By Tim Lambert

The Normans

1042-1066 Reign of Edward the Confessor


Harold becomes king, although William Duke of Normandy also claims the throne. Harald Hardrada, a Norwegian claims it as well. He invades England but his army is crushed at the battle of Stamford Bridge in September.

The Normans win battle of Hastings in October. William the Conqueror is crowned king in December.


The 'harrying of the North'. Enraged by rebellion in the north of England Norman soldiers burn houses and crops and kill livestock. The area north of the Humber is left devastated.

1086 The Domesday Book is compiled. It lists all the manors of England and their value.

1074 William creates the New Forest in Hampshire where he can go hunting.

1087 William the Conqueror dies while at war. William Rufus becomes king.

The 12th Century


William Rufus is killed by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. (It is not clear whether it was an accident or whether he was murdered). Henry I becomes king.


The White Ship sinks in the English Channel. William, the heir to the English throne (Henry's only legitimate son) drowns.


Henry I dies. There are now two contenders for the throne. Henry wanted his daughter Matilda to rule after him. However there was another claimant to the throne - Henry's nephew Stephen. 'The 19 long winters' of civil war between Matilda and Stephen begin.

1138 The English defeat the Scots at the battle of the Standard

1154 The civil war ends. Henry II becomes king.


Thomas Becket is killed is Canterbury Cathedral. He is later canonized (made a saint) and pilgrims flock to his tomb.


Bargate in Southampton

1180 Rich people in England have glass windows for the first time since the Roman era

1189 Henry II dies. Richard I (the Lion heart) becomes king.


Richard I dies when he is hit by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France. John becomes king.

The 13th Century

1207 King John founds Liverpool

1215 King John seals Magna Carta

1216 John dies. Henry III becomes king.

1221 Dominican (known as black friars) friars arrive in England

1264 Battle of Lewes. Simon De Montfort and rebel barons defeat the king.

1265 Battle of Evesham. De Montfort is defeated and killed.

1272 Henry III dies. Edward I becomes king.


King Edward expels all Jews from England

Queen Eleanor dies

1295 King Edward calls the Model Parliament

The 14th Century

C. 1300

Glass windows and chimneys are becoming common among people who are well off but below the nobility such as rich merchants.

1307 Edward I dies. Edward II becomes king.

1314 The battle of Bannockburn. The Scots utterly defeat the English

1315-1316 Famine stalks the land

1324-1384 Life of John Wycliffe the religious reformer

1327 Edward II dies. Edward II becomes king.

1337 The Hundred Years War between England and France begins


The English win the naval battle of Sluys against the French

Geoffrey Chaucer is born

1346 The battle of Crecy. English longbow men crush the French army.


The Black Death comes to England. Perhaps a third of the population died over the next year.

1356 The battle of Poitiers. Once again the England crush the French.


The Peasants Revolt. Peasants in Essex and Kent rise up and march on London. The king manages to persuade them to disperse by making promises, none of which he intends to keep.

1382 Winchester College is founded by William of Wickham

1388 The Scots defeat the English at the battle of Otterburn

The 15th Century

1400 Geoffrey Chaucer dies. He was the first great writer in the English language.


The battle of Agincourt. Once again the English win a great victory.


The Hundred Years War ends. England loses all its territory in France except for Calais.

1455-1485 England suffers a series of civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses

1461 The battle of Towton is fought

1471 The battle of Tewkesbury is fought

1476 Caxton introduces the printing press into England

1483-1485 Reign of Richard III

1485 Henry VII wins the battle of Bosworth. Richard III is killed and Henry becomes the first Tudor king.

1497 John Cabot sails to North America

A timeline of English history

Life in the Middle Ages

Myths about the Middle Ages