A Brief Timeline of Stephen's Reign
- Henry Beauclerc (Henry I) dies of a surfeit of lampreys (1 Dec)
- Stephen anointed and crowned King of England (22 Dec)
- Henry buried at Reading (Jan. 4)
- Stephen repeals forest laws, provides for immediate elections of bishops, abolished Danegeld
- King David of Scotland invades the north, and Stephen forces him to submit (Feb. 5) Stephen grants Carlisle to David
- Stephen revives the Easter court tradition and his wife Matilda is crowned (Mar. 22)
- Pope Innocent II recognizes Stephen as King and Robert, Earl of Gloucester returns to England (early Apr)
- Stephen falls ill and rumors of his death cause some to rebel (Apr 26-29)
- Stephen captures Bampton and exiles Robert of Bampton
- Stephen lays siege to Exeter and exiles Baldwin of Redvers (Jul)
- Geoffrey of Anjou raids Normandy (Sep)
- Archbishop of Canterbury William of Corbeil dies (21 Nov)
- Stephen lands in Normandy (Mar)
- David of Scotland threatens invasion of Northumberland (spring)
- Truce made between Stephen and Geoffrey (Jun)
- Stephen lays siege to Miles of Beauchamp at Bedford (Christmas-time)
- David invades Northumberland (10 Jan)
- Stephen reaches Northumberland with his army (2 Feb)
- Geoffrey Talbot seizes Hereford Castle (late Mar)
- Stephen destroys Hereford Castle (Apr)
- David of Scotland invades Northumberland, and ravages east coast (8 Apr)
- Robert, Earl of Gloucester formally renounces allegiance to Stephen (22 May)
- Hereford burned by Geoffrey Talbot (15 June)
- Dudley Castle, near Shrewsbury, captured by Stephen (August)
- Battle of the Standard (Archbishop of York, Thurstan gathered forces to repel Scots)(22 Aug)
- Archbishop of Canterbury, Theobald of Bec, elected (Dec 13)
Pope Innocent II hears charge of Stephen's usurpation of the Crown, and confirms the legitimacy of Stephen's rule. (Jan)
Peace treaty between English and Scots signed in Durham (Apr 9)
Bishops Roger of Salisbury, Alexander, and Roger the chancellor arrested for "offense against the majesty of the King" (Jun)
Robert, Earl of Gloucester, and Empress Matilda land at Arundel (30 Sep) and Matilda is later escorted to Bristol
Garrison left at Wallingford (fall)
South Cerney captured by Stephen (fall)
Malmesbury burned by Robert fitz Hubert (7 Oct)
Malmesbury Castle captured by Stephen (Oct)
Stephen leaves a garrison at Devizes to check Trowbridge (Oct)
Garrison at Wallingford defeated by Miles of Gloucester (Oct)
Miles of Gloucester sacks Worcester (7 Nov)
Bishop Robert of Salisbury dies (Dec 11)
Hereford, Winchcomb, and South Cerney captured by Miles (by beginning of Advent)
- Archbishop Thurstan dies (6 Feb)
- Stephen allies with King Louis VII (early)
- Bishop Nigel of Ely rebels, but the Isle of Ely is captured by Stephen (early)
- Reginald of Dunstanville harasses Stephen's forces from Cornwall. He is defeated by Stephen
- Robert fitz Hubert recaptures Malmesbury (26 Mar) begins devastating the countryside. Robert declares himself an independent force intending to seize everything from Winchester to London.
- Robert fitz Hubert captured by John fitz Gilbert (loyal to Robert of Gloucester). After a contest of wills (not arms) Robert is hung for not releasing Devizes to Earl Robert and Miles.
- Stephen simply purchases the submission of Devizes with 'very large sums of money'
- Negotiations for peace made between Matilda and Stephen (May)
- Bishop Henry discusses issues with King Louis VII, Count Theobald, and 'Many ecclesiastics' (Sep)
- Robert of Gloucester captures Nottingham (Sep)
- Stephen 'confers distinctions' on Ranulf, Earl of Chester and William of Roumare (Dec)
- Ranulf and William seize Lincoln Castle by trickery
- Stephen besieges Lincoln (after Christmas) but Ranulf escapes to enlist the aid of Robert and Miles of Gloucester
- Robert and Ranulf's forces arrive at Lincoln (1 Feb)
- Stephen captured by rebel forces when his earls 'shamefully deserted him' (2 Feb) and townspeople of Lincoln slaughtered by Ranulf and Robert's men
- Stephen brought to Bristol (9 Feb)
- Matilda accepts submission of Cirencester (17 Feb)
- Bishop Henry recognizes Matilda as 'lady and queen' at Winchester (3 Mar)
- Oxford Castle and then Oxford gives homage to Matilda (30 Mar)
- Bishop Henry convenes an ecclesiastic council to 'elect' Matilda as queen of England (8 Apr)
- Matilda arrives in London to prepare for her coronation (24 Jun)
- Citizens of London appeal to Matilda to repeal harsh laws of Henry I and beg for Matilda to moderate her own demands. Matilda, in a fury devastates the outskirts of London to bend to her will. Londoners rise up and Matilda is forced to flee to Oxford, then Gloucester. (Jun)
- Bishop Henry renews his loyalty to Stephen after seeing Matilda 'in action.'
- Matilda's forces march on Winchester (Jul) and Henry escapes to rally Stephen's forces
- Ranulf attempts to side with first Stephen, then Matilda and is turned away by both (Jul)
- Stephen's Queen, Matilda lays siege to Empress Matilda at Winchester (Jul)
- Empress Matilda and Robert's forces attempt to break free from Winchester. Earl Robert captured by Queen Matilda's forces. King David is also captured, but bribes his captors for his freedom. (14 Sep) Matilda flees to Ludgershall, Devizes, and finally 'more dead than alive' is placed in a litter and carried to Gloucester.
- At Rochester, Robert is kept under house arrest by Queen Matilda. Negotiations for an exchange ensue, and Robert demands a high price. Finally, Robert agrees to a one-for-one exchange of himself for the King.
- Stephen is freed from his prison at Bristol (1 Nov)
- Bishop Henry attempts to justify his changes in allegiance. (7 Dec)
- Stephen re-performs the coronation ceremony in Canterbury to emphasize his position as king, restored to all power and dignity (25 Dec)
- Stephen goes north to stop a projected tournament. Stephen felt there was no time for 'knightly sports,' and the last thing he needed was a tournament turning into a small-scale war
- Stephen falls ill on the way back from the north and rumors fly of his death (Easter)
- Matilda attempts to bring her husband to England to join the fight. (Jun)
- Earl Robert sails to Normandy from Wareham to request aid in person (Midsummer) but stays for the remainder of the summer helping Geoffrey capture 10 Norman castles
- Stephen seizes Wareham (Jun)
- Stephen destroys castles at Cirencester, Bampton, and Radcot on his way to Oxford
- Stephen attacks Matilda's headquarters and lays siege to Oxford (26 Sep)
- Geoffrey refuses to aid his wife, instead sends his 9-year old son, Henry, with Earl Robert to inspire the nobles to fight for the heir (Oct)
- Earl Robert lays siege to Wareham (Oct) and captures it after 3 weeks
- Earl Robert seizes Isle of Portland and Lulworth (Nov?)
- Earl Robert summons forces to meet at Cirencester (Dec)
- Empress Matilda escapes Oxford in the snow (wearing white as camouflage) (shortly before Christmas)
- Oxford surrenders to Stephen
- Stephen devastates countryside around Wareham
- Stephen gathers massive numbers of troops at Wilton--assumed to attack Bristol
- Earl Robert meets Stephen and Bishop Henry at Wilton, and Stephen and Henry are forced to retreat. William Martel, the king's steward and castellan of Sherbourne prevents Stephen's capture, but is himself captured.
- Bishop Henry returns to Winchester. William of Pont de l'Arche held Winchester Castle for Matilda, and summons her forces to help him challenge Henry's control of the city.
- Robert son of Hildebrand is dispatched to William's aid, but rather than helping attack Henry, Robert instead seduces William's wife, then imprisons his host. In possession of William's wife, castle, and wealth, Robert changes his allegiance to Stephen. One chronicler notes with great glee Robert's just demise.
- Stephen arrests Geoffrey de Mandeville for treason (autumn). Geoffrey surrenders the Tower of London, and several castles to Stephen
- Pope Innocent II dies (24 Sep) Celestine II becomes pope (pro-Angevin)
- Geoffrey of Anjou captures Rouen in Normandy and assumes title of Duke of Normandy (20 Jan)
- Pope Celestine II dies (8 Mar) Lucius II becomes pope (pro-Stephen)
- Geoffrey de Mandeville is set free and then embarks on a career of plunder and devastation unparalleled in that age.
- Geoffrey de Mandeville sacks and seizes Ramsey
- Geoffrey de Mandeville lays siege to Burwell Castle (Aug) and is gravely wounded
- Geoffrey de Mandeville dies excommunicate
- Knights Templar take Geoffrey's body to London.
- Ranulf, Earl of Chester ravages the north, seizing whatever castles Stephen's barons control.
- Stephen captures castle at Winchcomb
- Hugh Bigod attempts to 'plunder with all his might' East Anglia
- Miles of Gloucester lays heavy exactions on Robert, bishop of Hereford. Robert refuses levies and Miles has bishops lands ravaged (this brings excommunication)
- Miles of Gloucester dies in a hunting accident (24 Dec)
- Pope Lucius II dies (15 Feb) and Eugenius III becomes pope (pro-Angevin)
- Geoffrey of Anjou conquers Arques and becomes master of the entire duchy of Normandy
- Stephen scatters Hugh Bigod's forces in East Anglia and built 3 castles in the area Hugh was in the habit of raiding
- Turgis of Avranches rebels and Stephen captures him and retakes the castle of Saffron Walden
- Philip, son of Earl Robert is installed at Cricklade and begins his role in the general plunder and disorder
- Stephen's forces storm and capture Faringdon (summer)
- Ranulf, who has seized about one third of the country comes to Stephen to make a humble submission
- Philip changes allegiance to Stephen
- Ranulf captures Bedford and turns control over to Stephen
- Stephen and Matilda meet to establish peace--with no result
- Ranulf imprisoned for his treachery, and gives Lincoln Castle for his freedom
- Ranulf revolts 'wildly'
- Stephen stations best troops in Lincoln (Dec 1146)
- Ranulf attempts and fails to recapture Lincoln (early)
- 14-year old Henry Plantagenet lands in England with a company of knights (early)
- Ranulf attempts and fails to capture Coventry
- Stephen begins campaign to harry Ranulf from castle to castle
- Henry Plantagenet attempts and fails to capture Cricklade and Burtuna, and his knights begin to desert him
- Henry sends messengers to Stephen to 'pity the poverty that weighed upon him' and Stephen was moved enough to give the boy the funds he asked for
- Henry returns to Normandy (May)
- Robert, Earl of Gloucester dies (31 Oct)
- Pope consecrates Henry Murdac as archbishop of York (7 Dec)--this overturns the precedent that the king approves the selection of a bishop or archbishop. Murdac also refuses to swear fealty to the king
- Stephen seizes the temporalities of the See of York.
- Bishop Henry excommunicates Hugh de Puiset and all his opponents in York. York is placed under an interdict. Hugh excommunicates Bishop Henry.
- Matilda leaves England
- Stephen attempts to prevent Archbishop Theobald (and other English ecclesiastics) from attending a council summoned by the pope. (Bishop Henry attempting to discredit or depose Theobald)
- Theobald escapes and attends council (21 Mar). Pope issues general excommunication on English bishops, and reserves absolution of Bishop Henry for himself (Bernard of Clairvaux is probably the instigator)
- Bishop Henry goes to pope and receives absolution
- Pope begins excommunication of Stephen, but Archbishop Theobald pleads for mercy and Stephen is allowed three months to 'make satisfaction' for his actions
- On Theobald's return, Stephen demands explanation for Theobald's disobedience, and not receiving a good one, orders Theobald out of the country. Ignores potential sentence of excommunication.
- English bishops side with Stephen over the election of bishops
- Theobald places interdict on England (12 Sep) It is ignored except in Canterbury, but the monks of St. Augustine continue to celebrate mass
- Theobald returns to England and goes to Suffolk where Hugh Bigod is in charge.
- Bishops Robert of London, Hilary of Cichester, William of Norwich, and a number of layman go to Framlingham and make peace between the king and Theobald
- King David of Scotland knights his great-nephew, Henry (22 May)
- Ranulf joins Angevin cause--receives Lancaster in exchange for his claim to Carlisle
- David and Henry plan to attack York. Stephen gathers forces and attack is disbanded
- Stephen's son Eustace attempts to intercept Henry on his way to Bristol
- Stephen lays waste to the environs of Salisbury
- Ranulf assaults Lincoln
- Eustace goes to East Anglia to deal with Hugh Bigod
- Henry captures Bridport
- Henry and Eustace battle at Devizes--Henry drives off Eustace
- Eustace joins Louis VII in France, and they capture Arques
- Henry returns to Normandy (Jan)
- Stephen attempts to secure the throne for Eustace. Interesting scheme involving recognition of Henry Murdac as Archbishop of York, and having pope crown Eustace.
- Henry Murdac takes possession of the See of York (25 Jan)
- Pope refuses to crown Eustace while Stephen is alive, and issues orders to this effect to Theobald
- Stephen forces monks of St. Augustine to pay £500 to elect their prior
- Louis VII accepts homage of Henry and recognizes him as Duke of Normandy (Aug)
- Geoffrey of Anjou dies (7 Sep). Henry spends remainder of year consolidating his hold on Anjou
- Bishop Henry summons meeting in London to demand that the archbishop and his colleagues anoint and crown Eustace as king. Pope's letter prevents this.
- In a rage, Stephen confiscates property and locks up the council. He later 'cools off' and restores the men and give reparations for his seizure of property
- Stephen forces the chapter of St. Paul's to pay £500 to elect Stubbs as bishop of London
- Stephen lays siege to Roger, earl of Hereford, at Wallingford. Roger makes peace and changes allegiance to Stephen
- Roger sends word to Henry to return to England (Lent)
- Henry plans return to England (6 Apr)
- Queen Matilda dies (3 May)
- Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henry (18 May)
- Louis begins campaign to wrest Normandy, Aquitaine, and Anjou from Henry
- Henry lands in England (6 Jan)
- Henry captures Malmesbury. Mercenaries perform such atrocities that Henry sends them back. Shipwreck kills 500 of them
- Stephen declines battle at Malmesbury knowing his barons are slack
- Robert, earl of Leicester defects to Henry
- King David dies (24 May)
- Warwick surrenders to Henry (Gundrea, countess turns out garrison). Earl Roger 'dies of grief and shame'
- Derby falls to Henry
- Bedford sacked and burned by Henry, but castle does not fall (Jun)
- Henry lays siege to Wallingford (Crowmarsh), and Stephen sets up a base at Oxford
- Henry, Stephen and Eustace meet for battle at Wallingford, but agree to a truce instead
- Eustace leaves in a fury and goes to Cambridgeshire ravaging as he went.
- Bury St. Edmunds receives Eustace with much honor and a dinner, but refuses his demand for money. Eustace destroys their crops and devastates their lands (10 Aug)
- Hugh Bigod seizes Ipswich, and Stephen goes to retrieve it
- Eustace suddenly dies (17 Aug) of grief? Or the vengeance of St. Edmund?
- Henry lays siege to Stamford and captures it (31 Aug)
- Henry attempts to capture Nottingham
- Treaty of Winchester (6 Nov) recognizes Henry as Stephen's heir, designates what Stephen's son, William, will receive
- Chief men of the kingdom meet to do homage to Henry (13 Jan)
- Henry returns to Normandy after a plot by William to kill him is discovered (4 Apr)
- Stephen dies (25 Oct) of 'chronic flux of haemorroids'. An alternative version claims he died of a heart attack.
- Henry is crowned King of England (19 Dec)
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© February 28, 1999, J. T. Thorpe