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Timeline

AD 390s: Due to trouble elsewhere in the Empire, Roman troops begin to leave Britain.

410: Britain has been under attack by the Picts and the Scots; the people ask Rome for help but the Edict of the Emperor Honorius in this year tells them to look to their own defence. Roman administration of Britain has come to an end.

432: Irish Scots arrive in Pictland.

450: Ambrosianus Aurelianus, son of the Roman Emperor Constantine, rises to power against British King Vortigern.

499: King Vortigern invites the Saxon rulers Hengest and Horsa to Britain to help the Britons against attacks. At first these Saxon men do help, but after realising the wealth and fertility of the land they encourage their countrymen to invade.

500: Death of King Arthur (according to legend).

537: Columba arrives on Iona and founds the Celtic Christian church.

585: The kingdom of Mercia is established with Creoda or Crida as its king.

597: St. Augustine arrives in Kent and converts King Æthelbert to Christianity.

722: The monk Bede writes his Ecclesiastical History.

740: The date originally thought to mark the construction of Wat's Dyke, a predecessor of Offa's Dyke. However, radiocarbon dating has recently put the date of its construction between AD 268 and 630.

750: The epic poem Beowulf is written.

c.790: King Offa takes control of East Anglia.

793: Vikings attack the monastic community at Lindisfarne Priory.

794: King Æthelbert of East Anglia comes to Herefordshire to ask King Offa for his daughter's hand in marriage. Offa's wife Cynefrith takes a dislike to him and persuades Offa to have him executed. Æthelbert is then buried at Marden church, just outside Hereford, but the public furore at his death causes Offa to have him re-buried in Hereford Cathedral, where he becomes one of its saints.

800: Alfred the Great is crowned as the first king of a unified England.

823: The Mercians invade Powys.

835: The Isle of Sheppey comes under Viking attack.

840: The Vikings turn their attentions away from England when the Frankish lands are weakened by the death of their Emperor.

850: The Saxons secure a naval victory against the Vikings off the Kent coast at Sandwich.

866: The Vikings mount a surprise attack against York and capture it.

867: The rival kings of Northumbria, Ælle II and Osbeorht, join forces against the Vikings but are defeated at the Battle of York. The Viking kings then make forays into Mercia.

871: King Æthelred pays the Vikings not to attack. The money used is known as "Danegeld" and is raised by taxes.

872: King Alfred buys peace with the Vikings and they move their army from Reading to London.

1040: Edward the Confessor is crowned king. He is to be the last of the Saxon kings of England.

c.1050s: Herefordshire is unique in having three of the four known pre-Conquest castles in England. These are Ewyas Harold, Richard's Castle and Hereford Castle.

1066: The death of Edward the Confessor leads to a dispute over the English Crown between Harold Earl of Wessex, William Duke of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway. After the Battle of Hastings is fought between Harold of Wessex and William, the latter is victorious and becomes the first Norman King of England. He is renamed William the Conqueror.

[Original compiler: Miranda Greene, 2005]