Here is the English Heritage’s top ten anniversaries set to be celebrated this year 2015 [events are arranged from the oldest].
Viking Invasion of England by Cnut – 1015 [1000 Years]
Cnut or more commonly known as Canute, most famous for the anecdote about attempting to withhold the tides in demonstration that he had no power to hold the elements back, is considered one of the most successful rulers of Anglo-Saxon England.
He was responsible for ushering an age where prosperity reigned after years of skirmishes between Vikings and the Saxons. His campaign to become king started during the summer of 1015, the time when he landed with his invasion force in Wessex. That campaign ended up successfully.
Viking settlement history is prevalent within the country especially in the northern part of England. The Age of Vikings is oftentimes believed to have started way back in 793. It was during this time that a Viking raid in Lindisfarne, Northumberland generated trepidation across Western Europe.
Magna Carta – June 15, 1215 [800 Years]
This coming June 2015 marks the 800th year from the time when King John set his seal to the “great charter” or the Magna Carta — June 15, 1215.
Today, the Magna Carta is viewed as among the cornerstones of British law and democracy though the agreement made little impact in its time and many of the provisions it stipulated have been abolished.
The Magna Carta was first signed at Runnymede in Surrey while the impact of the Barons’ War which rose up from this period is visible at castles like the Berkhamsted Castle and Dover Castle. Meanwhile, copies of this said document can be viewed from these following places — British Library, Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral.
First English Parliament – January 20, 1265 [750 Years]
2015 also sees the 750th anniversary of the establishment of the first English parliament. Seven and a half centuries past while in the middle of a civil war against King Henry III, Simon de Montford gathered together an elected body of representatives in what could be considered as “the commons” first meeting. While knights had been called into similar meetings before, the gathering de Montford called was the first time that boroughs were represented which made the event, arguably, the first true “English Parliament”.
The struggle between Simon de Montford and King Henry III went down into history as the Second Barons’ War as it followed the rivalries which gave birth to the Magna Carta some fifty years earlier. Combats took place in Evesham and Lewes while the siege of the Kenilworth Castle went on to become the longest throughout English history.
Siege of Carlisle – Summer of 1315 [700 Years]
Believed to be the most beleaguered castle throughout England, summer of 2015 commemorates the siege of the Carlisle Castle by the Scots. The Scottish forces marched into Cumbria seven centuries ago followed by a bitter struggle which involved ladders and even siege towers. The attempt to conquer the said castle famously failed, however.
For the commemoration, the English Heritage plans to hold a series of activities right on the site including a reenactment of the famous encirclement itself.
Battle of Agincourt – October 15, 1415 [600 Years]
English Heritage will mark the 600th year anniversary of this well-known English victory in the Hundred Years’ War at Hampshire’s Portchester Castle where the invasion forces gathered some six centuries in the past.
The Battle of Agincourt allegedly started when the French gave an insulting gift of tennis balls to the English King of the Kenilworth Castle. The actual battle occurred in France but its planning was in England. The bloodshed itself was one dramatic affair with the smaller number of English force composed of tired archers and men-at-arms defeated the much larger French army in the battle’s muddy location.
Aside from that, English writer William Shakespeare’s portrayal of King Henry V contributed much to popularity of the victory.
Battle of Waterloo – June 18, 1815 [200 Years]
An earlier commemoration of another famous battle in English history will take place before the marking of the Battle of Agincourt and that is the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Waterloo.
It can be remembered that two centuries ago, the Duke of Wellington, leading a coalition of nations, went victorious over the French forces and Napoleon Bonaparte on a battlefield in Belgium. later on, the Duke described the victory as a “damned close-run thing”.
This coming June 2015, the English Heritage will mark the famous English victory by commemorating Waterloo’s victor, the Duke himself, in several key locations connected with his life.
WWI – 1915 [100 Years]
2015 is still part of the centenary celebration of the First World War.
Through the war’s early days in 1914, troops had expected Great war to end by the time Christmas of that year rolled in. However, 1915 saw them still in the front line trenches enduring through gritty warfare and experiencing new sets of war horrors.
This year marks these key events: the first recorded use of chlorine gas, the unsuccessful Gallipoli campaign and the beginning of the attacks of the Zeppelin in England.
Dunkirk Evacuation – May 27 to June 4, 1940 [75 Years]
Dunkirk Evacuation, also known as the “miracle of Dunkirk”, is seen as one of the most famous British triumphs which came out from a crippling defeat during the Second World War.
Seventy-five years ago, thousands of Allied soldiers were evacuated from the Beaches of France via “little ships” preventing what could have been a cataclysmic defeat at the hands of the enemy.
The operation was dubbed Operation Dynamo and was organized in the Secret Wartime Tunnels which are located underneath Dover Castle. At present, visitors can access these tunnels along with the rooms where the evacuation was planned as well as a dramatic audio-visual presentation of the said campaign.
VE Day – May 8, 1945 [70 Years]
This coming May 2015, the 70th anniversary of the Victory in Europe day [VE Day] will be celebrated by the English Heritage with reenactments dating back to the era of the 1940s across its many sites in the country including Wrest park and Dover castle.
Sir Winston Churchill’s Death – January 24, 1965 [50 Years]
The 24th of this month marks the golden death anniversary of the fearless British Prime Minister during the Second World War, Sir Winston Churchill.
For this event, one can commemorate the life of this great man by visiting the many places in UK associated with his life along with the Second World War years, the time when he led the country.