Dynasties of England in Chronological Order – Medieval Times
Dynasties of England in Chronological Order
Complete List of Dynasties of England from Beginnings of Medieval Period
Julius Caesar invaded Britain in the first century and made it a part of the Roman Empire. The Empire continued to rule over Britain as a distant province for the next few centuries.
In the 4th century, Roman rule over Britain waned and this allowed Germanic Anglo-Saxons to invade the Isles. In time, the Anglo-Saxons established several kingdoms across Britain.
When faced with a perennial Viking threat, these kingdoms gradually came together, laying the foundations of a unified kingdom.
This is when England effectively became a kingdom with a single king ruling most of Britain.
Following is a look at the notable dynasties of England that ruled over England from this period to the end of the middle ages.
The first true king of England is said to be King Alfred the Great from the House of Wessex, an Anglo-Saxon royal family. Some historians believe that England, as a kingdom, began in the reign of the Anglo-Saxon kings.
They include Egbert of Wessex or Offa of Mercia in the list. However, England didn’t exactly exist as a unified entity during the reigns of these rulers.
Instead, it first became the most unified under Alfred the Great. Anglo-Saxon rulers were briefly displayed by Danish kings, only to return to rule once again and then displaced for the final time by the Normans.
Other important dynasties of England history include the Plantagenets, Lancasters, Yorkists, Tudors and Stuarts. Each dynasty left a mark on English history and each played an important role.
Anglo-Saxon Monarchs 466 – 1016
Anglo-Saxons were Germanic people who came on the request of a local king to present-day England. They ruled England from 466 to 1016.
Their reign saw a lot of wars, with native Celtic Britons as well as outside invaders like Vikings.
The important Anglo-Saxon monarchs were Athelstan, Edmund I, Edred, Edgar the Peaceable, and Ethelred the Unready.
The language of Anglo-Saxons is called Old English, from which the modern English language is derived.
The Anglo-Saxon helmets, buildings, art, manuscripts, traditions, and culture have a special place in English history.
Their reign ended with the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The French, Norman, Breton, and Flemish soldiers under William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxons in 1066 and effectively replaced them as rulers of England.
Danish Kings 1016 – 1040
Danish Kings ruled England 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.
In time, the Danes took advantage of the unrest in the Anglo-Saxon areas and conquered their territories.
There are only two Danish Kings that ruled England, namely Cnut the Great and Harold Harefoot.
Cnut the Great ruled the North Sea Empire from 1016 to 1035. The North Sea Empire included Norway, Denmark, and England.
His legacy was lost when his heirs died within a decade after.
Harold Harefoot ruled from 1035 to 1040. There is a controversy as to whether or not he was the son of the Cnut. He couldn’t control his kingdom due to many threats.
Normans 1066 – 1154
The Normans ended the rule of Anglo-Saxons in 1066 with the famous Norman Conquest.
They launched an invasion of England under the Norman Duke of Normandy, William, along with help from allies like Bretons from Brittany.
At the Battle of Hastings, William and his forces defeated the Anglo-Saxons and killed the last Anglo-Saxon king to end centuries-long Anglo-Saxon rule in England.
Normans ruled England from 1066 to 1154 in England.
The first Norman king of England was William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy.
He changed the course of English history and introduced many reforms such as a sophisticated taxation system.
The other Norman Kings include William II, Henry I, and Stephen.
Stephen was the last king who had to fight a civil war to protect his throne.
The civil war ended with the Treaty of Wallingford.
Plantagenets 1154 – 1399
The Plantagenets were one of the richest and most influential families in the whole of Europe during the Middle Ages.
They ruled France and England from 1154 to 1399.
The Plantagenet dynasty further divided into three branches over time i.e. the Angevins, the Plantagenets, and the Houses of Lancaster and York.
The first kings from this dynasties of England were Angevins, who ruled from 1154 to 1216.
From 1216 to 1399, Plantagenets ruled most of the parts of England and France.
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.
House of Lancaster 1399 – 1470
The famous rulers of this dynasty include Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI.
Henry IV was the first king in English history that made a public speech.
The financial conditions during the Lancaster rule were precarious. There were a lot of raids on England.
The kingdom had to spend a lot 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 in which England ultimately lost.
The Lancaster rule ended with Henry VI when Yorkists defeated him.
The House of Lancaster ruled England from 1399 to 1470.
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.
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.