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Transport yourself back up to a thousand years and explore historical buildings as they may have appeared in the past.
1050 .. 1074
1050 .. 1074
Please note that the TimeRef website is currently being redesigned.
Robert of Jumieges becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
Edward appointed the French abbot Robert of Jumieges to the post of Archbishop of Canterbury.
See of Devon and Cornwall moved to Exeter
The See of Devon and Cornwall had been located at Crediton in Devon but in 1050 Edward the Confessor moved the See to Exeter. This moved the cathedral from an obscure location to a more important one. Edward gave the new Bishopric to Leofric.
Sweyn Godwineson was pardoned and allowed to return to England.
Macbeth visits Rome
Macbeth took time to travel to Rome on a pilgrimage. Reports of his visit tell of him distributing large amounts of money.
An incident occurred when Eustace II Count of Boulogne visited Edward the Confessor, his brother-in-law. The incident occurred in Dover where a fight broke out between the Norman visitors and the locals resulting in the deaths of several people. The area of Dover was under the control of the Godwine family and Edward the Confessor, who blamed the people of Dover for the fight, told Earl Godwine to deal with them. Godwine refused to obey Edward's order and in response Edward raised an army and forced the Godwine family into exile.
Edward abolishes military tax
The unpopular military tax was abolished by Edward the Confessor. It had been collected for many years to provide funds for defending the country from raiders.
Godwine, Earl of Wessex, his son Harold and a large fleet sailed up the Thames to London forcing Edward to reinstate them into their previous positions of power.
Stigand becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
Stigand, the Bishop of Winchester, mediated in the conflicts between the Godwines and Edward the Confessor. The Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert of Jumieges, fled the country with other bishops who had been appointed by Edward. Stigand assumed the title of Archbishop of Canterbury. Robert of Jumieges appealed to Pope Leo IX and Stigand was excommunicated.
Battle fought between Henry, the King of France, and William, the Duke of Normandy. Henry wanted to take control of the Normandy area which was preventing the French access to the English Channel. The Normans defeated the French.
The Great East-West schism
Although the split between the East and West Churches can not easily be put down to one event, the conflict caused in 1054 between Pope Loe IX and the patriarch of Constantinople is often thought, rightly or wrongly, as the key moment. Pope Leo IX sent a delegation to Constantinople to discuss differences which resulted in the excommunication of the patriarch by the delegation and in return the excommunication of the delegation by the patriarch.
The Crab Nebula seen
The supernova that occurred in this year formed the Crab Nebula and the event was recorded by astronomers in China. The explosion was so great that the supernova would have been visible during the daytime. Due to the huge distances involved, the explosion would have happened thousands of years earlier but the light from the event only reached Earth in 1054.
The tribe of Tatars known also as the Seljuk Turks invaded parts of Persia and captured the city of Baghdad starting a Suljuk empire.
Victor II becomes Pope
Tostig becomes Earl of Northumbria
King Edward gave Tostig the important position of Earl of Northumbria and the difficult job of bringing the northern state under control.
Hereford cathedral attacked
A force of Welsh and Irish men led by Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, a Welsh prince attacked and burnt the building.
Rebellion of Aelfgar of Mercia
Aelfgar, earl of Mercia was outlawed by the witan. In revenge he built a force and allied himself with Welsh Gruffydd ap Llywelyn. After defeating the King's nephew, Radulf, they attacked Hereford and raided the church killing several canons and taking everything of value leaving the building on fire. The rebels also attacked Leominster.
Death of Athelstan, bishop of Hereford; succeeded by Leofgar, who tried to take reprisals against Gruffydd, the Welsh Prince.
Death of Leofgar, bishop of Hereford
In reponse to the attack on Hereford Catherdal, Leofgar the bishop of Hereford took an army into Wales to deal with the Welsh prince. In battle Gruffydd ap Llywelyn killed the bishop and others near Glasbury on Wye. Earl Godwin raised an army in response but the two side eventually came to peaceful terms and Aelfgar was later restored to his position.
Under the direction of Wulfstan, the future Bishop of Worcester, construction work began at Gloucester Cathedral. The new building was burnt down and rebuilt later by Abbot Serlo.
Nicholas II becomes Pope
Benedict X is elected the Antipope
Malcolm III becomes King of the Scots
Malcolm had killed Macbeth at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth's stepson Lulach was crowned king and reigned for four months until he too was killed at Strathbogie. Malcolm became King of the Scots and was crowned at Scone.
The Normans under the the leadership of Robert Guiscard and his brother Robert were fighting in southern Italy to claim lands from the Byzantines. At the treaty of Melfi in 1059 Robert had been granted the lands of Sicily, Apulia and Calabria by the Pope in return for their support. In 1060 they were in control of southern Italy and in 1061 had captured parts of Sicily including Messina. But they could not capture the whole of the island.
Wulfstan becomes bishop of Worcester
Wulfstan, a monk at Worcester Cathedral from 1040, was recommended for the position of bishop by visiting papal legates.
Harold, earl Wessex, attacked Rhuddlan
Harold led an attack on the stronghold of Gruffydd ap Llywelyn at Rhuddlan in north Wales. The attack was a success but the Welsh Prince managed to escape.
Harold invaded south Wales while Tostig of Northumbria attacked the north.
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn killed
The Welsh Prince, Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, was killed by his own men. (Need to find out why)
William invades and captures Maine
Some years earlier William had supported the exiled Count Herbert of Maine when Geoffrey Martel invaded the province and captured its main town Le Mans. As part of the pact William and Herbert agreed that if Herbert died without an heir the province could be claimed by William. William's eldest son Robert Curthose was betrothed to Herbert's daughter (Margaret?) but she died before they could be married. When Herbert died William claimed Maine in the name of his son and invaded. Robert was made Count of Maine when the province was captured.
A mysterious meeting is reported to have taken place in Normandy between William the Conqueror and Harold in 1064 or 1065. In the meeting it was claimed that Harold agreed that William should become King of England when Edward the Confessor died. From what is known of Harold it seems unlikely that he would agree to something like this. We know that he went against this agreement when he assumed the role as King after Edward's death. The Bayeaux Tapestry shows Harold travelling to, or being shipwreked on the land of Guy, count of Ponthieu. Harold was captured by Guy and held at his castle at Beaurain until William the Conqueror arranged for his release. The tapestry possibly shows Harold swearing an oath while his hands rest on what appear to be sacred relics. After this his returned to England.
Peace between Norway and Denmark
After almost twenty years of conflict, the rulers of Norway and Denmark, Harald Hardrada and Sweyn Estrithson made peace. This allowed Harald to turn his attentions to England where he believed he had a right to the throne. In 1038 Magnus of Norway and Harthacnut of Denmark had signed a treaty that specified if either died without an heir his kingdom must pass to the other. When Harthacnut died childless in 1042 Magnus claimed both Denmark and England as his own. It was this claim that Harald was basing his own claim upon.
Fulk Rechin was at war with his brother Geoffrey. They were fighting over the lands of Anjou and Touraine which had been left to them by their uncle Geoffrey Martel, the count of Anjou. Fulk captured Geoffrey the Bearded and captured Anjou later taking the title of count.
Montacute Castle construction
A motte and bailey castle was built by Robert Count of Mortain in Somerset.
Edward the Confessor dies
Edward the Confessor died at Westminster. The death of Edward was an important event in the chain of events that led up to the invasion by William the Conqueror from Normandy.
Harold II Godwinson is crowned King of England
After the death of King Edward Harold Godwinson was chosen as king but his reign was not to last very long.
A comet appeared in the skies and is shown on the Bayeux Tapestry. It is thought to be the same comet that was named after Edmund Halley who accurately predicted its return in 1758.
Tostig invades the south of England
After being expelled from Northumbria Tostig spent time in Flanders. Here he raised an army and fleet and attempted to invade the south of England. The English armies around the Isle of Wight were too strong so Tostig was forced to look for another place to attack. His fleet sailed up the east coast of England to Lincolnshire.
Dedication of Holy Trinity at Caen
William the Conqueror and Matilda attended the dedication of Matilda's church, the Holy Trinity at Caen. To show their devotion they gave their daughter Cecilia to the church to be raised as a nun.
William's Invasion fleet gather in the estuary of the River Dives
William the Conqueror made preparations to invade England. His invasion fleet gathered in the estuary of the River Dives and other ports in Normandy.
Harold prepares for William's invasion
King Harold gathered an army and waited on the south coast of England to defend the country against William's invasion.
William the Conqueror's invasion fleet arrived at St-Valery-Sur-Somme further up the Normandy coast. William had either decided to move the fleet to the inlet or the fleet was forced to take shelter there after being hit by a storm. William's fleet remained there waiting for winds blowing in the right direction to take them to England.
Battle of Gate Fulford
Harold Hardrada's forces invaded England and started ravaging the countryside as they made their way to York. English forces led by Earl Edwin and Earl Morcar battled with Harold Hardrada at Gate Fulford, but the English were severely beaten. Following this defeat King Harold was forced to march his army away from the south coast where they were preparing to defend against William the Conqueror's invasion to deal with the invasion in the north.
Stamford Bridge Battle
King Harold defeated the invasion threat from Harold Hardrada, King of Norway and his own brother Tostig, both of whom were killed. This stretched his forces to the limit as they quickly had to march south to defend against William the Conqueror's invasion from Normandy.
William lands at Pevensey
Just after dawn the main part of William's fleet landed on the English coast at Pevensey while some split from the main group and came ashore at Romney.
William moves to Hastings
William the Conqueror moved his army to Hastings. The village of Hastings in 1066 was on a peninsula of land with marsh and water on two sides. The area was a natural defensive site with a hill to the north that could be used as a lookout point. William possibly built extra defences at Hastings while he prepared to move towards London.
Harold learns of William's arrival
King Harold was resting his army in York when he learnt that William had landed on the south coast.
Harold and his forces reach London
King Harold had to march south from Stamford Bridge to counter the threat of invasion from William the Conqueror.
Harold leaves London
King Harold left London with an army and headed for the south coast.
Harold reaches Caldbec Hill
King Harold and his army reached Caldbec Hill near the road from London to Hastings. Here they prepared for the battle to come.
Battle of Hastings
William the Conqueror and King Harold met in battle at Hastings. Although Harold had the superior position on the battlefield his tactics failed and he was killed. This left England open for William to continue with his invasion plans.
Nov (to Dec)
William advances to London
After his victory at the battle of Hastings William moved along the south coast to Dover where extra fortifications were built in the existing castle at the top of the cliffs. From there he moved on to Canterbury. After the death of King Harold the archbishops of York and Canterbury, Ealdred and Stigand supported the plan to put Edgar the Aetheling on the English throne but William moved too quickly for this to be done. Canterbury submitted to William and he moved on to London. Instead of entering London from the south he moved around the west of the city crossing the Thames at Wallingford. Finally archbishop Stigand and the other Anglo-Saxon leaders submitted to William and after turning south at Little Berkhamsted William the Conqueror entered London.
William the Conqueror becomes King of England
On Christmas Day, William the Conqueror was crowned as King of England in Westminster Abbey.
Odo,the Bishop or Bayeux, became William the Conqueror's deputy in England and was assisted by William Fitz Osbern until Osbern's death in 1071. Odo also became the Earl of Kent and his wealth and land became considerable.
Chepstow Castle begun
Construction of Chepstow Castle is begun.
A castle at Norwich is begun
A motte and bailey castle is built at Norwich.
Construction of Wallingford Castle
A castle at Wallingford was built in this year. It would have been a motte and bailey type castle.
Construction of Winchester Castle
Construction of a wooden castle was begun at Winchester.
Arundel Castle granted to Roger de Montgomery
William the Conqueror granted Arundel Castle to Roger de Montgomery.
William returns to Normandy
William returned to Normandy taking as guests Edgar the Aetheling (the grandson of Edmund Ironside), Stigand (Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria and the brothers Edwin and Morcar.
William the Conqueror ordered the building of Warwick Castle.
Northern English move to Scotland
Many of the northern English lords escaped to Scotland and to the court of Malcolm III when it was clear that William the Conqueror had control of the country.
Malcolm III marries Edgar's sister
Edgar the Aetheling took refuge with Malcolm III in Scotland along with his sister Margaret. Malcolm and Margaret were married in the same year.
Construction of Nottingham Castle
William and the Normans started construction of the castle at Nottingham. This would have been a wooden building. It was built on the high ground above the town using the steep slope down to the river Leen as a defence.
The Curfew Bell
William the Conqueror ordered that all church bells should be sounded at eight o'clock each night as a signal for everyone to put out fires and candles and retire to bed. The term appears to come from the French couvre feu meaning cover the fire.
Construction of Lincoln Castle
William the Conqueror ordered that building work on a castle at Lincoln was to be started.
Construction of Cambridge Castle
The Normans built a motte and bailey castle on the north side of the River Cam.
Exeter falls to William
Although William had defeated Harold at Hastings, Harold's mother Gytha and her forces still had not submitted to William's rule. They refused to pay the taxes that William demanded and held out at Exeter until their defences were broken. William had to take heavy casualties in the confrontation. William was still collecting the land tax known as Danegeld. After the city fell, William had a castle constructed to keep control of the population there.
Construction begins on Exeter Castle
Following the rebellion in the West William orders the construction of a castle at Exeter.
Matilda is crowned Queen
William brought his wife Matilda of Flander to England to crown her Queen of England. Matilda's coronation took place at Westminster Abbey and the ceremony was performed by the archbishop of York.
Birth of Henry I
Henry, the future king of England, was born at Selby in Yorkshire.
An attack by a Danish invasion fleet led by Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark was fought off by a garrison stationed at a castle at Sandwich. Sandwich was an important port on the south coast. The location has now been found and the site is being investigated.
York captured by the Danes
An army sent by Sweyn of Denmark landed in the north and captured York. Local rebels joined the Danes and attacked the two castles within the city.
Construction of Worcester Castle
Land from the nearby Cathedral was used to build a new Norman motte and bailey castle on the bank of the River Severn.
Death of Magnus II
Magnus II, King of Norway died. He had become King of Norway in 1066.
The North is devastated by the Normans
William's forces defeat rebels in the North and Midlands.
William the Conqueror placed Lanfranc in the position of Archbishop of Canterbury a move designed to strengthen his hold on the English throne. Thomas of Bayeux, a pupil of William's brother Odo, was put in the position of Archbishop of York after the death of Ealred who died on September 11th, 1069. Archbishop Stigand was imprisoned in Winchester.
Castles at Chester and Stafford begun
William the Conqueror continued his castle building programme at both Chester and Stafford.
Castle at Old Sarum
Using the prehistoric hill fort's defensive position to good use, the Normans built a new castle on the Old Sarum site. William the Conqueror paid off his soldiers here in this year.
Malcolm raids Northern England
Malcolm, the Scottish king attacked towns in the north of England.
Building work at Chepstow
William Fitz Osbern built the hall at Chepstow Castle.
Dunfermline Abbey founded
The Abbey of Dunfermline was founded by Malcolm III, King of the Scots and his wife Margaret.
Hereward the Wake sacks Peterborough Abbey
As part of a revolt against the new Norman invaders, Hereward the Wake sacked the abbey at Peterborough.
Canterbury Cathedral was rebuilt at this time by Archbishop Lanfranc. The Cathedral was based on the design of his abbey in Caen.
Byzantine army destroyed at Manzikert
The Byzantine army was destroyed at Manzikert by the Turks. Romanus IV Diogenes, emperor of Byzantium, was defeated by the Sultan Alp-Arslan of Persia and imprisoned. Michael VII Ducas became the new emperor.
Turks conquer Syria, Jerusalem and parts of Palestine
The Seljuk Turks conquer Syria, Jerusalem and parts of Palestine.
Ely castle ordered
William orders a castle to be built at Ely.
William puts down the revolt
The rebels Hereward the Wake and Morcar on the Isle of Ely were attacked and defeated by William the Conqueror.
Dudley Castle Construction
After Eadwin, the Earl of Mercia, was killed in the revolt against William his castle and lands at Dudley were given to William's Norman followers.
Abbot of Abingdon imprisoned
The Abbot of Abingdon was imprisoned at Wallingford Castle.
Richmond Castle construction
The construction of Richmond Castle began around this time by Alan Rufus, the cousin of the Duke of Brittany.
Bangor Cathedral destroyed by the Normans
A Norman army attacked the northern Welsh town of Bangor and destroyed the Cathedral there.
Construction of Oxford Castle
Robert D'Oilly was given the task of building a castle at Oxford by William the Conqueror at the important Thames river crossing. A motte and bailey castle would have been the type of castle built at this time.
Serlo, William the Conqueror's chaplain, revived the floundering monastery at Gloucester and started major rebuilding work. Serlo died in 1104.
Old Sarum Cathedral
The first cathedral at Old Sarum was built between 1075 and 1092. Its builder was Bishop Osmund, who was supposed to be William the Conqueror's nephew. From 1072 until 1078, Osmund was William's Chancellor and in 1078 Osmund was given the title of Bishop of Salisbury.
Treaty of Abernethy
At the Treaty of Abernethy between William the Conqueror and Malcolm III of Scotland, Malcolm agreed to pay homage to William.
First Cathedral at Lincoln begun
The Norman Bishop of Fecamp began work on the first Cathedral church at Lincoln. The bishop's see had been moved from Dorchester-on-Thames.
Council of Winchester
Lanfranc held a Church council at Winchester where the reorganisation of Bishops and Bishoprics was confirmed. Canterbury was also confirmed as the head of the English Church rather than York.
William leads an army into Scotland
It is possible that William the Conqueror was planning to attack King Malcolm to prevent him protecting Edgar the Aetheling and to stop him advancing into the north of England. The treaty 'Peace of Abernethy' brought a solution to the situation where Malcolm agreed to become William's vassal and to expel Edgar.