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Aethelfrith and Edwin 598AD-633AD

Northumbria, "North of the Humber" was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom formed by merging Bernicia, north of the Tees, with Deira to the south. Northumbria's first two kings were a Bernician called Aethelfrith and a Deiran called Edwin. Aethelfrith was a pagan, but Edwin became the North's first Christian king after baptism at York in 627AD.

598AD - BATTLE OF CATTERICK (North Yorkshire)

Anglo-Saxons have heavily defeated the native Britons at Catterick. The ancient British tribal kingdom of Catraeth was based in the valleys of the Tees and Swale and has been subdued by the Germanic Angles. The Catterick area was the scene of fierce resistance against the Romans in earlier centuries.

603AD - NORTHERN KING DEFEATS THE SCOTS (Scotland)

Aethelfrith, King of Bernicia, has defeated Aidan MacGabrain, King of the Dalriada Scots at the Battle of Degastan to the north east of Gretna. The Dalriada Scots live in western Caledonia and originate from Hibernia (Ireland) and were assisted by a large force of Ulstermen in the battle. Aethelfrith's victories in battle have forced the kingdoms of Strathclyde in the west, Rheged in Cumbria and Gododdin in the Lothians to recognise Bernician superiority.

604AD - AETHELFRITH TAKES NORTHUMBRIAN CROWN (North-East and Yorkshire)

Aethelfrith has taken the crown of Deira in the Yorkshire wolds and so has united all the Anglo-Saxon territory north of the River Humber into one kingdom which will be called Northumbria.

604AD - NORTHUMBRIAN KING MARRIES YORKSHIRE PRINCESS (North-East and Yorkshire)

Aethelfrith, King of Northumbria, has gained support from his new Yorkshire province of Deira by marrying Acha, a member of the Deiran royal family. The marriage is unlikely to stop Acha's brother Edwin from claiming the Deiran throne.

610AD - MIDLAND KING SHELTERS NORTHERN CLAIMANT (England)

King Cearl of Mercia (The Midlands) has taken Prince Edwin under his protection. Edwin's presence in the Mercian court will be a great threat to Aethelfrith, the King of Northumbria.

615AD - JOYOUS GUARD RENAMED BAMBURGH (Northumberland Coast)

The Bernician fortress capital of Din Guaire (or Din Guayroi) has been renamed Bebbanburgh (Bamburgh). It has been named after Queen Bebba, the new wife of Aethelfrith following Acha's untimely death. Bamburgh has continued to be known by its old Celtic name despite its capture by the Anglo-Saxon chief Ida in 547. Since that time it has been the chief fort and capital of northern Northumbria. The site's new name means Bebba's fort.

615AD - NORTHUMBRIANS FORCE EDWIN INTO EXILE (England)

King Aethelfrith has ousted King Cearl from the Kingdom of Mercia and installed a puppet. Edwin, Prince of Deira, who had been under Cearl's protection, has taken refuge with the royal family of East Anglia.

615AD - NORTHUMBRIANS CAPTURE CUMBRIA (North)

Cumbria has been seized by King Aethelfrith and added to the Kingdom of Northumbria.

616AD - NORTHUMBRIAN KING KILLED IN BATTLE (South Yorkshire)

Aethelfrith has been killed in battle against Raedwald of East Anglia at Bawtry on the River Idle. Oswald, Aethelfrith's son has fled Northumbria and taken refuge on the Scottish island monastery of Iona.

616AD - EDWIN TAKES NORTHUMBRIAN THRONE (North)

Edwin has become the new King of Northumbria, although he has to fight rivals in the north to secure his crown.

625AD - EDWIN MARRIES A CHRISTIAN (North)

King Edwin of Northumbria has married a Christian princess called Ethelberga of Kent. The marriage reflects Edwin's desire to form an alliance with King Eadbald of Kent, who is the only Christian king in England.

626AD - EDWIN TAKES HATFIELD AND LINCOLNSHIRE KINGDOMS (South Yorkshire)

The native Celtic kingdom of Meicen (Hatfield) near Doncaster and the Anglian kingdom of Lindsey (Lincolnshire) have been captured by Edwin. Edwin's power in the north is unequalled by any Anglian predecessor.

626AD - ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON NORTHUMBRIAN KING (Yorkshire)

Eumer, an agent of Cuichelm, King of the West Saxons, has attempted to assassinate King Edwin while he was celebrating the pagan festival of Easter at his royal palace in the Yorkshire wolds between York and Beverley. The assassin entered the King's court and asked to speak with the king on the pretence of having an important message from the West Saxon King. On seeing the king, Eumer produced a poisoned dagger from beneath his cloak and attempted to stab Edwin. Fortunately one of Edwin's men, Lillam, jumped in the way and was killed. A fight followed in which Edwin was injured but Eumer was eventually put to death. On the same night Edwin's queen, Ethelburga, gave birth.

626AD - NORTHUMBRIANS DEFEAT KINGDOM OF WESSEX (England)

Angered by the West Saxons' assasination attempt, Edwin has defeated them in a great battle in Wessex and proclaimed himself overking of all England.

APRIL 11, 627AD - KING BECOMES CHRISTIAN AT YORK (York)

King Edwin has been converted to Christianity by a missionary called St Paulinus. Edwin promised to become a Christian after defeating the West Saxons. He was baptised at York in the new wooden church of St Peter (a predecessor of York Minster).

628AD - EDWIN REBUILDS EARLY MINSTER (York)

King Edwin has begun rebuilding the wooden church of St Peter's in stone.

OCTOBER 12, 633AD - NORTHUMBRIA MOURNS DEATH OF GREATEST KING (South Yorkshire)

King Edwin has been killed in Battle at Heathfield (Hatfield near Doncaster) by Penda, a Mercian chief. Penda was assisted in the battle by the Welsh under the leadership of the fierce Caedwalla. Osric, a possible successor to Edwin, has also been killed in the battle. Edwin's son Edfrith has surrendered to Penda

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