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Medieval Wales Timeline

c.500: St Illtud arrives from Ireland, bringing Christianity and founding Llanilltud Fawr monastery.

500-50: The Age of Saints. Celtic saints wander through Wales preaching Christianity and converting others to the faith. To the east, the Anglo-Saxons remain pagan.

c.589: St David (Dewi Sant) the patron saint of Wales dies.

615: The Saxon Aethelfrith defeats the Welsh at Bangor.

616: Battle of Chester - Wales isolated from the rest of Britain.

768: Celtic church accepts some of the practices of the Roman church, including the date for Easter.

c.784: Offa of Mercia, the powerful Saxon king, constructs Offa's Dyke and Wales acquires an eastern boundary.

844-78: Rhodri Mawr, the most notable figure in Welsh history before the coming of the Normans, is slain. The first Welsh ruler to succeed in uniting most of Wales under his overlordship, his reign coincides with increasing Viking attacks on Wales.

9th-10th century: St Davids accepts the supremacy of Rome.

c.900-950: Hywel Dda rules most of Wales. 

927: Under the pressure of Viking attack, the Welsh kings formally submit to the English as over-king.

Late 10th-century: Hywel Dda's unified Wales splits into four principalities.

1039-63: Gruffydd ap Llywelyn, the last of the Welsh high-kings, re-unites most of Wales. Earl Harold, the future king of England, drives his army into Wales in 1063 and Gruffydd is killed.

1066: The Norman Conquest of England. Harold is killed at Hastings and the Norman Marcher Lords are established along the Welsh borderlands.

1067: Chepstow Castle is started by William fitz Osbern.

1090: First Norman castle at Cardiff.

1094: Normans repelled from Gwynedd and Dyfed.

1115: Norman bishop installed at St Davids.

1143: Cistercians found Whitland Abbey.

1196-1240: Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (the Great) rules as Prince of Gwynedd and later most of Wales. 

1215: English barons force King John into signing the Magna Carta. Limited rights for Wales.

1246-82: Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (the Last), Prince of Gwynedd rules much of Wales.

1267: Treaty of Montgomery signed by Henry III, ratifying Llywelyn ap Gruffydd's claim to the title "Prince of Wales."

1270-1320: Tintern Abbey built.

1276-77: First War of Welsh Independence.

1277: Llywelyn signs Treaty of Aberconwy, ending the First Welsh War and reversing the gains of the Treaty of Montgomery (1267). Edward I begins Aberystwyth, Flint and Rhuddlan castles.

1282-83: Second War of Welsh Independence. Llywelyn's brother Dafydd rises up against Edward I.

1283: Caernarfon, Conwy and Harlech castles started.

1284: Treaty of Rhuddlan signed by Edward I.

1294: Revolt of Madog ap Llywelyn. Caernarfon Castle burned.

1295: Beaumaris Castle started.

1301: Edward revives title of "Prince of Wales" and bestows it on his son Edward II.

1349: The Black Death sweeps Wales, leaving casualties of up to 40 percent.

1400-12: Third War of Welsh Independence. Owain Glyndwr's revolt. 

1416: Owain Glyndwr dies in hiding.

1471: Edward IV's Council of Welsh Marches at Ludlow.

1485: Accession of Henry VII to the throne after landing from exile at Pembroke and defeating Richard III at Bosworth, establishing Welsh lineage on the English throne.

1536-38: Henry VIII suppresses the monasteries.

1536-43: Acts of Union: legislation forming the union of Wales and England. Equal rights but with a separate legal and administrative system conducted wholly in English.

1546: First book printed in Welsh: Yn y Lhyvyr Hwnn.

1571: Jesus College, Oxford (the Welsh college) founded.

1588: Translation of complete Bible into Welsh, chiefly by William Morgan.

1642: Beginning of Civil War in England.

1644: Battle of Montgomery: first battle of Civil War on Welsh territory.

1646: Harlech and Raglan castles besieged during the Civil War. Harlech, the last Royalist castle, falls in 1647.

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Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey L. Thomas