Nigel, Bishop of Ely rebelled against King Stephen
who had confiscated his castles. Stephen retaliated and the Bishop was forced to flee to Gloucester.
1140 (6th February)
Archbishop Thurstan of York died.
1140 (after 6th February)
Stephen alienated church leaders when he refused to accept their advice regarding who to appoint as Archbishop of York. Stephen preferred to keep the See for members of his family.
1140 (early Summer)
Robert of Gloucester took back some of the land taken by Stephen in 1139.
Peace of Bath
Henry of Blois, Bishop of Winchester, held a peace conference at Bath to try to find a settlement between King Stephen and the clergy, but it collapsed when the clergy insisted that they should set the terms of peace rather than the King.
1141 (2nd February)
Battle of Lincoln
King Stephen and Matilda, daughter of King Henry I, fought a decisive battle at Lincoln. Stephen was captured and held prisoner by Matilda who declared herself Queen of England.
1141 (8th April)
Having captured Stephen, Matilda went to London to prepare for her coronation as queen. She had secured the support of Henry of Blois in return for a promise that he would have control of the church.
1141 (24th June)
There was an uprising in London in support of King Stephen and Matilda was forced to flee to Oxford.
Stephen’s wife, succeeded in recapturing London. Henry of Blois Bishop of Winchester changed sides again and gave his support to Stephen’s wife, Matilda of Boulogne.
1141 (14th September)
The Rout of Winchester
Matilda’s forces were no longer able to withstand the siege by Stephen’s forces and tried to break out and flee north. Matilda was able to get away but her half-brother Robert of Gloucester was captured.
Matilda was unable to continue the war without Robert of Gloucester and refused to make peace with Stephen’s wife. It was agreed that Robert of Gloucester would be swapped for Stephen and both were released.
1141 (25th December)
Stephen and his wife, Matilda were given a second coronation in Canterbury cathedral to reinforce their position as monarchs of England.
The Norman chronicler, Orderic Vitalis, died.
Robert of Gloucester went to Normandy to help Matilda’s husband Geoffrey
secure their position in Normandy.
1142 (26th September)
Stephen captured the town of Oxford and lay siege to Oxford Castle where Matilda was in residence.
Robert of Gloucester returned to England.
1142 (late Autumn)
Matilda escaped from Oxford Castle. It had been snowing and she wore a white cape to successfully camouflage her escape.
The English historian, William of Malmesbury, died.
1143 (1st July)
Battle of Wilton
Stephen was besieged in his castle at Wilton by Robert of Gloucester and attempted to break out. Robert of Gloucester had the stronger forces and Stephen was in danger of being captured but managed to escape when his steward, William Martel created a diversion.
Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, led a rebellion against the King in East Anglia.
Matilda’s son, Henry Plantagenet, returned to Anjou.
Geoffrey of Anjou, Matilda’s husband, took Rouen completing his conquest of Normandy.
Ranulf of Chester led a new rebellion against Stephen.
Geoffrey de Mandeville’s rebellion ended when he died during an attack on Burwell.
Woburn Abbey was founded.
1146 (late Spring)
Many knights and nobles left England to join the Second Crusade which had been called by Pope Eugene III following the fall of Edessa.
1146 (28th August)
Ranulf of Chester was captured and accused of treason. He was only released after giving all his castles to Stephen.
Ranulf of Chester began a new rebellion against the King.
Matilda’s son, Henry, arrived in England to fight for his mother’s cause but he had little success and returned to Normandy.
1147 (31st October)
Robert of Gloucester, Matilda’s half-brother, chief commander and main supporter, died.
Matilda, with little support in England following the death of Robert of Gloucester, was forced to return to Normandy.
Matilda’s son, Henry formed an alliance with Ranulf of Chester and made plans to attack York. However, Stephen marched north and the attack did not go ahead.
First published 2016; updated and republished May 24 2022 @ 2:06 pm – Updated – [last-modified]