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Roman and Dark Ages Harlaxton

Historical timeline

54 and 55 BC – Julius Caesar leads two limited Roman military expeditions to Britain

Birth of Christ

43 AD – The Roman Emperor Claudius orders four legions to conquer Britain

48 AD – The Romans have now conquered all territory between the Humber Estuary and the Severn Estuary. Parts that remain under British control include Dumnonii (Cornwall and Devon), Wales and the North West of England.

49 AD – The Romans found a colony (or colonia) at Colchester.

61 AD –Boudica leads an unsuccessful rebellion of the Iceni tribe against the Romans.

79 AD    Mount Vesuvius erupted and destructed Pompeii and other towns (in Italy)

100 AD– Most of the 8,000 miles of Roman roads in Britain are completed, allowing troops and goods to travel easily across the country.

122 AD – To strengthen the border between Roman-occupied Britain and Scotland, Emperor Hadrian orders the construction of a wall.

150 AD – Villas start appearing across the British countryside.

211 AD– After years of insurrection in the North, Britain is divided up into two separate provinces; the south was to be called “Britannia Superior” (superior being in reference to the fact that it was closer to Rome), with the north being named “Britannia Inferior”. London was the new capital of the south, with York the capital of the north.

250 AD onwards – New threats to Roman Britannia emerge as the Picts from Scotland, as well as the Angles, Saxon and Jutes from Germany and Scandinavia, start threatening Roman lands.

255 AD – With the increasing threat from seaborne Germanic tribes, London’s city wall is completed with the final stretch along the north bank of the Thames.

259 AD – Britain, Gaul and Spain split away from the Roman Empire, creating the so-called ‘Gallic Empire’.

296 AD – The Roman Empire recaptures Britannia Britain is then split up into four provinces; Maxima Caesariensis (northern England up to Hadrian’s Wall), Britannia Prima (the south of England), Flavia Caesariensis (the Midlands and East Anglia) and Britannia Secunda (Wales).

314 AD – Christianity becomes legal in the Roman Empire.

401 – A large amount of troops are withdrawn from Britain to protect Rome.

406 AD – For the past five years, Roman Britannia has suffered frequent breaches of its borders by Barbarian forces. With the Roman Empire focused on the more serious threats to Italy, reinforcements have stopped and Britain is left to its own devices.

410 AD – With increased incursions from the Saxons, Scots, Picts and Angles, Britain turns to the Roman emperor Honorius for help. He writes back telling them to ‘look to their own defences' and refuses to send any help. This letter marked the end of Roman Britain.

c500 AD - Saxons are settled in southern England. They evolve multiple 'kingdoms'.  British culture is generally extinguished from much of present day England but continues in western Britain.

570 AD Prophet Mohammed (the founder of Muslim religion) born

597 AD - St Augustine lands in Thanet to convert the pagan Saxons in Kent.

602 AD - King Ethelbert of Kent donates a site in Canterbury for a new cathedral.  His Frankish wife, Bertha, was already Christian.

627 AD - Edwin of Northumbria is the first Christian king in the north of England.

c650 AD By the end of the 7th century, there are 7 main Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in what is now modern England: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex, Kent, Sussex and Essex.  To the south-west are the West Welsh in Dumnonia (Devon) and Kernow (Cornwall).  Further British kingdoms are Powys, Gwynedd, Gwent (modern Wales), Rheged (Cumbria) and Strathclyde (south west Scotland),

793 AD The first recorded raid by the Danes

800 AD Gunpowder was invented in China

829 AD - Egbert, King of Wessex, conquers Mercia.

867 AD - The Danes capture York.

871-900 AD - The reign of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex.

886 AD - Alfred makes a treaty with the Danes that secures the Kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia for the Saxons and establishes the area of “Danelaw” north of the Thames and south of the Tees for the Danes.

1016 - Cnut of Denmark becomes King of England.

1042 - Edward the Confessor becomes King of England.

1066 - Edward the Confessor dies.  Harold becomes King of England.  England is invaded by Vikings from the north, culminating in the Battle of Stamford Bridge, and Normans from the south leading to the defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings. William, Duke of Normandy, is crowned King of England on 25th December.

Positioned almost on the route of the old Roman "salt way" which brought salt from the coast into the heart of Roman England and the Great North Road, Ermine Street, linking London with the important settlement of Lincoln, it comes as no surprise that Harlaxton has evidence of the Roman period. 

There is evidence of a small farmstead between the village and the edge of Grantham and a villa complex on the ridge above the village near the junction for Hungerton on Gorse lane.

A Roman or Saxon defensive or boundary ditch was discovered on the site of No. 9 Pond Street and a Roman urn containing burnt bones and coins was found in 1740 in the vicinity of the Tudor Manor House.

The name Harlaxton is derived from "Hiorleifrstun" a combination of the Old Norse personal name “Hiorleifr” and the Old English “Tun” meaning farmstead or village. The village probably originated as an Anglo Saxon settlement that was taken over and partially renamed by the Danes when they took control of the Norther half of England after 886.

Harlaxton lay in the Wapentake of Winibriggs, an ancient  administrative area dating back to long before the anglo saxon times.

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