The Medieval period spanned around a 1000 years from c.476 - c.1500
Discover the History of the **Britons **Anglo-Saxon Settlers **The Vicious Viking Raids **The Norman Conquests *Battle of Hastings - Learn about Famous Kings *Queens* Knights *Castles - What was happening in Continental Europe at the time and Much More....
Bretons or Celtic Britons were a people which inhabited Britain when the Romans arrived in the region during the 1st century.
These Britons continued to inhabit the British Isles all the way until Germanic Anglo-Saxon tribes began to arrive wave after wave from the 4th century onwards.
The Bretons were then largely subdued and most were forced to migrate to Continental Europe. In Europe, Bretons became established in Brittany France, giving the region its name. In time, a few of them would return to England as conquerors under the Norman, William the Conqueror.
Bretons and Romans
In the 1st century, Roman Empire began a conquest of Britain. The Romans were successful in subduing several lands of the Bretons so that Romans and Bretons came to co-exist.
This led to the creation of a unique Breton-Roman culture at this time. The Bretons also faced the threat of Anglo-Saxon attacks and invasions so they relied on the Roman administration to safeguard them from this threat. In time, Rome’s grip on Britain waned so that the Bretons became more vulnerable to the attacks of the Anglo-Saxons.
Bretons and Anglo-Saxons
From the beginning of the 4th century, Central and Western Europe witnessed the mass migration of the Germanic tribes from the further east. These tribes, in turn, were pushed westwards by other tribes who were coming from the east.
The Anglo-Saxons, who originally occupied lands along the coastline of north-western Europe, began to migrate to Britain around this time.
They arrived wave after wave at a time when Roman Empire was no longer able to protect the British lands it once ruled. Bretons were not a match for the Anglo-Saxons who were able to defeat and subdue them.
Anglo Saxon Germanic Warriors
Fall of Rome c. 476
The fall of Rome around the year 476 was the catalyst from which the medieval period emerged. The Medieval period also known as the Middle Ages is divided into the Early, High, and Late Medieval times.
During early medieval times, England was in disarray and many villages and towns were simply deserted after the collapse of the Roman empire.
Medieval Times History *c. 476 – c. 1500
Anglo-Saxon Period c.500 – c.1100 *Settlers *Thanes, Churls, Slaves*
The Fall of Rome led to the Anglo-Saxon Period of history in medieval England.
During this period of the late 4th Century, Several Germanic tribes migrated to England from Europe, these tribes were called the Angles, Jutes, and Saxons. The merging of these tribes with each other, the remaining Romans, and the indigenous Britons created the Anglo-Saxon culture and identity.
Seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were established and eventually merged under one Anglo-Saxon ruler creating the United Kingdom of England and the English language.
The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for hundreds of years until the Norman conquest. This was a successful period in English history and led to many advancements such as the following.
Created the English Nation
Established Regional Government ‘shires and hundreds’
Created Charters and Laws
Produced epic poems such as ‘Beowulf’
Pagans converted to Christianity in the 7th century
Vikings Abroad c. 800 – c.1100 *Explorers *Raiders *Traders
The Vikings raided large areas of Britain, France, Ireland, and Italy, terrorizing the peoples of Europe for around 300 years!
The Vikings arrived on shallow boats called ‘longships’ that could travel inland *They were soon battling their way through towns and villages, killing, maiming, and stealing all the treasures they could carry!
The Viking period began in the late 8th century and is generally considered to have continued until the early 11th century.
In the late 8th century, Vikings began raiding the regions of England as well as coastal regions of Western Europe. In time, they carved settlements for them in England, France, Iceland, and Greenland, among other regions.
In France, they were effectively given control of the Duchy of Normandy by the 10th century. In England, they were able to create many different settlements of their own.
Before the Norman Conquest of England, the country had two Viking Kings. By the 11th century, the raiding Vikings had settled down in different regions, specifically in Denmark, Sweden, and Normandy.
The descendants of these Vikings in Normandy later came to be called the Normans and ushered in the Norman period in the 11th century.
Danish Kings *Danelaw * c. 1016 – c. 1040
Danish Kings ruled England for a short period from 1016 to 1040. Danes had been among the Vikings who had begun raiding England as early as the 8th century.
In time, Danish Vikings mustered larger armies and established a permanent settlement in England, known as the Danelaw. During this period the Danish Kings controlled large parts of England.
Territories under Control of Danish Kings *Shown in Pink
End of Danelaw *King of Norway *Harald III 1046 – 1066
During the famous Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066, the armies of Harald Hardrada King of Norway were defeated, signaling the end of this short period of Danish rule. Harald failed in his attempt to take control of the English Crown and was killed in York.
Battle of Stamford Bridge 25 September 1066
The very same year another Viking descendant the ‘Duke of Normandy *William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas day, the first Norman king of England.
Normans c. 1060 – c. 1200 *Invaders *Conquerors *Feudalism
The Norman period is specifically concerned with medieval England.
The Norman conquest of England started with the defeat of King Harold at the ‘Battle of Hasting‘ which was a decisive victory for the Normans.
Until the Vikings began raiding English shores, England had been effectively ruled by Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and kings. The Vikings briefly altered this by ascending to the English throne in the first half of the 11th century.
The second half of the century permanently cemented this change when the Normans King William and his Barons from the French Duchy of Normandy effectively conquered England. The conquest was accomplished under the leadership of the Duke of Normandy ‘William The Conqueror’ in 1066.
William the conqueror secured a decisive victory over the Anglo Saxons at the town of ‘Battle’ near Hastings, in Sussex during the ‘the famous *Battle of Hastings!
The period ushered in a warring phase during which Anglo-Saxons fought against the invaders, in vain. Normans expanded and secured their rule by building castles, a kind of structure that came to be their lasting legacy, and replaced the Anglo-Saxon nobility of the country with Norman aristocracy over the coming decades.
Early Norman Motte and Bailey Castles
Early Norman Castles *Motte and Bailey Castles
Later Stone Norman castles *Warwick Castle
Norman Stone Castles *Warwick Castle
Domesday Book *King William *1086
Battle of Hastings 1066
The ‘Duke of Normandy’ Conquered England in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 *He was crowned the same year on Christmas Day!
Duke of Normandy *William the Conqueror
The feudal system was brought to England by the all-conquering Duke of Normandy, it flourished in Medieval England and the rest of Europe from the 9th and 15th centuries.
Feudalism in Europe image showing the Hierarchy of the Feudal system
The new king of England wanted to know exactly who held the land and wealth in England so that he could decide how much he could tax each person throughout England. To achieve this King William ordered the creation of the infamous Domesday book!
The ‘Domesday Book’ is a record called the ‘Great Survey’ of most of England and parts of Wales that were completed in 1086*
House of Plantagenet 1154 – 1485 (Cadet Branches House of Lancaster 1399 – 1461 * House of York 1461 – 1485)
The Plantagenets were one of the richest and most influential families in the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages. They ruled most of France and all of England from 1154 to 1485.
Image from the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd – Henry II’s continental holdings in 1154 (in various shades of red), forming part of the “Angevin Empire”
The first kings from this dynasty of England were Angevins, who ruled from 1154 to 1216.
Henry II (1154–1189) is considered by some to be the first Plantagenet king of England.
The main kings of this dynasty include Henry II, Ricard I the Lionheart, and John Edward I, II, and III (Angevins). Of these, Richard the Lionheart is most famously known for his role in the Third Crusade and battles with Saladin.
Richard the Lionheart *Angevins King
House of Lancaster *1399 – 1461
Famous rulers of the House of Lancaster
Henry IV *Henry Bolingbroke *Reign 1399 to 1413.
Henry V *Henry of Monmouth *Reign 1413 to 1422.
Henry VI *1st Reign 1422 to 1461 – 2nd Reign 1470 to 1471 *Disputed King of France
The financial conditions during the House of Lancaster rule were precarious. There were a lot of raids in England and the kingdom had to constantly fund ongoing warfare to tackle this situation.
The famous Hundred Years’ Wars started during the reign of Henry V. This was a long series of raids and military expeditions against France which England ultimately lost.
The House of Lancaster’s rule ended when the Yorkists defeated Henry VI in what was known as the ‘War of the Roses’.
The Wars of the Roses was a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne between two rival Lancaster and York branches of the House of Plantagenet from c.1450 to c.1500.
Wars of the Roses *Yorkist White Rose *Lancaster Red Rose
House of York *1461 – 1485 (Plantagenet Cadet Branch)
The Yorkists ruled England from 1461 – to 1485, as a dynasty, they ruled England for the shortest period. Their main kings were Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. Edward V was the son of Edward IV.
After the sudden death of Edward IV, Edward V went to London to claim his right to the throne. His uncle, Richard III, had been appointed as the protector.
Richard sent the young king Edward V and his brother Richard to the Tower of London, and the two were never seen again. This gave birth to the myth of the Princes in the Tower.
Medieval King Edward V Princess in the Tower of London
Later, Richard III ruled England from 1483 to 1485. He was finally killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, ending the reign of the Yorkists.
Medieval King Richard in the mix of things in the battle of Bosworth
Historians point to the Battle of Bosworth 1485 as an event that signaled the end of the medieval period
Tudors *1485 – 1603 *Post Medieval Period
Historians consider that the medieval period ended around 1485 and suggest that the Battle of Bosworth was the event that signaled a final end to this important period of history.
Tudor Medieval Coat Of Arms Henry VIII
England, under a new Tudor dynasty, grew politically and militarily, firmly annexing Ireland, defeating different European powers, and seceding from the Continental influence of the Catholic Church by establishing its own independent Church of England.
Tudor Period Family of Henry VIII 1545
The Tudor period established Protestantism as the official religion of England, marking the final departure of England from the Catholic Church.
1533 – Henry appointed Archbishop Cranmer. Cranmer became one of the central supporting figures of English Protestantism.
Important Historical Events *c.476 – c.1500
The Magna Carta *June 15, 1215
*The Magna Carta was one of the most important documents in the History of England it was signed on June 15, 1215!
Many Lords across England had serious grievances with the ruling King John over his running of the country and the harsh laws and taxes that he had imposed on them, in fact, King John was a very unpopular king who seemed to upset everybody including the Pope.
King John Signs the Magna Carta
The Magna Carta was a document that was demanded by English Lords, it set limitations on the taxes and laws that could be made by king John.
A Charter in the Magna Carta
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