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Historic Timeline

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Foundation of Normandy

DATE: 911

Treaty between the King of France and the Viking chief Rollon to bring an end to Viking raids that continue in England until the Danish invasion of 1014

DATE: 942

First Château in Falaise, built under Richard I, one of the first in Normandy

Danish empire

DATE: 1016

Knut (1016-1035, King of the Danes, the English and the Norwegians

DATE: 1017

Grant of land at Hastings to Abbey de Fecamp

DATE: 1025

Mentions of the port, the market and a fair in Caen

Robert the Magnificent, Duke of Normandy

DATE: 1027

After two long founding reigns of Richard I (942-996) and Richard II (996-1026), descendents of Rollon, feudal crisis in Normandy

DATE: 1027

Birth of William of Normandy in Falaise

DATE: 1027

Siege of Richard III, Duke of Normandy, against Robert the Magnificent, entrenched in the Château

William the Bastard

DATE: 1035

Death of Robert the Magnificent returning from pilgrimage in the Holy Land; William, aged 8, becomes Duke of Normandy

Edward the Confessor, King of England

DATE: 1042

Restoration of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy after the exile of Edward at the court of the Duke of Normandy (1017-1042)

DATE: 1042

Siege of Falaise by William of Normandy and Raoul of Gacé against Turstin Goz, the rebel Viscount of Hiemois

DATE: 1047

Battle of Vas-es-Dunes, victory of William of Normandy over his rebellious vassals

DATE: 1054

Battle of Mortemer, victory of William of Normandy's troops over the King of France

DATE: 1057

Defeat of a Franco-Angevin expedition at Varaville, near Caen

DATE: 1060

Construction begins on the Château of Caen

William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, King of England

DATE: 1066

Battle of Hastings (14 October) and conquest of England by the Normans; William of Normandy becomes King of England

DATE: 1066

First timber Motte and Bailey built at Rochester

DATE: 1066

Dedication of the church of Saint-Trinity at the 'Abbaye aux Dames' in Caen (18 June)

DATE: 1066

Construction of the first Castle of Hastings

DATE: 1067

Demolition of at least 98 Saxon homes and construction of earth and timber motte and bailey castle in Norwich

DATE: 1069

Sussex divided into 6 rapes, each with castle, to defend Anglo-Norman sea crossings. Hastings Castle given to Robert of Eu

DATE: 1075

Rebellion of the Earls and siege of Norwich Castle, currently held by Countess Emma

DATE: 1076

Traditional date for William the Conqueror ordering the building of Colchester Castle, on foundations of the roman Temple of Claudius

DATE: 1077

Dedication of the church of Saint Étienne of the 'Abbaye-aux-Hommes' in Caen (13 September)

DATE: 1086

The Domesday Book records a survey of land ownership and possessions of people in England

DATE: 1087

Stone castle built at Rochester for William Rufus by Bishop of Rochester Gundulf

William Rufus; Robert Courteheuse

DATE: 1087

Death of William: William Refus, King of England; Robert Courteheuse Duke of Normandy

DATE: 1088

First siege of Rochester Castle during the rebellion of the Norman Barons under Odo Bishop of Bayeux against William Rufus

DATE: 1094

William II assembled with large army at Hastings for expedition to France, later abandoned

DATE: 1094

Construction of the stone Keep in Norwich begins

DATE: 1096

Count William of Eu dies, buried within Hastings Castle

DATE: 1096

Foundation stone of Norwich Cathedral is laid by Herbert de Losinga, 1st Bishop of Norwich

DATE: 1100

William II is killed by an arrow whilst hunting in the New Forest; Henry I (fourth son of William I) is crowned King of England

DATE: 1100

Stonemasons replace the timber castle in Norwich with a Royal palace made from Caen stone and local flint

DATE: 1101

Castle of Rochester and town granted by Henry I to Eudo, Steward of Normandy, who is responsible for a second phase of building work

DATE: 1103

King Henry I visits Norwich

DATE: 1105

The people of Caen expel the garrison of Robert Couteheuse from the Château of Caen; Henri Ist Beauclerc celebrates Easter in the Château of Caen (13 April)

Henry I Beauclerc, King of England, Duke of Normandy

DATE: 1106

Battle of Tinchebray: victory to Henry I Beauclerc against his brother Robert Courteheuse

DATE: 1108

King Henry I visits Norwich

DATE: 1118

Henry I Beauclerc is in Caen

DATE: 1119

Herbert de Losinga dies

DATE: 1120

Sinking of the White Ship, which kills the only surviving and legitimate son and heir to King Henry I

DATE: 1120

Construction of the Keep and the 'Salle de l’Échiquier' of the Château of Caen by Henry I Beauclerc / Henry I increases the height of the outer wall of the Château of Caen

DATE: 1120

Eudo dies and Hamo de St Clair becomes Constable of Castle

DATE: 1121

Henry I visits Norwich Castle at Christmas

DATE: 1121

Stone Keep at Norwich is completed

DATE: 1123

Construction of the Great Keep of the Château of Falaise by Henry I Beauclerc

DATE: 1124

Henry I Beauclerc celebrates Easter in the Château of Caen (26 March, 'Salle de l’Échiquier'?)

DATE: 1127

Construction of the Great Keep at Rochester is started by William de Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury

DATE: 1132

Visit by Henry I, King of England and Duke of Normandy

Etienne against Mathilde

DATE: 1135

Death of Henry I Beauclerc. Etienne, King of England fights against Empress Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou

DATE: 1138

Caen supports Geoffrey of Anjou

DATE: 1138

Falaise, sides with King Etienne, resists an 18-day siege by the partisans of Geoffrey and Matilda

DATE: 1141

Matilda, daughter of Henry I, rules England for a few months but fails to consolidate her rule

DATE: 1144

Geoffrey of Anjou takes the Duchy of Normandy

DATE: 1144

Jews accused of murdering William of Norwich are given shelter at Norwich Castle

DATE: 1150

Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy

DATE: 1153

William, Count of Boulogne, William de Warenne and Archbishop. Theobald de Bec negotiate at Colchester with the future Henry II

DATE: 1154

Thomas Beckett appointed Dean of Collegiate Church

The Plantagenets

DATE: 1154

King Stephen dies, Henry II Plantagenet King of England

DATE: 1157

Henry II, King of England and Duke of Normandy visits Colchester

DATE: 1159

Christmas court at Château of Falaise

DATE: 1161

Major building works at Hastings Castle

DATE: 1162

Henry II and Thomas Beckett reside at Falaise

DATE: 1171

Construction of Hastings Keep (now lost)

DATE: 1172

Reunion of Norman barons in Caen for inquiry into the military services due from each feudal lord (8 September)

DATE: 1172

Negotiations (at the Château of Caen) between Henry II and the legates of the Pope after the murder of Thomas Becket (30 May)

DATE: 1173

Henry II Plantagenet celebrates Christmas in Caen ('Salle de l’Échiquier'?)

DATE: 1174

Signature of the Treaty of Falaise: Henry II imprisons William of Scotland in the Château to force him to sign the treaty, acknowledging that he is the vassal of the King of England

DATE: 1176

Session of the 'Échiquier' in the hall of the Château of Caen (first mention)

DATE: 1182

Grand Christmas court in the hall of the Château of Caen ('Salle de l’Échiquier'). On this occasion Henry II and his sons receive more than 1,000 knights

DATE: 1187

Henry II Plantagenet celebrates Christmas in Caen (Salle de l’Échiquier ?)

DATE: 1189

Enlargement of the residential space with the construction of the Little Keep at the Château of Falaise (end of the XII c.); faced with the conflict that placed him in opposition to the King of France Philippe Auguste, Richard The Lion Heart has the Château reinforced

DATE: 1194

Norwich is granted the status of a city, with exemptions for the Castle and Cathedral priory

DATE: 1196

William de Lanvalei becomes Constable of Colchester Castle

DATE: 1198

Extensive works in the Château of Caen

DATE: 1199

John Landless celebrates Christmas in Caen

DATE: 1199

John Landless directs the works in Falaise: consolidation of the Château and the town ramparts

DATE: 1200

A stone gatehouse and bridge are built over the dry ditch, replacing the previous wooden structure at Norwich Castle

DATE: 1201

King John promulgated his Ordinances as to the Sovereignty of the Seas from Hastings Castle

DATE: 1202

John imprisons Arthur of Brittany; son of his elder brother and allied to Philippe-Auguste; at the Château of Falaise.

DATE: 1202

Confiscation by Philippe-Auguste of the continental fiefs from John Landless

DATE: 1203

King John visits Colchester and again in 1205, 1209 and 1212

DATE: 1204

Hawise de Lanvalei, widow of William, entrusted the Castle by John

The duchy of Normandy passes into the domain of the King of France

DATE: 1204

Caen surrenders without conflict to Philippe Auguste, King of France (21 May); the siege of Falaise, after Easter of this year, lasts 7 days.

DATE: 1207

Construction of the Talbot Tower of the Château of Falaise

DATE: 1210

Improvement of the defenses of the Château and the town of Falaise (flanking round towers, fortified doors)

DATE: 1210

Construction of a chemise wall around the Keep (outer wall with four round towers), of the Porte des Champs and of the two round towers of the outer wall (Puchot Tower and Matilda Tower) at the Château of Caen

DATE: 1211

William de Lanvalei, son of William, becomes Constable of Colchester Castle

Revolt of the barons and the Magna Carta

DATE: 1214

John removes William de Lanvalei because of his support of the Barons

DATE: 1215

Following the signing of the Magna Carta with the Barons John forced to re-appoint William de Lanvalei

DATE: 1215

Sieges of Norwich Castle and rebellion under Roger Bigod, 2nd Earl of Norfolk

DATE: 1215

Castle of Rochester occupied by a French garrison in support of the Barons ; King John besieges Rochester Castle which is held by the rebel Barons by undermining the walls. Custody of castle is regained by the Crown.

DATE: 1216

Hastings swears allegiance to Louis, son of French King. Castle slighted to prevent it being used against John; death of King John

DATE: 1216

John besieges Castle of Colchester and retakes it from the French

DATE: 1220

Henry III repairs Rochester Castle, replacing the fallen square tower with a rounded tower.

DATE: 1226

First mention of Colchester Castle as a prison

DATE: 1256

Passage of Saint Louis through Caen

DATE: 1264

Rochester is beseiged again during the Second Barons War between Henry III and Simon De Montfort. The Keep is saved by the arrival of a relieving royalist force

DATE: 1275

Series of severe storms lead to erosion of Hastings castle Cliffs and buildings. Eventually half the inner bailey was lost.

DATE: 1300

Decline of the military importance of Norwich Castle

DATE: 1300

Norwich Castle is used as a County Gaol

DATE: 1300

Visit to Rochester Castle by Edward I

DATE: 1314

Queen Isabel of Scotland, wife of Robert the Bruce, was a prisoner in Rochester castle for several months

DATE: 1330

Hastings Castle is noted as being decayed. The Dean of the Collegiate Church petitioned the King for repairs, and was granted custody of the Castle.

DATE: 1338

First mention of the Home of the King (Home of Governors) in the Château of Caen

DATE: 1339

Town of Hastings plundered by French. Castle briefly brought back into use.

DATE: 1343

Unguarded castle pillaged by townspeople of Hastings. Clergy imprisoned

Hundred Year War

DATE: 1346

Siege and pillage of the town of Caen by Edward III, King of England. The Château remains impregnable: first mention of the Puchot Tower; modernisation of the 'Porte des Champs' at the Château of Caen;

DATE: 1347

Extensive works within the enclosure of the Keep of the Château of Caen and reinforcement of the rampart after the raid of 1346

DATE: 1367

Rochester castle is repaired by Edward III and Richard II in response to growing threat of French raiding parties during the Hundred Years War

DATE: 1377

Town of Hastings plundered and burnt by French / Start of long period of decline

DATE: 1381

Rochester Castle is attacked during the Peasants Revolt

DATE: 1416

Visit by Sigismund Emperor of Germany, with a retinue of a 1000 knights

DATE: 1417

Falaise is besieged from 4 November 1417 by Henry V. Surrender occurred on 16 February 1418

Normandy is occupied by the English

DATE: 1417

Siege and taking of Caen by Henry V, King of England. The Château capitulates (21 September)

DATE: 1438

Construction of the barbican of the 'Porte Saint-Pierre' at the Château of Caen

DATE: 1444

The Château receives the Duke of York, lieutenant general and governor of France and Normandy, during his stay in Caen

DATE: 1450

Caen surrenders to the King of France, Charles VII, after 15 days of siege (1st July).

DATE: 1454

Thomas Mallory, author of Le Morte d’Arthur, imprisoned in Castle of Colchester

DATE: 1475

Construction of the gothic choir of the church of Saint-Georges at the Château of Caen

DATE: 1500

Rochester Castle falls into neglect after Henry VII forbids his nobles from having private armies. Domestic fire destroys the interior of the Keep.

DATE: 1503

François de Silly, bailiff of Caen, has the Château of Caen's fortifications strengthened

DATE: 1522

Visits to Rochester Castle by Henry VIII and Charles V Emperor of Germany

DATE: 1540

King Henry VIII came to Rochester to meet his fourth wife Anne of Cleves

Reform, religious wars and civil wars: the end of fortified Châteaux

DATE: 1546

Collegiate Church within Hastings Castle seized in dissolution of monasteries. Castle in ruins

DATE: 1557

Five Protestants imprisoned for their faith in the Castle and then burnt at the stake

DATE: 1589

Last siege at Falaise: Henry IV drives out the Catholic League members and attacks the Château using artillery

DATE: 1591

Colchester Castle acquired by Pelham family, Lords of Chichester

DATE: 1600

Colchester Castle no longer defensible

DATE: 1610

James I gives the castle to Sir Anthony Weldon in whose family it remains until the nineteenth century

DATE: 1613

The governor's lieutenant complains about the poor state of the "dwellings" of the Château of Falaise: urgent works are programmed

DATE: 1620

The governor of Caen having stood against Louis XIII, the Château threatens a cannon attack on the town acquired by the King

DATE: 1629

Charles I grants Castle to the Earl of Carlisle and it ceases to be in royal ownership

DATE: 1645

Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General, uses the Castle as a base for his interrogations of people suspected of witchcraft

DATE: 1648

Royalist commanders, Lucas and Lisle, held in Castle before their execution at the end of the Siege of Colchester during the English Civil War

DATE: 1656

James Parnell becomes the first Quaker to perish for his faith when he dies, aged 19, of injuries sustained during his imprisonment in Colchester Castle

DATE: 1682

Refurbishment of the Home of Governors of the Château of Caen by the Count of Coigny.

DATE: 1683

John Wheely purchases Colchester Castle and starts to demolish parts of it.

DATE: 1727

Colchester Castle given to Charles Gray and Sarah Creffeild as a wedding present

DATE: 1746

Charles Gray starts to repair and restore parts of Colchester Castle

DATE: 1772

The request is made to destroy dilapidated nave of the feudal chapel of the Château of Falaise

French Revolution and the Franco-English wars: the reconversion of châteaux

DATE: 1789

On 21 July, Caen inhabitants force the entrance of the Château of Caen.

DATE: 1792

Architect, Sir John Soane, designs and builds a new gaol in and around Norwich Castle Keep

DATE: 1792

The Falaise Keep is transformed into a prison (project abandoned)

DATE: 1793

The National Convention (revolutionary parliament) orders the destruction of the Château of Caen, symbol of feudalism; only the Keep is progressively ruined

DATE: 1803

A school is built in the courtyard of the Château of Falaise

DATE: 1807

Redevelopment of the sector of the Keep of the Château of Caen for the construction of a powder magazine. The Keep is progressively razed to the ground.

DATE: 1811

During his passage through Caen, Napoleon envisages the total destruction of the Château given the state of dilapidation of the fortress

DATE: 1822

Prison blocks outside Norwich Castle Keep are demolished and a new gaol is designed by William Wilkins, Norwich-born architect and archaeologist

Archeology & restorations

DATE: 1824

First excavations of Hastings Castle. Partially rebuilt as pleasure garden.

DATE: 1834

Architect Anthony Salvin undertakes a refacing of Norwich Castle Keep with Bath limestone

DATE: 1836

Colchester Castle ceases to be a prison

DATE: 1840

Given the dilapidated state of the Château of Falaise's Keeps, the classification of historical monument is launched by Prosper Mérimée, Minister of Fine Arts. This is the beginning of several decades of works under a succession of architects

DATE: 1860

Castle of Colchester opens as a museum

DATE: 1870

Rochester Castle grounds leased and turned into a public pleasure garden during which the last traces of the medieval outer gate and drawbridge are demolished

DATE: 1876

First taking of the garrison of the 36th Infantry Regiment of Caen. It will be finally established there only in 1901.

DATE: 1884

Rochester Castle is purchased by the City of Rochester for £6,572

DATE: 1894

Norwich Castle is converted into a museum

DATE: 1934

Colchester Castle re-roofed

Second World War

DATE: 1939

Roman vaults under Castle of Colchester used as an air raid shelter

DATE: 1944

The Château of Caen is hit during the allied bombardments

DATE: 1944

Bombardment of Falaise by the allies. The school is destroyed as well as the choir of the castle chapel. Reparation works on the ramparts and the Keeps will take place during the following decade.

DATE: 1947

First archeological research in the Château of Caen

DATE: 1951

Acquisition of Castle by Hastings Borough Council

DATE: 1956

The Château of Caen becomes the property of the town

DATE: 1963

Museum of Normandy open to the public in the former Home of Governors of the Château of Caen

DATE: 1984

English Heritage takes over guardianship of Rochester Castle

DATE: 1986

Restoration and redevelopment of the Keeps of the Château of Falaise and development of the programme of digs, restoration and improvement of the Château

DATE: 1997

Entire site of the Château of Caen is classed as an Historical Monument.

DATE: 2001

Norwich Castle is refurbished and launched as a museum fit for the 21st century

DATE: 2007

Campaign to restore the ramparts of the Château of Falaise

DATE: 2008

Opening of the Rampart Rooms in the Château of Caen (museographic section).

Norman Connections

DATE: 2009

Towns of Caen, Bayeux and Falaise, the Calvados General Council, the Calvados Departmental Committee for Tourism, the counties of Hastings, Colchester, Norwich and Medway Council collaborate within the framework of the Norman Connection project on the restoration and improvement of Norman châteaux.

European Regional Development Fund
The European Union, investing in your future
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