Heritage Schools Timeline Content by Dr. Charles Kightly Enquiry questions by Heritage Schools Teachers The Heritage Schools Timeline is a PowerPoint presentation, which will provide you with a basic framework of events from 100BC – 2000AD It can be used as an interactive classroom resource and adapted by teachers and pupils to include their local heritage and events. Here is a demonstration of how it works In ‘Slide Show’ each of the 21 top-slides represent 100 years, from 100BC - 2000. You can scroll forwards and backwards using the red buttons on the bottom right-hand of each slide. Clicking on each event will reveal a drop-down slide. The drop-down slide has more information about the event, an image and an enquiry question. THE TIMELINE 1st Century BC (55 BC/54BC) Julius Caesar's Raids » (100 BC) Tribal Britain » (72 BC) Metal Out Wine In » (47 BC) Caesar Describes Britain » (35 BC) First British Coins » (10 BC) The Influence of Rome » 1st Century AD (AD 60) Boudica's Revolt » (AD 10) Cunobelinus » (AD 47) The Roman Army » (AD 43) Roman Invasion » (AD 51) Caratacus Captured » (AD 80-100) Development of Roman Roads » (AD 83) Roman Rule Expands » 2nd Century AD (AD 122) Hadrian’s Wall » (AD 100) Roman Forts Rebuilt in Stone » (AD 155) Verulamium Rebuilt (Roman Towns Develop) » (AD 158) Housesteads Fort Fully Re-Occupied » (AD 180) Benwell Roman Temple Built (Roman Religion) » (AD 180) Uprisings » 3rd Century AD (AD 208) Emperor Severus in Britain » (AD 270) Silchester Walled » (AD 212) Citizenship Extended » (AD 209) St. Alban Martyred » (AD 250) Great Witcombe Villa Built » (AD 296) Britain Regained for Rome » (AD 276) Saxon Shore Forts » 4th Century AD (AD 306) Constantine Proclaimed Emperor » (AD 313) Persecution of Christians Ends » (AD 340) Prosperous Britain » (AD 369) Theodosius Restores Order » (AD 367) Barbarian Conspiracy » (AD 391) Paganism Outlawed » (AD 383) Maximus Takes Troops from Britain » 5th Century AD (AD 410) Britain Breaks with Rome » (AD 442) Saxons Advance » (AD 429) Vortigern (Hengist and Horsa) » (AD 446) Last Appeal to Rome » (AD 460) Ambrosius Fights Back » (AD 470) Massacre at Pevensey » (AD 495) Battle of Mount Badon » 6th Century AD (AD 515) Tintagel and ‘King Arthur’ » (AD 552) Renewed Saxon Conquests » (AD 545) Plague » (AD 580) The First Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms » (AD 560) Saxon Farms and British Rivers » (AD 597) Conversion to Christianity » (AD 600) Battle of Catraeth » 7th Century AD (AD 617) King Edwin Converted » (AD 635) Lindisfarne Founded » (AD 625) Sutton Hoo » (AD 642) Battle of Oswestry » (AD 664) The Synod of Whitby (Rome or Ireland?) » (AD 699) Lindisfarne Gospels Produced » (AD 680) Caedmon » 8th Century AD (AD 731) Bede and the Idea of ‘England’ » (AD 700) The Ruthwell Cross » (AD 720) The Tribal Hideage » (AD 757) King Offa of Mercia » (AD 787) First Viking Raids » (AD 780) Beowulf » 9th Century AD (AD 800) The Law of the Land » (AD 850) Viking Raiders Become Invaders » (AD 825) Bigger Kingdoms » (AD 878) Vikings Defeated at Edington » (AD 865) Viking Great Army Lands » (AD 899) Alfred the Great Dies » (AD 891) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle » 10th Century AD (AD 900) Burhs » (AD 937) The First King of all England » (AD 970) English Art Revived » (AD 924) Reconquest » (AD 954) The Danelaw » (AD 978) Aethelred the Unready » (AD 991) The Battle of Maldon » 11th Century AD (AD 1066) Harold Godwinson » (AD 1016) King Cnut » (AD 1042) Edward the Confessor » (AD 1071) The First Castles » (AD 1066) Battle of Hastings » (AD 1069) The Harrying of the North » (AD 1087) Domesday Book » 12th Century (1100) Death of William Rufus » (1170) Thomas Becket » (1132) Rievaulx Abbey Founded » (1135) Stephen and Matilda » (1127) Stone Castles (Rochester Castle Keep Begun) » (1154) Henry II » (1189) Richard I and the Crusades » 13th Century (1208) King John and the Church » (1265) Parliament Develops » (1216) The Last Invasion » (1215) Magna Carta » (1224) Friars Arrive » (1296) Edward I Attacks Scotland » (1282) Edward I Conquers Wales » 14th Century (1314) Bannockburn » (1337) Hundred Years War Begins » (1327) Edward II Murdered » (1348) Black Death » (1381) The Peasants’ Revolt » (1384) John Wycliffe Dies » (1390) Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales » (1399) Richard II Deposed » (1497) The New World (Cabot Discovers Newfoundland » 15th Century (1455) Wars of the Roses Begin » (1403) Henry IV’s Troubles » (1415) Agincourt and the Conquest of France » (1485) Battle of Bosworth » (1476) Printing Begins in England » (1470) Guilds and Mystery Plays » (1483) Richard III and the Princes in the Tower » 16th Century (1500) Tudor Monarchs (a New Kind of Government) » (1509) Henry VIII (Renaissance Hero to Savage Tyrant) » (1533) Royal Supremacy and the Dissolution of the Monasteries » (1558) Elizabeth I Becomes Queen » (1547) Reformation » (1596) Feather Bed and Flushing Toilets (Elizabethan Everyday Life) » (1588) Spanish Armada » (1580) Drake Sails Round the World » (1599) Globe Theatre Opens » 17th Century (1605) James I and the Gunpowder Plot » (1611) Authorised Bible Published » (1607) America and India (The Beginnings of Empire) » (1625) Charles I (Kind by Divine Right?) » (1653) Cromwell Becomes Lord Protector » (1642) The Civil Wars Begin » (1649) Charles I Executed (The English Republic) » (1660) Charles II Restored » (1660) Pepys’s Diary » (1688) The Glorious Revolution » 18th Century (1707) Act of Union with Scotland » (1714) The First Hanoverian Kings » (1739) Dick Turpin and John Wesley » (1766) Captain Cook Explores the Pacific » (1756) The Seven Years War Begins » (1745) ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ and the Jacobite Rising » (1796) Jenner Discovers Smallpox Vaccine » (1775) American War of Independence Begins » (1760) The Industrial Revolution 1: Steam Engines and Canals » (1779) The Industrial Revolution 2: Iron and Factories » 19th Century (1800) Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars » (1811) Regency Period Begins » (1807) Abolition of the Slave Trade » (1859) Origin of Species Published » (1832) Reform Act Passed » (1837) Queen Victoria Begins her Reign » (1825) First Passenger Train Runs » (1851) Great Exhibition » (1870) First Board Schools Founded » (1897) Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee » 20th Century (1918) Votes for Women » (1901) Edwardian Period Begins » (1939-45) Second World War » (1922) Radio and Television » (1914-8) First World War » (1930) Uneasy Decades » (1962) Pop Revolution » (1947) Indian Independence and the end of Empire » (1977) Computers and Mobile Phones » (1957) Consumer Boom » (1947-89) Cold War » (1948) Welfare State and the National Health Service » (100 BC) Tribal Britain In the period before the Roman Conquest, the people of Britain were divided into over 30 tribes with different names. For example, the Catuvellauni (meaning 'battle experts') lived in modern Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire; the Ordovices ('hammer-fighters') occupied Mid-Wales; and the Brigantes (either 'hill-dwellers' or 'mighty ones') dominated northern England. The meanings of their tribal names sometimes give hints about how they saw themselves, or how others saw them. Archaeology shows that their ways of life differed widely. Some southern and eastern tribes, including quite recent arrivals from mainland Europe, built town-like trading centres. Further west and north, tribal power centred on strongly defended 'hill forts'. None were primitive 'cavemen'. Excavated examples of their homes show that they could be well-built huts, equal in ground area to a modern bungalow. Reconstruction of a British Iron Age hut at Maiden Castle hill fort. [© Paul Birkbeck. English Heritage Photo Library] Were the people living at this time clever? (72 BC) Metal Out Wine In Archaeology, including evidence from the cargoes of wrecked prehistoric ships found by divers, proves that Britain was trading with foreign lands long before the Romans came. Among its most valued exports was tin from Cornwall and Devon, a metal rare in Europe but vital for making bronze. One of the most important British trading posts was Hengistbury Head in Dorset, where locally-produced iron, copper and silver were exchanged for luxury goods (including figs, glass, tools and weapons, and especially wine) from Italy, Gaul (France) and even further away. Wine came in distinctively shaped pointed jars called 'amphorae‘. More of these have been found at Hengistbury than in all the other prehistoric sites in southern England put together. Roman pottery jar (amphora), which once contained imported wine, found at Richborough Castle Roman Fort. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What does this particular object tell us about the way people lived at this time? (55 BC/54BC) Julius Caesar's Raids The first Roman attacks on Britain were led by Julius Caesar, an ambitious general and politician who claimed that the Britons were helping his enemies in Gaul (France). His first raid in 55 BC was disastrous: British shoreline resistance and storm damage to his ships soon made him turn back. However, in 54 BC Caesar landed again in Kent with about 25,000 soldiers and, despite resistance led by Cassivellaunus, a British chieftain, and attacks by British chariots, he penetrated as far as Hertfordshire. Some British tribal chieftains surrendered and became allies of Rome, allowing Caesar to claim a victory. But it was clear that Britain was not easily conquered, and after two months he withdrew. Britain would remain outside the Roman Empire for nearly another century. British two-horse chariot with driver and warrior, from a Roman silver 'denarius' coin, c.48 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Were the Romans only interested in power? (47 BC) Caesar Describes Britain The oldest written descriptions of Britain, by Ancient Greek authors, describe a land of magical wonders beyond the known world. Although he had visited only south-east England, Julius Caesar gives a slightly more realistic account. Writing in about 47 BC, perhaps to impress Roman readers, he described the Britons as fierce barbarian warriors who shaved their bodies and dyed them blue with woad, but wore long hair and moustaches. He also wrote that they would not eat hares, cockerels or geese but kept them as pets. Caesar thought the south-eastern tribes, some of whom had only recently come from France, were the most civilised Britons. He declared that those living further inland grew no crops, ate only meat and dairy products and wore animal skins. Archaeology proves he was wrong! Celtic warrior, with characteristic 'spiky hair', from a Roman silver 'denarius' coin, c.48 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Can Julius Caesar’s description of Britain be trusted? (35 BC) First British Coins Caesar says that the Britons used bronze or iron rings as currency (money). However, gold and silver coins had already existed for hundreds of years in Asia, Greece and Rome, and by about 150 BC they had reached Britain. The first coins were imports from France. Not long after Caesar's raids, tribal rulers in southern and eastern Britain began producing ('minting') coins of their own. These were made by hammering an iron punch (or dye) engraved with a pattern onto discs of precious metal. Soon some British coins included the name of the ruler who ordered them. Among the earliest of these were made for Commios, at first an ally and then an enemy of the Romans, who ruled in the HampshireWest Sussex region. British silver coin of Commios, King of the Atrebates tribe, c.50 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Are coins important sources of evidence of life in past times? (10 BC) The Influence of Rome Though Britain was still independent, the influence of the Roman Empire, which now extended to the coast of France, was very strong. Feuding British rulers turned to Rome for support in their quarrels, or fled there as refugees if defeated. Some adopted the Roman title 'rex' (meaning 'king') and imitated Roman styles for their coins. Trade with the Roman Empire also increased and Roman luxury goods, like those found in Lexden Tumulus (the burial mound of a powerful British ruler at Colchester), were valued as 'status symbols' by wealthy Britons. It is even possible that some Britons took to wearing fashionable Roman clothing. Roman 'galley' ship, from a coin of Mark Antony, c.30 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Did all the people of Britain want to be like the Romans? (AD 10) Cunobelinus Cunobelinus, whose name means 'the Hound of Belinus' ('the Shining One', a British god) was the most powerful British ruler in the decades before the Roman Conquest. He was the leader of the Catuvellauni tribe, which had headed the resistance to Julius Caesar, from about AD 10. He extended his rule over all south-eastern Britain, from Kent to the Wash, and the Romans thought him 'King of (all) the Britons'. His 'capital' was Camulodunum (now Colchester). Cunobelinus remained friendly with Rome throughout his long reign. British corn, cattle, gold, silver, iron, pearls, slaves and hunting dogs were traded for Roman luxuries like ivory and amber jewellery, glass and wine. However, after his death in about AD 42, his sons adopted policies which helped encourage Roman invasion. British coin of Cunobelinus depicting an ear of barley – perhaps suggesting that British barley beer was better than Roman wine? [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Did trading with Rome prevent or encourage invasion? (AD 43) Roman Invasion In AD 43 the Romans landed at Richborough in Kent with an army of about 40,000 soldiers. They defeated the Britons (led by Caratacus and Togodumnus, sons of Cunobelinus) on the River Medway, and then fought their way over the Thames. The Emperor Claudius joined them for a triumphal entry into Colchester, the British 'capital', accompanied by the first elephants seen in Britain. However, Britain was far from fully conquered. One Roman legion marched northwards from Colchester towards Lincoln, another into the Midlands, and a third fought its way into the south-west, besieging and capturing many British hill forts on the way. By AD 47 all Britain south of a line from Devon to the Humber was under Roman control. Gold Roman coin of the Emperor Claudius, AD 43, showing a triumphal arch proclaiming the conquest of Britain. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Was the Roman invasion good or bad for Britain? (AD 47) The Roman Army The Roman army that conquered Britain was a wellequipped, uniformed and highly disciplined force. Its most effective soldiers were 'legionaries', tough armoured foot-soldiers equipped with short swords, throwing spears and big shields. Each of the four legions in Britain had about 5,000 men, divided into 'centuries' of about 80 soldiers, commanded by centurions. Legionaries were also engineers, building Roman forts and roads. Legionaries were recruited from Roman citizens, but their 'auxiliaries' (meaning 'helpers') were 'cohorts‘ (regiments) from many different parts of the Empire. Some were spear-armed infantry, others bowmen, and others made up cavalry regiments of 500 or 1000 men. There were usually more auxiliaries than legionaries in Britain. The Romans also used 'artillery‘ – machines for throwing big stones or shooting arrow-headed darts at the enemy. Model of a Roman legionary soldier from Corbridge Roman Town showing his armour, shield, throwing spear (pilum) and camping gear. [© English Heritage] Was Britain conquered because the Romans had better weapons than the Britons? (AD 51) Caratacus Captured Caratacus, son of Cunobelinus, headed the British resistance to the Roman invasion in AD 43 and, although he was defeated, he refused to give up. He moved west to lead the fierce Silures tribe of South Wales in eight years of successful guerrilla warfare against the invaders. His acceptance by this 'foreign' tribe suggests that Caratacus had a powerful personality: his name means 'the beloved one'. Eventually, in AD 51, he was defeated again somewhere on the Welsh borders and he fled to northern England, to Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes tribe. She handed him over to the Romans and he was put on show in Rome as a trophy of victory. However, his dignity impressed the Romans so much that Caratacus and his family were pardoned. British coin of Caratacus. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Was Caratacus well liked? (AD 60) Boudica's Revolt In AD 60 Queen Boudica (Boadicea) came close to destroying Roman rule in Britain. Her tribe, the Iceni of East Anglia, had been friendly with Rome, but when her husband died the Romans not only seized their land, they also brutally ill-treated Boudica and her daughters. While the Roman governor and his troops were away fighting in North Wales, Boudica united many tribes in a fierce revolt. They destroyed Colchester, Verulamium (St. Albans) and London, massacring all their inhabitants. Tens of thousands of people were tortured and killed. Racing back, the Roman governor defeated Boudica's much larger army, and she took poison rather than fall into enemy hands. After taking savage revenge, the Romans eventually realised that less harsh rule in Britain would prevent further risings. Skulls found in the Wallbrook stream, London, dating from AD 60. They may well be the severed heads of Boudica’s Roman victims. [© Museum of London] Would Boudica be as well remembered if she had been a man? (AD 80-100) Development of Roman Roads Roman Britain could not have operated without the network of Roman roads that linked cities and military bases. Many of their routes are still used as modern roads today. Unlike the dirt tracks that preceded them, Roman roads were built in stone, usually by legionary soldiers. They were paved, drained, well maintained, and they could be used in all weathers. Their routes were carefully planned by engineers, usually in long straight stretches, which sometimes changed direction on hilltops. However, in mountainous areas they took the easiest route along valleys. Map showing the main Roman roads in Britain. [Roman Roads in Britain by my work is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Roman.Britain.roads.jpg] Villas (country houses) and small towns developed along the road network and the Roman government operated a system of roadside inns and stables. These helped the Roman officials to travel as quickly as possible throughout Britain. Were Roman roads such a big deal? (AD 83) Roman Rule Expands The spread of Roman rule over Britain, temporarily halted by Boudica's rising, began again with the conquest of northern England (AD 70-1) and Wales (AD 74-8). Then the great Roman governor Agricola invaded Scotland, totally defeating the 'Caledonian' tribes at the Battle of Mons Graupius (probably near Inverness) in AD 83. His Roman fleet sailed right round Britain, proving it was an island. Agricola's victory, completing the conquest of Britain, marked the greatest extent of Roman rule. However, soon afterwards troops were pulled out to deal with trouble elsewhere in Britain. The Romans gradually abandoned Scotland and the northern frontier of Roman Britain was eventually finalised on Hadrian's Wall. Tombstone of Flavinus, standard-bearer of a Roman cavalry regiment. He rides in triumph over a naked 'barbarian'. From Hexham Abbey. [Tombstone of Flavinus, Roman Standard Bearer by Mike Quinn is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC BY-SA 2.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tombstone_of_Flavinus,_Roman_Standard_Bearer__detail_-_geograph.org.uk_-_732240.jpg] What evidence is there of Roman rule near where you live? (AD 100) Roman Forts Rebuilt in Stone Roman forts secured the conquest of Britain. Roman armies were said to 'carry a walled town in their packs', and even fortified the temporary 'marching camps' where they halted when in enemy territory. Forts were more permanent army bases, controlling the surrounding area. At first they were defended by ditches and timber stockades, but from about AD 100 they were often rebuilt with stone walls. Nearly always rectangular with rounded corners ('playing-card shaped') forts varied greatly in size. Most were occupied by 'auxiliary' regiments of 500 or 1,000 infantry or cavalry. Among the bestpreserved are those on Hadrian's Wall, including Housesteads. Legionary 'fortresses', each housing a whole legion of 5,000 soldiers, were much bigger. Those at Caerleon, Chester and York remained important centres of military power until the end of Roman Britain. Aerial view of Hardknott Roman Fort, showing the remains of the defences, headquarters building (centre), commander's house and corn stores. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were forts important to Roman rule? (AD 122) Hadrian's Wall Hadrian's Wall was begun on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian in AD 122. It is among the most famous Roman monuments in the world. It stretches 73 miles from coast to coast, across one of the narrowest parts of Britain. The 4m-high stone wall was set with small forts ('milecastles') a mile apart, with turrets between them. It was part of a wide band of defences including ditches to front and rear, outpost forts, and 15 big 'backup' forts for reinforcements. The wall complex was a barrier against enemies raiding from the north, and a means of stopping them uniting with possibly hostile tribes further south. It may also have been a springboard for future Roman advances into Scotland. However, by AD 158 this policy was abandoned, and the wall became the permanent northern frontier of Roman Britain for nearly 250 years. Remains of a central section of Hadrian’s Wall. The wall originally stood 4m high. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Did Hadrian’s Wall serve its purpose? (AD 155) Verulamium Rebuilt (Roman Towns Develop) The biggest change the Romans made in Britain was to introduce towns and cities. The Romans thought the best way to 'civilise' (which means 'townify') the Britons was to focus their lives on imitations of Rome. The towns built in Britain had Roman-style 'forums' (squares where public events took place) and 'basilicas' (courtrooms and town halls). They also had 'amphitheatres' for gladiators, public baths for exercise and steam baths for gossip. Towns varied in size and origin. Some, like Verulamium (now St. Albans), which was rebuilt in AD 155 after an accidental fire, were the 'capitals' of Romanised British tribes. Others (like Colchester, Lincoln and York) started as settlements for retired soldiers or (like Wroxeter in Shropshire) developed from forts. Country people visiting such towns could see and imitate 'citizens' dressing and behaving in Roman ways. Reconstruction of a busy street in Roman Wroxeter (Viriconium). [© English Heritage Photo Library] What evidence of Roman towns can be found where you live – or near where you live? (AD 158) Housesteads Fort Fully Re-Occupied When Hadrian's Wall became the permanent frontier of Roman Britain in about AD 158, its forts like Birdoswald, Chesters and Housesteads were fully garrisoned. The soldiers at Housesteads came from what is now Belgium, but other garrisons came from warmer parts of the Roman Empire, and may have had trouble coping with the harsh weather of northern England. To make them more bearable, forts contained not only barracks for soldiers and a house for the commander, but also 'comforts' such as bath houses with saunas, which were also soldiers' club-rooms. Some forts even had amphitheatres. Of course they also needed toilets, as in the famous example at Housesteads. At many forts, like Housesteads, a village for traders, pub-keepers, retired soldiers and their families, grew up outside the walls. The Roman communal toilets at Housesteads Roman Fort. Sponges on sticks, washed in the central running-water channel, were used as 'toilet paper'. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was life in a Roman fort good? (AD 180) Benwell Roman Temple Built (Roman Religion) Like almost all the world's peoples at this time, the Romans worshipped many gods. Apart from the gods and goddesses they brought with them (such as Jupiter, King of the Gods, and Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom) the Romans also adopted local gods. For example, they sometimes merged British war gods with their own war god, Mars. The temple at Benwell, built in about AD 180, was dedicated to the purely British god Antenociticus, but its altars were given by Roman officers from the nearby Hadrian's Wall fort. 'Official' Roman religion also included worship of the Emperor, but individual regiments and even families, often also had their own private gods. As long as their worship did not conflict with loyalty to Rome, nobody minded. However, those following supposedly anti-Roman religions, like Druidism and later Christianity, were persecuted. A trio of mother goddesses from a house outside Housesteads Roman Fort. They wear hooded capes, a famous product of Roman Britain. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Did people respect different spiritual beliefs in Roman times? (AD 180) Uprisings Though Britain had the largest occupying Roman army of any province in the Roman Empire, it was not always able to control the British tribes to the north and south of Hadrian's Wall. In addition, the size of the army sometimes tempted Roman governors to use it to make themselves Emperor – with disastrous results. In about AD 180 'Pictish' invaders from Scotland defeated a Roman legion and may have broken through Hadrian's Wall. There was more trouble around AD 197, when governor Clodius Albinus stripped Britain of troops in order to support his unsuccessful bid for imperial power. During his absence hostile tribes in Yorkshire and Wales rebelled, and some Roman forts were destroyed. Perhaps because of these troubles, at about this time, Roman cities defended themselves with earthwork banks and ditches. Aerial view of the Roman fort at Bainbridge, Wensleydale, Yorkshire, one of those attacked during the risings. [© R White/YDNPA] Did everyone accept Roman rule at this time? (AD 208) Emperor Severus in Britain In the early 200s, rebellions and invasions in northern Britain had got so bad that in AD 208 the Emperor Severus (elderly, but a famous soldier) came with a large army to restore order. For the next three years the whole Roman Empire was ruled from Britain. Severus marched deep into Scotland to punish hostile tribes, but achieved little there before his death at York in 211. However, in his time, many northern Roman forts, including some on Hadrian's Wall, were strengthened or rebuilt. Severus also divided Britain into two provinces: Upper Britain ruled from London and Lower Britain ruled from York. This made individual governors less powerful and less likely to rebel against Rome. For the next 70 years, Roman Britain was relatively peaceful. Statue of the Emperor Severus, who originated from North Africa. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Was the Roman invasion more beneficial for the Romans or Britons? (AD 209) St. Alban Martyred By AD 200, a few people in Britain were already Christians, but they had to worship in secret. The government thought their refusal to worship the 'official' Roman gods (which Christians regarded as 'idols') or 'divine’ emperors made them traitors to Rome. If discovered, they were often killed. History suggests that in AD 209, Alban, a Roman citizen of Verulamium, sheltered a fleeing Christian priest, changing clothes with him to help him escape. Alban was himself beheaded, becoming the first known British Christian 'martyr'. His (probably) true story became surrounded by fantastic legends, and much later a great abbey church was built on the supposed site of his execution. Verulamium then became 'St. Albans'. A 13th-century manuscript painting of the martyrdom of St. Alban. The executioner’s eyes are shown dropping out. [© The Board of Trinity College Dublin] How reliable is the evidence which surrounds the story of St. Alban? (AD 212) Citizenship Extended Before AD 212 there was a big distinction between Roman 'citizens', who had many rights and privileges, and other people within the Roman Empire. However, from that year all 'free' men (those who were not slaves) throughout the Empire were made citizens and all free women given the same rights as Roman women. From then on there was less and less distinction between 'Britons' and 'Romans'. Many Romans from other parts of the Empire, merchants and administrators, as well as soldiers, also lived in Britain, which was a really international community. Though they came from places such as North Africa, Syria or the Balkans, these people were also 'Romans'. The different races mixed freely. Regina, a former British slave from the Hertfordshire area, married her master Barathes, a Roman Syrian living in South Shields. Tombstone of Regina, a British-born slave who married her Roman Syrian master. From South Shields (Arbeia) Roman fort. [© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums/Bridgeman Images] Was life better for Roman citizens? (AD 250) Great Witcombe Villa Built Wealthy Roman citizens, including some who were British-born, owned country houses called 'villas'. Many of these have been found within reach of Roman towns, and in prosperous farming areas like the Cotswolds. Some villas (such as Great Witcombe Roman Villa – built in about AD 250 – and Lullingstone Roman Villa) were luxurious mansions, with underfloor 'central heating', one or more 'bath-suites', shrines to local gods, and floors covered with colourful and expensive mosaics. Others were more akin to farmhouses, and most were the centres of large farming estates. These were the homes of communities, including not only the owner's extended family, but also his servants, farm workers and slaves. Villas were at their wealthiest peak during the relatively peaceful 200s and 300s. Along with their comfortable lifestyle, they declined towards the end of Roman Britain. Reconstruction of Great Witcombe Roman villa. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What would you like or dislike about living in a Roman villa? (AD 270) Silchester Walled Most Roman towns had defences, originally ditches and stockades. However, by around AD 200 larger cities like London were given much stronger stone walls. Later in the century, towns such as Silchester in Hampshire (known as 'Calleva Atrebatum'), originally the tribal capital of the local British Atrebates tribe, also had their defences rebuilt in stone. Unlike most Roman cities, Silchester never developed into a modern town, and its Roman walls remain very complete today. They are about 4.5m high, but originally they were around 7.8m tall, with battlements and seven gateways. About 150,000 cartloads of stone were needed to build them. This included decorative stone, brought from as far away as Bath. So perhaps Silchester's walls were originally as much about showing off as defence. Reconstruction of Roman Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum). The amphitheatre is in the foreground, outside the walls. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Are towns with stone walls better examples of how the Romans influenced urban development than those without walls? (AD 276) Saxon Shore Forts Though inland Britain remained largely peaceful, its eastern and south-eastern coasts faced a new threat from outside. Seaborne raiders came from northeastern Europe, including the peoples later called Anglo-Saxons. These 'pirates' often penetrated up rivers and estuaries to launch hit-and-run attacks, escaping before Roman ships could catch them. After serious raids in about AD 276, more and much bigger forts were added to those defending eastcoast harbours and estuaries, many with new-style towered walls like medieval castles. Some even mounted stone-throwing 'catapults' to bombard pirate ships. Their garrisons were mainly cavalry, which could move quickly to attack raiders who landed, and forts could support each other in serious trouble. Because the coast they defended was threatened mainly by Saxons, the Romans called it 'the Saxon Shore'. Map of the Saxon Shore forts. [© English Heritage] Was Roman Britain an easy target for sea raiders at this time? (AD 296) Britain Regained for Rome Carausius, a low-born Belgian sailor who rose to command the Roman North Sea fleet, scored spectacular successes against the pirates. However, the Roman Emperor accused him of keeping their loot for himself, and he ordered his execution. But, in about AD 287 Carausius proclaimed himself independent Emperor of Britain and northern France, with strong local support. He called himself 'Restorer of Britain'. In AD 293, Carausius was murdered by his own finance minister and in AD 296 a Roman army, led by the Emperor Constantius, invaded. They saved London from barbarian mercenaries, and regained Britain for the Roman Empire. Perhaps to avoid further independence bids, Britain was now subdivided into four smaller provinces, with capitals in London, Cirencester, Lincoln and York. Gold medallion commemorating the re-conquest of Britain. A figure representing London [right] kneels before Constantius. A Roman galley is shown at bottom left. [© The Roman Society] Who were the ‘goodies ‘and ‘baddies’ at this time? (AD 306) Constantine Proclaimed Emperor Constantius, who had regained Britain for Rome in AD 296, returned in AD 306 and won a great victory against the Picts north of Hadrian's Wall, which he also strengthened. When he died in York, his army there proclaimed his son, Constantine, as Emperor. Though it took Constantine nearly 20 years to gain full control of the Empire, he became one of the most successful Roman rulers – he was known as 'Constantine the Great'. He was also the first Christian Emperor. His mother, Helena, claimed to have discovered in Jerusalem the actual 'True Cross' on which Christ was crucified. Constantinople (now Istanbul), which Constantine founded as a new capital of the Roman Empire, was named after him. Modern statue of Constantine outside York Minster, near the place where he was proclaimed Emperor. [© Charles Kightly] Did Constantine deserve to be called ‘great’? (AD 313) Persecution of Christians Ends Though not actually baptised a Christian until just before his death in AD 337, Constantine was always sympathetic to Christianity. In AD 313, after a vision of the Cross brought him a victory, he decreed that Christians were free to practise their religion without persecution, and that all property seized from them should be restored. There were at least four Christian bishops in Britain by AD 314. At this time, however, Christianity was not the only 'legal' religion. Many people still worshipped the old gods, and some Christians were, at first, cautious about declaring their faith. Wall paintings in a 'house church' within Lullingstone Roman Villa, are the oldest surviving evidence of Christianity in Britain and date from about AD 350. However, some experts believe that a neighbouring room there was still being used as a pagan temple! Wall painting of Roman Christian worshippers shown praying with outstretched arms, c.AD 350. From Lullingstone Roman Villa. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] What were the differences and similarities in different religious beliefs at this time? (AD 340) Prosperous Britain The earlier 300s were the 'golden age' of Roman Britain. By now, there was really no difference between 'Britons' and 'Romans'. Away from the troubled northern frontier and pirate-threatened east coast, the land was peaceful and prosperous. Indeed, Britain was one of the richest provinces in the whole Roman Empire. Farming especially flourished, so that Britain could export corn to Europe. The waterproof hooded cloaks and saddlerugs produced by the British woollen industry were famous throughout the Roman world. Especially in the south-west, country villas were built or enlarged, and small towns prospered. In bigger towns, like Wroxeter, the fourth largest town in Britain, richly decorated public baths and other grand public buildings proclaimed the wealth of Roman Britain. Reconstruction of the luxurious Roman public baths at Wroxeter Roman City (Viriconium). [© English Heritage Photo Library] Did prosperity make people more peaceful in Roman Britain at this time? (AD 367) Barbarian Conspiracy In AD 367 'barbarian' peoples from outside the Roman Empire attacked its borders in many places, all at the same time. Britain was simultaneously invaded by Picts from beyond Hadrian's Wall, raiders from Ireland and Saxons who attacked along the east coast. The Roman commander in Britain and the general in charge of the Saxon Shore were both killed in battles. Some Roman soldiers deserted to the enemy, forts were destroyed, and plunderers roamed about stealing and killing, so 'Britain was reduced to the verge of ruin’. Before now, the attackers of Britain had acted independently and in small groups. This pre-planned attack by a ‘conspiracy' of barbarians working together was something new, and also very dangerous. A Pictish warrior carved on a standing stone at Collessie, Fife, Scotland. [© RCAHMS (Tom and Sybil Gray Collection). Licensor www.rcahms.gov.uk] Is it fair to describe those attacking Britain at this time as barbarians? (AD 369) Theodosius Restores Order Though the raiders who attacked Britain in AD 367 preferred to go home with their plunder rather than stay as permanent conquerors, it took the Romans two years to restore order. This was eventually achieved by the general, Theodosius. He drove out the invaders, rebuilt damaged forts, and strengthened defences in the west against the Irish. He also made alliances with friendly tribes to help defend Britain's frontiers. To give warning against further attacks by Saxon pirates, he also built a series of fortified watch towers along the north-east coast, from Hadrian's Wall down through Yorkshire. Protected by all these defences, Britain regained some of its prosperity, but it was never really secure again. Reconstruction of the Roman signal station on the site of Scarborough Castle. The beacon gave warning of Saxon raiding ships approaching. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was Theodosius good at his job? (AD 383) Maximus Takes Troops from Britain Magnus Maximus, the Spanish-born Roman commander in Britain, defeated a new Pictish attack, but could not resist the temptation to declare himself Emperor of Rome. In AD 383 he invaded Europe, taking many troops from Britain with him. He was eventually defeated and killed in 388, and the troops never returned. Many Roman forts were now deserted, but Hadrian's Wall was still held, and after a while Roman imperial rule was re-established. Though his actions weakened Britain, Maximus was clearly popular there, perhaps because he encouraged British frontier tribes to take over from Roman soldiers against raiders from outside. He passed into legend as a hero and was later claimed as an ancestor by Dark Age Welsh princes. Gold coin of Magnus Maximus, showing him as joint-emperor of Rome. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Was Magnus Maximus a hero? (AD 391) Paganism Outlawed In AD 391 the Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official state religion of the whole Roman Empire. The worship of other gods was outlawed and their temples closed. Despite protests against abandoning the traditional gods of Rome, even their worship behind closed doors was soon forbidden. Magistrates and other officials had to be Christians, and from now on Christian churchmen exercised great power in the Roman Empire. The 'new' eastern god Mithras, who was particularly favoured by soldiers, was perhaps a more dangerous rival to Christianity than the traditional gods. At about this time, his temple near Carrawburgh Fort on Hadrian's Wall was attacked and its altars damaged, probably by Christians. The god Mithras shown emerging from an egg, surrounded by Signs of the Zodiac. From Housesteads Roman Fort. [© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums/Bridgeman Images] Was having just one religion across the Roman Empire a good idea? (AD 410) Britain Breaks with Rome The Romans did not suddenly leave Britain. In fact, after 350 years of Roman rule, all Britons thought of themselves as Romans. However, by the early 400s most soldiers had been taken to Europe by generals trying to make themselves Emperor and were never replaced. Since the Roman Empire could not protect them, the 'Romano-Britons' declared independence from the Empire. Due to a lack of reliable evidence, experts disagree on exactly when independence came about. In AD 409, the Britons apparently expelled the Empire's officials. Then in AD 410, when barbarians sacked the city of Rome itself, the Emperor Honorius may have written to tell the Britons to look after their own defence. Certainly, at about this time, Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire. Gold coin of Honorius, the last Roman Emperor to rule Britain. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Did Rome abandon Britain or did Britain reject Rome? (AD 429) Vortigern (Hengist and Horsa) In the 420s, the most dangerous enemies threatening newly independent Britain were the Picts and the Irish. According to one story, a Romano-British ruler called Vortigern (which means 'great lord') asked two Saxon brothers called Hengist (meaning 'stallion') and Horsa ('mare') to bring their followers to help him defend eastern England against these enemies. In return he would pay them and give them land in Kent to live in. About a century later, a writer blamed Vortigern's actions for starting off the Saxon conquest of Britain. However, the Roman army had been employing Saxons and other Germanic soldiers for some time before this date, and archaeology shows that some were already living in eastern England. Anglo-Saxon belt-buckle from Mucking, Essex. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Is archaeological evidence more reliable than a writer's account of the past? (AD 442) Saxons Advance According to the legend, Hengist and Horsa kept demanding more money and land from Vortigern. When they did not get them, they decided to conquer England for themselves, bringing allies over from the Saxon homeland to help them. There is historical evidence that in about AD 442 large numbers of Saxons, Jutes and Angles advanced into eastern and south-eastern England. A chronicler, writing in France, even believed that the Saxons conquered the whole country at this time, though this was not yet true. Others reported widespread attacks and massacres by the Saxons. Archaeology shows that Roman-style civilised life in south-east England, ended abruptly about now. Blade of an Anglo-Saxon seax knife from Sittingbourne, Kent. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Is the object above evidence that the Anglo-Saxons were all brutal killers? (AD 446) Last Appeal to Rome In about AD 446 the Romano-Britons desperately appealed for help to the Roman general, Aetius, who was fighting in France. They claimed that, 'The barbarians drive us to the sea, but the sea drives us back to the barbarians; between these two kinds of death, we are either killed or drowned'. By 'barbarians' they probably meant the Saxons, but they might have meant the Picts and Irish as well. This plea was called 'the Groans of the Britons‘. However, the Roman general was too busy fighting Attila the Hun to send help, and the Britons had to manage alone. This was probably the last time they appealed for Roman help Map showing the European origins of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. [Anglo-Saxon Migration in the 5th century by my work is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAnglo.Saxon.migration.5th.cen.jpg] Can the 'Groans of the Britons' be interpreted in different ways? (AD 460) Ambrosius Fights Back The Romano-Britons fought hard against the Saxons, and for a long time prevented them from invading central, western and northern England. Among their most successful leaders was Ambrosius Aurelianus, who was called 'the last of the Romans'. This may mean he used Roman-style tactics and armoured cavalry against the Saxons, who fought on foot. Archaeological evidence also shows that other British leaders, whose names we do not know, defended local territories against the invaders. For instance at Birdoswald Roman Fort on Hadrian's Wall, the last Roman commander probably became an independent 'warlord' and built himself a big timber house within the fort's stone walls. Reconstruction of the post-Roman hall built within Birdoswald Roman Fort. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were old Roman forts of any use to anyone one at this time? (AD 470) Massacre at Pevensey Because very few written records survive from this period, it is difficult to know exactly what happened to the British population when the Saxons attacked. One record says that they massacred all the Britons who took refuge in Pevensey Roman fort. However, archaeology shows that towns including Verulamium (St. Albans) and Wroxeter continued to be lived in, while others became deserted. Roman civilisation collapsed, and people stopped using coins and even pottery. It used to be thought that the Saxons killed or drove out all the Britons from the areas they conquered. However, 'genetic' research into the ancestry of modern people suggests instead that most ordinary Britons stayed where they were, adopting the lifestyle and language of their new Saxon rulers. The gateway of the Roman fort, Pevensey Castle. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were the Romans more civilised than the Saxons? (AD 495) Battle of Mount Badon In about AD 495 the Romano-Britons won a great victory over the Saxon invaders at Mount Badon. Where this battle took place is uncertain, but it was probably in south-west England. Some historians believe that 'Mount Badon' was Liddington Castle hill fort, near Badbury in Wiltshire, others that it was near Bath. It is also uncertain who the British commander was at this time. Some think it was Ambrosius Aurelianus, others that it was 'King Arthur'. Though the legend of King Arthur did not become popular until many centuries later, some believe that he was based on a real British 5th-century hero. Quite certainly, however, the British victory halted the Saxon conquest for over 50 years. A 14th-century manuscript painting of King Arthur, as imagined in medieval times. [© The British Library Board, Royal 20 A. II, f.4r] Are the stories about King Arthur fact or fiction? (AD 515) Tintagel and 'King Arthur' Independent British kingdoms survived longest in the west and north of England, furthest from the Saxon invaders. They were ruled by Christian princes who still thought of themselves as 'Romans'. Tintagel on the north coast of Cornwall was an important settlement of the Romano-British kingdom of 'Dumnonia' (now Devon and Cornwall). Objects found there by archaeologists, like containers for Italian wine, and fine pottery and glass from Spain, Turkey and North Africa, show that in the 500s its people were still trading with the Roman Empire. Much later on, Tintagel was believed to be the birthplace of 'King Arthur'. Other stories say that Arthur was killed in about AD 515, possibly in battle with rival British rulers. Reconstruction of the Tintagel settlement in about 700. A trading ship is entering the harbour [right]. [© English Heritage (drawing by Liam Wales)] Do the objects found at Tintagel tell us about life in other parts of the world at this time? (AD 545) Plague A terrible epidemic of bubonic plague swept across Europe during the 540s, and reached Britain in about AD 545. One of the symptoms was swellings or 'buboes' under the armpits and elsewhere. Many people died of it, including some rulers of the northern and western Romano-British kingdoms. The deaths of farmers and craftsmen, people who knew how to grow and make things, made civilised life even harder for the survivors. The Saxons who ruled eastern England were not so badly affected as they did not trade with plagueridden southern Europe, and the Romano-Britons would have nothing to do with them. Therefore few, apparently, caught the disease. Mosaic depicting the Emperor Justinian who ruled over eastern Europe when the epidemic broke out. It is also know as the Plague of Justinian. [© World History Archive/Alamy] Did everyone suffer from the impact of the plague at this time? (AD 552) Renewed Saxon Conquests The Romano-British victory at Mount Badon stopped the Saxon advance for 50 years. There may have been a peace treaty dividing the country between Saxons and Britons, and there is evidence that some towns in British-held areas continued to thrive. However, from AD 552 (when they captured Salisbury) the Saxons started attacking from their south-eastern strongholds again. They pushed the Britons westwards and northwards, and in AD 571 they took Bedford. The Britons fought back hard, and sometimes temporarily defeated the Saxons, but more and more of England came under Saxon control. Finely decorated Anglo-Saxon brooch from West Heslerton. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was it easy for the Anglo-Saxons to conquer Britain? (AD 560) Saxon Farms and British Rivers As the Saxons conquered England, they gave names in their own language to the places they lived in. This Anglo-Saxon language is related to German and is the ancestor of the English we speak today. However, if we heard a Saxon speaking now, we wouldn't be able to understand him. Many Saxon place names end in 'ham' (meaning a village) or 'ton' (a homestead or farm). Often places were named after the people who lived there: 'Nottingham', originally spelled 'Snotingaham', means the village of the followers of a man called 'Snot', the 'Snotings'. However, many rivers kept, and still keep, the names given to them in the British (Celtic) language spoken by earlier inhabitants. For instance, 'Avon’ means 'river' in that language. An Anglo-Saxon plough hauled by oxen, from a manuscript of about 1030. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Tiberius BV, Part 1, f.3] Can you find any places in your area with names of Saxon origin? (AD 580) The First Ango-Saxon Kingdoms The 'Anglo-Saxon' conquerors of England were not yet a united nation. Depending on where they came from in northern Europe, some were Saxons, some Angles and some Jutes. As they conquered England, they divided it into separate and independent kingdoms, large and small. These included: Kent in the south-east; Sussex (the land of the South Saxons); Essex (East Saxons); Wessex (West Saxons); East Anglia (East Angles); Mercia in the midlands and Northumbria in the north. Sometimes an especially powerful or respected Anglo-Saxon king (like King Ceawlin of Wessex who reigned in about AD 580) claimed temporary leadership of all the other Anglo-Saxon rulers. These men were called 'Bretwaldas', meaning 'wide-ruler' or perhaps 'sovereign of Britain'. Map of the major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. [Source: http://www.edmaps.com] Was Britain more Anglo-Saxon or Romano-British at this time? (AD 597) Conversion to Christianity When the Anglo-Saxons came to England they were pagans, worshipping gods like Tiw, Woden, Thor and Frey, after whom Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are still named. The Christian Britons hated the Saxon invaders so much that they didn’t want their souls to be 'saved' by Christianity, so they did nothing to convert them. Eventually the southern Saxons were converted by missionaries sent by the Pope from Rome. The earliest and most famous was St. Augustine, who converted the King of Kent in AD 597. In northern England, however, the missionaries came from Christian Ireland. However, it would take a long time before all the Anglo-Saxons became Christian. The remains of St. Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, founded by the saint himself in about 597. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were the missionaries right to convert people to Christianity? (AD 600) Battle of Catraeth In northernmost England, where the Romano-British kingdoms remained strong, the Anglo-Saxon conquest was slow. The 'Anglian' invaders of this part of the country first landed at Bamburgh in Northumberland, later the site of a famous medieval castle. In about AD 600, they destroyed a British army at the Battle of Catraeth, now Catterick, North Yorkshire. We know about this battle from a famous poem written at the time in the British language, an ancestor of modern Welsh. It is the oldest surviving poem in a language still spoken in Britain. It also includes the earliest known reference to 'King Arthur’. Medieval Bamburgh Castle, built on the site of the first Anglo-Saxon stronghold in Northumbria. [© English Heritage Photo Library/Peter Dunn, English Heritage Graphics Team] Is this poem reliable evidence? (AD 617) King Edwin Converted By AD 604 the Anglo-Saxons had taken York. This old Roman capital of northern England became the capital of their kingdom of Northumbria. One of its most powerful kings was Edwin, who reigned from AD 617. Originally a pagan, he was baptised a Christian in about AD 625, probably at the site where York Minster now stands. A famous story tells how one night a sparrow flew through King Edwin's lit feasting hall, from darkness into darkness. Someone compared it to the life of pagans, going from one unknown and frightening place to another. If Christianity could give people more hope of life after death, Edwin thought he ought to become a Christian. A re-erected pillar from the Roman headquarters building in York, near the place where Edwin was baptised. [© Charles Kightly] Did people want to convert to Christianity at this time? (AD 625) Sutton Hoo In 1939, archaeologists made an amazing discovery at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. A buried ship full of treasures was found, which had once surrounded the body of a very rich and important Saxon ruler. The treasures included a helmet and sword; Swedish-style metalwork; coins from all over western Europe, and even silver spoons from Constantinople. Some of the treasures suggest that the person buried was a Christian, but Christians were not usually buried with objects for the ‘after-life’. Historians think that this is the tomb of the great King Redwald of East Anglia, who died in about AD 625. It seems Redwald could not decide whether he was a pagan or a Christian. He installed a statue of Christ in his private temple, but also kept statues of pagan gods there. The reconstructed helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship burial: it was probably made in England. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] What does the discovery at Sutton Hoo tell us about religious beliefs, trade and craftwork at this time? (AD 635) Lindisfarne Founded Many of the first missionaries were monks who were unmarried men living together in communities, devoted to prayer and poverty. They believed that this simple and sometimes hard way of life brought them closer to God. They often set up their 'monasteries' in lonely places, where they would not be distracted. In AD 635 St. Aidan, an Irish monk, founded a monastery on the lonely island of Lindisfarne, off Northumberland, later called 'Holy Island'. From there he journeyed through Northumbria preaching Christianity. The Anglo-Saxon King Oswald of Northumbria was his friend and protector. Afterwards, Lindisfarne became even more famous as the home of St. Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels. The 9th-century ‘Doomsday’ memorial stone from Lindisfarne Priory. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Did monasteries only influence religion? (AD 642) Battle of Oswestry In the 600s many wars were fought in England, as the different independent kingdoms struggled for supremacy. The battles were not always between Saxon and British kingdoms, or between Christians and pagans. Sometimes Britons allied with Saxons, and pagans allied with Christians. In AD 642 the Christian Saxon King Oswald of Northumbria was killed by an alliance between the pagan King Penda of Anglo-Saxon Mercia (in the West Midlands) and Christian Britons from Shropshire and North Wales. Oswald's body was chopped up, and his head stuck on a tree or a wooden cross (‘Oswald’s Tree’). This battle site in Shropshire is now called Oswestry. Oswald, the friend of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, was later himself regarded as a saint. Battle scene from the Franks Casket, dating from about 700. The casket was made in northern England from the bones of a stranded whale. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Did having many kingdoms create more conflict at this time? (AD 664) The Synod of Whitby (Rome or Ireland?) Some Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were converted by missionaries from Rome, and some by monks from Ireland. The Churches of Rome and Ireland had different ways of doing things, like the haircuts of their priests. They did not even agree on the date of Easter, the most important Christian festival, and this caused problems. King Oswiu of Northumbria, influenced by Ireland, celebrated Easter at one date, but his Roman-convert wife at another. So King Oswiu summoned a 'synod' (church conference) at the monastery of Whitby to decide whether the Church in England should follow Roman or Irish religious rules. After much argument, Oswiu decided on Rome. This was because he dared not offend St. Peter, a 'Roman' saint, who was thought to hold the keys of heaven. For nearly the next nine centuries, England would be a 'Roman Catholic' nation. A monk receiving a Roman-style haircut [right] and a monk with Celticstyle haircut [left]]. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Cleopatra C. XI, f.27v. © The Board of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland/Bridgeman Images] Did choosing to follow Roman rules of Christianity create peace in Britain? (AD 680) Caedmon At the time of the Synod of Whitby, the monastery at Whitby was ruled by the powerful Abbess Hilda, a Saxon princess. Among her servants was a poor cowherd called Caedmon. Anglo-Saxons loved poetry and singing, and the Whitby monks used to pass round a harp and sing songs to entertain each other. Caedmon, however, knew no songs, so he crept off sadly to sleep in the cowshed. That night, according to legend, an angel appeared to him, giving him the power to write poetry. He composed a hymn about the ‘Creation of the World’ and sang it to Abbess Hilda. This was regarded as a miracle, and Caedmon became an honoured monk. He died in about AD 680. 'Caedmon's Hymn' still survives, and it is one of the very earliest poems in the Anglo-Saxon language, the ancestor of modern English. Victorian cross commemorating Caedmon in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Whitby. [© Charles Kightly] Are the story and poem of Caedmon reliable sources of evidence? (AD 699) Lindisfarne Gospels Produced The most famous saint of Anglo-Saxon northern England was Cuthbert, a monk and abbot of Lindisfarne. He spent a lot of time meditating alone on the remote Farne islands, and made friends with otters and seabirds. He died in 687, and nine years later his body was dug up. It had not rotted away at all, which convinced the Lindisfarne monks that he was a powerful saint. Probably to celebrate St. Cuthbert's re-burial in a new shrine, a monk called Eadfrith created a beautifully painted version of the Christian New Testament Gospels. The Lindisfarne Gospels still survive. They are the among the finest works of art produced in Anglo-Saxon England. The beginning of St. Matthew’s Gospel, a ‘carpet page’ from the Lindisfarne Gospels manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Nero D. IV, f.27] What do the Lindisfarne Gospels tell us about life at this time compared with life today? (AD 700) The Ruthwell Cross Before churches were built, Anglo-Saxon Christians often gathered to worship in the open air in places marked by tall crosses, made of timber or stone and often carved and painted. Among the finest survivors is the Ruthwell Cross. Five and a half metres high, this cross probably dates from around AD 700. It is carved all over with figures of Christ, saints, vines and birds. It also has carved inscriptions quoting in Latin from the Bible, and in Anglo-Saxon from a poem called 'The Dream of the Rood’ ('rood' being the Saxon word for a cross). These words are the oldest surviving examples of written Anglo-Saxon. They are carved in letters called 'runes'. The head of the Ruthwell Cross. Carved runes can be seen near the bottom of the picture. [© Crown Copyright Historic Scotland] What can you find out about runes? (AD 720) The Tribal Hideage The Tribal Hideage is a document listing 34 of the separate Anglo-Saxon 'tribes' or peoples who lived in southern and midland England in the 700s, and how many 'hides' of land each of them owned. A 'hide' was the amount of farmland necessary to provide food for a 'household'. A household meant not just a family, but also the servants and slaves who worked for them. Some tribes (such as the West Saxons, the Mercians of the Midlands and the East Angles) were very large, including tens of thousands of households. Others, like the 'Spaldas’ (who lived around Spalding in Lincolnshire) and the 'Peak dwellers' of Derbyshire, were much smaller. Some tribes included only about 300 households. Harvesting with scythes, from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript of about 1030. [© The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved/Bridgeman Images] What does The Tribal Hideage tell us about life in Britain at this time? (AD 731) Bede and the Idea of 'England' Bede was a monk who lived at Jarrow monastery in Northumbria, a famous centre of learning. He wrote about 60 books in Latin, many of which survive. The most important is the 'History of the English Church and People', completed in AD 731. This was the earliest attempt to write a history of England, especially from the time of the Anglo-Saxon conquest. Bede’s book is a very important milestone in the history of England because it treated England as a single united country, rather than a collection of independent kingdoms and separate tribes. England would not really be united for another two centuries, but Bede helped plant the idea that it should be a single nation. A medieval depiction of Bede writing. He holds a quill pen in his right hand and a penknife in his left. [© The British Library Board, Yates Thompson 26 f2r] Why is Bede such a significant person in British history? (AD 757) King Offa of Mercia In the later 700s, the Midlands kingdom of Mercia dominated all southern England. Its greatest ruler was King Offa (757-96), who was the first to standardise the silver 'penny' as the coin used for trade. His power was also respected in Europe: the Emperor Charlemagne called him 'brother'. 'Mercia' means 'the borderlands', and Offa's greatest achievement was the construction of a massive earthwork ditch and bank still called Offa's Dyke. Stretching over 80 miles from near Chepstow to Prestatyn, it clearly defined from sea to sea the boundary between the Anglo-Saxon 'English' and the Britons of Wales. Many sections of this astonishing feat of engineering still look impressive today. A dramatic section of Offa’s Dyke on the Shropshire/Wales border. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Are Offa’s achievements still significant today? (AD 780) Beowulf Beowulf is the oldest surviving Anglo-Saxon 'epic poem' or adventure story. Some experts think it was composed in the late 700s, though it tells of events supposed to have happened much earlier, before the Anglo-Saxons came to England. Its hero, Beowulf, kills a man-eating monster called Grendel, and then Grendel's even fiercer mother. Later he defeats a dragon, but dies of the wounds he got while fighting it. Poems like this were not meant to be read, but to be sung or recited for entertainment at feasts. So though the poem is over 3,000 lines long, the reciter would be expected to know it 'off by heart'! The first page of the only surviving original manuscript copy of Beowulf. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Vitellius A. XV, f.132] What does the poem Beowulf tell us about life at this time? (AD 787) First Viking Raids The Vikings were fierce pagan raiders from Norway and later also from Denmark, who began attacking England in the late 700s. The English called them 'pirates', or 'heathen men'. Their first raid was on the Dorset coast in AD 787, but their first serious attack was on the rich monastery of Lindisfarne in AD 793, where they slaughtered the monks and stole the treasures. Soon afterwards they also began raiding other parts of Europe. Viking raids at first menaced only coastal areas, which they plundered before sailing away. But during the later 800s raiders became invaders, and the Vikings almost conquered the whole of England. Battle scene from the 9th-century ‘Viking Stone’ at Lindisfarne Priory. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Why did the Vikings raid, then invade England? (AD 800) The Law of the Land Anglo-Saxon laws protected the rights of free men as well as setting out their duties, such as serving in the army in times of war. They also tried to keep the peace and prevent blood-feuds happening if someone was killed. Instead, a 'wergild' or ‘man price’ in money could be paid by the killer or his family to the dead man's relations, to prevent them taking vengeance. The 'man price' of a killed king was 12 times that of a nobleman, and a slain nobleman was worth 6 times more than a wealthy farmer. Locally, laws were dealt with at 'hundred courts', where representatives of a hundred households met in the open air to make decisions. Medieval manuscript recording the Laws of Aethelbert, first Christian King of Kent. [© Rochester Cathedral] How far have laws changed since AngloSaxon times? (AD 825) Bigger Kingdoms In AD 825 the King of the West Saxons defeated the Mercians at the Battle of Ellendun (near Swindon) and 'Wessex' became the leading power in southern England. Smaller kingdoms like Kent, Sussex and East Anglia still survived, but they were now dominated by the three big Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria. Although the AngloSaxons now called themselves 'English', England was not yet a single united country. In Cornwall and parts of north-west England as well as in Wales, British kingdoms still survived. The English called their people 'Welsh' (from a Saxon word meaning 'foreigners') but they called themselves 'Cymry’, meaning 'fellow countrymen’ in their own language. This name is the origin of 'Cymru' (still the Welsh-language name for Wales) and 'Cumbria'. Ring of King Aethelwulf of Wessex (839-58), father of King Alfred. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] How have the names of places in England changed? (AD 850) Viking Raiders Become Invaders In AD 850, for the first time, a Viking army stayed in England throughout the winter instead of sailing home with their plunder, so they were ready to start raiding again when spring came. This was a very dangerous development, turning raiders into invaders. Earlier Viking raiders had come from Norway, but from this time on, most Vikings who attacked England came from Denmark. Sometimes independent English rulers united together to fight the Vikings, and occasionally they defeated them. More often the Vikings won. Some people began to think that it was better to pay the Vikings to go away, or even to let them take over their land, than to fight them. An original Viking boat. [© Rick Strange/Alamy] How did different people react to the Viking raids at this time? (AD 865) Viking Great Army Lands In AD 865 a huge Viking army invaded England, led by two notorious pirate brothers, Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan the Black. Each following year they moved on to plunder another part of the country, taking York in AD 866 and then invading Mercia. In 869 they killed Edmund, King of East Anglia, shooting him full of arrows and then cutting off his head when he refused to renounce Christianity. Only in Wessex did the English keep on resisting the Vikings. In AD 870 they actually managed to defeat them at Ashdown (Berkshire), but they lost more battles than they won. In AD 871 Alfred became King of Wessex and kept up the fight. A Viking army preparing to land, from a 10th-century Norwegian manuscript. [© Bymuseum, Oslo, Norway/Index/Bridgeman Images] Was it easy for the Vikings to invade England? (AD 878) Vikings Defeated at Edington Early in AD 878 the Vikings suddenly attacked Wessex in midwinter. King Alfred was forced to hide in the marshes of Athelney, and many of his subjects surrendered and paid 'tribute money' to the Vikings. But Alfred refused to despair. He gathered a new army and completely defeated the enemy at the Battle of Edington (Wiltshire). This was the first time the Vikings had ever been so badly beaten in England. Their leader, Guthrum, agreed to become a Christian, with Alfred acting as his 'godfather'. He also swore to take his army out of Wessex. Wessex was saved, but many other parts of England were now being permanently settled by Vikings. Victorian statue of King Alfred at Winchester, the old capital of Wessex. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What reasons might Guthrum have had for agreeing to become a Christian? (AD 891) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The Viking invasions did tremendous damage to art, culture and learning in England. Monasteries had been centres of knowledge, but many were destroyed along with their precious books and their monks. By Alfred's time hardly anyone was left who understood Latin, the language previously used for recording information. So when Alfred wanted to rebuild learning, he had to write books in the English language, something nobody had done before. To help him, he gathered scholars from all over Britain. One of these, the Welshman Asser, wrote the story of Alfred's life. Alfred also ordered the making of a history of England, called the ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’. He sent copies to all the main surviving monasteries, with orders to keep it up to date. Manuscript of the version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle written at Abingdon Abbey. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Tiberius B. I, f.144v] Did the Viking invasion help or hinder literacy in England? (AD 899) Alfred the Great Dies Alfred is the only English King called 'the Great'. His resistance had saved England from total conquest by the Vikings, and as the ruler of the only surviving Anglo-Saxon kingdom, he was honoured throughout the whole land. Some even thought of him as the first King of all England. He was also respected for trying to revive English learning, and had begun to build ships to fight the Vikings at sea. However, at the time of Alfred's death, England was still not yet a single united country, and much of it was still occupied by Vikings, who were beginning to settle down there permanently. Even Wessex itself was not safe from a renewed Viking attack. The gold and rock-crystal ‘Alfred Jewel’, part of a pointer sent to a monastery with copies of Alfred’s books. The figure symbolises sight. [© Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford] Was King Alfred ‘great’? (AD 900) Burhs One reason why the Vikings conquered much of England so easily was that people had nowhere to take refuge when attacks came. Castles had not been invented, and most old Roman fortifications were ruinous. So King Alfred and his successors created fortresses where people could shelter. Local people had to help dig ditches and banks to protect them, and then provide part-time soldiers to defend them. These places of refuge were called 'burhs', and by 900 no village in Wessex nor its neighbouring areas was more than 20 miles away from one. Many of these 'burhs' later became prosperous market towns, today known as 'boroughs’. Map of ‘burhs’ in southern England. [Anglo-Saxon burhs by Hel-hama is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAnglo-Saxon_burhs.svg ] How have people defended their territory throughout history? (AD 924) Reconquest In AD 914 Alfred's son, King Edward of Wessex, and his sister, Aethelflaed, who ruled in the Midlands and was called 'the Lady of the Mercians', began reconquering the lands taken by the Vikings. As they recaptured territory year after year, they protected it with new fortresses called ‘burhs’. The warrior princess Aethelflaed, planning her own campaigns and leading them herself, marched northwestwards towards Chester, while Edward fought his way north-eastwards. The Vikings surrendered or fled, and by the time Edward died in AD 924, all the country south of the Humber was again under English rule. Thirteenth-century manuscript painting of Queen Aethelfleda. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Claudius B VI f.14r] Why were Edward and Aethelflaed so successful in reconquering land from the Vikings? (AD 937) The First King of all England The mighty Aethelstan, Edward's son (Alfred's grandson), completed the reconquest of southern England, and pushed on to capture York. He became the first recognised king of a single united 'England', whose power was also respected in Wales. After destroying an attacking coalition of Vikings, Scots and Britons at the Battle of Brunanburh in AD 937, Aethelstan was also hailed as 'Ruler of All Britain'. He was the overlord not only of England, but also of an 'English Empire' that dominated the whole island of Britain. Perhaps the greatest of all Anglo-Saxon kings, Aethelstan was famous for his just laws and for founding monasteries. His power made him respected throughout western Europe, whose rulers sought alliances with him and sent their sons to be educated at his court. Manuscript painting of King Aethelstan, shown presenting a book to St. Cuthbert. Painted c.930 during Aethelstan's lifetime, it is the earliest known 'portrait' of an English king. [© By kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge] What does the image above tell us about King Aethlestan? (AD 954) The Danelaw Though the English kings reconquered the lands taken by the Vikings, they did not drive out the Vikings who had settled down there as peaceful farmers. The parts of eastern England where these retired Vikings lived were called the Danelaw, because the people there kept their Danish language and Danish laws. These included the judgement of law cases by a 'jury' of 12 men, a system the English took over. The most important Viking-settled town was York. This kept its Scandinavian rulers until the last of them, the violent Erik Bloodaxe, was killed in AD 954. Map showing the Danelaw and English-held lands. [England 878 by Hel-hama is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC-BY-SA-3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEngland_878.svg] What can the map above tell you about the area you live in at this time? (AD 970) English Art Revived English art and craftsmanship, which had suffered during the Viking wars, had a great revival in the more peaceful 900s. Encouraged by the Church and its famous Archbishop Dunstan (AD 909-88) monks produced beautiful painted manuscripts such as the 'Benedictional of Aethelwold' (about AD 970). This was made at Winchester, the royal 'capital' of southern England. English craftspeople were also famous for their fine metalwork, but most of all for their beautiful embroidery using silk and gold thread. This fabulously expensive 'English work' was valued all over Europe for fine royal robes and church decoration. Page from the Anglo-Saxon Benedictional of Aethelwold, a manuscript painted at Winchester c.970. [© The British Library Board, Add. MS 49598, f. 45v] Is there a link between times of peace and great art and creativity? (AD 978) Aethelred the Unready After a long period of peace, things began to go wrong for England under King Aethelred (AD 9781016). Suspected of murdering his brother to get the throne, Aethelred proved a weak and foolish ruler who could not beat off a new outbreak of Viking attacks. So instead he began bribing the raiders to go away, making his people pay heavy taxes called 'Danegeld' to provide the money. People soon nicknamed him 'the Unready'. This doesn't mean he was not prepared, but comes from an old word 'unrede', meaning 'bad advice'. So the Aethelred the Unready meant 'Aethelred the IllAdvised‘ – or just 'the Stupid'. Thirteenth-century manuscript painting of King Aethelred. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Claudius B. VI, f.87v] Did Aethelred the Unready deserve his nickname? (AD 991) The Battle of Maldon During Aethelred the Unready's reign, a large force of Vikings landed on an island near Maldon. Byrhtnoth, the English ealdorman (governor) of Essex, defended the narrow causeway connecting the island to the land. Even though they outnumbered him, he eventually allowed the Vikings to cross it, so they could fight on fairer terms. The Vikings won, Byrhtnoth was killed, and all his companions chose to die with him rather than retreat or surrender. We know about this because a famous poem praised the heroism of the companions, whose honour bound them to die with their master rather than saving themselves. Modern statue of Byrhtnoth at Maldon. [Byrthnoth statue Maldon by Oxyman (Wikipedia Commons) CC-BY-SA-3.0. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brythnoth_statue_Maldon.jpg] Can poems tell us about the past? (AD 1016) King Cnut When Aethelred the Unready died after a troubled reign, people wanted a strong ruler to restore peace and order. Many chose Cnut, the commander of an invading Danish army, who became undisputed King of England when Aethelred's son died in 1016. Soon afterwards he inherited the kingship of Denmark, and later also ruled Norway and parts of Sweden. Thus during his reign (1016-35) England was part of a 'North Sea Scandinavian Empire'. Though a harsh king, Cnut (also spelt 'Canute‘) ruled England wisely, and was a great supporter of the Church. He protected England from Vikings, united Danes and Englishmen, and upheld English law. King Cnut [bottom right] presents a golden cross to Hyde Abbey, Winchester, from a manuscript compiled there in 1031. [© The British Library Board, Stowe 944, f6] Why did the people of England choose a Danish king? (AD 1042) Edward the Confessor Following the short reigns of Cnut's two sons, the English chose a king of the old royal line, Edward, a son of Aethelred the Unready. Known as 'Edward the Confessor' (which in this case means someone who lives a holy life) he was regarded as a saint by many of his poor subjects. He had been brought up in exile in Normandy, and his English and Danish nobles disliked his preference for Norman ways and Norman advisers, especially churchmen. His most famous achievement was founding a great abbey just west of the old city of London called 'the West Minster'. Westminster Abbey is still used for coronations and royal burials today. The shrine of the sainted King Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey. [© Angelo Hornak/Alamy] What did it take to be regarded as a saint? (AD 1066) Harold Godwinson Old King Edward died childless on 5th January 1066. He had always wanted his successor to be his cousin William, Duke of Normandy. At this time, however, England was threatened by foreign invaders, so on his deathbed, he accepted Harold Godwinson instead. Though not of royal blood, Harold was the greatest warrior in England, and nobles immediately chose him as king. As the last Saxon King of England, Harold prepared for invasion. In September a big Viking army landed in Yorkshire, commanded by King Harald Hardrada ('Hard Ruler') of Norway, who claimed to be the heir of King Cnut. Harold Godwinson rapidly marched up from London, destroying the Vikings at the Battle of Stamford Bridge on 25th September. Three days later, the Normans landed on the Sussex coast. Harold Godwinson, from the Bayeux Tapestry. [© De Agostini/The British Library Board] Was choosing a king or queen a fair process in this period of history? (AD 1066) Battle of Hastings Duke William of Normandy landed near Pevensey in Sussex on 28th September 1066, with an army including cavalry. He had come to claim the throne of England, which he believed had been promised to him by Edward the Confessor. Harold Godwinson marched 241 miles (386km) from Yorkshire to oppose him. On 14th October he took up a defensive position at the place now called Battle, near Hastings. The English fought on foot with axes, spears and swords. The Norman army included bowmen and mounted, armoured knights. Several times they pretended to run away, drawing the English from their position and then cutting them down. After about nine hours of fighting, Harold was killed and the English army routed. William 'the Conqueror' became King of England. The death of King Harold at Hastings, from the Bayeux Tapestry. Some people think Harold is the figure shot with an arrow, others the figure cut down by a knight. [© Lessing Archive/The British Library Board] Is the Bayeux Tapestry reliable evidence of what happened at the Battle of Hastings? (AD 1069) The Harrying of the North After Hastings, not all the English accepted William as king. In the Fens, Hereward the Wake held out against the Normans for a long time. But the main resistance was in the north, where English rebels were aided by a Viking fleet. So during the winter of 1069-70, King William marched his army from the Humber northwards to the Tees, and then back again via Chester and the north Midlands. To make sure the rebels would starve and never resist again, they not only killed all the rebels they found, but they also destroyed villages, killed farm animals and burnt crops. Large parts of Yorkshire were still 'waste land' over 20 years later. Reconstruction of the early Norman motte and bailey castle at York: now the site of Clifford’s Tower. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was it easy for William to conquer England? (AD 1071) The First Castles Two developments helped the Normans to conquer and control England: the mounted knight and the castle. Neither had been seen in England before 1066. The first Norman castles were made of earth and timber, and could be built very quickly, probably using forced local labour. They consisted of ditched and banked enclosures (called 'baileys') defended by wooden stockades. They nearly always also had a mound ('motte') strongpoint, with its own ditch and its own stockade, defending the mound top. In addition, sometimes they had a timber tower (called a 'keep') on the mound top. Norman soldiers used these castles to defend themselves, and soldiers living there could ride out and control the surrounding country. Building a motte and bailey castle at Hastings, soon after William the Conqueror’s landing in 1066. From the Bayeux Tapestry. [© Hemis/Alamy] Did the Normans need castles? (AD 1087) Domesday Book The Normans controlled England much more tightly than the Saxon kings. William the Conqueror wanted to know exactly who owned what land, what it was worth, and what sort of people and farm animals lived in each place. Thus he would know how much he could make his subjects pay in taxes. So in 1087, William commissioned a detailed survey of the whole country. His surveyors asked so many questions that the English compared them to the questions that Christians expected to answer at the Last Judgement, or ‘Doomsday’. So they called the survey 'Domesday Book’. For us, Domesday Book provides a unique, valuable and interesting 'snapshot' of early Norman England. Page from Domesday Book, recording part of Yorkshire. [© The National Archives, ref. E31/2/2 (316v)] How far is Domesday Book different from today’s census? (1100) Death of William Rufus On 2nd August 1100, King William Rufus (1087-1100) was mysteriously killed by an arrow while hunting in the New Forest. The son of William the Conqueror, Rufus ('the red') got his nickname from his red face. He was a vain, violent man who scorned religion. Many people thought Rufus’s brother, who succeeded him as Henry I (1100-35), ordered his murder. Others believed it a punishment for the Norman kings' creation of 'royal forests', vast private hunting preserves that eventually covered nearly a third of all England. Nobody (except those given permission by the King) was allowed to hunt there. Brutal 'forest laws' enforced blinding or death on poachers, and even forest-dwellers' dogs had their paws mutilated to stop them chasing deer. Map showing royal forests in England in the 14th century. [Royal.Forests.1327-1336 by my work is licensed under (Wikipedia Commons) CC-BY-SA3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ARoyal.Forests.1327.1336.annotated.jpg] Is there a connection between the stories of Robin Hood and ‘forest laws’? (1127) Stone Castles (Rochester Castle Keep Begun) The first Norman castles were made of earth and timber, but in many places their wooden stockades were soon replaced by stronger stone walls. By the early 1100s, the most important new castles were given big stone 'keeps'. These were square or rectangular stone buildings, with two or more storeys of rooms inside, where the owner could live in safety. Often they were surrounded by outer walls for additional security. Some keeps, like the one at Rochester Castle in Kent (begun in about 1127), were very tall, with turrets at each corner. Their entrances were extremely well protected. Attackers trying to get in had to pass through a whole series of defended doors, staircases, 'portcullises' and drawbridges, where they could be trapped and killed by the defenders. The keep of Rochester Castle. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were stone castles better than those made of timber? (1132) Rievaulx Abbey Founded Though there were monks in England before the Norman Conquest, many more monasteries were founded afterwards. The first monks were called 'Benedictines' (after their founder, St. Benedict) but soon other 'orders' of monks developed, living by even stricter rules. 'Cistercian' monks liked to live in lonely places, and did physical work as well as praying. They farmed large areas of land, and often kept thousands of sheep. Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire is among the biggest and best preserved Cistercian monasteries. It was founded in 1132 by a Norman baron, Walter L'Espec of Helmsley Castle. He believed that giving land and money to start a monastery would help him get to heaven. Reconstruction of Cistercian monks at a service in Rievaulx Abbey church. [© English Heritage Photo Library/Peter Dunn, English Heritage Graphics Team] Were monasteries just places of worship? (1135) Stephen and Matilda King Henry I, who died in 1135, wanted his only child, Matilda, to succeed him. But the Norman barons did not want a woman ruler, and disliked the haughty Matilda. So instead they crowned Henry's nephew Stephen, a brave and generous man but a weak king. Soon war broke out between the rival supporters of Stephen and Matilda. Law and order collapsed, and baronial warlords robbed, killed and extorted money unchecked for nearly 15 years. A chronicler reported that, 'they filled all the land with castles ... and filled them with devils and wicked men ... the land was ruined, and men said openly that Christ and His saints slept'. Eventually, Stephen agreed that Matilda's son should rule after him, as Henry II. King Stephen, from a 13th-century manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Royal 14 C. VII, f.8v] Have the rules about rulers changed over time? (1154) Henry II Henry succeeded Stephen at the age of 21, and immediately began to restore order in England. An amazingly energetic man, he wore out his courtiers by constantly travelling round the 'empire' he gained by inheritance or marriage. This stretched from the Scottish borders to Spain, including most of western France. Though he had tantrums and rolled on the floor screaming when he lost his temper, Henry was one of the most powerful and successful medieval kings of England. However, he could not rule his own family, which some called 'the Devil's Brood’. His wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and all his sons often plotted and rebelled against him, and eventually drove him to his death. Effigy of Henry II on his tomb in Fontevrault Abbey, Anjou, France. [Church of Fontevraud Abbey Henry II effigy detail by Adam Bishop (Wikipedia Commons) CC-BY-SA-3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AChurch_of_Fontevraud_Abbey_Henry_II_effigy_ detail.jpg] Is family more important than power? (1170) Thomas Becket Thomas Becket was the very clever son of a London Norman tradesman. He became the close friend and Chancellor (effectively 'Prime Minster') of Henry II. But when Henry made Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, they quarrelled bitterly about who should control the Church. In one of his terrible rages, Henry said he wanted him killed, and four royal knights cut him down as he prayed in Canterbury Cathedral on 29th December 1170. Becket’s murder shocked all Europe and Henry even allowed himself to be whipped by monks to prove how sorry he was. Regarded as a martyr, 'Saint Thomas Becket' became the most famous saint of medieval England. Thousands of pilgrims journeyed every year to his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. The martyrdom of Thomas Becket, cut down by Henry II’s knights in Canterbury Cathedral. From an English manuscript, c.1250. [© The Walters Art Museum] What impact did the death of Thomas Becket have? (1189) Richard I and the Crusades Richard I, called 'the Lionheart', son of Henry II, spent only 6 months of his 10-year reign (1189-99) in England. He was more interested in his European lands, and above all in 'crusading'. The Crusades (1095-1272) were a series of Christian campaigns to capture the 'holy city' of Jerusalem from the Moslems, and defend it as a Christian city. In the end they failed. King Richard led the Third Crusade (1189-92) and had some success against the Moslem leader Salah ad-Din Yusuf ('Saladin'), but never reached Jerusalem. Though enemies, Richard and Saladin respected each other: Richard even suggested Saladin marry his sister. On the way home, Richard was captured by his enemy the German Emperor. His people had to pay a huge ransom to release him. Richard I fighting Saladin (shown with a blue face) during the Third Crusade, from a 14th-century manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Add. 28681, f.9] Were the conflicts at this time about religion or land and money? (1208) King John and the Church King John (reigned 1199-1216), younger brother of Richard the Lionheart, is known as one of the 'baddies' of English history. Though he certainly did some wicked things, his bad reputation may be partly due to the reports written by chroniclers, who were monks and churchmen. John quarrelled with the Church so much that in 1208 the Pope decreed that nobody in England could be married, baptised or buried in a church. Eventually, John submitted in 1213, making the Pope his overlord. Becoming the Pope's representative strengthened John against his rebellious barons. The barons constantly plotted with his arch-enemy, King Philip of France, to overthrow him. King John hunting, from a 14th-century manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Claudius D. II, f.116] Was John really such a bad king? (1215) Magna Carta In June 1215 King John was forced by his rebellious barons to sign 'Magna Carta', the Latin for 'Great Charter'. This laid down that even kings were bound by the law, and could not do just as they liked. No free man could be punished without legal trial, and nobody could be denied the right to justice. Among many other things, the charter also protected the rights of the Church, and of merchants to trade peacefully. Restricting the powers of rulers and guaranteeing the legal rights of their subjects, Magna Carta was an immensely important document. It later inspired declarations of liberties all over the world, including the United States Constitution. An original manuscript of Magna Carta. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Augustus II.106] Was Magna Carta really such a big deal? (1216) The Last Invasion Despite Magna Carta, John's barons still wanted to depose him. So they called in their French ally, Prince Louis, offering to make him king. Louis landed in May 1216 with a powerful army, and soon controlled almost all eastern England. Only a few royal castles resisted: the most important was Dover Castle, which the French unsuccessfully besieged for 10 months. After King John's sudden death in October 1216, support rallied round his nine-year-old son, Henry III (reigned 1216-72). It was led by a famous knight called William the Marshal, who defeated the French at Lincoln in May 1217. A few months later, Louis gave up and went home. This was the last time a foreign invader ever gained a foothold in England. Reconstruction of the siege of Dover Castle, 1216. [© English Heritage Photo Library/Peter Dunn, English Heritage Graphics Team] Why did Prince Louis fail where William succeeded in conquering England? (1224) Friars Arrive In 1224, the first members of a new kind of religious order arrived in England. These were 'friars‘ (from the French ‘freres’, meaning 'brothers') inspired by the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi to live in poverty while preaching the Christian gospel. Unlike monks, who stayed in their monasteries, friars moved about begging and preaching . Because they worked among the poor, they established bases in the poorest parts of towns instead of in the countryside. By the end of the 1200s, most bigger English towns had at least one 'friary'. There were four kinds of friars: Franciscans ('Greyfriars'); Dominicans ('Blackfriars'); Carmelites ('Whitefriars') and Austin Friars. Although at first they were enthusiastically supported, some friars later developed a reputation for bad behaviour. A friar and a woman being punished in the stocks, from a 14th-century manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Royal 10 E IV f.187r] Were friars better Christians than monks? (1265) Parliament Develops English kings had always chosen councils of advisers, called whenever they wanted them. However, Henry III's barons also demanded the automatic right to advise the king at regular 'parliaments' (meaning 'talking places', from the French 'parler', 'to speak'). When the king refused, war broke out, and in 1265 the victorious baronial leader Simon de Montfort called the first real parliament. This also included 'knights of the shire' (representing the counties) and 'burgesses' elected by the bigger towns. These later became the 'House of Commons', while barons and bishops became 'the House of Lords'. At first, parliaments met wherever the king was. Later they settled down at Westminster, where the 'Commons' met in Westminster Abbey's Chapter House. The Chapter House at Westminster Abbey, a meeting place of the 'Commons' in early parliaments. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was the development of parliament a turning point for the power of monarchy? (1282) Edward I Conquers Wales Edward I (reigned 1272-1307) was a warrior king who wanted to dominate the whole island of Britain. Parts of eastern and southern Wales (called 'the Marches') had already been conquered by Norman barons, but the rest was ruled by the Welsh Prince Llywelyn ap Griffith. When Llywelyn refused to submit, Edward invaded Wales in 1277, and by 1282 he had conquered it. He then declared his son 'Prince of Wales', the title used by the heir to the throne ever since. To help control the conquered land, Edward built a series of very strong and up-to-date new castles, including Caernarvon, Conway and Harlech. Edward I creating his son Prince of Wales, from a contemporary manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Cotton Nero D. II, f.191v] Were Edward1’s castles his most important legacy? (1296) Edward I Attacks Scotland After the king of independent Scotland died in 1286 without an obvious heir, Edward I was asked to choose his successor. When the man he chose, John Balliol, rebelled against him, Edward decided he would rule Scotland himself. He invaded it in 1296, temporarily gaining its submission. But Scotland would not stay conquered. First William Wallace led the Scots resistance, defeating and killing Edward's representative. After Edward defeated Wallace in 1298, Robert Bruce was crowned independent King of Scotland in 1306 and kept up the fight. Edward was about to invade yet again when he died near the Scottish border in 1307. Fourteenth-century battle scene, from the Holkham Bible Picture Book. [© The British Library Board, Add. 47682, f.40] Was England the neighbourhood bully? (1314) Bannockburn Unlike his fierce father Edward I, Edward II (1307-27) was no soldier. By 1314 King Robert Bruce had retaken all the English-held castles in Scotland except Stirling. Attempting to relieve it, Edward was disastrously defeated at Bannockburn. Each year after that, the Scots raided into northern England, burning and destroying as far south as Yorkshire. In 1322 they nearly captured Edward himself near Byland Abbey. Despairing of help from their incompetent king, many northern English paid the Scots to go away, or made peace with them. People also blamed Edward for the disastrous flooding and bad harvests which left many people starving. Contemporary drawing of the siege of Carlisle by the Scots, 1315, after the English defeat at Bannockburn. [© Cumbria County Council] Why should we remember the Battle of Bannockburn? (1327) Edward II Murdered Instead of taking advice from his barons, Edward II preferred to trust and reward his close personal friends, especially the southern French 'foreigner' Piers Gaveston, and later the greedy Despenser family. These 'favourites' were not of noble birth, and annoyed the barons even more by mocking them. Eventually, Edward's wife, Queen Isabella, turned against him too. With her new partner, Roger Mortimer, she easily overthrew Edward, and in 1327 had him deposed in favour of his young son Edward III. But Isabella and Mortimer were the real rulers. Soon afterwards, Edward II was horribly murdered at Berkeley Castle. This was the first time a king of England had ever been deposed by law. King Edward II, from a contemporary manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Royal 20 A II, f10] Do you think Edward 11 would have been a big disappointment to his father? (1337) Hundred Years War Begins The Hundred Years War is the name for the conflicts between England and France, fought with intervals of peace between 1337 and 1453. English kings also claimed to be rightful kings of France, through descent from Edward III's mother. French kings claimed that descent through a woman was not allowed, and confiscated English lands in France. Edward III (reigned 1327-77) and his son 'the Black Prince' won great victories at Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), using archers shooting longbows. The French retaliated with raids on the English coast but, up until 1360, the English were overall victors, doing tremendous damage in France. The wars would resume in the 1400s, with the Battle of Agincourt. A longbowman stringing his bow: the size of the arrow is much exaggerated! [© The British Library Board, Add. 42130, f.56] Why was the relationship between England and France so difficult in medieval times? (1348) Black Death The Black Death was 'bubonic plague', named after its black 'buboes’ or swellings. We now know that one version was spread by fleas living on rats: another deadlier kind was spread by coughs and sneezes. But people then knew nothing about germs, and thought plague was caused by bad smells, magic, or even 'foreigners'. Spreading from China, the plague reached England in 1348-9. Because there are no reliable records, we do not know exactly how many people died. Estimates vary between one-fifth and nearly half of the population. Priests and carers suffered most badly: in some places at least half died. There was another bad outbreak in 1361. The drop in population affected England for over a century. The burial of Black Death victims, from a directly contemporary manuscript, 1349. [© Bridgeman Art Library] Was the Black Death really a disaster? (1381) The Peasants' Revolt The Black Death killed many working people, but those who survived could demand better wages and conditions. The government responded by passing a law against wage increases (1351), and trying to force 'villeins' to work for nothing for their landlords. Then, in 1380, a 'poll tax' unfairly demanded the same amount from everyone, rich or poor. This tax sparked off serious revolts by poorer people, first in Kent and Essex, then in East Anglia. Led by Wat Tyler, the rebels entered London and killed unpopular government officials. The 14-yearold King Richard II bravely faced them and pretended to agree to their demands but, after Tyler was killed, the rebels dispersed and the revolts were savagely suppressed. Richard II confronts the Peasants’ Revolt at Smithfield [right] and Wat Tyler is murdered [left]. From a 15th-century manuscript. [© The British Library Board, Royal 18 E. I, f.175] If life was getting better, why did the peasants revolt? (1384) John Wycliffe Dies There was only one religion in medieval England – everyone was what we would now call a 'Roman Catholic' Christian. The rich and powerful Church dominated every aspect of people's daily lives. Though people might criticise lazy or greedy churchmen, nobody dared to question what the Church taught. Then in the 1370s, an Oxford scholar called John Wycliffe began to condemn the Church's power and beliefs. He urged that the Bible should be translated into English for everyone to read, but the Church forbade this. However he was not excommunicated and died while saying Mass 1384. Thirty years after his death, in 1415, he was declared a heretic, his body exhumed and his bones burned. His teachings were banned and his followers were burned at the stake. Some people hail Wycliffe as the founder of the 'Protestantism' which overthrew the Catholic Church in Tudor times. Medieval wall paintings at St. Mary’s Church, Kempley. Ordinary people, not allowed to read the Bible, learnt about Christianity from paintings like these. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was Wycliffe justified to attack the Church? (1390) Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Three languages were used in 1300s England. Ordinary people spoke English, Latin was used for church services, and French by the upper classes. By around 1360, more and more people were starting to speak English. Poems and stories also began to be written in English. Most famous were 'Piers Plowman', which made fun of landlords and priests, and 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', an exciting adventure story. The poems of Geoffrey Chaucer were particularly popular. He was a wine merchant's son who worked for the king. His most popular book, begun in about 1390, was the 'Canterbury Tales’. In this, a mixed group of pilgrims, from a knight to a miller and a loud-mouthed housewife, each tell a romantic, adventurous or funny story. Portrait of Geoffrey Chaucer, from a manuscript of one of his poems. He holds a large 'rosary' ( prayer beads). [© The British Library Board, Royal 17 D. VI, f.93v] How useful is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales as a piece of evidence about life in medieval England? (1399) Richard II Deposed Edward III's grandson, Richard II reigned from 137799. He became king aged only 10. Clever and artistic, he developed exaggerated ideas of his own importance. His barons complained of his bad government and his extravagant spending on his friends, many of whom were exiled or executed in 1388. In 1397 Richard took revenge against the barons. He even ordered his uncle's death and, two years later, confiscated the vast estates of his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. Bolingbroke returned from exile, and with the support of the barons and Parliament deposed Richard for tyranny, seizing the throne as Henry IV. The imprisoned Richard died mysteriously in 1400. He may have been starved to death. He was the last of the 'Plantagenet' kings. Richard II kneeling before St. John the Baptist. From a stained glass window of 1393 at Winchester College, where Richard visited that year. [© Crown Copyright. English Heritage] Was Richard II a tyrant? (1403) Henry IV's Troubles Henry IV (reigned 1399-1413), who had been Duke of Lancaster before he seized the throne from Richard II, was the first of the 'Lancastrian' kings. Because some people thought him an 'usurper', he had a troubled reign. The powerful Percy family, who ruled the north of England almost as kings, kept rebelling, despite many setbacks. They were defeated at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403, and in 1405 Henry executed the rebel Archbishop of York. Meanwhile, Owen Glendower, with French help, temporarily reconquered Wales from the English but, with the aid of his soldier son Prince Hal (afterwards Henry V), Henry IV kept his throne. The keep of Warkworth Castle, Northumberland, a stronghold of the Percy family. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Were Henry IV’s problems of his own making? (1415) Agincourt and the Conquest of France Henry V (reigned 1413-22) was England's most famous medieval warrior king. In 1415 he invaded France and, with a small army mostly of archers, completely defeated a much larger French force at Agincourt. Some 10,000 French were killed, but only a few hundred English. This apparently miraculous victory badly shook the French, and Henry later conquered much of western France. In 1420 he married the French king's daughter, Katherine. It was agreed he would become King of France when her father died. However, in 1422 Henry died of disease, aged only 35. His heir was a tiny baby. Henry's brothers conquered even more of France, until Joan of Arc began to turn the tide against the English. The Battle of Agincourt, showing English archers, from a 15th-century manuscript. [© De Agostini/The British Library Board] Were Henry V’s wars necessary? (1455) Wars of the Roses Begin Henry VI (reigned 1422-61 and 1470-1) was considered a weak ruler. Towards the end of his life, he suffered from mental illness. Rival noblemen raised private armies to control his kingdom. Supporters of Henry's wife, Queen Margaret, were called 'Lancastrians'; those who preferred his cousin Richard's family were called 'Yorkists'. Between 1455 and 1485 the crown changed hands six times during a series of short but savage wars. The Yorkist victory at Towton near York (1461) was the bloodiest battle ever fought in England, with about 28,000 killed. Captured rivals were usually executed. Eventually the Yorkist Edward IV (reigned 1461-83) won, and Henry was murdered. These brutal wars were later romantically named 'the Wars of the Roses’ because of the red rose badge of Lancaster and the white rose of York. The execution of a captured nobleman after a battle during the Wars of the Roses. [© Ghent University Library] How far did the Wars of the Roses affect ordinary people? (1470) Guilds and Mystery Plays Despite wars, England in the latter 1400s was prosperous. The wealthiest merchants sold the famous English wool cloth. In towns (London, Bristol, York and Norwich were among the biggest) trade was controlled by 'guilds’. Only people who earned guild membership, after serving apprenticeships, were allowed to make and sell things. In York, for example, there were about 60 guilds, from butchers and bakers to embroiderers and barbers. Guildsmen were masters of their crafts, so guilds were also called 'masteries' or 'mysteries'. In big towns they got together in midsummer to perform 'mystery plays' on waggons that toured the town, telling the whole story of the Bible. Some of the 50 York plays, written in about 1470, are still performed. The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York, built in the 1350s and still in use by the Guild today. [© Charles Kightly] How helpful were guilds for ordinary people? (1476) Printing Begins in England All books and documents in medieval England had to be written by hand. Often this was done by monks or professional 'scribes'. Some better-educated ordinary people had started writing personal letters: the first English 'Valentine' letter dates from 1477. In 1476 printing was introduced to England by the merchant William Caxton, who had learnt about it in Germany. The first book he produced was Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'. Early printing was done with a hand-operated press, using individual letters made of lead. Many copies of a printed book could be produced far more quickly and cheaply than written books, so information and knowledge spread to a much greater number of people. As a result more people learnt to read. A German printing works, by Jost Amman, 1568. Applying ink to the press and removing a printed page [foreground], and selecting individual letters from a rack [background]. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] Was the printing press the most significant development of this era? (1483) Richard III and the Princes in the Tower Edward IV's successor was his 12-year-old son Edward V. However, before he could be crowned his uncle and 'Protector’, Duke Richard of Gloucester, sent him and his younger brother to the Tower of London. He then declared the brothers were not the rightful heirs and seized the throne himself as Richard III. When the boys disappeared, some people at the time thought Richard had ordered their murder. Two skeletons of boys were found in the Tower in 1674, but it is not certain they are 'the Princes in the Tower'. Richard also executed some of Edward IV's friends. In southern England there was a rebellion against him, but in Yorkshire (where he was brought up, at Middleham Castle) Richard was very popular. Portrait of King Richard III, painted after his death. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] Richard III – guilty or not guilty of murdering the princes? (1485) Battle of Bosworth When the Princes in the Tower disappeared, those who wanted to overthrow Richard III turned to the exiled Henry Tudor. Tudor was a nobleman of Welsh descent who, through his mother, was the heir of the 'Lancastrian' Henry VI. He landed in Wales and marched into England, gathering supporters on the way. When the rival armies clashed at Bosworth in Leicestershire, some of Richard's soldiers changed sides, and others refused to fight. Richard charged at Tudor, but was killed before he reached him. Tudor was proclaimed King Henry VII on the battlefield. Soon afterwards he married Elizabeth of York, sister of the Princes in the Tower. By uniting Yorkists and Lancastrians, he ended the 'Wars of the Roses'. Red and white Tudor roses, symbolising the union of Yorkists and Lancastrians, on a manuscript ordered by Henry VIII in 1516. [© The British Library Board, Royal 11 E. XI, f2] Why was the Battle of Bosworth a significant turning point in history? (1497) The New World (Cabot Discovers Newfoundland) Merchants in Europe wanted to find a way of getting directly to India and China, where valuable goods like spices and silk came from. They encouraged explorers to sail west instead of east to find Asia, not realising that America lay between. When Christopher Columbus, working for the Spanish, found islands off America in 1492, he called them 'the West Indies'. In 1497 John Cabot, paid by the Bristol merchants and King Henry VII, crossed the Atlantic further north. Off the coast of Canada he discovered an island that had rich fishing grounds; he called it 'New Found Land’. By this time (1494) the Pope had 'given' newly discovered America to Spain and Portugal. This would soon cause trouble. Replica of John Cabot’s ship, the 'Matthew’. [© The Matthew of Bristol Trust/Shawn-Spencer Smith] How ‘new’ was the New World? (1500) Tudor Monarchs (a New Kind of Government) Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) was the first Tudor monarch. After the upheavals and wars of the latter 1400s, he wanted to establish firm government where the king was all-powerful, so he stopped aristocrats keeping private armies. He would not let them build castles, and he taxed them very heavily. Revolts against him were quickly suppressed. Careful and hard-working, Henry examined every major government document himself, and appointed ministers he chose himself, rather than letting aristocrats influence him. He kept England out of foreign wars, encouraged the cloth trade and left England a rich country. Not everyone liked this form of strong royal government, but few wanted the old wars to start again. Portrait of Henry VII. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] Was Henry VII a better ruler than the rulers before him? (1509) Henry VIII (Renaissance Hero to Savage Tyrant) Henry VIII (reigned 1509-47) came to the throne as a handsome young man, an athlete and a musician. His glittering royal court brought to England the European Renaissance (meaning 'rebirth’) – the fashion for reviving the arts, civilisation and knowledge of Ancient Greece and Rome. In later life Henry became overweight and gained a reputation as a savage tyrant, who executed those who offended him. Desperate for a son to succeed him, he divorced his first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and executed his second, Anne Boleyn, for failing to produce one. His third wife, Jane Seymour, died giving birth to Edward VI and Henry then married three more times. However, his most important action was creating a new kind of Church in England. King Henry VIII as a handsome young man [left] and a bad-tempered middle-aged tyrant [right]. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] Was Henry VIII a better ruler, husband or father? (1533) Royal Supremacy and the Dissolution of the Monasteries Henry VIII was married to Katherine of Aragon for many years, but they had no son. So Henry decided to divorce her and marry Anne Boleyn. Only the Pope could grant a king's divorce. When he refused, in 1533 Henry rejected his authority, and declared himself head of the Church in England instead. Those who disagreed with this 'Royal Supremacy' were executed. Henry next (1536-40) 'dissolved' (closed down) all English monasteries. Though many now had few monks, monasteries owned great riches and immense lands. Henry seized these, and kept them or sold them to his supporters. His clever minister, Thomas Cromwell, helped him. In northern England, a rebellion called the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536-7) opposed the changes, but was ruthlessly suppressed. The ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, 'dissolved' (shut down) along with every other English monastery by Henry VIII. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What was the most important reason for the dissolution of the monasteries? (1547) Reformation Though Henry VIII rejected the Pope and encouraged people to read the Bible in English, he would never have called himself a Protestant. The real changes in English religion started after his death as part of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was started in Europe by Martin Luther and John Calvin. 'Protestants' wanted simpler church services in plainer churches, less power for priests, and a religion closer to Bible teachings. Henry's only son, Edward VI (1547-53), was a strong Protestant. He removed Catholic features, like images of saints, from churches and enforced services according to the Book of Common Prayer. His sister, Mary I (1553-8), was a devout Catholic and reversed the changes that Edward had made. Her marriage to King Philip of Spain made her unpopular and her burning of nearly 300 Protestants got her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'. Eventually, Elizabeth I reached a moderate Protestant compromise, creating the Church of England that exists today. A medieval ‘Catholic’ angel peeps through later over-painted Protestant text at Binham Priory, Norfolk. [© Holmes Garden Photos/Alamy] Did Queen Mary I deserve her nickname ‘Bloody Mary’? (1558) Elizabeth I Becomes Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603) was Henry VIII's daughter by Anne Boleyn. Aged 25 when she succeeded, she was very well educated, speaking at least six languages. During her childhood she was often in danger and learnt to trust few people. Though her advisers urged her to marry, she always refused, claiming instead to be married to her kingdom. She kept power firmly in her own hands, and liked to present herself as 'Gloriana, the Virgin Queen'. Although Elizabeth could be mean and greedy, and often changed her mind suddenly, most of her subjects loved her, and she steered England through many dangers, including the threat of the Spanish Armada. She is considered by many to be one of the wisest and greatest English monarchs. Queen Elizabeth I, standing on a map of England. 'The Ditchley Portrait' by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] How successfully did Elizabeth I overcome the problems she faced? (1580) Drake Sails Round the World Spain and Portugal claimed the 'New World' of the Americas as their private property and tried to keep all other nations out. However, adventurous English sailors defied them, trading with or attacking Spanish settlements. Sir John Hawkins and others supplied African slaves to the Spanish colonies in the West Indies. Slaves were regarded as valuable property rather than people. This marked the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. In 1577-80 Francis Drake sailed right round the world in 'the Golden Hind', plundering Spanish ports and seizing immense treasures along the way. Queen Elizabeth's half share in his profits doubled her income for 1580. Though they were more pirates than explorers, these adventurers also laid the foundations of England's international trading empire. Sir Francis Drake’s fleet attacks the Spanish port of Santa Domingo in the West Indies, 1586. [© The Protected Art Archive/Alamy] British adventurers – pirates, plunderers or explorers? (1588) Spanish Armada Infuriated by English attacks on their American possessions and support for anti-Spanish rebels in Europe, Catholic Spain declared war on Protestant England in 1585. Spain plotted to kill Elizabeth and replace her with her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots. When Elizabeth reluctantly executed Mary in 1587, they decided to invade. A Spanish 'Armada' (fleet) of 130 ships tried to pick up a powerful invasion army in Belgium, but the better-designed and better-handled English ships, using longer range cannon, outmanoeuvred them. When the Spaniards took refuge in Calais, the English drove them out with 'fire ships'. Trying to sail home round Scotland and Ireland, many were wrecked in storms. The English took the Armada's defeat as a sign that God was on their side. English medallion celebrating the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The Latin and Hebrew inscription round the edge means ‘God blew, and they were scattered’. [© The Trustees of the British Museum] ‘The Spanish Armada failed due to bad luck.’ Do you agree? (1596) Feather Beds and Flushing Toilets (Elizabethan Everyday Life) Especially after the defeat of the Armada, English people were growing more patriotic and confident, as well as more prosperous and comfortable. Wealthy people built big country houses, sometimes hoping to attract Queen Elizabeth on one of her 'progresses'. New developments also helped merchants, craftsmen and farmers to live more comfortably. Chimneys made houses less smoky, and those who could afford them slept on feather mattresses instead of straw. They ate and drank from glasses and pewter plates instead of wooden bowls. Sir John Harington even invented a flushing toilet in 1596. However, very few were made and people had to wait several centuries for proper toilets. Some people remained very poor. From 1597 'Poor Laws' ruled that wealthier people had to pay towards their upkeep. Diagram of Sir John Harington’s pioneer flushing toilet, 1596. [© Wellcome Library, London] Was this a good time to be living in England? (1599) Globe Theatre Opens Theatres and plays – adventure stories, comedies or tragedies – were a new and very popular feature of life in Elizabethan England. Bands of travelling actors, financed by rich people, performed in inns and other places throughout England. Permanent theatres began to be built in London in the 1570s. Anyone who paid could attend, though rich people sat in comfortable seats, while ordinary people had to stand. By 1595, over 15,000 people a week were visiting theatres. The Globe Theatre, opened in 1599, was the headquarters of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the greatest Elizabethan 'playwright'. The son of a Stratford-on-Avon tradesman, he had little education, but his 38 plays became famous throughout the world and are still often performed today. Overhead view of the modern replica of the Globe Theatre, London. People who could not afford seat-tickets stood in the central space to watch plays. [© Steve Vidler/Alamy] What are the main differences between Elizabethan and modern theatres? (1605) James I and the Gunpowder Plot Queen Elizabeth had no children so her heir was her cousin James VI of Scotland. James was the first monarch to rule both kingdoms and became James I of 'Great Britain' (1603-25). James was the first 'Stuart' monarch of England. He is considered, by some historians, to have been a cunning and cautious king. When persecution of English Catholics increased, a small group of them decided to blow up James, his family and his Parliament during the Opening of Parliament on 5th November 1605. However, on the night before, Guy Fawkes was found in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament, ready to set off 36 barrels of gunpowder. Under torture, he revealed the names of his fellow conspirators, who were hunted down and killed or later executed. The failure of the 'Gunpowder Plot' is still celebrated every 'Bonfire Night’. The Gunpowder Plotters, 1605, with Guy Fawkes [third from right]. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] Was Guy Fawkes a terrorist? (1607) America and India (The Beginnings of Empire) In 1607, the first successful English settlement in America began at Jamestown in Virginia. A second 'colony' followed in 1620 at Plymouth, Massachusetts, founded by about 100 people now known as the 'Pilgrim Fathers’. They had sailed there in the 'Mayflower'. They were 'Puritans’ who wanted freedom to practise their own very plain form of religious worship, not permitted in England. Living conditions for the early settlers were tough and many died as a result. Nevertheless, between 1630 and 1640, some 20,000 more Puritan colonists from all over England joined them. Meanwhile, in 1617, English merchants were granted the right to trade in India by the great Emperor Jahangir. Before long, they began to force out other European merchants and take control of land round their trading posts. Replica of the Mayflower, which carried the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ to America. [© Visions of America, LLC/Alamy] What problems faced the early settlers as they tried to forge a new life in America? (1611) Authorised Bible Published In 1604 James I ordered a new English translation of the Bible. Several translations already existed, but James wanted one which agreed with the beliefs of the Church of England, rather than the rival teachings of Catholics or extreme Protestant Puritans. He also wanted more accurate translations of the original Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. Forty-seven scholars worked on the translation, finally published in 1611. Called the 'Authorised' or 'King James' version, it became the most widely printed book in history and extremely influential on the development of the English language. Because for centuries it was the only book some people read, many of the phrases it used passed into everyday speech. It is still in use today. Title page of the first Authorised Version of the Bible, 1611. [© The British Library Board, C.35.l.11, title page] How far is it right for a monarch to impose religious changes? (1625) Charles I (King by Divine Right?) Charles I (reigned 1625-49) was devoted to collecting art and to the Church of England. He thought he was God's direct representative on Earth. He believed he had a 'Divine Right' to rule as he wanted and could not be challenged. Charles disliked Parliaments that criticised him. From 1629 he ruled for 11 years without any Parliament at all. He raised money by taxes most people thought illegal, and enforcing Church of England worship. He imposed a new prayer book on the Scots. Eventually he had to call a Parliament in 1640 to pay for the war he had started with the Scots. Parliament was angry and strongly challenged the king's past actions. Parliament also insisted on controlling the army. Neither side would give way, and in 1642 the Civil Wars between King and Parliament broke out. Charles I, by Van Dyck. [© English Heritage Photo Library] How far was Charles to blame for the start of the Civil Wars? (1642) The Civil Wars Begin The Civil Wars (1642-51) between Charles I and Parliament affected almost every part of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. During this period, a bigger proportion of their populations died in battle or of disease and starvation than did so in the First World War. Local wars divided communities and even families. However, there were some general lines of support. Most people who supported the king were Catholics, followers of the Church of England and people living in the north or west of England. Parliament was mainly supported by Puritans and people living in the south or east of England. At first, the King won most of the big battles, but in 1645 Parliament formed a 'New Model Army’ under Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. This army was based on modern organisation and tactics, was highly disciplined and regularly paid. By 1647, it had completely defeated the King. Artist's impression of the destruction of Old Wardour Castle, 1644. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Why did the Parliamentarians win the Civil Wars? (1649) Charles I Executed (The English Republic) After his defeat, King Charles was held captive, but well treated. Parliament did not want to depose him, but hoped he would comply with their demands. Instead, he secretly plotted a new war, which Parliament won in 1648. The leaders of the army then decided he must be tried. He was publicly executed in January 1649, still declaring he was above the law. Between 1649 and 1660, for the only time in its history, England then became a Republic or 'Commonwealth'. Parliament ruled, though in fact it was the army leaders, especially Cromwell, who held real power. Many revolutionary political and religious ideas emerged: 'Levellers' wanted all men to be allowed to vote, and religious movements (like the 'Quakers’) allowed women to preach. Charles I at his trial, 1649. [© English Heritage Photo Library] How far did Charles deserve to be executed? (1653) Cromwell Becomes Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) was a Puritan squire from Huntingdonshire who became an MP and, despite having no military training, Parliament's most successful Civil War general. After defeating English Royalists, he went on to conquer Scotland and then, in a war when both sides behaved very cruelly, Ireland. In 1653, believing himself guided by God, Cromwell dismissed Parliament and began ruling as 'Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland’ – king in all but name. Loved by some for his high principles, honesty and fairness, Cromwell was hated by others as a dictator who ruled by direct military power. His strong and stable government died with him in 1658. Cromwell’s son ruled briefly between 1658 and 1659 but, after months of chaos, the monarchy was restored under Charles II. Portrait of Oliver Cromwell. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Was Oliver Cromwell a hero or a villain? (1660) Charles II Restored Faced with the chaos that followed Cromwell's death, most people welcomed the restoration of the monarchy by Charles II (reigned 1660-85). ‘Long a hunted exile - he once hid in an oak tree from Cromwell's troops’ – Charles wanted compromise with old enemies. However, his supporters wanted revenge. Those who had signed Charles I's death warrant were executed, the bodies of Cromwell and others were dug up, and Puritan clergymen were persecuted. Reacting against Puritan austerity, Charles's reign saw re-opened theatres and a loose-living royal court. It also saw new drinks (such as tea and coffee), new scientific discoveries (promoted by the Royal Society) and new fashions in building, especially Christopher Wren's churches. Some of the most exciting events of his reign are described in Pepys's Diary. Portrait of King Charles II. [© National Portrait Gallery, London] How did life change for people during the Restoration? (1660) Pepys's Diary In the 1600s, people began to write private diaries, sometimes providing vivid descriptions of everyday life. The most famous is by Samuel Pepys (pronounced 'peeps'), an ambitious Londoner who worked for Charles II's navy. He wrote in shorthand and sometimes used code. Some think this was perhaps because he did not want his wife to find out about his misbehaviour. Covering the first nine years of Charles II's reign (1660-69), the diary tells us what Pepys ate and wore, how he treated his servants, and his opinions of his bosses and the King. It also gives eye-witness accounts of major events like the Great Plague (1665) and Great Fire of London (1666), and the destructive Dutch raid on the English fleet (1667). The Great Fire of London, 1666, by a contemporary artist. Old St. Paul's Cathedral, destroyed in the fire, is in the background. [© Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection] How useful is Pepys’s diary in telling us about events such as the Plague and Great Fire of London? (1688) The Glorious Revolution Charles II's heir was his brother James, who ruled as James II (reigned 1685-88). Because he was a Roman Catholic, he was generally disliked by the people of power in England at the time, most of whom were Church of England Protestants. 'Monmouth's Rebellion’, in 1685, failed to overthrow James. However, when the birth of his son threatened the continuation of a Catholic monarchy, Parliament decided to replace him. They chose his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange, ruler of Holland. James fled abroad soon after William and Mary landed, and Parliament declared William and Mary joint monarchs. This 'Glorious Revolution', achieved with little bloodshed, confirmed that it was now Parliament that decided who should be monarch of England. Portrait of King James II. [© English Heritage Photo Library] How far is the ‘Glorious Revolution’ an appropriate term to describe the changes brought about in 1688? (1707) Act of Union with Scotland Although England and Scotland had been ruled by the same monarchs since 1603, they had remained independent countries with separate parliaments. In 1706-7 the two parliaments agreed to unite, so that England (and Wales) and Scotland became the single country of 'Great Britain', with its parliament in London. Many Scots disliked the Union and being ruled from London. They claimed Scottish MPs had been bribed to agree to it. Resentment grew even greater when the originally Scottish Stuart monarchs of Britain were replaced by the Hanoverian kings. It boiled over in the Jacobite Risings Though also ruled by 'British' monarchs, Ireland remained an independent country until 1801, when it too joined the 'United Kingdom'. The Union Flag of 1707, symbolising the union of England and Scotland. The extra red ‘saltire’ cross in the modern flag, symbolising Ireland, was not added until 1801. [Union flag 1606 (Kings Colors) by Hoshie is in the public domain (Wikipedia Commons) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AUnion_flag_1606_(Kings_Colors).svg] Why did the Scots resent being united with England? (1714) The First Hanoverian Kings Queen Anne, James II's younger daughter, was the last Stuart monarch (reigned 1701-14). Though she had 18 children, they all died before her. Rather than allow her exiled Roman Catholic Stuart brother to succeed her, Parliament chose her very distant (but Protestant) cousin George. He was the ruler of the small German state of Hanover, and could hardly speak English. Therefore George I (reigned 1714-27) became the first 'Hanoverian' king of Great Britain, and the 'Georgian' period began. In 1715, supporters of the exiled Stuarts, called 'Jacobites' from the Latin for 'James’, rebelled in Scotland. However, their rising scarcely affected England and they were soon defeated. The Jacobite Rising of 1745 was a more serious threat. A Georgian mansion: Chiswick House and its grounds from the southwest, an 18th-century painting by Rysbrack. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What were the main characteristics of Georgian design and architecture? (1739) Dick Turpin and John Wesley In 1739 John Wesley was beginning his 50-year-long career as a preacher. Wesley (1703-91) preached over 42,000 sermons in factories and open fields as well as churches. Wesley established Methodism and thousands of working people were converted to this straightforward and ‘pure’ form of Christianity, which focused on helping those in need. By the end of the 1700s, Methodist chapels were being built all over England, and Methodists later played an important part in the abolition of slavery. The 1700s were a violent time and the creation of a police force was still a century away. Travelling by road was slow and travellers risked being robbed or murdered by 'highwaymen'. The best known is Dick Turpin. In 1739 he was executed in York for horse stealing, though many of his known exploits are likely to have been the work of fiction. Bust of John Wesley. [©Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection] Why were so many Methodist churches built in industrial towns in the 19thcentury? (1745) 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and the Jacobite Rising In 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II, landed in Scotland to claim the British throne from the Hanoverian King George II. His 'Jacobite' supporters called him 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' but others called him 'the Young Pretender', meaning he had no real right to the crown. Prince Charles quickly conquered southern Scotland, and decided to invade England with about 5,000 men, mainly Scottish Highlanders. He believed many English Jacobites would join him and that the French would invade to help. But, when neither happened, he turned back after reaching Derby. Hanoverian armies chased him into northern Scotland and, in April 1746, defeated him at the bloody Battle of Culloden. This was the last time an enemy actually invaded England. An incident in the rebellion of 1745, by David Morier. The artist used captured Jacobite Highlanders as models for those shown. [Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014] Why was Bonnie Prince Charlie unable to take the throne? (1756) The Seven Years War Begins The most powerful European nations wanted to establish 'colonies' all over the world, in order to exploit their resources and products, which would help them get richer. They were prepared to fight each other and the local populations to get them. In the Seven Years War (1756-63), Britain fought France and Spain in America, Africa and India as well as Europe. One of its most famous battles was at Plassey in India in 1757. Here, British and Indian forces, under Robert Clive, defeated the French and their allies, who were rebelling against the power of the East India Company. Another battle was at Quebec, in 1759, when the British General Wolfe defeated the French in Canada, but died at the moment of victory. The wars ended with Canada, Florida, and some West Indies islands added to the growing British Empire, which also came closer to controlling India. The Death of General Wolfe at Quebec, 1759, by Benjamin West. The dying hero is surrounded by his soldiers and Native American allies. [Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014] How did colonisation impact on the different people involved? (1760) The Industrial Revolution 1: Steam Engines and Canals In the late 1700s, Britain led many great changes that transformed the way things were manufactured. This period is called 'the Industrial Revolution'. A major change was the development of steam-powered machinery. Previously, machinery had been powered by people, horses, windmills or waterwheels. In 1712 Thomas Newcomen invented a steam-powered engine to pump flood water out of mines. From the 1770s more efficient steam engines, developed by James Watt, began to power industrial processes like grinding, milling and weaving. Steam engines needed coal, which was also vital for making iron and heating homes. Coal was heavy and expensive to transport by cart on poorly built roads. In 1760, James Brindley built a canal to link the Duke of Bridgwater’s coal mines in Worsley with Manchester. This canal was then extended to Liverpool. A horse could pull 80 times more weight in a canal barge than it could in a cart. By 1790, England had the world's first nationwide canal network, linking the rivers Severn, Trent, Mersey and Thames, allowing manufacturers to sell their goods across the world. A canal barge below Flatford Lock, by John Constable. [© Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection] What was the impact of canals on towns and industries? (1766) Captain Cook Explores the Pacific James Cook was born in Marton, North Yorkshire and, unlike most naval officers in the 1700s, came from a poor family. He learnt navigation the hard way, as a teenager in the Whitby-London coal trade, then joined the Royal Navy as a seaman and worked his way up. He became the most famous British maritime explorer. Cook became famous as an expert navigator and map-maker and charted the St. Lawrence River in Canada, and the Newfoundland Coast. In 1766 Cook was commissioned to explore the then almost unknown Pacific Ocean. During three long voyages over 12 years he became the first European to sail round New Zealand and the first to survey the eastern coastline of Australia. He claimed his new discoveries for the British Empire. By the time of his violent death in Hawaii in 1789, Australia was already being used as a prison colony for convicts 'transported' from Britain. Portrait of Captain James Cook, by Nathaniel Dance. [© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection] What was the significance of Cook’s charting of the Pacific Ocean? (1775) American War of Independence Begins The American War of Independence, from 1775-83, saw the 13 British colonies on the eastern side of America throw off British rule. The British government wanted the American settlers to pay taxes on imported goods, such as tea, to help fund the armies protecting them from the French and Native Americans. The settlers replied that there should be, 'No Taxation without Representation’ – since they had no MP to represent them, they should not pay taxes. Believing strongly that they should govern themselves, in 1776 they proclaimed their 'Declaration of Independence'. After much indecisive fighting, Britain's European enemies France, Spain and Holland joined in on the American side with their navies. Britain was forced to withdraw and recognise the new independent 'United States'. Canada, however, remained British. Surrender of General Burgoyne’s British army to American forces at Saratoga, 1777, by John Trumbull. [© Architect of the Capitol] How far was the American struggle for independence from Britain simply a question of tax? (1779) The Industrial Revolution 2: Iron and Factories The Industrial Revolution depended on iron as well as coal. In 1709 Abraham Darby I of Coalbrookdale began to produce 'pig iron' far more cheaply than ever before, using 'coke' as fuel. Specialised furnaces turned iron into much stronger steel. In 1779 Darby's grandson, Abraham Darby III, built the first iron bridge in the world. Each part had to be cast individually, and assembled by adapting traditional woodworking techniques. 'Factories' also began to appear, the earliest being Richard Arkwright's Cromford 'spinning mill’, established in Derbyshire in 1771. Previously, most goods had been manufactured in craftsmen's homes. Now, newly powered machinery and canals made it necessary to gather workers into big factories. Working conditions there were hard and dangerous, especially for poorly paid women and children. Nevertheless, people flocked to them. Between 1751 and 1800, the population of industrial areas tripled. Coalbrookdale, the ‘cradle of the Industrial Revolution’, lit by blast furnaces at night. By PJ de Loutherbourg, 1801. [© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] What was it like to live and work in an industrial town during this period? (1796) Jenner Discovers Smallpox Vaccine Smallpox was a terrible disease. It infected perhaps 60% of the population in the 1700s, and killed about 20% of these. Survivors were usually affected for life, especially by ugly 'pockmarks'. Edward Jenner, a Gloucestershire doctor, noticed that people who’d had the less dangerous 'cowpox' didn’t get smallpox. In 1796, he tested his theory on his gardener's son, James Phipps. He infected James using pus from the pustules of Sarah Nelmes, a milkmaid who had caught cowpox from Blossom the cow. This was called 'vaccination', from the Latin word ‘vacca’ for cow. When the boy was given a dose of smallpox, he didn’t develop the disease. Despite some initial opposition, vaccination proved effective against smallpox. It was adopted by the army and navy, and Jenner was honoured and rewarded. It was said that his discovery 'saved more lives than the work of any other human'. Cartoon showing people being vaccinated against smallpox with cowpox germs: they are turning into cows. [© Wellcome Library/Wellcome Images] How much credit does Jenner deserve for the elimination of smallpox? (1800) Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars In 1789 the French Revolution shook the world by overthrowing the monarchy and later guillotining King Louis XVI. From 1793 until 1815, with a short interval in 18023, Britain was continuously at war with France. At first, most of the fighting was at sea, where Britain relied on her powerful navy. Admiral Nelson's victory at Trafalgar (1805) finally removed the threat of French invasion. From 1799, France was led by the great general Napoleon Bonaparte. Eventually, the Duke of Wellington's campaigns in Spain helped bring down Napoleon in 1814. He returned from exile but suffered a final defeat by Wellington and his allies at Waterloo in 1815. Victory in these wars made the British Empire the dominant world power for the next century. The Battle of Waterloo 1815, by Sir William Allen. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Which was more significant – the Battle of Trafalgar or the Battle of Waterloo? (1807) Abolition of the Slave Trade The slave trade had existed since prehistoric times, but, from the 17th century, it became big business. The supply of luxury goods, like sugar, tea and tobacco grown on plantations in America and the Caribbean, depended on slave labour. British ships carried more slaves from Africa to the plantations than those of any other country. Slaves were regarded as objects, animals or, at best, children needing firm control. They were often treated badly. However, from the 1760s, an increasing number of British people, including religious Methodists and Quakers, saw slavery as wicked and campaigned for its abolition. In 1772 slavery was effectively made illegal in England, since no slave setting foot here could be forced to leave the country. In 1807 the trade in slaves was abolished throughout the British Empire, despite much opposition from slave-owners. Not until 1833 was slavery itself outlawed. Wedgwood anti-slavery pendant, 1787, showing a chained kneeling slave. The motto with it was ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’ [© English Heritage Photo Library] Not everyone was in favour of abolishing slavery. What were the arguments for and against its abolition? (1811) Regency Period Begins 'Regency' is the name sometimes used for the period 1795-1837. Strictly though, it applies to the years between 1811 and 1820 when George Prince of Wales reigned as 'Prince Regent’. His father, George III, was suffering from mental illness and was no longer able to rule. For some, the Regency was a golden age of art, literature, architecture and elegant fashions. Employers grew wealthy from the Industrial Revolution. However, this was also a time of political unrest, particularly when the end of the Napoleonic Wars brought mass unemployment and demands for the right to vote. In 1819, a peaceful 'reform' meeting in St. Peter's Fields, Manchester, was charged by cavalry. Many were killed. In a sarcastic comparison with the recent Battle of Waterloo, this was called 'the Peterloo Massacre.' The Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, 1819, by Richard Carlile. [© Manchester Libraries, Information & Archives] Tragedy or triumph? How should the Peterloo Massacre be remembered? (1825) First Passenger Train Runs Steam railways are considered by many to be among Britain's most life-changing inventions. Horse-drawn trams running on rails already existed before 1800, as did fixed steam engines powering Industrial Revolution machinery. Between 1802 and 1808, however, Richard Trevithick combined the two. He developed 'locomotive' steam engines that could pull trucks. On the 27th September 1825, the world's first passenger train ran on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Its 600 passengers travelled at up to 12 mph, hauled by George Stephenson's steam engine 'Locomotion Number 1'. Stephenson's 'Rocket’, which could reach 30 mph, later won him the contract to power the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (1830). This was the first inter-city passenger railway entirely operated by steam locomotives. 'Railway mania' followed and, by 1850, about 6,000 miles of railway had opened. Ten years later every major town in Britain was accessible by train. The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, 1830, by Isaac Shaw Jr. [© Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] ‘Railways transformed Britain.’ Do you agree? (1832) Reform Act Passed Before 1832, very few people in England had the right to vote for MPs and the system of election itself was unfair and outdated. Nearly half the English parliamentary constituencies were 'pocket boroughs’. These were areas in which the MPs who held the seats were wealthy landowners, usually the relations of the landlords in the area, or men who had bought the seat from them. Voting was in public and ordinary people had to vote as their landlord ordered, or risk losing their homes. There were also 56 'rotten boroughs‘, like Old Sarum in Wiltshire. Once important areas, they now had only a handful of inhabitants, yet they were still allowed to elect two MPs. Growing industrial towns, such as Manchester, meanwhile, had no MPs at all. An incident during a riotous pre-Reform Act election – ‘Chairing the Member’ by William Hogarth. The elected member, carried by his supporters, is attacked by his opponents. [© By courtesy of the Trustees of Sir John Soane’s Museum] Fearing a revolution against these injustices, in 1832 Parliament passed the Reform Act. This abolished 'pocket' and 'rotten' boroughs, and gave many towns their first MPs. Nevertheless, still only about one-sixth of adult men could vote. Poorer men and all women still had no suffrage rights. Did the 1832 Reform Act really make a difference to the lives of ordinary people? (1837) Queen Victoria Begins her Reign Victoria became Queen in 1837 at the age of 18. She reigned for over 63 years. She fell madly in love with her cousin Prince Albert, married him in 1840, and had nine children with him. When he died, in 1861, she was heartbroken and wore only black for the rest of her life. Victoria's children married into many foreign royal families. Her direct descendants occupied 10 European thrones, making her 'the Grandmother of Europe'. She took a great personal interest in her forces and the British Empire, particularly her Indian 'subjects’. She learnt Hindustani, and took pride in her title of 'Empress of India' (from 1877). For many people, the Queen symbolised the 'Victorian virtues' of family life and respectable behaviour. She was also thought of as brave, honest, and open-minded. Her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 was celebrated with great enthusiasm by many. Queen Victoria and some of her family, 1863. The Queen [front row, second left] wears deep black mourning for Prince Albert. [© English Heritage Photo Library] How far did Queen Victoria deserve the title ‘Empress of India’? (1851) Great Exhibition 'The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations' was held in London between May and October 1851. Despite its name, it was devised by Prince Albert mainly to proclaim that British industrial manufacturing and innovation led the world. Housed in an immense glass and iron 'Crystal Palace’, specially built in Hyde Park, the extravagant display was visited by over six million people. This was the equivalent to a third of the entire British population at the time. Entrance prices varied from three guineas (£3.15) on the opening days, to a shilling (5p) on special days for the ordinary working people. They flocked to the exhibition, on special trains, from all over the country. The profits from the event were used to found museums, and still fund grants for industrial research today. The main hall of the Great Exhibition, 1851. [© English Heritage Photo Library] What can the Great Exhibition tell us about the Victorians? (1859) Origin of Species Published 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’ was written by the scientist Charles Darwin and published in 1859. In his book, Darwin suggested that all species, including mankind, 'evolved' over long periods of time by 'natural selection', rather than being created by God. Darwin's theory of evolution itself developed gradually, influenced by his voyage round the world in 1831-6. He wrote the book at Down House, where he lived, surrounded by his large family. The book was translated into 36 languages and read by millions. However, his questioning of literal Biblical teachings, and particularly the idea that humans were descended from apes, shocked many people. However, his ideas have influenced our thinking ever since. Cartoon showing Darwin as a monkey, satirising his declaration that men were descended from apes. [© Mary Evans Picture Library/Alamy] Why were Darwin’s ideas so shocking to many people in Victorian Britain? (1870) First Board Schools Founded During the 1800s, increasing numbers of people came to believe that all children, not just those whose parents could afford to pay, should have the right to an education. In 1833, the government started to build schools for some poor children and, in 1870, local school boards were created to provide 'elementary' (primary) education for all children aged 5-13. In 1880, education up to the age of 10 was made compulsory, though parents still had to pay small sums of money. From 1891, education was made free. Not everyone was in favour of education for all children. While some employers wanted workers who could read and write, others thought that educated workers might become rebellious, or didn't want to lose cheap child labour by sending children to school. An arithmetic lesson in a village school, c.1860. The neatly dressed children probably came from relatively well-off families. [© Kodak Collection/National Media Museum/Science & Society] How did the parents of working class children feel about ‘education for all’? (1897) Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Queen Victoria celebrated her the 60th year of her reign – thanksgiving service was held Cathedral, London, so Victoria had difficulty walking, did not carriage. Diamond Jubilee – in 1897. The main outside St. Paul's who, by this time, have to leave her For many in Britain, the Diamond Jubilee was a chance to celebrate the might of the Great British Empire. At its height, the Empire included almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area, and a fifth of the world's population. Many people also honoured Victoria as a symbol of continuity in a very rapidly changing world. In the years leading up to the Diamond Jubilee, life-changing inventions included the telephone (1878) and modern bicycles running on 'blow-up' tyres (1888). By 1896 motor cars were allowed to travel at 14 mph. The Diamond Jubilee, 1897. Queen Victoria’s carriage outside St. Paul’s Cathedral. [© UK Government Art Collection] How ‘great’ was Great Britain in the 19th century? (1901) Edwardian Period Begins Edward VII succeeded his mother Queen Victoria in 1901, at a time when British troops were fighting the Boer War (1899-1902) in South Africa. The poor health of British recruits highlighted the bad living conditions of many English townspeople. Government attempts to help included free school meals (1906), the first 'old age pensions’ (1908), and basic health insurance (1911). These were the beginnings of a 'welfare state'. Despite these reforms, in 1911 the average English man died at 50 and woman at 55. There was still a huge gap between rich and poor. Servants were the largest class of workers, including almost a third of all women aged 15-20. Huge numbers served in big country houses and town mansions, and even ordinary households employed an overworked 'slavey' maid. Edwardian maids at Biddlesden Park House. [© Reproduced by permission of English Heritage/NMR] How was life different for rich families and their servants ‘downstairs’ in the early 1900s? (1914-8) First World War The First World War involved more than 70 million combatants in a ‘World War’ fighting all over the globe. The British Empire, France, Russia (until 1917), the US (from 1917) and others fought Germany, AustriaHungary, Turkey and others. At least 16 million people were killed. Britain suffered nearly one million fatalities, 2.19% of the population. About 50,000 Indian soldiers were killed as they fought as part of the British Empire. When war started, Britain relied on a volunteer army but, from 1916 most fit British men were 'conscripted' into the forces. Many served in the muddy trenches of the ‘Western Front'. New war weapons included aeroplanes and airships, submarines, tanks and poison gas. British civilians were involved in the war effort as never before. Over 1.6 women contributed to the war; they made ammunition, became nurses or replaced men who had been 'called up'. For the first time, people at home suffered enemy bombing. Troops advancing across ‘No Man’s Land’ at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. [© English Heritage] How appropriate is it to call the First World War ‘The Great War’? (1918) Votes for Women From 1872, some women and men had begun to argue for women's 'suffrage’: the right to vote. In 1904, Emmeline Pankhurst established the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’. Its members became known as the ‘Suffragettes’. Frustrated with the lack of progress that had been made in the fight for suffrage thus far, they took ‘direct action’ to gain publicity for their cause. Many were imprisoned for militant actions like starting fires, breaking windows and chaining themselves to railings. Whilst in prison, some women went on 'hunger strike’. These women were forcibly fed; a painful and humiliating treatment. Though the war halted the Suffragettes, the contribution of 1.6 million women to the war effort convinced Parliament, in 1918, to give most women over 30 the right to vote for MPs in general elections. From 1928, all women over 21 could vote on the same terms as men. Suffragette poster attacking the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’, whereby hunger strikers were released when ill, and re-arrested when better. [© Museum of London] How far was the contribution of women to the war effort the main reason why women were given the vote in 1918? (1922) Radio and Television Radio (or 'wireless telegraphy') developed gradually during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, but regular broadcasts to homes, by the 'British Broadcasting Company' (later 'Corporation'), began in 1922. By 1930 every second British home had a radio, and 'the wireless' played an important part in keeping up morale during the Second World War. Portable 'transistor' radios spread the 1960s Pop Revolution and, from 1967, BBC, and then 'commercial’, local radio flourished. Developed by John Logie Baird, the world's first 'high definition' television was regularly broadcast by the BBC from 1936. Though halted during the Second World War, in 1947 400,000 people watched the Queen's wedding to Prince Philip, and in 1953, some 20 million tuned in for her Coronation. Many homes got their first TV specially for this occasion. 'Commercial' TV began in 1955 and colour TV in 1967. The first recorded television picture: it was made up of 38 lines, as compared to the modern 625 lines or more. [© National Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] Which influenced the lives of ordinary people more – the introduction of radio or TV? (1930) Uneasy Decades The decades between the two World Wars were troubled for many English people. For a few, this was a time of wealth and excitement – the 'Roaring Twenties’. The rich enjoyed travel on luxury ocean liners and aeroplanes, which began regular international passenger flights from the mid-1920s. Some young people, living in big cities like London, shocked their elders by wild parties, short skirts and jazz music. However, by 1926, there was widespread industrial unrest and this sparked the General Strike. Things got worse from 1929, when a worldwide financial recession (the ‘Great Slump') caused businesses to go bankrupt and mass unemployment. In the face of widespread economic depression, some British people were attracted by extreme political ideologies such as Communism (like Stalin's Russia), or Fascism (as in Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany). Fear of war with these dictators led to government attempts to 'appease' Hitler, but also to re-arm Britain from 1938 onwards. Jarrow marchers passing through Buckinghamshire, 26 th October 1936. The marchers walked to London to draw attention to widespread unemployment in the north-east. [© Daily Herald Archive/National Media Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] How ‘roaring’ were the ‘Roaring Twenties’? (1939-45) Second World War During the Second World War the British Empire, the USA, the USSR (Russia) and others fought Germany, Italy, Japan and others. Some 60 million people died, including about 40 million civilians. This was the deadliest war in human history. After the defeat of France and the British Army's escape from Dunkirk in 1940, Britain stood alone under the leadership of Winston Churchill, until the USA and Russia entered the war. The 'D-Day' landings in France, launched from Britain in 1944, helped end the war. At home, though the RAF's defeat of the German air force in the 'Battle of Britain' (and the strength of the Royal Navy) prevented enemy invasion, Britain suffered heavy bombings in London, Coventry and many other industrial cities. This became known as the Blitz. Many children were 'evacuated' to safer areas. Shortages (worsened by German submarine attacks on merchant ships) meant that many foods and other goods were 'rationed'. Children being evacuated from Manchester during the Second World War, c.1940. They carry boxes containing their gas-masks. [© Past Pix/Science & Society Picture Library] How did life change for children in Britain in the Second World War? (1947) Indian Independence and the End of Empire After the Second World War Britain, victorious but short of money and troops, began to voluntarily dismantle her Empire. 'White colonies' like Australia, Canada and New Zealand, already governed themselves. In 1947 India, the 'Jewel in the Crown' of the British Empire, became the new independent countries of India and Pakistan. Other colonies gained independence in turn, and most chose to join 'the Commonwealth of Nations', whose honorary head is the Queen. In 1948, people from all over the Empire were invited without restriction into Britain to help remedy the post-war shortage of workers. The first groups to enter Britain in large numbers (like those aboard the 'Empire Windrush' ship) came from the West Indies, soon followed by many people from India and Pakistan. By the 1960s, immigration from her former Empire was changing Britain. Bridesmaids of Commonwealth origin at a Buckinghamshire wedding, 1950s. [© English Heritage/NMR] How were experiences of immigration similar and different for groups of people living in 1960s Britain? (1947-89) Cold War The 'Cold War' is the name given to the long period of confrontation between 'Communist' USSR (Russia) and 'democratic, capitalist' USA and her allies, including Britain. Tensions heightened from 1949, as both camps were, by this time, armed with nuclear (atomic) weapons, first used against Japan at Hiroshima in 1945. Each side feared the other would attack, on land across the 'Iron Curtain' dividing Europe, or with bombers or (later) guided missiles. It was hoped that neither would dare use nuclear weapons, knowing their own country would also be destroyed – a principle called 'Mutually Assured Destruction' (MAD). Nevertheless, this was a tense and dangerous period for people across the world. Britain prepared by building anti-nuclear 'bunkers' in strategic places across the country. The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) brought the world very close to war. Hostilities resurfaced in the early 1980s but the collapse of Communism in 1989 ended the Cold War for the time being. The Operations Room at York Cold War Bunker, a sealed unit built in 1961 to monitor atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear war. [© English Heritage Photo Library] Why were USSR and the USA enemies? (1948) Welfare State and the National Health Service During the Second World War people had shared dangers and hardship. Service in the armed forces, the experience of the Blitz, rationing and the evacuation of children had brought people together. As a result, many did not want to return to the unequal pre-war world and, in 1945, the Labour party won a massive election victory promising to tackle the ‘five giants’ that caused poverty and to care for everyone 'from the cradle to the grave’. Taxation and 'National Insurance' paid for unemployment and retirement benefits, but the most important feature of the new 'Welfare State' was the National Health Service (1948). This provided free health care, including hospital treatment, medicines and dentistry, for all. Later on things like false teeth, spectacles and prescriptions were charged for, but the right to free health care remains valued to this day. Doctor taking X-Ray of a female patient's head, c.1950s. [© Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] (1957) Consumer Boom From the late 1950s, the 'austerity' of hard-up postwar Britain gave way to much greater prosperity: in 1957 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan proclaimed, 'most of our people have never had it so good'. Better wages allowed more and more to afford 'consumer goods' like televisions, refrigerators (owned by a third of households by 1962) and washing machines, though some preferred 'launderettes'. Car ownership, previously confined to the wealthy, quadrupled in London between 195070, and the first 'motorway' opened in 1959. Supermarkets (an import from the U.S) also began to appear, though most people still bought from ordinary shops. More families could also afford holidays, often choosing 'holiday camps' such as Butlins and Pontins in the 1950s, before 'package holidays' to Spain and elsewhere took over in the late 1960s. On holiday at Blackpool in the 1950s. [© Copyright English Heritage/NMR] How far did consumer goods make life better for families in the 1950s? (1962) Pop Revolution The Pop Music Revolution was powered by 'teenagers’; a newly distinct group of 13- to 19-yearolds for whom a word didn't even exist before the Second World War. The prosperity of the 1950s and full employment had given teenagers more independence and money. Amongst other things, they bought new products like record-players, 'singles' records and portable transistor radios. 'Rock and roll' music from the USA took Britain by storm from around 1955. Records (‘discs’) by artists such as Elvis Presley soon topped the charts. Early British imitators, including Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard, also became popular. With the rise of the Beatles from 1962, a distinctively British-style pop swept the world. Record sales of over 600 million made the Beatles the best-selling band in history. 'Swinging London' dominated the fashion and art worlds, giving Britain a new, less stuffy international image. Two fashion models in 1960s mini dresses. The white patent boots are trellis style, the black boots are printed with African masks. [© Manchester Daily Express/Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library] What can the Pop Revolution tell us about society in the 1960s? (1977) Computers and Mobile Phones The biggest revolution of the late 20th century is often considered to be the spread of computers. The computer age actually began during the Second World War – massive electronic computers, the size of a room, were developed in Britain to decode German secret messages. Smaller 'business' computers (still weighing over two tons) were available from 1954. However, the real change came with the launch of compact microchip 'home computers' in 1977. By 1980, 30 million had been sold worldwide and, by 2000, 40% of British homes had one. Mobile phones also changed lives. Following the first mobile phone call in 1973 (on a machine weighing 1.1kgs and measuring 23cms in length), affordable mobile phones were launched in 1985. By the late 1990s, 'pay as you go' texting was a favourite and, from 2002, mobile phones could also get internet access. Part of the 'Colossus' computer, Bletchley Park, 1943. This computer, which helped to decode enemy signals, took up a whole large room. [© Bletchley Park Trust/Science & Society Picture Library] Was daily life better or worse for a teenager living in Britain in 2000, compared with a teenager living in Britain in 1900?