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A London Chronology: The Eleventh Century

A London Chronology: The Eleventh Century
Posted on Jun 17, 2002 – 03:16 AM by Bill McCann

This series of articles presents a basic chronology of London but will also contain references to national events where these are important in the development of the London area. Wherever possible, the precise dates and days of the week on which the events here recorded took place are noted. The series is an organic one and will change frequently as new events or dates are extracted from our sources.


You can either jump to the chronology for a specific century using the following table of links or scroll through the centuries sequentially by following the links at the bottom of the page.
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The Eleventh Century

The White Tower standing in the ruins of the Roman wall

YearMonth/DayEvent
1002Thursday November 13The Massacre of the Danes in the southern counties of England took place by order of Ethelred II (The Unready). See alsoThe Queens of England: Ymma.
1002Aethelred orders the massacre of all the Danes in England.
1003The Danes, under Swein Forkbeard, invade but are repulsed.
1004Aelfhune becomes Bishop of London.
1009More Danish attacks on London are beaten back.
1011The Danes sack Canterbury and take Archbishop Aelfeah (Alphege) hostage for the enormous ransom of £48,000.
1012Saturday April 19Archbishop Aelfeah (Alphege) is murderd by a drunken mob of Danes at Greenwich.

The murder of Alphege in the Greenwich marshes.

1013Swein Forkbeard captures London in the Second Siege of London. He is declared King of England.
1014Aethelred regains England.
1014Aelfwig becomes Bishop of London.
1014Wednesday February 3Death of Swein. Ethelred II re-captures London.
1016Swein’s son, Cnut, by-passes London bridge by hastily digging a canal south of the bridge, lays siege to the City from the west and succeeds in retaking it. This is the Third Siege of London and also the oldest documentary reference to London Bridge.
1016Death of Ethelred II. He is succeeded by Edmund Ironside.
1016Edmund is defeated and killed in the battle of Ashingdon by Cnut.
1016Cnut takes London and is recognised by the Bishops and princes as King of all England.
1035Wednesday November 12Death of Knut king of England and Denmark. See also The Queens of England: Ymma.
1035Aelfward becomes Bishop of London.
1035Death of Cnut, eventually succeeded by Harald Harefoot.
1040Death of Harald, succession of Harthacnut.
1042Tuesday June 8Death of Harthacnut. “Harthnacnut dies thus: as he stood at his drink, he suddenly fell to the earth in a horrible fit, and those who were near him caught him, but he never said a word thereafter.” He is succeeded by Edward III, The Confessor.
1042Tuesday June 8Accession of Edward the Confessor.
1042The Portreeve of London is named as Wulfgar.
1042“All men chose Eadward as King in London.” London becomes the capital of England.
1043Sunday 3 April, Easter. Edward was crowned at Winchester.
1044Robert of Jumieges becomes Bishop of London.
1051-2Conflict between Edward and Godwin, earl of Wessex.
1050Leper Hospital at St James’s established.
1050Spearhafoc becomes Bishop of London.
1051William becomes Bishop of London.
1053Death of Godwin, his son Harald becomes earl of Wessex.
1054Sweetman is named as Portreeve of London.
1056Monday April 22The supernova in the Crab nebula was last seen by the naked eye.
1056The foundation of the collegiate church of St Martin’s le Grand by Ingelric, earl of Essex, and his brother Eirard.
1063Leofstan and Aelfsige are named as Portreeves of London.
1064-65Harald visits Duke William in Normandy. The reason is unknown. The Normans claimed it was to make submission.
1065Wednesday December 28consecration of the new abbey church at Westminster.

The death of Harald II in the Battle of Hastings.

1066Esegar the staller is named as the Sheriff of London.
1066Thursday January 5Death of Edward The Confessor
1066Friday January 6Edward is hastily buried in his new church at Westminster. Harald Godwinson, Earl of Essex, is crowned as king.
1066Friday January 6Coronation of Harald II.
1066Monday April 24The first appearance of a comet (Halley’s) that was later held to be a precurser of the Norman Conquest.
1066SeptemberHarald Hardrada, King of Norway lands, in the Humber to assert his right to the throne, aided by the exiled earl of Northumberlan d, Tostig.
1066Monday September 25Harald II defeated the King of Norway, Harald Hardrada, at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.
1066Thursday September 28Duke William of Normandy lands at Pevensey.
1066Saturday October 7Harald marshalld his forces at London and marched south to meet William.
1066Saturday October 14The Battle of Hastings was fought on Senlac Hill, where Harald II was slain as William the Conqueror’s troops routed the English army
1066Saturday October 14William I assumed the crown.
1066Monday December 25William the Conqueror was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
1066DecemberWilliam I entered London and confirmed Londoners in their rights. He began the construction of a defensive fort in the south-eastern corner of the City. This later became the site of the Tower of London
1066DecemberGosfright (Geoffrey de Mandeville) is named as Portreeve of London and Richard de Parc as Provost (Praepositus.
1066Monday December 25Coronation of William I at Westminster.

William the Conqueror granting the Charter to the City of London

1067A record of this year mentions “Westceap”, the street that later became “Cheapside”. This year also sees the first mention of the church of St Magnus the Martyr which is built of stone.
1067-1070Risings against Norman rule in Kent, the south-west, the Welsh Marches, the Fenland and in the north. All are put down with military ruthlessness.
1068Sunday May 11Matilda was crowned Queen at Westminster.
1069-70William ruthlessly harries the north of England and Scotland.
1070-1090Construction of the church of St Mary le Bow on Cheapside. The surviving crypt is the oldest ecclesiastical work in london apart from the tower chapel. The medieval name of the church was St Maria de Arcubus supposedly because it was the first church in London built on stone arches (bows).
1075Hugh d’Orval becomes Bishop of London and convenes an Ecclesiastical Council in St Paul’s.
1077Tuesday August 15The Third Great Fire of London destroys much of the City.
1077The first record of St Luke’s church in Charlton, which had been a Saxon foundation. It was constructed from chalk and flint.
1078William’s fort in the southeast of the City is rebuilt in stone as the White Tower.
1080The construction of the Baynard’s Castle and Mountfichet’s Tower immediately to the north, possibly as the gatehouse.
1082Aylwin Child founded a priory dedicated to St Saviour on Bermondsey March. It later (1089) became Bermondsey Abbey.
1084The church of St Nicholas Acon, in Nicholas Lane was built.
1085The church dedicated to St Alphege (see 1012) in Greenwich was built.
1085Maurice is named as Bishop of London.
1086The Domesday survey is carried out.
1086The Conquest is complete; the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy has been eliminated and replaced by the new Norman elite.
1087Thursday September 9Death of William I (the Conqueror)
1087Thursday September 9Death of William I. His second son, William, takes the throne despite the better claim of his elder brother, Robert Curthose, who becomes Duke of Normandy.
1087Sunday September 26Coronation of William II (Rufus).
1087AutumnA great pestilence in this year was followed by a disastrous fire in London, St Paul’s was burnt down. Montfichet’s Tower was also destroyed.
1088Monday June 12William Rufus suppressed a revolt led by Odo of Bayeux, bishop of Rochester, who supported Robert Curthose, elder brother of Rufus.
1088There was an unsuccessful rebellion in London against Rufus in support of his elder brother Robert Curthose and Bishop Odo of Rouen.
1089Monday May 28Death of Lanfranc, the 34th Archbishop of Canterbury.
1089The priory on the Bermondsey Marsh was endowed by William II with the manor of Bermondsey. Four Cluniac monks from La Charite on the Loire established the first settlement of what became Bermondsey Abbey.
1091A terrible south-easterly gale destroys 600 London houses. “Churches were heaped upon houses roofs, rafters, and beams hurtled through the air.” One of the churches of suffer was that of St Mary le Bow whose roof was blown off. The tide caused severe damage to London Bridge.
1093William Rufus appoints Anselm of Bec as Archbishop of Canterbury. Differences between the two soon arise.

William Rufus

1094The parish church of Harrow, St Mary, was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The manor was, from Saxon times, in the possession of Canterbury and outside the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London.
1095Wednesday November 18Pope Urban II opened the Council of Clermont.
1095Tuesday November 27Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade at Clermont.
1095William called a Council at Rockingham to deal with the matters in dispute between himself and Anselm. To the consternation of all, Anselm refused to recognise the secular court and appealed to the Pope.
1096First mention of the church of St Stephen Walbrook.
1096Robert Curthose is fired by the Crusading spirit and decides to go to the Holy Land. In order to raise the necessary revenues he pawns Normandy to William for 10,000 marks.
1097Major building works at the Tower and Westminster Hall, as well as repairs to London Bridge, were paid for by national taxes and enforced labour that many saw as unjust.
1097Unable to take any more harassment from William, Anselm went into exile. William took control of the estates at Canterbury.
1097Sunday October 4“there appeared a rare star shining in the evening, and soon sinking into its setting. It was seen in the southwest, and the beam of light which stood our from it seemed very long, shining in the southeast; nearly all of the week it appeared in this way. Many men supposed it was a comet.”.
1098A document listing the possessions of Canterbury provides the first mention of the London churches of St Dionis Backchurch, St Mary Aldermary and All hallows Barking.
1099Westminster Hall was completed this year. It was the largest hall in the country but William II did not think it impressive enough – “too big for a chamber and too small for a hall.”
1099Severe floods in London. “On the festival of St Martin, the sea-flood sprung up to such a height and did so much harm as no man remembered that it ever did before.”
1099A foreigner, Hugh of Flavigny, visiting London in the last years of the century, though impressed by its spaciousness and the magnitude of its population, found the only thing that called for remark was the phenomenal number of savage dogs that lurked about St Paul’s at night-time to the terror of the passers-by.
1100Hugo de Boch (Bochland) is named as Portreeve and Leofstan as Provost of London.
1100Jordan de Briceett endowed the nunnery of St Mary at Clerkenwell.
1100Cornhill, the site of a corn market was first mentioned in this year.
1100The church of St Martin Vintry is mentioned in a grant to the monastery of St Peter, Gloucester.
1100Sudden death of William Rufus in an accident whilst hunting in the New forest. He is succeeded by his younger brother Henry. The unlucky elder brother Robert Curthose was on Crusade.
1100Sunday August 5Coronation of Henry I at Westminster Abbey. The Coronation was carried out by Maurice Bishop of London since the archbishop of Canterbury was in exile and Henry would not wait for the arrival of the archbishop of York.
1100Sunday November 11Coronation of Matilda as Queen at Westminster Abbey.