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Medieval Timeline for Kids - Normans to the Tudors


The Middle Ages in Britain cover a huge period. They take us from the shock of the Norman Conquest, which began in 1066, to the devasting Black Death of 1348, the Hundred Years' War with France and the War of the Roses, which finally ended in 1485.

The Normans built impressive castles, imposed a feudal system and carried out a census of the country.

Bayeaux tapestry

September: Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, invades England

20 September: He defeats the English at the Battle of Fulford

Saxon victory over invading Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge
Harold II defeats and kills Harald Hardrada

28 September: William of Normandy lands at Pevensey on the south coast of England

Battle of Hastings14 October: The invading Normans defeat the Saxons at the The Battle of Hastings
William of Normandy defeats and kills Harold II with a lucky shot and becomes King of England - Norman Conquest

25 December: William of Normandy is crowned king William I of England


First Norman stone castle is built in Wales
The Normans quickly advanced into Wales, using castles to subdue the surrounding countryside.

Work starts on Canterbury Cathedral

Bayeux Tapestry illustrating the Battle of Hastings is completed
The Bayeux Tapestry is the primary visual source for the Battle of Hastings and the most important pictorial document of the 11th century.

Work starts on The Tower of London
1080 - 1100
Great monastery and cathedral building begins
The Domesday Book is compiled, a complete inventory of Britain
It was the most complete record of any country at that time and remains a legally valid document.

9 September: William the Conqueror dies at Rouen, Normandy


26 September: William II is crowned at Westminster Abbey
William Rufus, second son of William the Conqueror


July: Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, unsuccessfully invades England
Malcom was killed in an ambush by Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, in 1093.


16 November: Margaret, Queen of Scotland, dies at Edinburgh Castle
Margaret was the daughter of Edward the Ætheling, an Anglo-Saxon claimant to the English throne in 1066. She fled to Scotland after the Norman conquest and married Malcolm Canmore (Malcolm III) of Scotland in about 1070.


Oxford University is founded


2 August: William II is killed while hunting in the New Forest
William's brother had himself rapidly crowned Henry I.


5 August: Henry I is crowned in Westminster Abbey


25 July 1110 Henry I of England marries his daughter Matilda to the German emperor, Henry V. She was only eight years old.


25 November Henry I's only son, William, drowns while returning from Normandy to England on the 'White Ship'. The succession is thrown into crisis.


25 December: Henry I settles the accession on his daughter, Matilda


22 December Stephen (Henry's nephew) is crowned king after the death of Henry I in Normandy instead of Matilda. Many considered a woman unfit to rule and further resentment was generated by her marriage into the Anjou family in 1127.


30 September 1139 Matilda lands at Arundel, West Sussex, to claim the throne of England. A long civil war followed, but neither side was strong enough for outright victory.

Matilda withdrew to France, leaving Stephen as king but with only nominal control over a country where lawlessness was rife.

May 1152 Henry of Anjou (Matilda's son and the future Henry II of England) marries Eleanor of Aquitaine. The marriage brought a vast area of France into Henry's possession.


24 May: David I, King of Scotland, dies
David I had succeeded to the throne of Scotland in 1124.


19 December Henry II, the first 'Plantagenet' king, accedes to the throne
He was not only king of England, but also ruled over most of Wales, Normandy, Anjou, Gascony and other parts of France (acquired through his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine). Henry, son of Empress Matilda, established stability after civil war between his mother and her rival Stephen. He asserted his authority over the barons and enforced law and governance. Regular financial rolls of government began in his reign.

Work starts on York Minster
Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket is murdered by the knights of Henry II. Thomas Becket had been Henry's close friend and his chancellor. But when Henry appointed him archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, Becket began to take the side of the Church against the king, and the two quarrelled.
Population of London exceeds 30,000 for the first time
Work starts on Wells Cathedral

6 July: Henry II dies and is succeeded by his son Richard I


Richard I joins the Third Crusade
The Crusades were a series of nine religious wars waged from 1095 to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Islamic rule. Richard raised taxes, sold assets and emptied the treasury to raise funds for his army.


Richard I dies and is succeeded by his brother John


University at Cambridge is established
A group of scholars migrated from the established centre of learning at Oxford to Cambridge, where they set up a new university.

Civil War

15 June The Magna Carta is signed by King John and his barons at Runnymede on the River Thames.


28 October: Henry III is crowned king of England

Work starts on Salisbury

Henry III begins to rebuild Westminster Abbey
The first abbey at Westminster was built by Edward the Confessor in the 1040s in the Romanesque style. Henry III ordered the rebuilding of the abbey in a Gothic style, with a central shrine to honour Edward the Confessor.


20 November: Henry III dies and is succeeded by his son Edward
He was crowned Edward I in August 1274.

1282 - 1283

Edward I conquers Wales. Llywelyn ap Gruffyd, the country's last prince is killed


July: Edward I expels all Jews from England

Edward I invades Scotland and takes the Stone of Destiny from Scone to Westminster
September: The Battle of Stirling Bridge
The Scots under William Wallace defeat the English
July: The Battle of Falkirk. King Edward defeats Wallace.
Edward I makes his eldest son, also Edward, prince of Wales, a title the eldest son of the English monarch continues to take to this day.

23 August: Scottish rebel William Wallace is executed by the English

Robert Bruce crowned King of theScots

7 July: Edward I dies and is succeeded by his son Edward II
Two years after Edward's accession, he married Isabella, daughter of the French king.

Scots led by Robert the Bruce defeat the English at the battle of Bannockburn
1315 - 1322

1315 - 1322 Millions die in the Great European Famine
The famine was the product of a cooler and damper climate, coupled with the medieval inability to dry and store grain effectively.

Civil War

September: Isabella invades England and overthrows Edward II
Edward II's wife, Isabella, had left England for France in 1325 on the pretext of helping to settle a dispute over territory. But she had been badly treated by Edward's favourites, the Despensers, and declined to return. Instead, she remained in Paris, where she found a lover, Roger Mortimer. In 1326, she returned to England with a large force, whereupon the king's supporters deserted him. Edward was captured, as were the Despensers who were executed in the autumn of the same year.


20 January: Edward II is murdered and Edward III becomes king
Edward II abdicated in favour of his son. He was later murdered at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire on the orders of Isabella and her lover, Roger Mortimer. Isabella and her lover Mortimer ruled while her son Edward III was in his minority (too young).

Edward now 17 assumes Royal Powers, arrests and executes Mortimer and puts his mother under life time house arrest.
1337 - 1453
Hundred Years' War with France
The 'Hundred Years' War' is the name historians have given to a series of related conflicts fought over the course of more than a century between England and France.
King Edward claims the Throne of France
1348 - 1349
The Black Death (bubonic plague) arrives in England and kills nearly half of the population

19 September: Edward the 'Black Prince' (Edward III's son) defeats and captures John II, King of France


22 June: Edward III dies and is succeeded by Richard II
Edward III's eldest son, Edward the 'Black Prince', had died in 1376, so the succession passed to Edward's grandson, Richard II, who was only 10 years old. In the first part of his reign, because he was so young, the country was ruled by his uncle, John of Gaunt whose son Henry Bolingbroke eventually murdered Richard and became king as Henry IV.


15 June: Peasants' Revolt
In the aftermath of the catastrophic Black Death, agricultural workers were in demand but landlords were reluctant to pay higher wages or allow migration for work. Coupled with heavy taxation and an unpopular government, it caused an uprising. The rebels converged on London. The Tower of London was stormed and prominent individuals were executed. After rebel leader Wat Tyler was killed, Richard II successfully defused the situation by promising concessions. Reprisals followed instead.

Geoffrey Chaucer starts writing the Canterbury Tales

30 September: Henry IV is proclaimed king of England


St Andrews is established as the first Scottish university


20 March: Henry IV dies and is succeeded by his son, Henry V


25 October: Henry V defeats the French at the Battle of Agincourt


31 August: Henry V dies suddenly, leaving his son Henry VI, who was less than a year old and now king of England and France under the terms of the Treaty of Troyes (1420). He is today still the youngest ever king of England.

England was ruled by a Regency Council. In France, the king's uncle, John, Duke of Bedford, gradually extended English control. Henry VI of England was crowned king of France in Paris in December 1431.


Henry VI assumes power as king of England
Henry VI, who had acceded to the throne before his first birthday, was now considered old enough to rule for himself.

The Hundred Years War against France ends
Henry was often very ill during his reign. In 1453, the king had a mental breakdown and Richard, Duke of York, was made protector until Henry briefly recovered

22 May: Civil War: The War of the Roses begin with first Battle of St Albans
York was then driven out by Henry VI's wife, Margaret. York marched on London and defeated Henry's supporters (the Lancastrians) at St Albans. This relatively small battle marks the beginning of a civil war between two branches of the royal family - York and Lancaster - that lasted intermittently until 1485.

The Duke of York was the main figure on the Yorkist side and Margaret, Henry's queen, took charge of the Lancastrian cause.


29 March: Lancastrians are defeated at Towton and Edward IV (Duke of York's son) is proclaimed king. Henry VI and Margaret flee to Scotland.
Edward was crowned in June 1461.


30 October 1470 Henry VI is briefly restored to the throne


4 May 1471 Yorkists defeat the Lancastrians and kill Edward, Prince of Wales
and heir of Henry VI. Henry VI himself survived little more than a fortnight after the battle. He was murdered, probably in the Tower of London, on 21 May 1471. Edward IV was king of England again.


William Caxton publishes the first printed book in England


9 April: Edward IV dies and is succeeded by his 12-year-old son, Edward V
Edward’s uncle, his father’s brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named protector. Gloucester met the new king on his journey to London and when they reached the capital, lodged him in the Tower of London with his younger brother, also called Richard. In June the boys were declared illegitimate. It was alleged that their father's marriage to their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, had been invalid.


July 1483 Richard III becomes king and the 'Princes in the Tower' disappear
Both his nephews, the 12-year-old Edward V and his brother, were not seen alive after this time. They had been imprisoned in the Tower of London and were presumed murdered, although it is not clear who was responsible.


22 August Henry Tudor defeats Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth

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