William the Conqueror's
conquest of the North was not immediate; the northerners massacred his
troops at Durham and York and murdered his appointed earls; it was only
after William's "Harrying of the North" in the winter of 1069 that the
conquest of the region really began; it was completed by the construction
of Norman castles at York, Richmond, Durham and "New Castle"; these
became the strongholds of Norman control and authority in the North-East.
1066 - MAP OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR'S CAMPAIGNS:
This is a map of William the Conqueror’s
campaigns (Red) and Harold’s route from York to Hastings (Blue).
1067 - EARL MURDERED:
King William appoints Copsig, a former lieutenant of Tostig, as Earl
of Northumbria but Copsig is captured and beheaded at Newburn; Osulf
of Bamburgh claims the Earldom but he is killed by an outlaw and William
appoints a noble called Gospatric.
1068 - NORTH-EAST REBELLION CRUSHED:
Gospatric supports the Midland-based rebellion of Edwin and Morcar against
the King but the rebellion fails and the rebels flee to Scotland; King
William enters York and builds a castle; he grants Yorkshire to William
Malet and Robert Fitz Richard and the troops are based at York Castle.
January 30, 1069 - NORMANS SEIZE DURHAM:
Robert Comines, a Norman knight, is appointed Earl of Northumbria by
the King; Comines' 700-B army seizes Durham City and the Normans murder
many people; Aegelwine, Bishop of Durham, warns Robert that he will
January 31, 1069 - MASSACRE IN DURHAM:
Early in the morning a mob of Northumbrians broke the gates of Durham
and stormed through the streets killing the Normans; Earl Comines flees
for safety into the bishop's palace but is killed when it is set alight;
the blaze threatens the western tower of Durham Minster but the locals
pray and the wind diverts the flames; only two Normans survive and flee.
February 1069 - SIEGE AT YORK:
The natives of York besiege their castle and Robert Fitz Richard, a
Norman commander, is killed.
March 1069 - WILLIAM SACKS YORK:
York is sacked by the Normans under King William; churches including
the Minster are plundered and the rebels flee; William builds an additional
castle and the garrison is placed under William FitzOsbern.
September 8, 1069 - DANES AND REBELS ENTER THE HUMBER:
The Danes under King Sweyn enter the Humber with a fleet of ships accompanied
by Edgar of Wessex who claims England's throne; they march for York.
September 1069 - NORMANS RETREAT AFTER ST CUTHBERT MIRACLE:
Norman soldiers retreat at Northallerton during a march north to attack
Durham; Durham folk claim the Normans were frightened by a miracle fog
created by St Cuthbert; the real reason is that they have the Danish
invasion of York to contend with; the Normans prevent the Danes from
making York their headquarters by burning it; but the fires burn out
of control, destroying the Anglo-Saxon minster and killing many Normans.
December 1069 - AXHOLME DANES DRIVEN OUT BY CONQUEROR:
Danes fortify the Isle of Axholme near Doncaster but King William's
army attacks them and they flee and William spends the winter at York.
1069 - CUTHBERT FOLK TAKE FLIGHT:
St Cuthbert's Community flee from Durham with St Cuthbert's coffin to
escape the Norman army; they seek refuge on Lindisfarne and are surprised
by the receding tide allowing them to cross to the island; they proclaim
it to be a miracle of St Cuthbert
December 1069-January 1070 - HARRYING OF THE NORTH:
King William lays waste to the region in a campaign which will be remembered
as the Harrying of the North, destroying all farmland and property between
Durham and York; the area is reduced to wasteland by fire and sword;
many Northerners flee to the hills.
December 1069 - BISHOP PLUNDERS DURHAM MINSTER:
St Cuthbert's Community returns to Durham from Lindisfarne with the
saint's body only to find the town has been destroyed; a worse discovery
is that Bishop Aegelwine has robbed Durham of its richest treaures and
1070 - SCOTS ATTACK NORTH:
Scots under King Malcolm invade the North from Cumbria; they are victorious
at Hunderthwaite in Teesdale before plundering Cleveland, Hartlepool
and Monkwearmouth; Gospatric, the reappointed Earl of Northumbria, attacks
Malcolm's territory in Cumbria.
1070 - YORK MINSTER:
Thomas of Bayeux becomes the first Norman Archbishop of York; he starts
building a new Norman minster.
1070 - NORMANS IN THE DALES:
King William gives Richmond (Hindrelac) to Alan the Red, Count of Brittany,
so he can build a castle; Alan also constructs a castle at Middleham
for his brother, Ribald.
April 1072 - YORK MUST ANSWER TO CANTERBURY:
William orders that the Archbishop of York must answer to Canterbury
in terms of seniority; it is a demoralising decision for the North.
August 1072 - WALTHEOF AND WALCHER:
William replaces Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria, with Waltheof, an Anglo-Saxon
of Northampton; Waltheof's powers extend from the Tees to the Tweed;
Waltheof builds a castle at Durham for protection against the Scots
and Frenchman William Walcher of Lorraine becomes Bishop of Durham.
1074 - MONASTERIES REFOUNDED:
Jarrow and Monkwearmouth monasteries are refounded by three Mercian
May 1075 - EARL-BISHOP OF DURHAM:
Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria, has been executed at Winchester for plotting
against the king; Walcher, the Bishop of Durham, is given the earl's
powers and becomes an Earl-Bishop.
1079 - SCOTS RAID NORTHUMBERLAND:
Scots under King Malcolm III ravage the North-East.
1080 - LUMLEY MURDER:
Liulf Lumley, a Northumbrian noble, is murdered by officers of the Bishop
of Durham; Liulf, a confident of the Bishop, had aroused jealousy among
the bishop's men; Bishop Walcher agrees to meet Liulf's family at Gateshead
to make peace.
May 13, 1080 - BISHOP MURDERED AT GATESHEAD:
Arriving in Gateshead, the Bishop's peace making words are drowned out
by the mob which shouts "slay ye the bishop"; Walcher takes refuge in
Gateshead church but it is set alight; he is butchered as he tries to
escape; the mob then attacks the Norman castle at Durham but the siege
is abandoned after a four day onslaught.
1080 - BISHOP OF BAYEUX ATTACKS THE NORTH:
William sends an army north led by his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux,
who destroys much land north of the Tees and steals valuable items from
September 1080 - NEWCASTLE FOUNDED:
Robert Curthose, eldest son of William, has built a "New Castle" on
the Tyne; it is built out of wood and will ultimately give its name
to Newcastle-upon-Tyne; the castle occupies the site of the Roman Fort
of Pons Aelius and lies close to a small Anglo-Saxon monastic settlement
called Monkchester; Curthose built the castle on return from a military
expedition in Scotland.