Alternate History

Timeline (Second Heptarchy)

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September 1066 - An invasion fleet led by Harald Hardrada, King of Norway, bolstered by troops from the Orkneys and supported by Tostig, exiled brother of King Harold capture the major northern city of York. The leaders of that city promise to support Harald's claim to the throne.

20th September - At the Battle of Gate Fulford Harald's forces beat an army led by Edwin and Morcar, Earls of Mercia and Northumbria. After the battle Harald send out scouting parties to give him prior warning of any English counter-offensive (in OTL far fewer scouts were sent out). Eventually these scouts catch sight of Harold's army and rush back giving Harald time to prepare his defences.

25th September - Harald and Harold clash at Stamford Bridge. Harald's preparations stand him in good stead and he utterly defeats Harold who dies towards the end of the battle.

26th September - Harald is acclaimed as King of England by his army and such northern nobles as are in York.

27th - William of Normandy's invasion fleet lands in southern England. The fact that a large part of the English army went north with Harold means there is little opposition as William quickly moves to London (It should be noted at this point that William's invasion had papal backing)

30th - William arrives in London. The southern nobles, after toying with making Edgar Atheling (a relation of Edward the Confessor) decide to treat William's claim as a fait accompli.

2nd October - William is crowned King of England by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury. Edwin and Morcar and most other southern nobles swear allegiance to William. Those few that don't accept him leave London, some go to theirs home territories and some go north to join Harald.

October 4-end of year - Harald and William move to consolidate their hold on "their" kingdom. It is easier for Harald as the men of northern England have never had much time for those from the south. William has more difficulty as he has to deal with minor rebellions led by such members of Harold's family as still have a following.

November 2nd - Pope Alexander II who had given backing to William's invasion further supports William by threatening to excommunicate Harald unless he accepts William as 'King of All England'

Nov 7th - Harald defies the Papal demand saying he gained his kingdom by the sword and that would be the only way he would lose it.

Nov 13th - The Pope goes through with his threat and excommunicates Harald, stating that anyone who took up arms against him (Harald) would have Papal backing.

December 1st - William, with the backing of the Pope, replaces Archbishop Stigand with Robert of Jumieges, a Norman who had been Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Edward the Confessor.

December-Year's end - William starts to parcel out land to his supporters. The closer the land is to the border with Harald the greater the loyalty of the supporter who gets it.

Harald, though publicly full of confidence, worries about the results of his excommunication. He embarks on two courses of action. Firstly he orders a series of outposts built along the border with William. Secondly he makes contact with the Welsh princes to ask whether they would be interested in an alliance.

January 1067 - William calls for reinforcements from Normandy. A mere trickle comes over, a few second sons of minor nobles. The territory of another group of Normans in southern Italy is seen as more rewarding.

February - Harald's embassies to the Welsh princes begin to bear fruit. Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Prince of Powys and Gwynedd expresses and interest in invading part of William's territory.

Swegn Estrithson, King of Denmark starts to claim that he is the true king of England of. Arguably he has a better claim to the throne than Harald or William. as he is the nephew of Cnut who was king from 1016 to 1035.

9 March - Bleddyn's army crosses the border. The Norman troops who face him have to fight on two fronts. As part of an agreement some Norwegian troops also make a cross-border raid.

11 March - As a result of the Welsh attack the Norman need for reinforcements becomes more desperate. William sends an urgent message to Pope Alexander asking that he uses his power to aid the call for reinforcements.

30 March - William's messenger arrives in Rome.

3 April - Pope Alexander issues a proclamation that William is blessed by the Church and that anyone who travels to England to help him can treat it as penance equal to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Alexander hopes that this proclamation will partly weaken the 'Italian' Normans. They are nominally his vassals but he feel they are too strong.

May - Edgar Atheling and his sister Margaret disappear from William's England. They do not trust William's promises of their safety. Within weeks their are reported sightings all over Europe.

June - The sons of Harold II realise that there is no future for them in either of the Englands. They gather such supporters as are still loyal to their family and leave to make a new life elsewhere.

July - Mareddud ab Awain, Prince of Deheubarth(south and west Wales) takes advantage of Bleddyn's invasion of England to launch some cross-border raid into Powys. This has little to do with events elsewhere and everything to do with the longstanding rivalry between Deheubarth and Powys.

1068 Edgar Atheling and Margaret turn up at the court of Malcolm, King of Scotland.

Most countries in Britain indulge in some cross border raids but there are no major battles.

1069 Malcolm of Scotland marries Margaret and declares his support for Edgar's claim to the English throne. Most observers see this as merely cover for possible raids into England. English in the north of Harald's territory are well used to Scottish cross-border raids.

1070 Mareddud of Deheubarth launches a full-scale invasion of Gwynedd, upping the stakes somewhat. Prominent Normans have been seen at Mareddud's court. Harald is unable to give much assistance to Bleddyn as he is keeping his eye on the border with Scotland.

1071 - January-March

Deheubarth and Powys fight each other to a standstill. A peace treaty is signed in the small Welsh kingdom of Morgannwg. Deheubarth is allowed to keep such territory as it has already taken and both kingdoms undertake not to attack each other.

May – There are several minor uprisings in Swein of Denmark's name in East Anglia. Many of the "English" living there are of Danish descent.

June – After his success in stemming the "Danish" unrest William grows nervous about the security of London and sounds out his supporters about moving the capital to Winchester.

August – Harald makes preparations for defence against the expected Scottish raids. The main problem is the old kingdom of Strathclyde, not part of Scotland which juts dangerously into Harald’s territory.

September – Malcolm launches a series of raids into England to try and gain information on weak points in Harald’s defences.

October – Malcolm makes Edgar ‘Prince of Strathclyde’. This leads to murmuirings of discontent among the Scottish nobility who see Edgar as an English interloper.


January – Malcolm launches a full-scale invasion of Haralds’ England from Strathclyde. The Englishmen of the North in Harald’s army fight just as hard as the Norwegians.

March – William announces that he is moving his capital to Winchester. The announcement states that William is ‘returning the capital of the English people to it’s proper home’. It is not lost on the cynical that William is talking about the English but he can’t speak a word of the language himself.

April – Harald manages to push the Scots back across the border in most places but Malcolm is able to remain in control of the piece of England between Strathclyde and the west coast, which he gives to Edgar as part of Strathclyde.

June - A Danish nobleman, Asbjorn lands with several hundred men near the Fens, a large marshy area in East Anglia(At this time the Fens would be similar to the Florida Everglades). He sets up a base on the Isle of Ely, an area of the Fens that is very difficult to attack. With the support of many locals Asbjorn launches a series of attacks on local Norman forces.

August – Cadwagn ap Meurig, Prince of Morgannwg sends an ambassador to William. Morgannwg is always under threat of attack from either Deheubarth or Powys and has need of a strong ally. Cadwgn feels that the Normans fit the bill perfectly.

September – In the six years since the Norwegian invasion both the invaders and the northern English have gotten into the habit of called Harald’s territory ‘Jorvik’ after the Viking word for York. On the sixth anniversary of his victory at Stamford Bridge Harald officially announces that his kingdom will now be called Jorvik.

October –Fergus, grandson of Eoghan the Bald (last sub-king of Strathclyde before it was totally absorbed into Scotland) raises the standard of revolt. He states that ‘the proud people of Strathclyde will no longer stand for foreign princes ruling over them’ He soon acquires a large following of native Strathclyders and is joined by a number of disaffected Scots annoyed with Malcolm’s marriage to Margaret and his donation of Strathclyde to Edgar.

November – Fergus’ troops quickly gain control of part of southern Strathclyde that borders with Jorvik.

December –William holds a re-coronation ceremony in his ‘new’ capital of Winchester. Robert of Jumieges crowns him Roi d’Angleterre in front of a congregation that includes members of numerous European royal families and a Papal legate. Edwin and Morcar, as leading members of what remains of the southern English nobility also attend.


January – Cadwgn acknowledges William as his liege lord and William undertakes to protect Morgannwg from attacks by Deheubarth.

February – Malcolm attempts to put down the revolt of Fergus of Strathclyde; however, he cannot rely on much support from the ordinary Strathclyders as most of them support Fergus. While Malcolm moves against Fergus, Harald who is as opportunistic as the next man launches an attack into southeast Scotland.

April – William asks his clerks to travel around the territory under his control and make a record of all land and livestock holdings and taxes payable thereupon to see what finances are available for war and other such necessities.

July – Reports reach William from the Italian Normans that large numbers of Saxons have been seen fighting in the Byzantine empire’s Varangian Guard, an elite mercenary unit previously largely made up of Vikings. Unconfirmed reports also state that the sons of Harold II may be among those involved.

September – Malcolm has so far been unable to make much impact upon Fergus’ revolt. However, this is because part of his army has been forced to try to defend Scotland against the attack from Jorvik.


March – William attempts to drive back the Welshmen of Powys from the land they had taken from him several years ago. He cannot devote as many troops as he would like to this enterprise, as he also has to guard the border with Jorvik.

May – Fergus of Strathclyde increases the amount of land under his control with help from Harald.

June – Mareddud of Deheubarth takes advantage of William’s concentration on Powys and launches an invasion of Morgannwg. Under the treaty he signed with Cadwgn in 1073 William is obliged to send troops to help defend Morgannwg.

July – William is now in the unfortunate position of having three unfriendly nations on his borders. He has also managed to give the two largest Welsh nations, Powys and Deheubarth a common enemy.

September – Fergus now controls most of the old kingdom of Strathclyde. At a gathering of the lords of Strathclyde he is acclaimed as King. Harald immediately accepts Fergus’ coronation.


March – William’s clerks complete their survey of his land. Monk in Canterbury are given the task of collating the survey into a collection of leather-bound volumes.

June – Having successfully risen in revolt against his kinsman Fingal Godredson, Godred Crovan declares himself Lord of Man and the Isles (the Isle of Man and the Hebrides). In doing so he breaks away from the control of the Irish kings of Leinster.

July – Godred swears allegiance to Harald. This is not a shock as Godred had fought alongside Harald at Stamford Bridge This now means that Harald or men loyal to him surround Malcolm on three sides.

September – Representatives from the Isles, the Orkneys, the Faroes, and Norway all come to Jorvik to witness Harald being invested with the title ‘Lord of the North’. Not only does this make him pre-eminent amongst Norwegians but it also serves as a warning to all the other countries in Britain.

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