King Edward the Confessor dies without an heir. Harold Godwinson claims the throne, but many believe the throne was already promised to Duke William of Normandy.
1066: January 6th Harold Godwinson
Harold Godwinson is crowned King Harold II of England at Westminster Abbey on the same day as Edward’s burial. Harold will be the last Anglo-Saxon ruler of England and the first of only 3 Kings of England to be killed in battle
1066: September 25th Battle of Stamford Bridge
King Harold II (Harold Godwinson) of England defeats a Norwegian army led by King Harold Hardrada of Norway and his own brother Tostig Godwinson near York, ending the Viking Age in England.
1066: October 14th Battle of Hastings
William the Conqueror defeats the English led by King Harold II who dies in battle. This begins the Norman Conquest of England as well as the beginning of the Castle Age as motte and bailey castles are built all over England, starting in Pevensey and Hastings.
1066: December 25th William the Conqueror
William is crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066, at Westminster Abbey in London. As attending nobility and clerics loudly shout their approval of the king, his guards, surprised by the outburst and believing there was treachery afoot, promptly set fire to surrounding buildings in the city of London. The church filled with smoke, the congregation fled, and William was left trembling.
1170: December 29th Murder in the Cathedral
Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton, who interpreted words spoken by King Henry II to mean he wished Becket killed. The knights fled north and took refuge in Hugh de Morville's Knaresborough Castle after committing the murder. There are many accounts of what Henry said with the most likely being:
What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?
1199: March 25th Richard the Lionheart - Wounded
Richard the Lionheart is wounded while besieging the castle of Château de Châlus-Chabrol in France. Richard was walking around the weakly defended castle's perimeter without his chain mail on when he was stuck in the shoulder near his neck by a crossbowmen's arrow. He unsuccessfully tried to pull the arrow out on his own, then called on a surgeon who removed it but also mangled his arm in the process. Richard has the crossbowmen brought to him, and in an act of mercy forgave the boy and ordered that he be set free. Richard would die from this gangrenous wound soon after on April 6th.
1217: May 20th Second Battle of Lincoln
The Second Battle of Lincoln occurred at Lincoln Castle in England, during the First Barons' War, between the forces of the future Louis VIII of France and those of King Henry III of England. Louis's forces were attacked by a relief force under the command of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke. Thomas, the Comte du Perche, commanding the French troops, was killed and Louis was expelled from his base in the southeast of England.
1264: May 14th Battle of Lewes
The Battle of Lewes in Sussex England was part of the Second Barons' War. Henry III left the safety of Lewes Castle to engage the Barons in battle and was initially successful, his son Prince Edward routing part of the baronial army with a cavalry charge. However Edward pursued his quarry off the battlefield and left Henry's men exposed. Henry was forced to launch an infantry attack up Offham Hill where he was defeated by the Barons' men defending the hilltop. The royalists fled back to the castle and the King was forced to sign the Mise of Lewes, ceding many of his powers to Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester.
1272: November 16th Edward I
Prince Edward becomes King Edward I while traveling during the Ninth Crusade, upon the death of his father King Henry III. It will be almost two years before Edward returns to England and assumes the throne.
1297: September 11th Battle of Stirling Bridge
The Battle of Stirling Bridge, the forces of Andrew Moray and William Wallace defeated the combined English forces of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey, and Hugh de Cressingham near Stirling Castle, on the River Forth.
1298: July 22nd Battle of Falkirk
The Battle of Falkirk was one of the major battles in the First War of Scottish Independence. Led by King Edward I of England, the English army defeated the Scots, led by William Wallace. Shortly after the battle Wallace resigned as Guardian of Scotland.
1300: July 22nd Edward I at Brougham Castle
Edward I stays at Brougham Castle in Cumbria during one of his Northern campaigns of the Anglo-Scottish Wars.
1304: July 20th The War Wolf
Edward I seizes control of Stirling Castle in Scotland by using the War Wolf; believed to be the largest trebuchet ever built. The Scots try to surrender the castle when they see the massive structure being assembled, but Longshanks decides to finish the assembly and see how well it works before accepting the surrender. Part of the castle's curtain wall is destroyed in quick order by the siege weapon.
1305: August 23rd William Wallace
Sir William Wallace is hanged, drawn and quartered for High Treason at Smithfield in London.
1307: October 13th The Knights Templar
Hundreds of Knights Templar are arrested in France under order of King Phillip the Fair. They will later be charged with heresy
after confessing under torture and burned at the stake. This was a Friday and some attribute this event to Friday 13th being considered
an unlucky day.
1314: June 23rd Battle of Bannockburn
Scotland's forces led by Robert the Bruce defeat the English led by King Edward II, during the first War of Scottish Independence.
Edward II flees the battle and retreats to Dunbar Castle before returning to England by ship.
1329: June 7th Robert The Bruce
King Robert I of Scotland (Robert the Bruce) dies at the manor of Cardross, near Dumbarton Scotland after suffering for some years
from aliments. His body lies in Dunfermline Abbey, but he requested that his heart be removed and carried into battle "against God's
"I will that as soone as I am trespassed out of this worlde that ye take my harte owte of my body, and embawme it, and take of my
treasoure as ye shall thynke sufficient for that enterprise, both for your selfe and suche company as ye wyll take with you, and present
hart to the holy Sepulchre where as our Lorde laye, seyng my body can nat come there."
His heart was taken by Sir James Douglas in accordance with his wishes but Douglas was killed in battle still carrying the heart in a
silver casket. The heart was returned to Scotland and buried at Melrose Abbey. Robert's son David becomes King David II of Scotland
at the age of 5 years old.
1346: October 17th David II at the Tower of London
King David II of Scotland was wounded and taken prisoner by Sir John Copeland at the Battle of Neville's Cross. David was delivered
to King Edward III who imprisoned him in the Tower of London. He was later moved to Windsor Castle and then to Odiham Castle in
Hampshire. He was a prisoner for 11 years in all.
1356: September 19th The Battle of Poitiers
Part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, the English, led by Edward, the Black Price, defeat the French army
and capture the King of France, John II.
1371: February 22nd David II at Edinburgh Castle
King David II of Scotland dies unexpectedly at Edinburgh Castle at age 46 and is buried in Holyrood Abbey.
He is the last male descendent of the House of Bruce.
1400: February 14th Richard II at Pontefract Castle
Richard II dies at Pontefract Castle in West Yorkshire England, presumably of starvation.
His body was taken south from Pontefract and displayed in St Paul's Cathedral on 17 February before burial in King's Langley Priory on 6 March.
1415: October 25th Battle of Agincourt
Part of the Hundred Years' War between England and France, the outnumbered English army led by King Henry V defeat the French on Saint Crispin's Day due in large part to the English longbow and the
narrow width and muddy conditions of the battlefield.
1431: May 30th Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc, "The Maid of Orléans", is burned at the stake for heresy in Rouen France by an English dominated tribunal.
1455: May 22nd First Battle of St Albans
The Wars of the Roses begins with the First Battle of St Albans where Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures King Henry VI of England.
1461: March 29th Battle of Towton
The Wars of the Roses: Yorkist troops defeat Lancastrian forces at the Battle of Towton in Yorkshire, one of the largest battles on English soil.
1471: April 17th Battle of Barnet
Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Barnet - Yorkist troops led by Edward IV soundly defeat the Lancastrians led by Richard Neville, Earl of
Warwick who had previously supported the House of York.
1471: May 4th Battle of Tewkesbury
Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Tewkesbury - Just weeks after Barnet, Lancastrian forces are again defeated soundly by Edward IV and Yorkist troops.
Many Lancastrian nobles, including Edward, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, are killed in battle or executed thereafter.
1478: February 18th George, Duke of Clarence at the Tower of London
George, Duke of Clarence is executed in private at the Tower of London after being convicted of treason against his older brother, King Edward IV of England.
1485: August 22nd Battle of Bosworth Field
Wars of the Roses: The Battle of Bosworth Field - The last major battle of the Wars of the Roses. It is here that Richard III is killed in battle,
ending the Plantagenet dynasty and rule by the House of York. Henry Tudor is crowned King Henry VII on nearby Crown Hill and thus begins the Tudor
1491: June 28th Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England is born at Greenwich Palace and is second in line to the throne of England behind his older brother Arthur. But
when Arthur dies at the age of 15, Henry becomes the heir apparent. He is of the House of Tudor.
1499: November 23rd Perkin Warbeck at the Tower of London
Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the throne, is hanged for allegedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London. He was a pretender to the
English throne during the reign of Henry VII (Henry Tudor), claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. Richard was one of the two
young Princes held in the Tower of London as children, never to be seen again.
1509: April 21st Henry VIII
Henry VII of England and the first King from the House of Tudor dies of tuberculosis and his buried at Westminster Abbey. His son,
Henry VIII, ascends to the throne of England upon his death.
1515: January 1st Francis I
King Francis I ascends to the throne of France. Francis reigned during the Renaissance and early in his reign, had the Chateau de Chambord
built in the Forest of Chambord, France.
1533: June 1st Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen of England.
1536: May 22nd Anne Boleyn at the Tower of London
Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, is arrested on charges of adultery, treason and witchcraft and imprisoned in the Tower of London. She will be
executed by beheading in 17 days.
1540: July 28th Thomas Cromwell at the Tower of London
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, is executed on Tower Hill on charges of treason and heresy on orders from Henry VIII. Cromwell was
held prisoner in the infamous Tower of London for just over a month prior to his execution by beheading.
1541: December 10th Thomas Culpepper at Pontefract Castle
Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham are executed for having affairs with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and fifth wife of Henry VIII.
Francis Dereham was hanged drawn and quartered for his accused transgressions that occurred prior to Catherine becoming queen and Henry's
wife. Thomas Culpepper was shown mercy by the King and only beheaded. Their affair occurred during her reign and during a royal trip to
York and Pontefract Castle where an infamous letter from Catherine to Thomas said to have been written where she states:
“I never longed so muche for thynge as I do to se you and to speke wyth you, the wyche I trust shal be shortely now,” and “my trust ys
allway in you that you wolbe as you have promysed me..."
1558: November 15th Elizabeth I
Queen Mary I, known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of Protestants, dies of influenza at St. James's Palace. Upon her half-sisters death,
her younger half-sister Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth I of England, marking the beginning of the Elizabethan era.
1559: June 30th Henry II of France
King Henry II of France is mortally wounded in a jousting match against Gabriel de Montgomery when a fragment of the splintered lance
pierced through his visor into his eye and brain. How would die less than two weeks later on the 10th of July.
1568: May 2nd Mary Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots escapes from Loch Leven Castle with the aid of George Douglas, brother of Sir William Douglas, the castle's owner.
1587: February 8th Mary Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed at Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire England on suspicion of being involved in the Babington Plot to
murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. She was buried at Peterborough Cathedral and years later reinterred in Westminster Abbey near the tomb
of her cousin, Elizabeth I.
1605: November 5th Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes is discovered beneath the House of Lords in London, protecting a stockpile of gunpowder to be used to blow up the House of Lords
in a planned attempt to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. Guy is arrested and tortured at the Tower of
London, where he later confesses and identifies his co-conspirators, all who are drawn, hanged and quartered.
1625: March 27th Charles I
Charles I is crowned King of England, Scotland and Ireland. He also claims the title of King of France.
1628: September 30th Fulke Greville at Warwick Castle
Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, dies after being stabbed 4 weeks earlier by his manservant who felt cheated in his masters will. He was
stabbed at Warwick Castle, where he lived, and now his ghost haunts one of the towers, now called the Ghost Tower.
1644: October 27th Second Battle of Newbury
The English Civil War: The Second Battle of Newbury - Combined Parliamentarian forces battle Royalists led by King Charles I. This is an
indecisive battle with the Parliamentarians gaining some tactical advantages. After the fighting stopped for the day, Charles realized his
army would not withstand another attack the next day so they retreated north that night, leaving his wounded and most of his guns and baggage
at Donnington Castle. The next day Parliamentarians attack Donnington Castle which is easily defeated.
1653: December 16th Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He and the Parliamentarian Army are also responsible for
partially destroying lots of castles in England to make them indefensible by the Royalists during the English Civil War.
1671: May 9th The Crown Jewels
Disguised as a clergyman, Thomas Blood attempts to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London.
1718: November 30th Charles XII of Sweden
King Charles XII of Sweden dies during a siege of Fredriksten Fortress in Norway. Charles was killed by a projectile that pierced one side
of his head and exited the other. This has been a subject of great debate as some believe the projectile was shot from the fortress by his
enemies while others attest that someone in his own army was the culprit. His body has been exhumed three times over the centuries to try and
solve the mystery.
1739: Feburary 23rd Dick Turpin at York Castle
While being held at York Castle, John Palmer is identified to be none other than the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin, by his former school teacher who recognizes
his handwriting in a letter. Turpin would later stand trial for stealing horses and be hanged at the gallows at the Knavesmire in York.
1745: November 8th Bonnie Prince Charlie
Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and an army of 5000 invade England. This army would later participate in the Battle of Culloden.
1746: April 16th Battle of Culloden
The Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force under William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, on
Drummossie Moor near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.
1869: September 5th Schloss Neuschwanstein
The foundation stone for Schloss Neuschwanstein is laid. It will take over two decades to complete most of the castle, as some buildings
will never be built as construction is halted soon after King Ludwig II's controversial death. Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of three castles
built by Ludwig II, with plans for a fourth never being realized. King Ludwig said in a letter to famous composer Richard Wagner about
"It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German
knights' castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day... you know the revered guest I
would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the
divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of Tannhäuser and Lohengrin... "
1886: June 13th Ludwig II
King Ludwig II of Bavaria dies. His body is found in the waters of Lake Starnberg and his death is ruled a suicide, but rumors remain to this day
that he was murdered.
1992: November 20th Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle catches on fire after a spotlight in the Queen’s private Chapel sparks and ignites a nearby curtain; causing extensive damage.
The castle is restored over the next few years.
2013: February 4th Richard III
Archaeologists confirm that a skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park is none other than that of King Richard III of England. Richard was killed at
the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. His remains were carried in procession to Leicester Cathedral on 22 March 2015, and reburied on 26 March 2015 at a religious