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Kingdom at War 736AD - 854AD

In the late 8th Century, Northumbria was plagued by weak leadership and collapsed into a state of anarchy caused in part by rivalry between the royal houses of Deira and Bernicia. From 737AD to 806AD, Northumbria had ten kings: three were murdered, five were expelled and two retired to become monks. This instability may well have encouraged the first Viking raiders to attack the Northumbrian coast from 793AD.

737AD - NORTHUMBRIAN KING BECOMES A MONK(Lindisfarne)

King Ceolwulf of Northumbria becomes a monk on Lindisfarne. He is succeeded by Eadbert.

April 24, 741AD - MINSTER HIT BY FIRE (York)

York Minster is damaged by fire. It will be rebuilt in 770.

746AD - ROME WRITES TO JARROW (Rome)

Bishop Boniface of Rome has written to Northumbria for editions of the works of Bede - the most popular titles in Europe.

750AD - BISHOP PLOTS AGAINST KING (Bamburgh)


Cynewulf, Bishop of Lindisfarne, is imprisoned for plotting against King Eadbert.

758AD - KING BECOMES A MONK (York)

Eadbert of Northumbria has retired to become a monk at York. He is succeeded by his son Oswulf.

August 5, 759AD - KING MURDERED (Great Whittington near Corbridge)

Oswulf, King of Northumbria, is assassinated near Corbridge and succeeded by a Deiran called Athelwald Moll of Catterick who may be responsible for the assassination.

761AD - CHIEFTAIN KILLED AT CONISCLIFFE (High Coniscliffe)

Oswin, a Bernician noble is murdered at Consiclffe (King's Cliff) by Athelwald Moll.

762AD - CONSECRATION AT ELVET (Durham City)

Peothwine is consecrated Bishop of Whithorn at Aelfet Ee (Elvet). It is the first mention of Christian activity in the Durham City area.

October 30, 765AD - MOLL FORCED OUT (Finchale)

Following a meeting at Finchale, King Athelwald Moll is forced from power and succeeded by Alhred.

774AD - KING DRIVEN OUT (York)

King Alhred is driven out of Northumbria by Athelred, son of Athelwald Moll.

779AD - CONISCLIFFE MURDERS (High Coniscliffe)

Athelred has been ousted by a Bernician called Alfwold. A number of royal nobles are murdered at Coniscliffe during the coup.

781AD - CONSECRATION ON TEES(Sockburn on Tees)

Higbald has been consecrated Bishop of Lindisfarne at Sockburn.

782AD - SCHOLAR LEAVES THE COUNTRY (York)

Alcuin of York, who has built up a huge library at his school in the city, has left to study at the court of Charlemagne in France.

788AD - BOY KING FLEES (Chesters near Hadrian's Wall)

King Alfwold is murdered by his uncle Sicga and buried at Hexham. He is succeeded by his nephew Osred II who flees to the Isle of Man. Athelred begins a second period as King.

789AD - AYCLIFFE MEETINGS (County Durham)

A Synod has been held at Aycliffe regarding religious matters and discipline. It follows a similar meeting at Aycliffe in 782.

792AD - ATHELRED KILLS RIVALS (Cumbria)

King Athelred drowns a rival prince in Windermere and beheads Osred II at Maryport on the Cumberland coast.

September 26, 792AD - ROYAL MARRIAGE AT CATTERICK (North Yorkshire)

Athelred of Northumbria marries the daughter of King Offa of Mercia at Catterick.

June 8, 793AD - VIKINGS RAID ISLAND (Lindisfarne)

In an unprecedented attack which shocks Europe, a raiding party of Vikings from Norway attack Lindisfarne. Monks flee in fear and many are slaughtered. Bishop Higbald seeks refuge on the mainland. A Chronicler records: "On the 8th June, the harrying of the heathen miserably destroyed God's church by rapine and slaughter."

793AD - SCHOLAR SAYS RAIDS ARE PUNISHMENT FROM GOD (Europe )

In a letter from Charlemagne's court in France, Alcuin, the former head of York School, blames the recent Viking attack on a fall in moral standards in Northumbria. He sees the raid as punishment

796AD - MORE VIKING RAIDS (Tyneside )

In 794 Vikings attacked the famous monastery at Jarrow but the Northumbrians were prepared for this attack and manage to surprise and utterly destroy the Vikings. Further Viking raids on Lindisfarne and Jarrow continue throughout the year.

April 18-May 26, 796AD - SHORT REIGN FOR MURDEROUS KING (Corbridge)

King Athelred of Northumbria is murdered at Corbridge and succeeded by Osbald who plotted the murder. Osbald is then forced out by Eardwulf.

800AD - YET MORE VIKING RAIDS (Hartlepool, Whitby, Tynemouth)

Vikings are raiding the monasteries at Whitby, Hartlepool and Tynemouth.

801AD - MONASTERY AT GAINFORD (Gainford on Tees)

A monastery is established at Gainford where a chieftain called Ida is said to be buried.

804AD - ALCUIN DIES (France)

Alcuin of York has died at Charlemagne's court in France. He was one of the most highly respected men of learning in Europe.

808AD - EARDWULF RESTORED (North)

In 806, King Eardwulf was driven out and succeeded by Alfwold II but Eardwulf is restored following Alfwold's death.

810AD - SYNODS AT FINCHALE (Finchale)

A synod has been held at Finchale on the River Wear to discuss Northumbrian church matters and discipline. Similar meetings took place at Finchale in 792 and 798AD.

811AD - EARDWULF OUSTED AGAIN (North)

Eardwulf is deposed as King of Northumbria. He is succeeded by King Eanred.

821AD - BISHOPRICS MERGE (Tweed to Tees)

The Bishopric of Hexham has been absorbed by Lindisfarne. The new bishopric extends from Tweed to Tees.

829AD - POWERS MEET AT NORTHUMBRIA'S 'DOOR' (Dore near Sheffield)

Egbert, King of Wessex and Mercia, and Eanred of Northumbria meet at Dore. Their aim is to ensure peace. Eanred accepts Wessex supremacy and recognises Egbert as 'overking' of England. Dore is the 'doorway' between Northumbria and the south.

830AD - MONKS FLEE LINDISFARNE (Holy Island)

The monks of Lindisfarne leave the island with St Cuthbert's body to escape further raids. They settle inland at Norham on Tweed where a church is built for the saint's shrine.

840AD - KING EANRED DIES (North)

Eanred, King of Northumbria, dies. He is succeeded by his son Athelred II.

841AD - DUBLIN VIKINGS (Ireland)

Vikings from Norway establish Dublin as their chief coastal stronghold in the British Isles.

844AD - KING KILLED BY VIKINGS (North)

King Athelred II is temporarily expelled and succeeded by King Raedwulf who is killed by Vikings in a coastal attack. Athelred II is restored.

848AD - KING OSBERT (North)

Athelred II is killed and succeeded by King Osbert.

854AD - LAST LINDISFARNE BISHOP (York and Lindisfarne)

Eardwulf is appointed as the last Bishop of Lindisfarne.

866AD - DANES INVADE (North )

Osbert, King of Northumbria, is overthrown by his people, meanwhile, the Danes invade England

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