Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Overview for "Religious"

Begin End Event Description Keywords
596 -

First Roman Missionaries

In 597, the first group of missionaries arrived from Rome and the Roman tradition was followed in the south, while the Irish tradition, introduced by Iro-Scottish missionaries prevailed in the north. Check out Christianisation to learn more!
History, Old English Period, Religious
596 664


The Church's story in England began with the advent of a mission from Rome, in the year 596, when Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived in Kent and established the Roman tradition. In 633, another mission arrived in the north of England and established a Celtic tradition there. By mid-7th century, most of the pagan Anglo-Saxons had been converted to Christianity.
History, Old English Period, Religious
600 800


As a result of Christianisation, a language contact situation with Latin occurred. Latin was the lingua franca of the church, therefore all texts and sermons were in Latin. It was primarily written, therefore the influence was on a higher register and in the areas of education and religion.
Linguistics, Language Contact, Religious, Old English Period
633 -

Irish Missionaries

Missionaries from Ireland arrived in the north of England and Christianized the people, while in the south people have been Christianised by Roman missionaries. Check out Christianisation to learn more!
History, Old English Period, Religious
660 800

The Golden Age

The Golden Age was an age of learning and education, literature (primarily in Latin) and arts. English Church scholars were renowned throughout Europe to such an extend that they were asked to convert continental Germanic tribes to Christianity (for example St. Suitbertus in Düsseldorf). The Golden Age lasted until a decline of Latin learning set in after the attack on Lindisfarne (793), which lasted until King Alfred was firmly established on the West-Saxon throne.
Literature, Old English Period, Religious
664 -

Synod of Whitby

At the Synod of Whitby, Church leaders decided in favor of the Roman tradition and calculation of Christian holidays, which was in use in the South, instead of the Irish tradition used in the north. This unification lead to a flourishing church tradition.
Old English Period, Religious, History
871 899

Alfred the Great

Alfred was the so-called first King of England, accepted by all the English that had not submitted to the Vikings. He defeated the Vikings multiple times and made a treaty with them to establish the Danelaw. Alfred's kingship extended beyond mere military leadership; his non-military achievements include his initiative to restore Latin learning and education in England.
Old English Period, Political, Religious, Standardisation, Vikings, Danelaw, Kings + Rulers, History
959 975

King Edgar and the Benedictine Revival

King Edgar's most prominent achievement in non-military activities was his massive support of the revival of monastic life in England. He installed the three leading reformers Dunstan, Æthelwold and Oswald, increased the number of reformed monasteries, expelled secular clerics and replaced them with reformed monks and abbots. It re-inspired cultural life in late Anglo-Saxon England and lead to a revival of education in Latin and English.
Old English Period, Political, Religious, Kings + Rulers, Standardisation, History
980 1020

Ælfric & Wulfstan

Ælfric & Wulfstan were important writers of late West-Saxon prose, and were mainly inspired by the Benedictine Reform and the bigger, unified England. Ælfric was an abbot and a second-generation reformer who wrote a Latin grammar and many other works of prose. Wulfstan was Archbishop of York and wrote many sermons and designed laws for Æthelred.
Literature, Old English Period, Prose, Religious
1096 1204

The Crusades

The crusades were a series of religious wars whose purpose was it to recapture the Holy Land. The crusades were at once preached with great enthusiasm across Europe and many nobles set out on the great adventure. The crusaders had various motivations to go on the long campaign: greed, penance, and true belief in the holy war were among the most common. Most crusader groups took the land way to the Holy Land, only a few chose the sea voyage. There were four major crusades, the third of which saw the participation of Richard I (Lionheart).
History, Middle English Period, Political, Religious
1118 1170

Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket was one of the most influential martyrs in the history of the English Church. Outstanding administrative talents marked him out for a rapid career and he was made Chancellor of England by Henry II, whom he was a close friend of. After multiple arguments about the powers of the Church, Becket fled to France and when he came back six years later, he was assassinated after enraging the king.
History, Middle English Period, Political, Religious
1164 -

Constitutions of Clarendon

The constitutions are a set of 16 articles passed by Henry II and designed to define the relationship between church and state in England. Half of the articles were concerned with the limitation of the procedures of ecclesiastical judges and the competence of the church courts. These articles reaffirmed the fact that the king's consent was needed for the excommunication of his tenants, that cleric who committed a crime should be punished. Furthermore, the articles touched on matters like the custody of vacant sees and England's relations with the papacy.
History, Middle English Period, Political, Religious
1189 1199

Richard I

Richard I rebelled against his father Henry II and overthrew him with the help of the French king Philip II. While Richard participated in the third crusade, he left his throne to his brother John Lackland who then conspired against him with his former ally Philip II. When he returned home, he reconciled with his brother and went to war against France. Winning many decisive battles during the crusade and being pious and righteous earned him the famous title of Cœur de Lion - the lionhearted.
History, Middle English Period, Political, Religious, Kings + Rulers
1221 -

The Coming of the Friars

In the 13th century, the two most influential mendicant orders were founded: the Franciscans by St Francis of Assisi in 1210, and the Dominicans by St Dominic in 1216. The enormous success and popularity of the mendicant orders was mainly due to two reasons: the widespread criticism of the corruption and inefficiency of the Church establishment and the spiritual demands put forward by an ever increasing and articulate urban laity. Friaries were established in all the great cities of western Europe, and in the universities, theological chairs were held by Dominicans and Franciscans.
History, Middle English Period, Religious
1412 1431

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc became the heroine of her day when she successfully led French armies against the English. She had seen visions of saints and of God telling her to fight against the English; so she became an able military leader, very unusual for a girl of her time. Her wearing men's clothes made her easily suspicious to the Church, and so the English had no difficulties to finally accuse her as an heretic. She was burnt in May 1431, but her death was largely a political act.
100 Years War, Middle English Period, Religious, Political, History