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In 789, however, the first Scandinavian raids on England began; these Viking attacks grew in number and scale until in 865 the Danish micel here or Great Army, invaded England, captured York and defeated the kingdom of East Anglia.
However, in the same year Alfred won a decisive victory against the Danes at the Battle of Edington, and he exploited the fear of the Viking threat to raise large numbers of men and using a network of defended towns called burhs to defend his territory and mobilise royal resources.
Civil war broke out across England and Normandy, resulting in a long period of warfare later termed the Anarchy.
Matilda's son, Henry, finally agreed to a peace settlement at Winchester and succeeded as king in 1154.
Henry strengthened England's borders with Wales and Scotland, and used the country's wealth to fund a long-running war with his rivals in France, but arrangements for his succession once again proved problematic.
The Despenser War of 1321–22 was followed by instability and the subsequent overthrow, and possible murder, of Edward in 1327 at the hands of his French wife, Isabella, and a rebel baron, Roger Mortimer.When Edward died in 1066, Harold Godwinson claimed the throne, defeating his rival Norwegian claimant, Harald Hardrada, at the battle of Stamford Bridge.Henry's only legitimate son, William, died aboard the White Ship disaster of 1120, sparking a fresh succession crisis: Henry's nephew, Stephen of Blois, claimed the throne in 1135, but this was disputed by the Empress Matilda, Henry's daughter.A new wave of monasteries and friaries were established, while ecclesiastical reforms led to tensions between successive kings and archbishops.Despite developments in England's governance and legal system, infighting between the Anglo-Norman elite resulted in multiple civil wars and the loss of Normandy.
The position of women in society changed as laws regarding land and lordship shifted.