[Kurt_Steiner: I was hoping you'd show.
Tanzhang: Well, it's commencing, so no trouble there.
Tommy4ever: That should occupy you for a little while.
Eber: I hope to top that section in depth and the like, so hopefully you'll like this one even more.
Lazzeer: Welcome to the story, and I hope it lives up to your expectations.
asd21593: I know there's been at least one or two that got all the way along... I intend to get this one to 1936, too. ]
History of England and Britain: 1066 - 1836
1066 found England caught in the midst of a chaotic succession crisis. King Edward III had died without a son, and his most direct heir by blood, Edgar, was too young to take the throne while outside forces threatened to invade. The most direct and logical candidate in his place was Harold Godwineson, Earl of Wessex and brother-in-law to Edward, and he was duly chosen to rule. However, two others contested the throne: Harald of Norway and William of Normandy. Both paid for their attempt with their life, Harald at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire, and William at Hastings in Sussex. The latter battle, however, also resulted in the death of Harold himself. Edgar was reluctantly chosen to be King, fated to be the last of the Cerdicing line that had ruled England since Alfred the Great's first unification with only short interruption.
Edgar's nephew Osric, of the new House of Siward, became the new king and rapidly made a name for himself. After getting an English bishop in place in Rome as Pope, Osric made himself the main power in the British Isles, then set his eyes far afield. The famed "Second Crusade" of 1103 - 1123, despite taking him away from his kingdom for a full two decades, first brought fame and attention to an otherwise ignored land. An English king and English armies, spurred on by the hope for salvation and the advancement of Christendom, smashed the Muslim states of southern Spain and parts of North Africa, placing Christian kingdoms behind them. Although the Crusade was only of moderate long-term impact, as North Africa fell back to the Muslims soon after, Osric himself eventually joined the ranks of the saints, the English brought back with them (unfortunately little-exploited) Muslim translations of classical texts long lost to Europeans, and the Siwardings had their first foothold in the minds of the other European monarchs.
Saint Osric leaving on Crusade, by Alphonse Marie de Neuville (1883)
Osric's successor Aethelwulf II added Wales to the kingdom in the 1130s, and the next king, Eanbert, added much of Ireland to England's holdings as well. These conquests went along unperturbed; the Pope regularly gave his tacit (or rarely, even explicit) approval to English domination of the British Isles, a vitally important advantage that allowed England to go from being a nowhere to a fledgeling empire, although one that still lay on the edge of the known world. Said empire did not rest on its laurels, soon adding Holland (1162) and entering into a short-lived personal union with Poland (1174). The later resulted in massive changes to England; the new king, Osric II, finally integrated England with the Continental culture of the High Middle Ages. French and German styles and literature, such as there were at the time, appeared in England, while Osric spent considerable time in Poland, earning him that land's adoration as he expanded the Polish kingdom. Despite this, his decision to return to Britain and complete the absorption of Ireland resulted in him abdicating his Polish and Lithuanian thrones, which he could not rule along with England simultaneously, and ending the personal union after only eight years.
Back in his homeland, Osric turned his eyes north, to the final land of the British Isles not under his control: Scotland. The conquest of that land would be a long and arduous one, beginning in 1183 and reaching its completion in 1197, claiming an English king (Sigeric) in the process. Fighting in France after the completion of that conflict did not go nearly as well, resulting in a humiliating defeat near Paris, but a significant one: King Eanbert chose from among his vassals a new and ultimately era-defining military commander: Edsel Borcalan. Member of a family of Hungarian extraction that had come to England along with Osric II, Edsel (whose Hungarian name, Atilla, fit his abilities perfectly, if not his temperment) was perhaps the greatest military mind of the 13th century, with the possible exception of King Premyslav of Hungary. Edsel turned back the victorious French army and alloweed Eanbert to leave France 5,000 marks richer and with his honour intact. Edsel soon helped add the Scottish Isles, to then part of the exiled Kingdom of Norway, to the English kings' domain.
The Siwarding empire, however, had reached its height with this final unification of the British Isles. Attempts by the later kings, particularly Eadbert,* to extend and centralise royal authority were met with immediate and vehement opposition from the nobility. Eadbert's son, Harold II, met the brunt of this opposition, as his nobles rose up in general revolt. Despite agreeing to sign a document securing the rights of the nobility, Harold quickly turned his back on his agreement and paid the price, killed in battle against one of his thanes barely a year into his reign - a short but momentous one. The Magna Carta, the aforementioned document, passed into English law as the original legal basis for all British rights throughout the ages. Edsel, having failed to protect the king, unfairly took the burden of that failure onto himself and committed suicide a few years later, depriving England of its greatest leader.
Last of all, and fatally for the Siwardings, the new king, Osric III, was only a child and grew up to be no better a king than he had been in his youth. Spurred on by a sense of religious righteousness that allowed him no compromise (and caused him to remain celibate, resulting in no heir), Osric attempted to again make the English king an absolute monarch. The result was the complete implosion of the realm and a decade and a half of bloody anarchy, eventually leaving royal authority only followed in a few scattered regions of England and Wales. The remnants of the English ruling council finally declared Osric insane and deposed him in 1266. No more Siwardings remained to take the throne; the new heir was the son of Eadbert's daughter: Eldric, heir to the Duchy of Bretagne, and first of the long line of de Cornouaille Kings of England.
*Not, of course, to be confused with his predecessor Eanbert.