Wessex Historical Timeline

Wessex was once an Anglo-Saxon, cultural group, in Southern Britain from the year 519 until the beginning of the 10th century when it was unified by Athelstan, king of the Anglo-Saxons. Wessex’s history background originates from two main sources. These are; the Western Saxon Genealogical Regnal List and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which conflict at times.

When Cenwealh, King of Wessex at that time, was baptized, Wessex began to be a Christian Kingdom and was developed under his rule. Later, Sussex, Isle of Wight and Kent were conquered by another king. Ine, who later succeeded, gave one of the most historic living English codes and created another West Saxon bishopric. The throne was then passed to several other kings that have unfamiliar backgrounds.

In the 8th century, Wessex maintained its independence while Mercia’s hegemony grew. During this time, a system for division of land, shires, was created. Egbert conquered Sussex, Essex, Surrey, Sussex, Mercia, Kent and some parts of Dumnonia. He also attained the Nothumbrian King position. However, in 830, Mercia restored its independence. His successor, Athelwulf, defeated the Danish army that attacked them in the Thames estuary. Alfred the Great was one among the four sons of the successor.

The Danes invaded Wessex in 871 and Alfred was forced to pay them so that they could leave. They came back 6 years later but were forced to leave. In 878, Alfred had to run away to a place called Somerset Levels but later prevailed the Danes at the Battle of Edington. During his time, Alfred was able to create a new code of law, assembled learned people to his court and allocated funds for organizing an army, building ships and creating a system of burhs, fortified settlements.

After Alfred’s sister died, Athelstan, his son took over Mercia in 918 and captured East Anglia and eastern Midlands from the Danes. In 1016, Cnut the Great conquered England creating the powerful Wessex earldom. Harold Godwinson reunited Wessex with the crown, in 1066, and Wessex ended.