English History Timeline 1050-1059

Edward the Confessor

This timeline gives a chronological listing of the main events in English History for the years 1050 – 1059

The monarch for this period was Edward the Confessor


1050 (during)
Leofric, first Bishop of Exeter was consecrated.
1051 (during)
A son, Edgar Aetheling, was born to Edward (the Exile) son of King Edmund II (Ironside) and his wife Agatha in exile, in Hungary.
1051 (during)
King Edward the Confessor abolished the heregeld, a tax introduced by Aethelred the Unready to pay for armed militia.
1051 (29th June)
Robert of Jumièges was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.
1051 (Summer)
Edward was visited by his sister’s second husband, Eustace II Count of Boulogne, and his retinue. On their return journey they became involved in a drunken fight in Dover and several Normans were killed.
1051 (late Summer)
King Edward the Confessor ordered that the people of Dover should be punished for the deaths of his Norman friends. He ordered Godwin Earl of Wessex to carry out the punishment.
1051 (September)
Earl Godwin of Wessex refused to carry out King Edward the Confessor’s order to punish the town of Dover and instead raised an army against the King. The King also raised troops but neither side was prepared to start a civil war so the matter was referred to the Witan.
1051 (24th September)
The Witan met to discuss Earl Godwin’s refusal to carry out the King’s orders. They decided that Godwin and his family should be banished. The Godwin family left England and Edward’s wife, Edith was sent to a convent.
1051 (Autumn)
William Duke of Normandy travelled to England and visited Edward the Confessor. It is likely that William was seeking approval for his marriage to Matilda of Flanders which had been banned by the Pope. He later claimed that during this visit Edward promised him the English crown.
1052 (during)
Edward devoted much of his time to the rebuilding of St Peter’s Abbey. The new building was to be called the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster but would be known as Westminster Abbey.
1052 (6th March)
Edward’s mother, Emma of Normandy, died. She was buried in Winchester.
1052 (Summer)
Earl Godwin of Wessex raised an army and accompanied by his sons, Harold and Tostig, launched an attack on England. They quickly took the South and Edward, unable to raise sufficient forces to defeat them, was forced to sue for peace. It was agreed that the Godwin family could return to England and that their titles and land would be restored to them. Edith was restored as Queen and Edward also agreed to drastically reduce his Norman advisers.
1053 (during)
Edward the Confessor sent troops to execute the Welsh Prince Rhys ap Rhydderch, for making a raid on England.
1053 (15th April)
Earl Godwin of Wessex died. He was succeeded by his son, Harold Godwinson who became Earl of Wessex.
1054 (during)
King Edward the Confessor learned that Edward, known as the Exile, son of Edmund Ironside, was still alive and living on the continent. He sent Ealdred, Bishop of Worcester to effect his return to England.
1054 (27th July)
Battle of Dunsinane
Earl Siward of Northumbria crossed the Scottish border to support Malcolm Canmore in his fight against Macbeth who had usurped the throne of Scotland from Malcolm’s father, Duncan. The Battle of Dunsinane resulted in the defeat of Macbeth.
1055 (during)
Earl Siward of Northumbria died. Edward appointed Tostig Godwinson to the position.
1055 (during)
Gruffydd ap Llywelyn declared himself ruler of all Wales and made an alliance with Aelfgar of Mercia. Together they defeated Earl Ralph of Hereford and Aelfgar took control of Hereford.
1056 (during)
King Edward the Confessor of England sent Harold Godwinson Earl of Wessex, to try to put pressure on Edward the Exile and his family to return England. It is almost certain that King Edward wanted to make Edward his heir.
1057 (during)
Edward’s nephew, Earl Ralph of Hereford, died. His territory was gained by Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex.
1057 (April)
Edward the Exile returned to England with his wife Agatha, son Edgar Aetheling, and daughters Margaret and Cristina.
1057 (19th April)
Edward the Exile died. There are no records of his being in poor health and it is likely that he was murdered. He was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.
1057 (31st August)
Leofric of Mercia died. He was the husband of Lady Godiva who reputedly rode naked through the streets of Coventry. He also founded Coventry’s first Cathedral.
1058 (during)
Malcolm Canmore had regained the Scottish throne.


First published Jul 2016; updated and republished May 8 2022 @ 1:00 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2016 – 2022). English History 1050 – 1059.

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