - Hardicanute, King of England (to 1042); he dies of drink

1042

1042 - Edward the Confessor, son of AEthelred II, King of England (to 1066)

1051

1051 - Earl Godwin exiled (until 1052): he returns with a fleet and wins back his power

1052

1052 - Edward the Confessor founds Westminster Abbey, near London

1053

1053 - Death of Godwin: his son Harold succeeds him as Earl of Wessex

1055

1055 - Harold's brother Tostig becomes Earl of Northumbria

1063

1063 - Harold and Tostig subdue Wales

1064

1064 - Harold is shipwrecked in Normandy; while there, he swears a solemn oath to support William of Normandy's claim to England

1065

1065 - Northumbria rebels against Tostig, who is exiled



TIMELINE (Part 2): 1066-1487