Medieval History

Viking raid on Lindisfarne

The Norse raid on Lindisfarne in 793: the beginning of the ‘Viking’ age in Britain?

Norse raiders attacked the holy island of Lindisfarne off the Northumbrian coast in an event that is generally accepted as the start of the ‘Viking’ period of British history.

How did Æthelstan become the first Anglo-Saxon ‘king of all Britain’?

July 12th 927 is the closest we have to a foundation date for England, when all the kings of Britain met at Eamont Bridge, near Penrith in Cumbria, to swear an oath of peace under the overlordship of Æthelstan. Having previously been king of the Anglo-Saxons, Æthelstan’s key success in 927 was conquering Viking York which placed the kingdom of Northumbria under his control and secured the submission of the northern kings.

Why did Æthelred the Unready order the St Brice’s Day Massacre in 1002?

On the 13th November 1002, the St Brice’s Day Massacre took place when king Æthelred the Unready “ordered slain all the Danish men who were in England”. Although it is believed that there was considerable loss of life, actual numbers of Danes who were killed following the order are unknown. However, recent archaeological excavations including two mass graves have begun to shed some light on the mystery.

Death of Edward the Confessor

Why did the death of Edward the Confessor spark a succession crisis?

A succession crisis was sparked following the death of Edward the Confessor, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Coronation of Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England

On the 6th January 1066, Harold Godwinson was crowned king of England. Harold II was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, but reigned for barely nine months before being killed at the Battle of Hastings on the 14th October by Norman invaders led by William of Normandy.

Harald Hardrada and the Battle of Fulford: the start of the end of Anglo-Saxon England?

On the 20th September 1066, Harald Hardrada – the Viking king – defeated his northern English enemies at the Battle of Fulford. The defeat of Harold Godwinson’s northern earls was disastrous for the new English king who was forced to rush north and defeat Hardrada himself, which in turn contributed to Godwinson’s later defeat at Hastings to William of Normandy.

The Norman Conquest – video extract from History File

From the BBC’s History File series on Medieval Realms.

A brief audio overview of the Battle of Hastings

On the 14th October 1066, the Battle of Hastings was fought between Duke William II of Normandy and the Anglo-Saxon king Harold Godwinson. Harold’s defeat triggered the Norman conquest of England and the beginning of a new age in England’s rich monarchical history.

Chaos in Westminster as William of Normandy crowned king of England

On the 25th December 1066, William of Normandy was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. The event ended in chaos as Norman guards outside mistook the sounds of the cheering crowd inside for the start of a riot.

History Through Art – The Bayeux Tapesty