History of Great Britain
330 BCE – 31/1/1901
From the end of the Roman Occupation to the death of Queen Victoria
SCOTLAND - See Appendix One below for events up to Act of Union 1707 relating solely to Scottish history.
See also Ireland
See also Economy & Prices
See also Sports, Art and Communications
“As for Britain, it is set in the Sea of Darkness. It is a considerable island, whose shape is that of the head of an ostrich, and where there are flourishing towns, high mountains, great rivers and plains. This country is most fertile; its inhabitants are brave, active and enterprising, but all is in the grip of perpetual winter." Muhammad Al Idrisi, 12th century Arab
Colour key: Note The following time periods may also include preliminary events and aftermath.
Anglo-French conflict 1100s
King John (1199-1216)
Hundred Years War 1340-1453
Peasants Revolt 1381
Wars of the Roses (1452-85)
King Henry VII 1485 - 1509
Civil War events (1628-51)
Anti Charles II / James II plots 1683-5
Seven Years War
Briton-Welsh defeats, post Rome
22/1/1901. Queen Victoria died, at of a cerebral haemorrhage Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, aged 81; the longest reigning and longest lived monarch of Britain. Accession of King Edward VII to the British throne. His coronation was on 9/8/1902. King Edward VII was born on 9/11/1840, and was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Crowned at 60 years of age, he proved a popular monarch who gave his name to the Edwardian era. He was made Prince of Wales by his mother when only one month old. His free and easy social life made him a prominent figure in society and he was involved in several scandals. His coronation was elaborate and was a departure from the rather dour image of the monarchy in the latter part of Queen Victoria’s reign. Edward VII is remembered as a popular man who tried to ensure peace in Europe, touring European capitals in a diplomatic role. An estimated 500,000 watched the funeral procession of Queen Victoria as it travelled through the silent streets of London, on 2/2/1901. The funeral took place at Windsor.
19/1/1901, Queen Victoria became seriously ill.
31/12/1900, At Stonehenge, Stone No. 21 and its lintel fell down.
17/10/1900. Lord Salisbury’s Tory government was re-elected, in the British General Election. Tory popularity was high after the Boer War victory.
See South Africa for events of Boer War
4/8/1900. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was born in St Pauls, Waldenbury, Hertfordshire, as Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the 9th of 10 children.
25/6/1900. Earl Louis Mountbatten, military commander and last Viceroy of India, was born at Frogmore House, Windsor.
4/4/1900, The Prince of Wales escaped unhurt after an attempt on his life by a 16-year old anarchist, Jean-Baptiste Sipido, in Brussels railway station, Belgium. The would-be assassin said he targeted the Prince because he held him responsible for the many deaths in the Boer War under Lord Kitchener.
27/2/1900. The British Labour Party was formed by the Trades Unions, along with the Fabians. Ramsay MacDonald was its secretary; he later became its leader and Prime Minister.
23/1/1899, Lord Denning, British Judge and Master of the Rolls, was born.
19/5/1898. William Ewart Gladstone, born 29/12/1809, four times Liberal Prime Minister, died at Hawarden Castle, north Wales, aged 88.
15/11/1897, British Labour leader Aneurin Bevan was born in Tredegar, Wales. He was one of 13 children, son of a miner.
22/6/1897. Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee.
12/6/1897, Anthony Eden, Conservative Prime Minister, was born at Windlestone Hall, Bishop Auckland, Durham. He later became the Earl of Avon.
1895, The National Trust was founded, to ‘preserve lands and buildings of historic interest or natural beauty for public access and benefit’.
14/12/1895. The future King George VI was born in Sandringham, Norfolk, second son of George V and Mary, see 11/12/1936.
15/5/1895, Joseph Whitaker, who founded Whitaker’s Almanac in 1869, died.
24/1/1895, Lord Randolph Churchill, founder of the British Conservative Party, died.
28/9/1894. The first Marks and Spencer store opened, as a Penny Bazaar at Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
18/9/1894. The Blackpool Tower opened. It is a 500 foot high replica of the Eiffel Tower.
1/9/1894, The first use of postcards with adhesive stamps in Britain.
7/9/1893, (1) The Featherstone Massacre. In Yorkshire, striking miners campaigning for a living wage were fired upon; soldiers killed 2 and wounded 16.
(2) Leslie Hore-Belisha, British Liberal politician, was born in Devonport.
14/1/1893. The UK Labour Party was founded in Bradford, W Yorks.
18/8/1892. In Britain, William Ewart Gladstone formed his fourth Liberal Government after his election defeat of the Conservatives under Lord Salisbury.
11/8/1892, (1) The Marquess of Salisbury left office as prime Minister.
(2) Hugh McDaimid, Scottish poet and founder of the Scottish Nationalist Party, was born.
18/7/1892, The pioneer travel agent Thomas Cook died.
4/7/1892. James Kier Hardie, standing in the General Election at Holytown, Lanarkshire, became the first Socialist to win a seat in the British Parliament. He was MP for the London docklands area of West Ham. He was elected as an independent socialist but planned to form a Labour party to represent the workers. See 14/1/1893.
13/4/1892. Sir Arthur (Bomber) Harris, RAF Marshal was born. He joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, and was appointed Commander in Chief of the RAF Bomber Command in 1942. From 1942 on he developed and applied the technique of “saturation bombing” to Axis occupied cities, totally demolishing them.
10/12/1891, Earl Alexander, British Army Commander in North Africa, and Italy in World War II, was born in County Tyrone, Ireland.
8/10/1891. The first street collection for charity took place in Britain. It was on the streets of Manchester and Salford, for Lifeboat Day.
6/10/1891, Death of W H Smith, the bookseller.
31/5/1889. Britain passed the Naval Defence Act in response to the growing naval power of both Russia and France.
24/4/1889. Sir Stafford Cripps, the Labour Chancellor who introduced austerity measures in Britain after the Second World War, was born.
6/8/1888. Elected County Councils were established in Britain through the local Government Act.
9/7/1888, Simon Marks, British retailer, was born in Leeds.
21/6/1887, Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations.
1/2/1886, William Gladstone resumed office as Prime Minister.
28/1/1886, The Marquess of Salisbury left office as Prime Minister.
23/6/1885, The Marquess of Salisbury took up post as Prime Minister.
9/6/1885, William Gladstone left office as Prime Minister.
6/12/1884, The Franchise Act, or Third Parliamentary Reform Act was passed, giving almost all adult males the vote. However domestic servants, bachelors living with their parents, and those of no fixed address were still voteless. This measure increased the electoral roll by some 2 million, four times the number added in 1832.
1/2/1884. The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, A – Ant, was published.
4/10/1883, Sir William Alexander Smith founded the Boys Brigade in Glasgow.
3/10/1883, Burnham Beeches was dedicated to public use for all time.
1/8/1883, Inland parcel post began in Britain.
25/2/1883, Princess Alice Mary, later Countess of Athlone, was born.
24/4/1882, Lord Dowding, British Air Force Commander who won the Battle of Britain, was born in Moffat, Scotland.
2/3/1882. Roderick MacLean tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Queen Victoria, as she sat in a railway carriage at Windsor station.
19/4/1881. Benjamin Disraeli, British Conservative Prime Minister, died. He was buried at Hughenden, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Robert Gascoyne Cecil, Lord Salisbury, was chosen to replace him as leader of the Conservative Party.
7/3/1881, Ernest Bevin, Labour Party politician, was born in Winsford, Somerset.
22/12/1880. George Elliot died.
15/4/1880. In Britain the Liberals won the General Election. Prime Minister William Gladstone took over from Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield.
18/9/1879, Blackpool’s first annual illuminations were switched on.
23/4/1879. First Royal Shakespeare Theatre opened in Stratford on Avon (replaced by a new one on 23/4/1932).
13/9/1877. Manchester Town Hall opened.
23/8/1877. Britain passed the Merchandise Act, obliging exporters to indicate the place of manufacture of their goods.
13/8/1877, Birkenhead, near Liverpool, became a borough; John Laird was the first Mayor.
20/9/1876, Sir Titus Salt, born 20/9/1803, died.
7/5/1876, Samuel Courtauld, British industrialist and arts patron, was born in Braintree, Essex.
25/8/1875. Matthew Webb, 27, from Shropshire, became the first person to swim the English Channel. He took 21 hours 45 minutes, using the breast-stroke, from Admiralty Pier, Dover, to Calais.
26/12/1874. Boxing Day was first recognised as a Bank Holiday in the UK.
30/11/1874, Sir Winston Churchill was born at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
17/2/1874, William Gladstone left office as Prime Minister.
6/9/1873, Austin Reed, men’s outfitter, was born in Newbury, Berkshire.
9/5/1873, Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, was born at Swaffham, Norfolk.
8/5/1873, The English economist and philosopher John Stuart Mill died.
18/7/1872. Britain passed the Ballot Act, providing for secret ballots at elections.
24/10/1871. The Aurora Borealis was seen as far south as southern England.
18/6/1871, The Test Act allowed students at Oxford and Cambridge universities to gain degrees and fellowships without subscribing to any particular religion.
29/5/1871, Whit Monday, became the first Bank Holiday in Britain.
25/5/1871. The House of Commons passed the Bank Holiday Act, creating public holidays on Easter Monday, Whit Monday, and Christmas Day. Monday
17/1/1871, David Earl Beatty, British Admiral and Fleet Commander in World War One, was born in Nantwich, Cheshire.
4/8/1870. The British Red Cross was founded by Lord Wantage.
18/3/1869, Neville Chamberlain, British Conservative Prime Minister 1937 to 1940 was born in Birmingham.
10/12/1868. The first edition of Whitakers Almanack was published.
9/12/1868. Following a Liberal General Election victory, William Ewart Gladstone formed the next UK government, defeating Disraeli. This was the first of Gladstone’s four terms of office as Prime Minister.
8/11/1868, Viscount Lee of Fareham, who gave the Buckinghamshire country house Chequers to the nation in 1921, was born.
12/7/1868, The Scottish Reform Act was passed.
28/3/1868. The Earl of Cardigan, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade (25/10/1854) to disaster at Balaclava, in the Crimean War, died. He is best remembered for the woollen garment named after him.
17/2/1868. Ill health caused the resignation of the Conservative Prime Minister Lord Derby. He was succeeded by Benjamin Disraeli on 29/2/1868.
12/11/1867, The Conservative Party held their first Annual Parry Conference, in a London pub, the Freemasons in Great Queen Street.
15/8/1867. By a Parliamentary Reform Act, one million more voters were added to the UK electorate, mostly urban ratepayers. Those who owned house and paid rates, or lodgers paying more than £10 a year rent, could now vote. The enfranchised population of the UK now stood at 7.9%.
3/8/1867, Stanley Baldwin, British Conservative and three times Prime Minister between 1923 and 1937, was born at Bewdley, Worcestershire, the only son of a wealthy industrialist and member of parliament. The author Rudyard Kipling was Baldwin's cousin on his mother's side of the family
1866, Britain passed the Metropolitan Commons Act, prohibiting any further enclosure (for private housing development) of urban commons lands. This Act was largely the result of disputes over development of common lands around London, Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon and Epping Forest in particular. The rapid expansion of britsin’s towns and cities put great pressure on common lands. In London the Lord of Hampstead Manor in the early 19th century, Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, had fought a legal battle from 1829 onwards to be allowed to build on Hampstead Heath. After the passage of the Metropolitan Commons Act, and the death of Sir Wilson in 1868, his heir withdrew from the legal fight. The Metropolitan Board of Works then bought the rights to Hampstead Heath for £45,000 (Sir Wilson had been asking for £400,000) and Hampstead Heath became public property.
12/10/1866. Ramsay MacDonald, who in 1924 became Britain’s first Labour Prime Minister, was born in Lossiemouth, Morayshire, Scotland.
18/10/1865. Lord Palmerston died, two days short of his 81st birthday. He was staying at his wife’s house, Brockett Hall in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, when struck by fever. He was Secretary for war, Foreign Secretary, and then Prime Minister during a time when Britain was the richest and most powerful nation on Earth. When he was born, on 20/10/1784, Britain had a population of 9 million, 80% of whom worked in agriculture. When he died, Britain had a population of 29 million, 60% of whom worked in manufacturing.
10/3/1864, Prince Edward was born.
16/10/1863, Sir Austin Chamberlain, British politician, was born in Birmingham.
27/5/1863, Broadmoor asylum for the criminally insane at Crowthorne, Berkshire was opened.
10/3/1863, King Edward VII, as the Prince of Wales, married Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The marriage was in St Georges Chapel, Windsor.
17/1/1863, David Lloyd George, British Liberal Prime Minister 1916-22, was born in Manchester.
14/12/1861. Prince Albert Consort of Queen Victoria, died, of typhus in Windsor Castle.
19/6/1861, Earl Haig, British military commander in WWI, was born.
23/4/1861, Viscount Allenby, British World War One Army Commander, was born in Brackenhurst, Nottinghamshire.
See India for British colonisation of India
5/12/1859, Admiral Jellicoe, British naval commander, was born in Southampton, son of a sea captain.
28/6/1859, The first dog show in the UK took place at Newcastle on Tyne Town Hall, with 60 entries split between two classes, Pointers and Setters.
18/6/1859, Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister.
21/2/1859, (1) Viscount Palmerston left office as Prime Minister.
(2) George Lansbury, British Labour politician and party leader, was born near Lowestoft, Suffolk.
16/9/1858, Andrew Bonar Law, UK Prime Minister, was born.
11/1/1857. Birth of Henry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Britain’s first large department store. Also on this day was born the champion jockey Fred Archer.
1856, An Army Staff College was set up at Sandhurst.
15/8/1856, Kier Hardie, Labour leader, was born near Holytown, Lanarkshire. He helped found the Labour Party.
29/1/1856. Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military decoration. Awarded for conspicuous bravery or great devotion to duty. The award was backdated to 1854 to cover the Crimean War; on 26/6/1856 62 men were given the Victoria Cross for deeds during this war. The VC has been awarded 1,354 times since then, to 2002, but has only been given posthumously since 1920. It has been awarded only 11 times since 1945, the last 2 being in the Falklands War of 1982. The medal is made of metal from Russian guns captured in the Crimean War.
9/2/1855, Mysterious hoof-prints appeared in the snow in Devon, as if a two legged creature had walked 100 miles over fields, walls, and roof-tops. No explanation was ever found.
6/2/1855, The Whig/Liberal Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister. He succeeded Lord Aberdeen, who resigned on 20/1/1855.
For Crimean War see Russia 1850s
1854, The UK Govermnent purchased a large tract of moorland known as Aldershot Heath, to set up Aldershot Camp. This was to enable military practices in a large enough area to allow for brigade and divison manoeuvres in peacetime, since this had not been done since the Napoleonic Wars with France.
21/6/1854, The first Victoria Cross was awarded, to Charles Lucas, a 20-year-old Irishman who threw an unexploded Russian bomb overboard, whilst on HMS Hecla at Bomarsund in the Baltic.
9/1/1854, Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston Churchill, was born.
14/9/1852, The Duke of Wellington, victor at Waterloo, died at Walmer Castle, Kent, aged 83, as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
14/9/1851, Death of the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo and subsequently became Prime Minister.
8/7/1851, Sir Arthur John Evans, British archaeologist who excavated Knossos on Crete, was born.
24/6/1850, Lord Kitchener, British army commander and Secretary of State for War in 1914, was born near Ballylongford, County Kerry, Eire.
1/12/1849, Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV, died.
19/5/1849, William Hamilton attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria.
13/2/1849, Lord Randolph Churchill, British Conservative politician and father of Winston Churchill, was born at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
1848, Manchester prohibited the construction of back-to-back housing. However such accommodation was still being constructed in Leeds until after 1900.
25/7/1848, Arthur James Balfour, British Conservative and Prime Minister, was born in East Lothian, Scotland.
19/1/1848, Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel, was born in Dawley, Shropshire, the son of a doctor.
1847, The British Army replaced service for life by a minimum ten-year term.
1841, Norfolk Park, Sheffield, was laid out as a public park.
8/12/1841, Prince Albert Edward was created Prince of Wales; he later became King Edward VII.
28/8/1841. The Conservative leader Sir Robert Peel succeeded the Whig, Lord William Melbourne, as Prime Minister. Under Peel’s second term in office, he intended to reduce import duties to promote free trade.
28/1/1841, Henry Stanley, British explorer and journalist, was born at Denbigh, north Wales, as John Rowlands.
30/3/1840, Beau Brummel, the Regency Dandy, died at Caen in a pauper’s lunatic asylum. He had fled Britain to escape gambling debts.
10/2/1840. Marriage of Queen Victoria, born 24/5/1819, to her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, born 26/8/1819 at Rosenau, near Coburg, Germany. They were married in the Chapel Royal at St James Palace.
15/10/1839. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert became betrothed. She proposed to him, as recorded in her diary, ‘it was a nervous thing to do, but Albert could not propose to the Queen of England. He would never presume to take such a liberty’.
1/7/1837. The first Register of Births, Deaths, and Marriages was begun in England and Wales. The first entry was for the birth of a baby girl, Mary Ann Aaaron, born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire.
20/6/1837. (1) King William IV died at Windsor. He was born on 21/8/1765 and was known as the sailor king, for his service in the Royal Navy. His numerous affairs included 10 illegitimate children born to the Irish actress Dorothy Jordan.
(2) Accession of William IV’s niece Queen Victoria, born 24/5/1819; crowned on 28/6/1838, aged 19. She was originally named Alexandrine Victoria but instructed the Privy Council to delete her first name.
27/12/1836, A landslide at Lewes, Sussex, swallowed up houses and killed 8 people.
See Economy & Prices for more events related to Chartist Movement
17/8/1836. Registration of all births, marriages, and deaths in Britain was required under the Registration Act.
11/7/1836, Bristol Zoo opened.
9/9/1835. The Municipal Corporation Act in Britain reformed city and town government in line with the major population shifts brought on by the Industrial Revolution. The old ruling oligarchies of borough councils were replaced by elected councils, elected by all rate paying householders of three year’s standing. Tory lawyers, Anglican clergy, and the aristocracy lost power to small shopkeepers, businessmen, Non-conformists, and better off members of the working class. This paved the way for public improvements like street widening, public utilities such as gas and water, and a municipal fire service.
18/6/1835, William Cobbett, journalist and reformer, died.
22/4/1834, Saint Helena became a British colony.
30/9/1832, Lord Roberts, British military leader, was born in Cawnpore, India.
6/6/1832, Jeremy Bentham died.
4/6/1832. The Representation of the People Act received Royal Assent. It introduced electoral reform in Britain. Smaller property owners were given the vote, extending the electorate to 20% of adult males, twice as many as before. 56 ‘rotten boroughs’ with a total population of 2,000 were abolished, and some rural areas lost one of their two MPs. New constituencies were created in the expanding industrial towns of Manchester, Birmingham, and elsewhere. There was resistance in the House of Lords from 21 bishops.
31/10/1831, Riots in Bristol raised fears of revolution breaking out across Britain. Four of the rioters were executed.
10/10/1831, Three days of rioting in Derby (8-10 October) following the defeat in the House of Lords of the Reform Bill. This Bill, which passed its Third reading in the Commons in September 1831, would have enlarged the electorate. Further riots in Bristol, 29-31 October. In April 1832 a second Reform Bill was passed by the House of Lords.
8/9/1831, Coronation of King William IV.
26/6/1830. King George IV died, aged 67. He was England’s fattest king, and his favourite breakfast was 2 pigeons, 3 beefsteaks, a bottle of Moselle, a glass of champagne, two of port, and one of brandy. William IV, his brother, succeeded him. With no legitimate children to succeed him, Victoria was to be the next monarch.
13/4/1829. The Catholic Emancipation Act became law. Catholics were allowed to hold every public office except those of Regent, Lord Chancellor, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
26/1/1828, The Duke of Wellington became Tory Prime Minister.
25/1/1828. The Duke of Wellington and Robert Peel formed a Conservative government.
13/8/1827, The first giraffe arrived in Britain.
8/8/1827, George Canning, British Prime Minister, died.
16/7/1827, The potter Josiah Spode died.
17/2/1827, The Earl of Liverpool left post as Prime Minister, paralysed by a stroke.
17/1/1827, The Duke of Wellington was appointed Commander in Chief of the British Army.
24/6/1825. William Henry Smith, English newsagent and bookseller, was born. He joined his father’s news agency business and took full control in 1846, building the biggest chain of newsagents in Britain.
24/2/1825, Thomas Bowdler died, aged 71. He was notorious for prudishly editing text he considered unsuitable, giving rise to the term ‘bowdlerising’.
22/3/1824, The British Government agreed to spend £57,000 to purchase 38 paintings to establish a national collection.
25/11/1823, Brighton’s Chain Pier was opened.
14/2/1822. The increasing popularity of Valentines Cards forced the Post Office to employ extra sorters. See 14/2/1477.
19/6/1820, Sir Joseph Banks, English botanist who accompanied Cook on his voyage round the world in The Endeavour, died aged 77.
29/1/1820. King George III, longest lived and longest reigning (over 59 years) King of England, died at Windsor aged 81. (See 26/10/1760, coronation of George III). Accession of King George IV; his long-separated wife Caroline returned form the Continent to claim her position as Queen. Caroline was warmly welcomed by the British public, who perceived her as having been badly treated by her husband. George IV nevertheless persuaded his Cabinet ministers to immediately begin divorce proceedings.
26/8/1819, Prince Albert was born at Rosenau, near Coburg, in Bavaria.
16/8/1819.At St Peters Fields, or Peterloo, Manchester, a meeting demanding parliamentary reforms was dispersed by the military. There was a crowd of 60,000 present to hear the speech of the pugnacious reformer Henry Hunt, who also demanded an end to the Corn Laws. 11 demonstrators were killed and 600 injured by the Manchester Yeomanry. After this the UK government issued the Six Laws, in 1819, banning any gathering of over 50 people, and any flag-bearing procession, authorising the arrest of anyone carrying a firearm, and imposing a tax on newspapers.
24/8/1816, Tristan da Cunha, four islands in the south Atlantic, were annexed and garrisoned by the UK.
27/6/1816, Samuel 1st Viscount Hood, British Admiral whose military successes included defeating the French off Dominica in 1782 and the capture of Toulon in the French Revolutionary Wars, died.
15/1/1815, Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, died in poverty in Calais.
1814, Sheerness Naval Dockyard opened.
7/6/1812, The Earl of Liverpool took up post as Prime Minister.
11/5/1812, Spencer Perceval became the only British Prime Minister so far to be assassinated as he entered the House of Commons, by a bankrupt broker, Francis Bellingham, who blamed the Government for his woes.
8/1/1812, Two British regiments were called out to control outbreaks of Luddite rioting.
5/2/1811. King George III, 73 years old, was officially declared insane; the Prince of Wales, 49 years old, became Prince Regent.
29/12/1809, William Ewart Gladstone, four times Liberal Prime Minister, was born in Liverpool. He was the son of a wealthy Scottish merchant.
24/5/1809. Dartmoor Prison was opened to house French prisoners of war. From 1850 it was used for British convicts.
19/4/1809, Charles Darwin was born. His father, Robert Darwin, was a doctor and financier, and his mother, Susannah Darwin, was the daughter of pottery magnate Josiah Wedgewood.
22/11/1808, The pioneer travel agent Thomas Cook was born in Melbourne, Derbyshire. He died in 1892.
21/8/1808, British troops under Wellington defeated the French under General Junot. This was at the Battle of Vimiero, during the Peninsular War. The Peninsular War absorbed some 300,000 of Napoleon’s best troops, and was ended when Napoleon heard reports that Austria, backed by Britain, was arming against him.
2/9/1807, Britain bombarded and destroyed the Danish fleet at Copenhagen, to prevent its use by France or Russia.
20/5/1806, John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist, was born.
21/3/1806. The foundation stone of Dartmoor Prison in Devon was laid. See 24/5/1809.
23/1/1806. William Pitt the Younger, twice Prime Minister (the first when only 24), died at Putney aged 47. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Napoleon was still strong in Europe. Prussia, who had been reluctant to join the Allies, now had to live with French domination of the puppet state of the Confederation of the Rhine.
9/1/1806, The funeral and burial of Admiral Lord Nelson at St Paul’s Cathedral.
21/10/1805. Battle of Trafalgar. Death of Nelson. Nelson blockaded the combined fleets of France and Spain in Cadiz. The French Admiral, Villeneuve, attempted to break out, but British ships sank or captured most of the French and Spanish ships. The French had planned to link up with the Spanish fleet in the West Indies and so lure the British into giving chase across the Atlantic. However Nelson guessed at the French tactics and the Admiralty was warned. A British fleet under Calder found the French fleet off Cape Finistere and they put into Spanish harbours. The French fleet later emerged to sail, not for Britain, but to return to the Mediterranean. The French were intercepted off Cape Trafalgar, and destroyed in the Battle of Trafalgar.
See also France-Germany for events connected to Napoleon
3/6/1804, Richard Cobden, British politician and economist, was born in Heyshott, near Midhurst, Sussex, the son of a farmer.
10/5/1804, William Pitt the Younger resumed office as Prime Minister.
7/3/1804. John Wedgwood, son of the famous Midland pottery manufacturer, and uncle to Charles Darwin, founded the Royal Horticultural Society. John’s mother’s garden inspired his interest in plants and in 1801 he wrote to William Forsyth, gardener to George III, suggesting the formation of a horticultural society. Forsyth passed the idea on to the Royal Society President, Sir Joseph Banks, and the society was founded three years later. The inaugural meeting was at the London booksellers, Mr Hatchard, at 187 Piccadilly. In 2003 the Royal Horticultural Society had over 300,000 members who have access to over 80 gardens in the UK. It organises the Chelsea Flower Show, runs courses at Wisley in Surrey, and organises over 1,000 lectures and talks annually.
10/7/1802, Robert Chambers, Scottish bookseller and publisher, was born in Peebles.
29/6/1801, The figures from Britain’s first census were published. Britain’s population was set at 8,872,000.
14/3/1801, William Pitt the Younger left office as Prime Minister.
1/1/1801, The Act of Union between Britain and Ireland came into force. Irish MPs could sit at Westminster. However some smaller Irish boroughs were disenfranchised so as to limit the number of Irish MPs to 100,
25/12/1800, Britain’s first Christmas Tree was erected at Windsor by Queen Charlotte.
7/10/1799. The bell was salvaged from the Lutine, which sank off the island of Vlieland, off the coast of Holland. It was presented to Lloyds of London. Known as the Lutine Bell, it has been rung ever since to mark a marine disaster.
1797, Following Britain’s naval mutinies, the Mutiny Act was passed making it a treasonable offence to incite disaffection amongst the armed forces. Meanwhile the army and navy received pay rises.
9/7/1797, Edmund Burke, British politician and orator, died.
30/6/1797, The naval mutiny at The Nore, led by Richard Parker, was put down. It had started as a protest against poor food and low pay.
17/4/1797. Britain’s first prisoner of war camp opened at Norman Cross Depot, near Stilton, Huntingdonshire. Prior to this, PoWs had been confined in civil prisons, floating hulks, or fortresses, but by 1796 the number of French PoWs was so large other accommodation had to be found.
16/4/1797. The British navy mutinied at Spithead, near Portsmouth, over poor pay, bad food, and arduous blockade duty. On 2/5/1797 the mutiny spread to the North Sea fleet.
12/2/1797, The last invasion of Britain. The Irish-American General William Tate landed at Fishguard, Pembrokeshire with 1,400 French troops, who soon surrendered.
1/11/1793, Lord George Gordon, British anti-Catholic agitator and leader of the Gordon Riots in 1780, died in Newgate Prison, London. He had been convicted of libelling Marie Antoinette.
1/2/1793. Britain declared war on France. The British economy entered a depression.
1792, In Britain, a barracks building programme began to house troops in ports and major industrial centres.
5/3/1790, Flora Mac Donald, the Scottish Jacobite heroine who helped Prince Charles Edward (The Younger Pretender) to escape from the island of Benbecula, died.
22/2/1790, French soldiers landed at Fishguard, Wales, but were soon captured.
1788, Cheltenham became famous as a spa town with the six-week visit of King George III. The spa waters had first been commercially exploited by Captain Henry Skillicorne (born 1678, died 1763) in 1738, though some locals had drunk the water before then.
31/1/1788, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), the Young Pretender and leader of the Jacobite Rebellion, aimed at deposing King George II, died in exile in Rome.
7/12/1783 William Pitt the Younger became the youngest Prime Minister of Britain, aged 24.
24/2/1783, The British Parliament voted to discontinue the American War.
20/3/1782, Lord North left office as Prime Minister.
5/1/1781, John Burke, British genealogist who founded Burkes Peerage (first published 1826) was born.
2/6/1780, The Gordon Riots, anti-Catholic ‘No Popery’ demonstrations named after Lord George Gordon, broke out in London. Lord Gordon had called his supporters to St Georges Fields and led them to protest against removal of some restrictions on Roman Catholics under the Catholic Relief Act of 1778.
1777, The last known person to speak the Cornish language only, and no English, died.
1773, An Assay Office was established in Sheffield duie to the amount of silver cutlery being manufactured there.
18/6/1769, Viscount Castlereagh, British Foreign Secretary who played a key role in the reconstruction of Europe after the fall of Napoleon, at the Congress of Vienna, was born.
29/4/1769, The Duke of Wellington was born in Dublin, as Arthur Wellesley.
5/12/1766. Christies auctioneers held their first sale.
1/1/1766, James Stuart, the Old Pretender, and father of Bonnie Prince Charlie, died in Rome.
21/8/1765, King William IV, known as the ‘Sailor King’ because he joined the Royal Navy at 13, was born in Buckingham Palace. He was the third son of King George III and Queen Charlotte.
7/5/1765. HMS Victory was launched. She is now in dry dock in Portsmouth. Nelson was on board when killed by a musket shot.
26/4/1765, Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, was born in Ness, Cheshire.
10/2/1763. The end of the Seven Years War. France ceded Canada to Britain at the Treaty of Paris. See 26/7/1758 and 13/9/1759. The same treaty gave Florida to Britain in exchange for Britain returning Cuba, which it had invaded on 12/8/1762, to Spain; Spain also regained Louisiana and the Philippines. Britain gained all of America east of the Mississippi. Britain also gained Minorca, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Tobago, St Vincent, Grenada, Dominica, and Senegal, as well as becoming pre-eminent in India; Britain therefore became the world’s major colonising power. Frederick of Prussia retained Silesia, which set Prussia on the road to also becoming a major European power.
3/11/1762, Britain concluded a peace with France at Fontainbleau. See 10/2/1763.
1/11/1762, Spencer Perceval, British Prime Minister from 1809 who was assassinated in the House of Commons, was born.
12/8/1762, King George IV was born in St James Palace, London. He was the eldest son of George III. His lavish lifestyle and cruelty towards his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, undermined popular support for the monarchy.
3/2/1762, The English dandy and gambler Richard ‘Beau’ Nash died.
2/1/1762, Britain declared war on Spain, three months after William Pitt resigned (see 5/10/1761).
5/10/1761, In Britain, Pitt resigned because Britain would not declare war on Spain; France was trying to bring Spain into its war on Prussia and Britain, with France allied to Austria and Russia. Britain virtually abandoned support for Prussia.
22/9/1761, Coronation of King George III, see 26/10/1760
26/10/1760. Accession of George III. His coronation was on 22/9/1761. He was the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Augusta. George III became one of the longest reigning monarchs in Britain. He saw the emergence of Britain as a leading European power after the Seven Year’s War as well as the early stages of the Industrial Revolution. He had a devoted wife, Charlotte of Mecklenburg, who bore him 15 children. But George III faced problems at home, fighting with Parliament to recover Royal Prerogative, and having Revolutionary France for a neighbour. He also had the debilitating disease porphyria. He died deaf, mad, and blind at Windsor Castle on 29/1/1820, leaving a legacy of social unrest and an outmoded constitution.
25/10/1760, George II died suddenly at 8am, in Kensington, London, aged 76. His successor George III was inclined to concentrate on British, not Hanoverian, interests, and disliked William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, who had promoted the Anglo-Prussian Alliance. Without British help, Prussia could not continue fighting.
For British-French conflict in Canada, 1700s, see Canada
23/7/1759. Work began on the Royal Navy’s 104 gun battleship HMS Victory at Chatham, Kent, built with the wood of 2,200 oak trees.
29/9/1758, Horatio Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe rectory, Norfolk. He was the son of a clergyman, one of 11 children. He died in battle in 1805.
14/6/1755, Dr Johnson’s dictionary went on sale at £4 10s for the two volumes.
15/4/1755. Dr Samuel’s dictionary was published, after nine years of work. It contained 40,000 words.
11/7/1754, Thomas Bowdler, whose expurgation of vulgarities in literary works gave the word ‘bowdlerise’, was born.
18/3/1754, Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, died.
6/3/1754, Henry Pelham left office as Prime Minister.
3/4/1753, Samuel Johnson began the second volume of his dictionary.
26/9/1750, Lord Collingwood, British naval officer, Nelson’s second in command at Trafalgar, was born in Newcastle on Tyne.
9/4/1747, The Scottish Jacobite Lord Lovat was executed by beheading at the Tower of London for High Treason. He was the last person to be executed this way in Britain. Only persons of high rank were beheaded; lesser persons were hanged. After this date, all were hanged. Hanging, drawing, and quartering for treason was not abolished until 1870.
20/9/1746, Prince Charles Edward escaped capture by dressing as a girl and sailing to France on the ship L’Heureux.
18/8/1746, Two rebellious Scottish Jacobite Lords, the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmeniro, were beheaded at the Tower of London.
1/8/1746, England passed the Dress Act, banning the wearing of Scottish Highland Dress, including the kilt, from 1/8/1747. This was an attempt to suppress Scottish Highland culture.
16/4/1746. Bonnie Prince Charlie and his 5,000 Jacobite soldiers were decisively defeated at Culloden, near Inverness, by the Duke of Cumberland and an army of 9,000 regulars. Fought on flat ground, the battle gave the advantage to Cumberland’s latest artillery. This ended the Jacobite Rebellion and the hopes of the Stuart dynasty of any return to power in Britain. On 27/6/1746 Charles escaped over the sea to Skye, disguised as the Irish maid Betty Burke, with Flora MacDonald. In Scotland, the Highlanders were disarmed and forbidden to wear their tartan kilts. The hereditary jurisdiction of the Highland Chiefs over their clans was abolished. This was the last battle fought in Britain.
17/1/1746, At the Battle of Falkirk, Charles and the Jacobites defeated the English under General Hawley. This was the last Jacobite success.
8/1/1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie occupied Stirling.
18/12/1745, Battle of Clifton Moor. The Jacobites won a victory over the English at Penrith.
4/12/1745, Marching south, Charles’s forces reached Derby. However they were faced there by the superior forces of General Wade and William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. The Jacobite army retreated, to be finally defeated at Culloden (16/4/1746).
31/10/1745, Charles led his 5,000-strong army into England hoping, in vain, for popular support. Not gaining this, he returned to Scotland.
21/9/1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Stuart) and his Jacobite army defeated the English under Sir John Cope at the Battle of Prestonpans.
11/9/1745. The Jacobites under the Young Pretender occupied Edinburgh, with 2,000 men.
19/8/1745, To claim the English throne, Prince Charles raised his father’s flag at Glenfinnan, after travelling from France.
25/7/1745, Prince Charles (Edward Stuart), the Young Pretender, landed in Scotland. He proclaimed his father as King James VIII of Scotland and James III of England. Highland clans rose in support of him.
11/5/1745, The Battle of Fontenoy took place in Belgium, during the War of the Austrian Succession. Marshal de Saxe won a French victory over British and Allied forces. William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, had been sent with Austrian, British, Dutch and Hanoverian troops to relieve Tournai, Belgium, under siege by the French. Cumberland’s army was beaten back with casualties of 7,000 and forced to retreat during the night towards Brussels. The British suffered further setbacks in Flanders and as troops were called back to fight the Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart. The British made peace with France at Aix la Chapelle in 1748.
27/8/1743, Henry Pelham took up office as Prime Minister.
16/6/1743, The last battle in which a British monarch commanded an army on the battlefield. George II defeated the French at the Battle of Dettingen, in Bavaria, during the War of the Austrian Succession.
8/2/1742, Sir Robert Walpole left office as Prime Minister.
1740, In Sheffield, Thomas Boulsover developed a method of plating a copper ingot with silver; this could then be rolled into ‘Sheffield Plate’ items.
13/2/1741, In the House of Commons, Sir Robert Walpole first used the phrase ‘Balance of Power’ to describe Britain’s approach to foreign policy.
1/8/1740, Rule Britannia, written by Scotsman James Thomson, with music by Londoner Thomas Arne, was heard for the first time, at the Prince of Wales’ country home at Cliveden.
22/9/1735. Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister to move into 10 Downing Street. The office of ‘Prime Minister’ was not officially recognised, and some considered it unconstitutional. However Walpole had widespread support of both the King and Parliament. Walpole was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and at age 24 inherited a country estate, which gave him the means of self-sufficiency to enter politics. In 1701 he became the Whig member for castle rising in Norfolk. An excellent speaker, he rose rapidly within the party. In 1717 he resigned amid in-party fighting, returning as Paymaster General in 1720.
4/6/1730, King George III of Britain was born. His mental health was unstable, and his mishandling of the American colonies led to their independence.
3/9/1729, The Treaty of Hanover was signed between Britain, France and Prussia. It was to counterbalance the Treaty of Vienna, between Spain and Austria, which treaty had broken the Quadruple Alliance. The Vienna treaty was intended to restore the Stuarts to the English throne and to compel Britain to return Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain. The Treaty of Hanover was a mutual defence pact, in case any signatory was attacked.
11/10/1727, Coronation of King George II.
11/6/1727, King George II was proclaimed King of Britain, succeeding his father, George I, the first Hanoverian King.
10/6/1727, King George I died of apoplexy on his way to Hanover, in the room where he was born at Osnabruck Castle. He was succeeded by his 44 year-old son, George II.
2/1/1727, General James Wolfe was born at Westerham, Kent. Wolfe, son of a general, was to command the British army at the capture of Quebec from the French.
2/9/1726. Birth of prison reformer John Howard. English campaigner for better conditions for prisoners and wages for gaolers.
29/9/1725, Robert Clive, British soldier and politician, was born in Styche, near Market Drayton, Shropshire. He was the so of a lawyer, the eldest of 13 children.
17/5/1723, Christopher Layer was hung, drawn and quartered for treason, for a plot to kill King George I and restore the Catholic Stuart dynasty. James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II, would have become James III. In England the military was reinforced and put on standby against a possible Catholic invasion of the country; this was paid for by a £100,000 tax (£313 million in 2015 prices) on Catholic estates. This was the Atterbury plot, named after Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, who was exiled for his part in it.
16/6/1722, John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, British General famous for his victories in the Spanish War of Succession, died at Windsor aged 72.
1/1/1722, So-called ‘blacking’ was becoming a problem for British landowners. Large deer parks established by the landed gentry were excluding commoners from their traditional grazing lands where they could also gather peat and firewood. The commoners would black their faces and raid these parks. In response to this Parliament passed the Black Act in May 1723, making it a hanging offence to black one’s face and carry weapons, many other offenders were transported under this Act. The Black Act was not repealed until 1824.
3/4/1721, Sir Robert Walpole was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, effectively making him Britain’s first Prime Minister. He held this office until 12/2/1742.
31/12/1720, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Charles Edward Stuart, was born in Rome, the elder son of James, the ‘Old Pretender’.
11/8/1718, Admiral Byng destroyed the Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro.
2/8/1718, A Quadruple Alliance was formed between Britain, France, Holland, and Austria, against Spain, after Spain seized Sardinia and Sicily, threatening another European war. Under the Treaty of Utrecht (11/4/1713) Sardinia had been assigned to Austria and Sicily to Savoy (see also 17/2/1720). However King Philip V of Spain, influenced by his wife Elizabeth Farnese of Parma and her advisor Giulio Alberoni, seized these islands. Admiral Byng was sent to defend Sicily, with Austrian troops. In a sea battle off Cape Passaro, he totally destroyed the Spanish fleet. Meanwhile French troops occupied northern Spain. The purpose of the Quadruple Alliance were, to maintain the terms of the Peace of Utrecht, for Spain to renounce any claim to the French throne, and to guarantee the Protestant succession in Britain. The four powers would also assist each other if any were attacked. Spain initially backed a Jacobite invasion of Britain, but after the dismissal of Cardinal Alberoni in December 1719 Spain changed policy and joined the Alliance, which provided a forum to discuss territorial disputes in Europe.
1717, The first copper smelting works was set up in the Tawe Valley, Swansea, area. By 1860 the previously wooded rural valley was smelting over 50% of all copper imported into the UK.
24/2/1716, The leaders of the Jacobite uprising I November 1715 captured at Preston were executed. Some escaped to France. The Pretender himself also escaped. The aim of the rebels was to overthrow the Hanoverian dynasty ands restore the Stuarts to the throne.
22/12/1715. James Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, son of King James II, deposed Roman Catholic King of England, landed at Peterhead after his exile in France. However he was forced to leave on 5/2/1716 for France again with the Earl of Mar, as the Jacobite Army, defeated, dispersed.
13/11/1715, A Royalist army defeated the Jacobites at Preston, Lancashire. On this day Mar also failed to dislodge the Royalists under Argyll from Sheriffmuir, north of Stirling.
6/9/1715, The Earl of Mar raised the Stuart Standard at Braemar, starting the Jacobite Rebellion.
20/10/1714, Coronation of King George I.
18/9/1714, George I landed in England.
1/8/1714. Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch, died childless. King George I, Elector of Hanover, Prince George Louis, son of the Electress Sophia, daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of James I, became King under the 1701 Act of Settlement. Unfortunately he spoke no English.
30/7/1714, The pro-Hanoverian Duke of Shrewsbury was appointed Lord Treasurer.
12/7/1712, Richard Cromwell, second Lord Protector, son of Oliver Cromwell, died.
10/4/1710. The Copyright Act came into effect in Britain. This allowed authors to hold exclusive rights to their work for up to 50 years after their death.
24/7/1707, Britain captured Gibraltar from Spain.
1/5/1707. Act of Union between England and Scotland. The Union of the English and Scottish crowns was on 24/3/1603, when James VI of Scotland also became King of England. Scotland failed economically, and England put pressure for Union on the Scottish Parliament. Scottish aristocrats were offered compensation and voted for Union. Coinage, taxation, sovereignty, and parliament became one, but Scotland retained its own legal and religious system. The Union Jack was adopted as the National Flag.
12/7/1705, Death of Anglican priest Titus Gates, the anti-Catholic conspirator who alleged the existence of a plot to assassinate King Charles II and place his Catholic brother James on the throne, thus causing the execution of 35 suspects and the exclusion of Catholics from the British Parliament.
27/12/1703, The Methuen Treaty was signed.
12//9/1703, The Hapsburg Archduke Ferdinand was proclaimed King of Spain, War of the Spanish Succession began. France had already, in 1701, begun to occupy key fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands, following the death of the Spanish monarch Charles II on 2/10./1700, with no heir.
23/4/1702, The coronation of Queen Anne.
8/3/1702, King William III died when his horse, Sorrel, stumbled on a molehill in the grounds of Hampton Court Park. He had no children, and the Crown passed to Queen Anne. second daughter of James II, who was born on 6/2/1665 in London, and brought up as a strict Protestant. By the time Anne became Queen she had already had 17 children, and seen them all die in childhood. She died on 1/8/1714, and was succeeded by King George I.
12/6/1701. The Act of Settlement was passed in London. It settled the Royal accession on the Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover and barred Roman Catholics from the English throne.
30/7/1700, William, Duke of Gloucester, died aged 11. He was the only surviving child of Queen Mary, so the succession to the English throne passed to the Electress Sophia of Hanover.
20/9/1697, The Treaty of Ryswick ended the Nine Years War. This Treaty led to the Barrier Treaties (1709-15) between Britain and the Netherlands, with the idea that Britain would assist The Netherlands to maintain a line of fortresses against any future French attacks. These fortresses included Ypres, Lille, Tournai, Valenciennes and Namur. In return the Dutch promised to send 6,000 troops to help Britain resist a Jacobite uprising, which they did supply in 1715.
10/4/1696, England’s Navigation Act forbade the Colonies in America from exporting directly to Ireland or Scotland.
28/12/1694. Queen Mary II died from smallpox, leaving William III to reign alone.
11/4/1694, The Dukedom of Bedford was created.
13/2/1692. Massacre at Glencoe. 40 members of the MacDonald clan were massacred by the Campbells. This massacre was on the orders of William III, because of their Jacobite sympathies of the MacDonalds and their delay in swearing an oath of allegiance. On 27/8/1691 a proclamation was issued offering indemnity to all who took the oath of allegiance before 1/1/1692. All Scottish chiefs took the oath except MacIan, chief of the MacDonalds of Glencoe, who postponed the submission until 31/12/1691. He then could not take the oath until 6/1/1692 because there was no magistrate at Fort William. This irregularity gave Breadalbane (John Campbell, First Earl of Breadalbane) the excuse to destroy the clan that had for generations plundered the lands of himself and his neighbours. The Macdonalds were in fact giving hospitality to their murderers when they rose up and killed them. Breadalbane managed to prevent most of the evidence against him from being presented; he was imprisoned for a short time in Edinburgh Castle on the grounds of earlier negotiations with the Highland chiefs, but was released when it was known he was acting with the knowledge of King William.
30/6/1690. The Battle of Beachy Head. An allied force of 37 British ships and 22 Dutch ships was at anchor off Beachy head whilst a French fleet of 70 ships waited off to the south-west, waiting to co-operate with an anticipated Catholic Jacobite uprising in England. The English commander, Torrington, wished to retire to the mouth of the Thames till he could be reinforced, but the Council of Regency ordered him to remain where he was, and fight if he could secure an advantageous position. Torrington took this as an order to fight the French and bore down on them; however with inferior numbers, there were gaps between the British ships. The Anglo-Dutch fleets began to suffer heavy losses from French fire. But the tide turned from flood to ebb during the engagement, and whilst the Anglo-Dutch ships dropped anchor, the French did not, and were carried away westwards on the current. Some of the most damaged British ships were abandoned in Pevensey Bay. Torrington was tried for his conduct but acquitted.
27/7/1689. The Scottish Jacobites, supporters of the deposed James II, won the Battle of Killiecrankie, near Pitlochry, against the English under William III. However the Jacobite leader John Graham, Earl of Dundee, was killed.
24/5/1689. The English Parliament passed the Act of Toleration exempting dissenting Protestants from certain legal penalties so long as they have sworn oaths of allegiance to the Crown. Catholics were specifically excluded from this relief.
18/4/1689, Judge Jeffreys died in The Tower of London, aged 44, before he could be tried. A Protestant, he had been hired by King James II to set up a court to deal with the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. He was the Lord Chancellor who was notorious for the harshness of his sentences at the ‘Bloody Assizes’. 300 of Monmouth’s peasant followers were sentenced to hang and a further 800 sent to forced labour in Barbados . After the trials, Jeffreys was made Lord Chancellor by James II, a position he held until the Glorious Revolution of 1688. See 19/8/1685.
11/4/1689, The coronation of King William III and Queen Mary as joint sovereigns (see 13/2/1689). The Bishop of London performed the service, as the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to participate.
13/2/1689. William and Mary ascended the English throne. Mary was the daughter of James II; William was born in The Hague. This ended the ‘Glorious Revolution’ (see 6/6/1685 and 6/7/1685); James II fled to France on 22/12/1688. They were crowned by the Bishop of London, because the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to do this (see 11/4/1689). James II’s support for the Catholic cause had made him unpopular.
22/1/1689, The Convention Parliament agreed that Charles II had abdicated by fleeing to France (on 22/12/1688) and that the throne was vacant, for William and Mary to accede.
12/12/1688, Judge Jeffreys took refuge from a mob in the Tower of London.
5/11/1688, William of Orange landed at Torbay, having been invited by Whig and Tory leaders to save Britain from Catholicism on 30/6/1688; William accepted this invitation on 5/11/1688. See 30/6/1688. William had some 20,000 troops; James prepared to fight him, but was unsettled by defections in his army. James later fled to France.
30/6/1688, William of Orange was invited to England.
10/6/1688, A son (James Stuart, the ’Old Pretender’) was born to James II, opening up the possibility of a line of Catholic Kings to rule England. He was James II’s only son; his mother was Mary of Modena.
13/11/1687. Nell Gywnne, actress, died, aged in London aged 37. The mistress of Charles II, who had borne him two sons, was perhaps the best known orange seller of all time.
14/4/1687. Having failed to persuade Parliament to repeal the 1673 Test Act (forbidding a Catholic from being the monarch of England), James II issued a Declaration of Indulgence. This granted toleration to Catholics and to non-conformists.
19/8/1685. Judge Jeffreys began sentencing people to death at what became known as the Bloody Assizes. This followed the Monmouth Rebellion, see 6/7/1685.
15/7/1685, The Duke of Monmouth, illegitimate son of King Charles II and Lucy Walter, was executed on Tower Green, London, for leading a Protestant rebellion on the accession of King James II.
6/7/1685. James II’s troops defeated the Duke of Monmouth at Sedgemoor, Somerset, the last battle fought on English soil. Monmouth’s troops had attempted a night attack late on 5/7/1685 but the King’s troops under John Churchill, later Duke of Marlborough, successfully counterattacked at dawn. The rebel Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of King Charles II, was executed on 15/7/1685. See 13/2/1689.
11/6/1685, An abortive rebellion against King James II, by the same faction as promoted the Rye House Plot of 1683 (21/7). Monmouth, having been expelled from Holland upon the accession of James II, landed at Lyme Regis, Dorset, and issued a proclamation claiming the throne of England. He gathered a small army of 3-4,000, mainly of middle social class status, and managed to capture Taunton before being defeated by pro-Royal troops at Sedgemoor on 6/7/1683.
6/6/1685. James II became King of England. See 13/2/1689.
7/2/1685; Charles II, James II’s brother, died after suffering an apoplectic fit on 2/2/1685, see 6/6/1685.
10/1/1684, The Dukedom of St Albans was created.
10/11/1683, George II, King of England, was born in Hanover, Germany, the only son of George I.
21/7/1683, Algernon Sidney and William Russell were executed for their part on the Rye House Plot. Along with the Earl of Wessex (who cheated the executioner by committing suicide in gaol), they planned to ambush King Charles II and the Duke of York (future James II) on their return from Newmarket to London at a narrow point at Rye House, near Hoddesdon, and assassinate them. The plot failed because the monarch left Newmarket early. The Government took advantage of the plot to implicate others whose loyalty to Charles II was questionable.
6/6/1683. Elias Ashmole opened the first public museum, the Ashmolean, in Broad Street, Oxford. Exhibits included stuffed animals and a dodo.
2/12/1682, The Dukedom of Beaufort was created.
22/6/1679, The Battle of Bothwell Bridge. The Duke of Monmouth defeated the Scottish Covenanters, who had rebelled against the policies of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale.
1/6/1679, At the Battle of Drumclog, Scottish Covenanters defeated a small government force.
27/5/1679. The Habeas Corpus Act, stating that nobody could be held in prison without a trial, was passed. The rights of a prisoner were mentioned as early as the 14th century in England, but it was Lord Shaftesbury who suggested such an Act on the statute books. Charles I believed himself to be above Parliament so the Act was passed to counter his rulings. This enabled political prisoners of the King to demand a trial, and to obtain bail if prison was not justified. Habeas Corpus can only be suspended in times of war or a terrorist threat.
6/3/1679, In England the Habeas Corpus Parliament, or First Exclusion Parliament, assembled for the first time.
24/1/1679, King Charles II of England dissolved the Cavalier Parliament.
12/8/1678, Titus Oates’ Popish plot was revealed to King Charles II.
18/2/1678, John Bunyan, 50-year old Baptist, published his book Pilgrim’s Progress.
4/11/1677, King William II married his cousin Princess Mary (future Queen Mary II of England), the eldest daughter of King James II and Anne Hyde.
26/8/1676, Sir Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister, was born at Houghton Hall, Norfolk.
11/9/1675, The Dukedom of Grafton was created.
9/8/1675, The Dukedom of Richmond (Lennox & Gordon) was created.
18/10/1674, Richard (Beau) Nash, Master of Ceremonies at Bath, who established the city as a centre of fashion, was born.
19/2/1674, The Peace of Westminster.
17/3/1672, The third Anglo-Dutch war began, because Charles II was bound under the secret provisions of the Treaty of Dover to support Louis XIV. The Treaty of Dover, 1670, was concluded between Charles II and Louis XIV of France, following negotiations begun back in 1668. However the weaker Dutch fleet held back the English, who were facing difficulties in financing this war. In 1673 the English Parliament agreed to raise taxes to fund the conflict in return for the passing of the Test Act. This Act required all holding civil or military office to accept the Church of England sacrament and reject the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. The subsequent resignation of the Duke of York (the future James II) and others betrayed the presence of Catholics in the English high office. Meanwhile in August 1672 a revolution in the Netherlands brought William of Orange (future King William III) to power. In August / September 1673 Spain, Austria and Brandenburg, and in January 1674 Denmark, all declared war on France. The Dutch encouraged the belief amongst the English that the war constituted a betrayal of Protestant interests by Catholics in high office. In 1674 England concluded a separate peace with The Netherlands, the Treaty of Westminster.
12/11/1671, Thomas Fairfax, general and leader of the Parliamentary side in the Civil War, died in Nunappleton, Yorkshire.
1/6/1670, Two Treaties of Dover – one public, one secret – were made by Charles II with Louis XIV. Charles II secretly agreed to declare his conversion to Catholicism and subsequently to restore it to Britain. Charles II did not announce his conversion, to the annoyance of Louis XIV. The public Treaty committed Britain and France to declare war on Holland – if this war was successful, Britain would receive Zeeland and the port of Ostend. Britain would assist Louis XIV’s claim on the Spanish throne. The private Treaty, known only to Charles II and a select few of his government ministers, stated that Charles would re-establish Catholicism in Britain in return for £150,000 from France and the use of 6,000 French troops to cope with any ‘internal resistance’.
2/5/1668, Treaty of Aix la Chapelle.
13/1/1668. The Triple Alliance was formed between England, Holland, and Sweden to defend The Netherlands from the ambitions of the French King, Louis XIV, who was pursuing a claim based on his wife’s rights as Spanish Infanta. This was the War of Devolution which was ended on 2/5/1668 by the Peace of Aix la Chapelle.
30/8/1667, King Charles II dismissed the Lord Chancellor Edward Hyde over the humiliating terms imposed on Britain by Holland in the Treaty of Breda.
31/7/1667. The Peace of Breda ended the war between England and the Netherlands (Second Anglo-Dutch War). Trade laws were modified in favour of the Dutch, who also gained Surinam but recognised British possession of New York. See 18/6/1667 and 2/2/1665. The English sought peace with the Dutch in order to curb the growing military power of (Catholic) France. In the ‘War of Devolution’ France had already seized the Spanish Netherlands and Franche-Comte; Holland and England now sought to mediate in this war between France and Spain. The other principal Protestant power in Europe, Sweden, then joined with (Protestant) Holland and Britain in a Triple Alliance (formalised by the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, 2/5/1668). However (Catholic) King Charles II regretted this Triple Alliance against France and began negotiations with Louis XIV that led to the Treaties of Dover (1/6/1670).
18/6/1667. The Dutch humiliated the English by breaking through a defensive chain in the Thames Estuary at Chatham and sailing up The Thames to burn or capture English ships. See 31/7/1667.
15/10/1666. King Charles II, according to Pepys, wore the first waistcoat this day.
6/2/1665, Queen Anne was born at St James Palace, the second daughter of James II by his first wife, Anne Hyde. She was the last Stuart monarch of Britain.
28/10/1664, The Admiral’s Regiment was formed, later known as the Royal Marines.
20/4/1663, The Dukedom of Buccleuch was created.
20/5/1662, King Charles II of England married Catherine of Braganza, starting a fruitful alliance with Portugal.
30/4/1662, Mary II of England was born.
23/4/1661, The coronation of King Charles II.
19/4/1661, Postmarks were introduced in Britain by the Post Office.
12/11/1660. John Bunyan, 32, author of Pilgrim’s progress, was arrested for preaching without a licence, and not in a parish church. He was put in Bedford gaol.
1/10/1660. The English reinforced the Navigation Act by insisting that certain colonial goods were only to be shipped to Britain. This was directed against the Dutch but caused resentment in the British colonies.
29/5/1660, King Charles II entered London; he landed at Dover on 26/5/1660.
26/5/1660. The British monarchy was restored with Charles II, born 29/5/1630, as king. He was crowned on 23/4/1661, ending an exile of nearly nine years. On 29/5/1660, his 30th birthday, Charles II rode into London to scenes of great rejoicing. Everyone was glad to see the end of the kill-joy Puritan regime that had banned Christmas, maypoles, and theatre; a regime that had run out of steam after Cromwell died. The bodies of Cromwell and his chief associates were dragged from Westminster Abbey and buried beneath Tyburn Gallows. Other regicides were executed.
23/5/1660, King Charles II sailed from Scheveningen, to return to England, ending his exile. See 16/3/1660.
25/4/1660, The English Parliament voted for the restoration of the Monarchy, see 26/5/1660.
16/4/1660, Sir Hans Sloane, physician and collector, was born.
28/3/1660, George I, first Hanoverian king of England, was born at Osnabruck Castle in Hanover.
16/3/1660. England’s Long Parliament was dissolved after sitting for 20 years (with a break, 1653-59), throughout the Civil War. This was an important step towards the restoration of the monarchy and the House of Lords. See 23/5/1660.
21/2/1660, The Rump (Long) Parliament, recalled on 7/5/1659, was rejoined by surviving MPs that had been purged on 6/12/1648.
24/5/1659, Richard Cromwell resigned as Lord Protector.
7/5/1659, The Long (Rump) Parliament was recalled (see 20/4/1653). It called for Cromwell’s resignation.
3/9/1658. Oliver Cromwell died of pneumonia. A Puritan, he was aged 60 and had ruled England for 5 years. His son Richard succeeded him as Protector. However Richard lacked the authority of his father.
27/5/1657, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell refused an offer to make him King of England. To have accepted the Crown would have lost him the loyalty of the anti-Royalist Army.
17/9/1656, (-105,412) Cromwell’s Third Parliament convened.
30/5/1656, The Grenadier Guards, the senior regiment of the British Army, was formed.
22/4/1659. Richard Cromwell dissolved the English Parliament, at the request of the Army.
12/9/1654, Cromwell ordered the exclusion of Members of Parliament that were hostile to him.
3/9/1654, In the English Parliament, the Republican, Vance, questioned the pre-eminence of Cromwell.
16/4/1654. The Peace of Westminster ended the First Anglo-Dutch war between England and The Netherlands, but the Navigation Act which led to the war was retained. See 6/10/1651.
16/12/1653. Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, effectively an uncrowned King. He ruled for over four years.
13/12/1653, The Barebones Parliament ended.
4/7/1653, The Barebones Parliament began sitting.
20/4/1653, Cromwell dissolved the Long Parliament (Rump Parliament) due to its slowness in implementing Cromwellian reforms. It was recalled on 7/5/1659, after Cromwell’s death.
8/7/1652, The First Anglo-Dutch war began.
6/10/1651. The English issued a commercial challenge to the Dutch by passing the Navigation Act; this prohibited the import of goods into England from America, Asia, or Africa in any except British or colonial ships; with a crew at least half-English. This was a challenge to Amsterdam’s status as Europe’s leading port. This was an attempt to revive the English economy, depressed by three years of plague and bad harvests. In 1652 England declared war on The Netherlands (First Anglo-Dutch War) after an incident where a Dutch fleet refused to be searched by the British. See 15/4/1654, and 1/10/1660.
3/9/1651. Oliver Cromwell’s army defeated the Royalist army at Worcester. Charles II, destitute and friendless, spent the night in an oak tree at Boscobel to evade capture, and fled to France on 17/10/1651.
Cromwell’s troops hauled twenty large boats upstream to make a pontoon bridge, crossing the Severn into the Royalist side. The battle concluded with fighting inside Worcester itself. Some 3,000 Royalist forces were killed, and 10,000 taken prisoner, many of whom were transported to New England as slaves. The Parliamentarian forces lost only 200 men. This was the final battle for the Royalist cause.
28/8/1651, The Parliamentarians captured Upton Bridge, 10 miles south of Worcester. The Royalist General Massey was badly wounded. Cromwell’s forces occupied the west bank of the Severn with 11,000 troops, so cutting off any support for Charles II from Wales, and aiming to attack Worcester from the south.
25/8/1651, A force of Lancashire Royalists raised the Earl of Derby was crushed by Colonel Robert Lilburne at Wigan. Cromwell returned to England via the east coast from Scotland; harassing Charles II’s rearguard. Cromwell marched on Worcester with a force of around 28,000 regular troops plus a further 3,000 militiamen who were against the Scots. Lilburne blockaded Charles route back into Scotland. Charles hoped to draw extra forces from Wales and the south-west.
22/8/1651, Charles II occupied the loyal Royalist city of Worcester, but his army numbered less than 16,000 troops. See 25/8/1651.
5/8/1651, King Charles II began a march south into England, crossing the border from Scotland this day. His plan was to march through the traditionally Royalist regions of Lancashire and the Welsh border, picking up troops along the way. However the English Royalists and Presbyterians failed to join him, due to anti-Scots propaganda from the Cromwellian camp. See 22/8/1651.
2//8/1651, Cromwell’s army took Perth.
1/1/1651, Charles II was crowned King of Scotland at Scone Palace. He then marched south into England (see 5/8/1651).
19/12/1650. Cromwell’s army took Edinburgh Castle.
4/11/1650, William III, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born in The Hague, Holland, son of William II of Orange.
3/9/1650, The Battle of Dunbar; Cromwell’s army marched into Scotland and defeated a Scottish Royalist Persbyterian army under David Leslie twice its size. This battle, along with Worcester (3/9/1651), put an end to Charles I’s Royalist cause.
24/6/1650, Charles II landed in Scotland and was proclaimed King.
26/5/1650, The Duke of Marlborough, British general, was born as John Churchill in Ashe, Devon.
See Ireland for Cromwell’s activities in Ireland
15/9/1649, Birth of Titus Gates, English Anglican priest who successfully stirred up anti-Catholic sentiments by creating a ‘Popish plot’.
9/4/1649, The Duke of Monmouth, son of King Charles II and Lucy Walter, was born in Rotterdam.
16/3/1649. Oliver Cromwell, (born 25/4/1599 in Huntingdon, died 3/9/1658) declared England to be a republic, and abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords.
9/2/1649, King Charles I was buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
5/2/1649, King Charles I’s son, 18 years old, was proclaimed Charles II.
30/1/1649. Charles I, convicted of treason on 29/1/1649 (see 22/8/1642), was beheaded outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. He stepped on to the scaffold at 2pm. Four years had passed since the decisive Royalist defeat at Naseby (14/6/1645). Since then Charles I had sought the support of the Irish and the Roman Catholics and even the Pope, all in vain. The Scots, too, were sceptical of his promises to re-establish Presbyterianism and handed him over to the English. The executioner, Richard Brandon, received £30 for a job well done. Charles I’s funeral and burial was in St George’s Chapel on 9/2/1649.
20/1/1649 - 27/1/1649, At the week-long trial of Charles I, no defence witnesses were called.
6/12/1648, Pride’s purge of Parliament. Oliver Cromwell’s troops surrounded Parliament and refused to admit the 200 Presbyterian MPs, purging the whole of the majority that was opposing Cromwell’s Independents. The remaining 50 MPs, all Independents, then voted for Cromwell’s purge. They then discussed the fate of King Charles, who Cromwell was holding prisoner on the Isle of Wight. The Presbyterian faction had tried to make a deal with the King, and Cromwell’s swift solution was unexpected. The remaining MPswere dubbed the Rump Parliament.
17/8/1648. Cromwell’s army victorious at the Battle of Preston.
15/1/1648, The British parliament renounced allegiance to the King and voted to have no further communication with him. This was because of his secret treaty with Scotland.
24/12/1647, The British Parliament presented Charles I with four Bills to sign. One gave Parliament control of the army for 20 years, another required all declarations of Parliament so far to be recalled, a third excluded all peers created by Charles I from sitting in the Lords, and the last allowed the two Houses to adjourn at their own pleasure.
11/11/1647, Charles I fled from Hampton Court to the Isle of Wight. He was arrested and detained in Carisbrooke Castle. He signed a secret treaty with the Scots, who promised to restore him by force.
4/6/1647, At Holmby House in Northamptonshire, Charles I was seized by the Army, and taken to Hampton Court
.30/1/1647, The Scots agreed to hand over Charles I to the English Army for the sum of £400,000.
5/5/1646, Charles I surrendered to the Scots at Newark, ending the military phase of the Civil War.
3/2/1646, Chester fell to Parliamentarian forces.
13/9/1645, The Battle of Philiphaugh, at which Montrose’s army, supporting Charles I, was routed by General Leslie’s forces. Montrose escaped to the Continent.
23/7/1645, The Royalist town of Bridgewater fell to the Parliamentarians.
2/7/1645, At the Battle of Alford, Royalists beat the Covenanters.
14/6/1645. Battle of Naseby, Northamptonshire, in the Civil War. 10,000 Royalists (Cavaliers), under Prince Rupert, were heavily defeated by 14,000 Roundheads under Cromwell and Fairfax, and effectively lost the Civil War. The Royalists had lost their best officers as well as artillery and other weaponry they could ill-afford to lose. The Royalists successfully attacked Cromwell’s left wing, but then made the fatal mistake of pursuing the fleeing soldiers. Cromwell regrouped the right wing of his cavalry to rout Prince Rupert’s army.
13/6/1645, Cromwell arrived at Naseby, raising the morale of the Parliamentary troops there.
11/6/1645, Cromwell’s New Model Army marched northwards from its siege of Oxford, travelling from Stony Stratford to Wootton, three miles from Northampton. Rainy weather hampered their progress, turning dirt roads into mud.
2/2/1645, At the Battle of Inverlochy, Royal Highlanders under the Marquess of Montrose defeated the Covenanters under the Earl of Argyll.
27/10/1644, The second Battle of Newbury was indecisive. After it, Charles escaped to Oxford. The Parliamentarian Army under Charles Montagu, Duke of Manchester failed to prevent a Royalist force relieving the siege of Donnington Castle.
1/9/1644, At the Battle of Tippamuir, Royalist Highlanders beat the Covenanters.
2/7/1644. Battle of Marston Moor, near York, in the Civil War. The Royalists were crushed, and Cromwell’s forces took some 1,500 prisoners and kill 4,000 Royalist troops. This was the turning point in the Civil War; the Royalists had effectively lost the north of England.
1/7/1644, Prince Rupert lifted the siege of York.
25/1/1644, Royalists were defeated at the Battle of Nantwich.
22/1/1644, King Charles summoned a ‘Counter Assembly’, a rival Parliament to the London one, at Oxford. He was pleased to find that 83 Peers and 175 MPs attended. However there was bad news for Charles on the military front, with the arrival on the Parliamentarian side of a Scottish army of 18,000 foot soldiers and 3,000 horsemen. London agreed to pay the Scots £31,000 a month plus cost of equipment for this military assistance. From the Scottish point of view, they were being invited to invade a larger country, at its own expense, and would gain considerable influence over its religious affairs.
20/9/1643. The First Battle of Newbury was indecisive. The Royalist Army was attempting to block the path of the Parliamentarians under Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who were returning to their base at Reading after raising the siege of Gloucester. Essex’s Army failed to break through the Royalist position but made such an impact that the Royalists withdrew anyway.
6/9/1643, The siege of Hereford Castle ended, see 25/7/1643.
10/8/1643, Royalist forces began a siege of Gloucester. The city constituted a vital strategic link between the Royalist areas of Wales and Oxfordshire, and its governor, the Parliamentarian Massey, was rumoured to be ready to switch allegiance.
25/7/1643, Prince Rupert captured Bristol. The seuge of Hereford Castle began, see 6/9/1643.
13/7/1643. In the English Civil War, the Cavaliers secured an early success with victory overt the Roundheads under Sir William Waller at Roundway Down. This victory gave Charles I control over most of south-west England, leading to his capture of the strategic port of Bristol.
27/4/1643, A skirmish between Royalists and Parliamentarians at Reading.
12/4/1643, The Dukedom of Hamilton was created.
12/11/1642, Charles I marched on London, but was turned back at Turnham Green.
23/10/1642. The Royalists narrowly beat the Roundheads at the Battle of Edgehill, the first of the English Civil War. Both sides claimed victory.
22/8/1642. The English Civil War began, between the Cavaliers who supported King Charles I and the Roundheads who supported Parliament, when the King raised his standard at Nottingham. Parliament raised an army of 10,000; the nobility and gentry supported the King, fearing a Parliament of commoners.
1/6/1642, Parliament presented nineteen propositions (demands) to Charles I. These asked for Parliamentary control of the military, the Church, and of the tutors of the Royal children
10/3/1642, Parliament requested the Lord High Admiral to appoint Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, as commander of the fleet. Simultaneously Charles told him to appoint the Royalist Sir John Pennington. Warwick was appointed, and Charles had lost the navy.
10/1/1642, Charles I withdrew from London, to Hampton Court. The Commons, emboldened, prepared Bills excluding bishops from the House of Lords and giving Parliament control of the army.
4/1/1642, Charles I entered Parliament and attempted to arrest five members for treasonable correspondence with the Scots. He failed; the five were in hiding, and Parliament refused to back the arrests. The five MPs were John Hampden, Arthur Haselrigg, Denzil Holles, John Pym and William Strode. This was the first time a monarch had entered the Commons, with militia, in defiance of convention. Charles left the Commons, angry, and five days later left London and began raising an army against Parliament.
22/11/1641, The Long Parliament passed the Grand Remonstrance, part of a series of measures to curb the excesses of King Charles I’s absolutist ambitions.
3/11/1640, In Britain, the Long Parliament assembled. It lasted until 1660, due to the Civil War.
13/4/1640. In order to raise money for a war against Scotland, Charles I convened Parliament for the first time since 1629. This ‘short parliament’ was dissolved on 4/5/1640 after refusing to give the King any money.
8/1/1639, Henry, son of Charles I, was born.
9/10/1636, King Charles I issued a third writ for ship money
4/8/1635, King Charles I issued a second writ for ship money (see 11/2/1628), again the writ was resisted.
14/10/1633, James II was born at St James Palace, the second son of Charles I and Henrietta Maria.
16/5/1633, Charles I was crowned King of Scotland at Edinburgh.
4/11/1631, Mary, daughter of Charles I, was born.
29/5/1630, King Charles II was born.
10/3/1629, King Charles I of England dissolved Parliament, starting the Eleven Years Tyranny.
23/8/1628, The Duke of Buckingham, courtier and royal favourite of James I, was assassinated in Portsmouth
11/2/1628, King Charles I demanded ‘ship money’ of £173,000 to secure Britain against French invasion. Ship money could be levied by The Crown without Parliamentary consent, although it was of dubious legality., However on this occasion the demands caused serious unrest but Charles I was determined to rule without parliamentary consent. See 4/8/1635.
20/1/1628, Henry, fourth son of Cromwell, was born.
4/10/1626, Richard Cromwell, third son of Oliver Cromwell, was born.
11/5/1625. Charles I married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France.
27/3/1625. Charles I became king.
5/3/1625, King James I, the ‘wisest fool in Christendom’ died suddenly at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire.. He had been born in Edinburgh Castle on 19/6/1566, and was originally King James IV of Scotland. As King James I of England he was the first Stuart King.
8/2/1622, In England, King James I disbanded the Parliament.
3/5/1621, The Lord Chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon, was charged with accepting bribes to grant monopolies, and impeached.
29/10/1618. Sir Walter Raleigh, 54, English seafarer and once a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I - he named Virginia after her – was beheaded at Whitehall after being falsely accused of treason. The execution was to appease Spain. Elizabeth was possessive towards Raleigh and when she found he had married she sent him and his wife to The Tower of London. However Raleigh bought their release and went adventuring overseas, plundering Spanish possessions. His aggression towards Spain led the new monarch, James I, to believe Raleigh was plotting to overthrow him. However again Raleigh escaped in 1616 when the death sentence was lifted at the last minute, without, however, an official pardon. It was now re-invoked when Raleigh returned empty-handed from a gold-seeking expedition in Guiana, and at this time a Spanish settlement had been burnt by Raleigh’s men.
7/1/1618, Francis Bacon, lawyer philosopher and writer, became Lord Chancellor of England.
1614, Sheffield now had 182 Master Cutlers. In 1624 the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire was established.
7/6/1614, In England, the Addled Parliament was dissolved by James I without having passed a single Bill since it first sat on 5/4/1614, hence its name.
5/4/1614. The ‘Addled Parliament’ began sitting. It was dissolved on 7/6/1614 without passing a single Bill, hence its name.
24/5/1612, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, died.
17/1/1612, Thomas Fairfax, commander of the Parliamentary Army during the Civil War, was born in Denton, Yorkshire.
22/5/1611. King James I created the title ‘Baronet’.
12/4/1606, The Union Jack was adopted as the flag of England, Wales, and Scotland.
31/1/1606, Guy Fawkes and co-conspirators were executed.
5/11/1605. Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder (see 11/12/1604). His trial was at Westminster Hall on 27/1/1606. This was part of a Catholic plot to overthrow the Protestant English monarchy BUT see 11/12/1604. However the gunpowder barrels were discovered in the cellars of Parliament before they were detonated. Lord Monteagle, a Catholic peer, had received a letter warning him to stay away from the State Opening of Parliament and hinting at an explosion. Monteagle and the Lord Chamberlain investigated the cellars below the House of Lords and discovered a man piling wood, who gave his name as Guy Fawkes, and claimed that the wood belonged to his master, Lord Percy. They let him go but after further investigating the wood pile they found 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath. Guy Fawkes, a 36-year-old Yorkshireman, was arrested when he returned at midnight to make final preparations for the explosion. Guy Fawkes was hung, drawn, and quartered on 31/1/1606. Sir Everard Digby, Thomas Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates, other conspirators, were hung, drawn, and quartered on 30/1/1606.
11/12/1604, Guy Fawkes began digging a tunnel from a house he had rented near the Houses of Parliament (see 5/11/1605). His plan was to reach the cellars under the House and fill it with gunpowder to blow it up. They reached the foundations of the House by Christmas 1604, but then the opening of Parliament was unexpectedly postponed, from 7/2/1605, first to 3/10/1605 and then to 5/11/1605. This was lucky for Guy Fawkes because the foundations, 12 foot thick, were difficult to dig through, and then the coal merchant who had been renting the House cellars gave up his lease. Allegedly a roaring noise above the tunnelers first alarmed them, then alerted them to the vacated rent, the noise being due to the removal of the coal stored there. The conspirators quickly took up the rent themselves. However some historians have doubted elements of this story, such as the tunnel being dug under a busy part of London; it is possible that the entire episode was in fact a Protestant scheme to discredit English Catholics.
In 2005, at the Spadeadam military research centre in Cumbria, a mock-up of the 1605 Houses of Parliament, with the approximately 1 tonne of gunpowder in the 36 barrels, was created and set off. The force of the explosion would have destroyed Parliament, demolishing 7 foot thick stone walls.
14/1/1604, The Hampton Court Conference began.
17/11/1603, (-) Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.
25/7/1603, Coronation of King James I of England.
27/3/1603. King James VI of Scotland halted in Berwick, on his way to also become King James I of England. He attended a church service at Berwick to ‘give thanks for his peaceful entry into his new dominions. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to ban the use of the word ‘borders’ and replace it by ‘middle shires’. However frontier fortresses in both England and Scotland were dismantled and their garrisons reduced to nominal strength. James I left Berwick on 5/4/1603, and entered London on 7/5/1603.
24/3/1603. Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace aged 69; her funeral was on 28/3/1603. She ruled as Queen for nearly 45 years. See 13/1/1559. This was the Union of the Scottish and English crowns. The Scottish King James VI, who then became King James I of Britain, succeeded her. The Act of Union between England and Scotland was on 1/5/1707.
30/11/1601, Queen Elizabeth I made her last address to Parliament, see 24/3/1603.
25/2/1601, Robert, Earl of Essex, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, was executed.
19/11/1600. Charles I, who believed in the Divine Right of Kings to rule but who was beheaded after losing the Civil War, was born in Fife. He was the second son of King James I and Anne of Denmark.
25/4/1599. Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon. He became Lord Protector of England, Britain’s first and only dictator.
4/8/1598, William Cecil, Baron Burghley, chief advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, died.
6/4/1590, Sir Francis Walsingham, diplomat and creator of Elizabeth I’s secret service, died.
15/9/1588, The remnants of the Spanish Armada limped back into Spanish ports.
4/9/1588. The death of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
8/8/1588, Queen Elizabeth I reviewed her troops at Tilbury.
29/7/1588. The Spanish Armada under Medina Sidonia was defeated. (See 19/5/1588). On the night of the 28 July the English sent fireships amongst the 130 ships of the Armada sent by Philip II to invade England, as they were anchored off Calais. This caused panic amongst the Spanish, who cut anchor, one ship running aground. By now the Spanish had lost several of their best ships and, whilst maintaining good order, were demoralised. The Spanish sent a signal to Parma to put his ships to sea from Dunkirk but he could not as he was closely blockaded by the British. On 29 July the English decimated the Spanish with broadside fire, preventing the Spanish closing and boarding, which would have been their only chance of success. The Spanish soldiers were outgunned and had inferior seamanship to the English sailors. The Spanish were nearly driven aground off The Netherlands on 30 July but a sudden change of wind saved them, with only 6 fathoms below them, and they were able to sail northwest into the North Sea. The English, running low on food and ammunition, followed them as far as the Firth of Forth, then returned south, satisfied that the Spanish would not return via the Straits of Dover. The Armada, short of both food and fresh water, encountered further problems with strong westerly winds as they attempted to sail around the north of Scotland and south to Spain. Many ships were wrecked at open sea or off the coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Only half the ships that left Spain returned home; death and sickness took a great toll of the crews. The failure of the Armada checked the naval growth of Spain and assisted the Netherlands to gain independence. Two further Armadas prepared by Spain, in 1596 and 1597, were disrupted by bad weather.
25/7/1587, The Spanish Armada and the English navy engaged off the Isle of Wight. There were fears that the Spanish planned to seize the island as a base.
19/5/1588. The Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon. The Armada consisted of 130 vessels, containing 7,000 sailors and 17,000 soldiers, commended by the Duke of Medina, sent by King Philip II. It arrived off the Lizard, Cornwall, on 19/7/1588, and off Plymouth on 20/7/1588. The English Navy was only just able to get out to sea and avoid being blockaded in Plymouth harbour. On 23 July the English and Spanish fleets clashed off Portland, and again on 25 July off the Isle of Wight. The defeat of the Armada was on 29 July, see 29/7/1588.
19/4/1587. Sir Francis Drake led his convoy of ships into Cadiz, where the Spanish Armada was being prepared to attack England, and, taking the Spanish completely by surprise, looted, burnt, and sank many ships. He also looted the harbour stores and managed to escape with no casualties.
This adventure became known as ‘the singeing of the King of Spain’s beard’. Sir Francis Drake also brought back 2,900 barrels of ‘sack’, a wine made in the Jerez region of Spain, so named from the Spanish word ‘sacar’, meaning ‘to take out, or export’. This was the forerunner of today’s sherry drink. Sack had been popular abroad since a Spanish law passed in 1492 exempting wine made for export from taxes; it was a robust wine that did not go off easily.
8/2/1587. Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded in the Great Hall of Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, after nearly 19 years in prison. She had been implicated in a Catholic plot to overthrow her cousin Queen Elizabeth I. The leader of the plot, Anthony Babington, had planned to free Mary, and rally support amongst English Roman Catholics for a Spanish invasion force. Mary married the French Dauphin in her teens and was Queen of France for a year until he died. Her second marriage was to Lord Darnley. After Darnley’s murder, in which Mary may have been implicated, she married the Earl of Bothwell. Mary was defeated in battle in Scotland and fled to England, but her cousin Elizabeth I had her imprisoned. Elizabeth had been reluctant to execute Mary, because this might bring reprisals from Catholic Europe, and might legitimate her own execution at some future point; however Francis Walsingham persuaded Elizabeth to order the execution.
20/9/1586, Chidiock Tichborne, one of the conspirators in the Catholic Babington Plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I, was executed at the Tower of London.
10/8/1585, Elizabeth I of England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch, promising 64,000 foot soldiers, 1,000 cavalry, and 600,000 florins a year to support Protestant rebels in The Netherlands against Spain. Although Elizabeth disliked involvement in foreign European wars, the Spanish presence in The Netherlands was too close to England to ignore. King Philip II of Spain, who had laid siege to Antwerp in 1584, saw this Treaty as a declaration of war.
1584, A copper smelting works was set up at Neath, south Wales, an early harbinger of industrialisation there.
1/12/1581. The Jesuit martyr Edmund Campion was hanged at Tyburn, for distributing an anti-Anglican pamphlet in Oxford.
4/4/1581. Queen Elizabeth I knighted Francis Drake on his ship The Golden Hind at Deptford, London, after he completed his circumnavigation of the world. See 26/9/1580. En route, Drake had captured and plundered several Spanish galleons; Spain demanded that Elizabeth I hang Drake for piracy, but Drake was a hero in England.
11/6/1573, In Britain, a Puritan pamphlet calling for the abolition of episcopacy was suppressed by Parliament.
24/11/1572. John Knox, father of the Scottish reformation, died in Edinburgh. He had returned to Scotland after the rebellion against the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots.
25/2/1570. Queen Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V who declared her a usurper.
20/2/1570, The Northern Rebellion ended. In November 1569 the Catholic Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland had started the rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I, motivated by the flight of (Catholic) Mary Queen of Scots to England, also by the arrest of Thomas Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk, in October 1569. In November 1569 Northumberland had seized Durham Cathedral to celebrate Catholic Mass. The Earls now marched south to fight Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, at York. However their elevated social position, and religious fervour, failed to inspire enough foot soldiers to follow them and their march petered out. After a battle at Naworth, Cumbria, this day, 20/2/1570, the Earls fled to Scotland. Government reprisals against Catholics were harsh and Protestantism became more firmly established in England.
4/9/1566, Queen Elizabeth I visited Oxford, to consolidate her acceptance by the University and Town as Supreme Head of the Church.
1/6/1563, Robert Cecil, English statesman, was born.
20/9/1562, The Treaty of Hampton Court was signed.
10/11/1559, Queen Elizabeth I confirmed the Charter of the Stationer’s company.
8/5/1559, The Act of Uniformity was signed by Queen Elizabeth I. This enshrined the monarch as head of the Church in England, ensuring the supremacy of Protestantism under Queen Elizabeth I.
17/4/1559, The Act of Supremacy was partly re-enacted in England.
15/1/1559. Queen Elizabeth I crowned. She was born on 7/9/1533 at Greenwich Palace. Daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she ruled from 1558 to 1603 and was one of England’s greatest rulers, succeeding her Catholic half-sister Mary Tudor. She cleverly preserved England’s independence from Catholic Europe whilst also outflanking the more radical Puritans, and her reign saw the emergence of England as a major sea power through Drake and others. This was also a time when the arts thrived. She died on 24/3/1603.
14/12/1558, Funeral of Queen Mary of England.
17/11/1558. Queen Mary of England (Bloody Mary), daughter of Henry VIII, died in St James Palace London at the age of 42. Born in 1516 to Catharine of Aragon, she outmanoeuvred Lord Dudley’s attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne, on the death of her half-brother King Edward VI. Mary’s marriage to Philip II of Spain dragged England into the war between France and Spain, and caused the loss to England of Calais, an English outpost since the reign of Edward III. Under her five-year reign Catholicism was restored and Protestants persecuted. On Mary’s death, her half-sister Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, became Queen Elizabeth I.
24/4/1558, Mary Queen of Scots, aged 16, married the Dauphin of France.
7/1/1558. Calais, the last English possession on mainland France, was taken by the French under the Duke of Guise. The English had captured Calais in 1346 after a year besieging it.
16/7/1557, Anne of Cleves, 4th wife of King Henry VIII, died.
19/6/1556, King James I of England, son of Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley, the first Stuart King of England and Ireland, also King James VI of Scotland, was born.
21/3/1556, Thomas Cranmer, first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, was burnt at the stake in Oxford as a heretic and a traitor, under the Catholic rule of Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary. He had been deprived of his office on 11/12/1555. He had assisted in having the marriage of Mary’s parents, King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, annulled.
16/10/1555. Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, British Protestant martyrs and Oxford reformers, were burnt at the stake for heresy.
30/11/1554, Cardinal Pole pardoned England for its Protestant heresy and welcomed the country back into the Roman Catholic Church.
25/7/1554. Mary I, Bloody Mary, married Philip II of Spain, son and heir of Charles V, in Winchester. This was her second marriage; the first had been when, aged three, she was married to the King of France, then nine months old. Catholicism returned to England. See 17/11/1558.
20/7/1554, Philip II of Spain arrived in Southampton, having crossed the Channel during a terrible storm.
19/5/1554, Queen Elizabeth was released from the Tower of London.
18/3/1554, Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London for alleged complicity in a plot against Mary led by Sir Thomas Wyatt; she was released on 19/5/1554.
11/2/1554, Lady Jane Grey and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley were executed on Tower Green, Tower of London, for high treason; she was aged 16. Lady Grey became Queen on 10/7/1553 but was deposed nine days later by her cousin Mary Tudor who then became Queen of England. The Protestant King Edward VI had proclaimed Jane Queen above her half sister Mary because that kept England away from Catholic Spain. Mary delayed executing Jane but changed her mind when Jane’s father attempted a revolution.
20/12/1553, In England, Protestant Church services were ruled illegal.
1/10/1553, Mary Tudor was crowned Queen of England.
19/7/1553. Lady Jane Grey, a Protestant, was deposed, aged 16, after a reign of only nine days. She was sent to the Tower of London and beheaded on 12/2/1554. Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary), a Catholic, half sister of Edward IV, was proclaimed Queen, but died on 17/11/1558.
10/7/1553. Following the death of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England.
21/5/1553, Lady Jane Grey was forced to marry Lord Guildford Dudley; Dudley had ambitions to be King of England.
7/12/1549, Robert Kent, rebel leader, was hanged.
9/8/1549. England declared war on France.
12/7/1549, Robert Kett, with 16,000 men, camped on Mousehold Heath outside Norwich and demanded an audience with Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, who was Protector of England during the minority years of King Edward VI. Kett’s demands concerned rising rents, rising food prices and the increase in sheep farming (which demanded enclosure whereas crop farming did not). Somerset ordered Kett’s mob to disperse, with a pardon for any crimes committed up to that point; Kett refused. Somerset now ordered William Parr, Marquis of Northampton, to defeat Kett. Parr marched into Norwich with 1,800 men, unopposed, but a surprise night attack by Kett’s men routed Parr’s force. Parr retreated to London and Kett was unable to follow, as his men had no wish to extend the dispute out of their native Norfolk. Somerset now ordered John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, south from Scotland, with 6,000 foot soldiers and 1,500 cavalry. Dudley surrounded Kett in Norwich, and the two leaders began negotiations. However some of Kett’s hotheads opened a fight with Dudley; Kett’s men were massacred with nearly 50 hanged.
20/6/1549, Kett’s Rebellion against enclosure of common land began when a group of men led by Robert Kett, a smallholder and tanner, tore down the new hedges and fences at Attleborough near Norwich. Copycat mobs sprang up all across Suffolk and Norfolk. In particular they resented the enclosure activities of landowner Edward Flowerdew.
9/6/1549. The Church of England adopted the Book of Common Prayer, compiled by Thomas Cranmer. In Devon, where the abolition of the chantries had caused economic hardship, there was considerable opposition.
20/3/1549. Death of Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral of England. He married King Henry VIII’s widow, Catherine Parr. When she died, he planned to marry Queen Elizabeth I, but was arrested for treason and executed.
5/9/1548, Catherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VIII, died in childbirth. By then she was the wife of Lord Seymour, at Sudeley castle, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
20/2/1547, King Edward VI, aged 9, crowned as King at Westminster Abbey.
16/2/1647, King Henry VIII was buried at Windsor.
28/1/1547. King Henry VIII, born 28/6/1491, died aged 56, probably of kidney and liver failure.. King Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII, by Jane Seymour, born 12/10/1537 and now aged 9, ascended the throne on 20/2/1547. However he died on 9/7/1553 at the age of 15. He was succeeded by Lady Jane Grey, see 19/7/1553.
19/1/1547, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was beheaded at the Tower of London for treason.
19/7/1545. The Mary Rose, pride of Henry VIII’s battle fleet, keeled over and sank in the Solent with the loss of 700 lives. It was raised on 11/10/1982 and taken to Portsmouth Dockyard.
14/9/1544. Henry VIII of England captured Boulogne. On 7/6/1546 the English and French signed the Peace of Ardres. This said Boulogne was to remain in English hands for another eight years.
12/7/1543. King Henry VIII married his sixth wife, Katherine Parr.
13/2/1542. Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, was beheaded. She stood accused of adultery. Her last words were ‘I die a queen but I would rather have died the wife of Culpepper’.
28/7/1540. Thomas Cromwell, Chancellor to Henry VIII, was beheaded on Tower Hill for promoting the King’s failed marriage to Anne of Cleves. (See 6/1/1540). On the same day Henry VIII married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard. She was beheaded on 13/2/1542.
9/7/1540. Henry VIII divorced his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
23/3/1540. The Crown seized Waltham Abbey. It was the last of the great monasteries to be seized by Henry VIII, bringing to an end a four-year campaign that had seen some 550 church properties, with their gold and jewels, pass to the King. The total income from these properties was around £132,000 a year and Henry VIII gave some of this to his supporters.
6/1/1540. King Henry VIII’s ill-fated marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves (see 28/7/1540). Anne was born on 22/9/1515; her father was leader of the German Protestants and so Anne was regarded as a suitable wife for Henry VIII by Cromwell. However she had no looks, spoke only her own language, and had no dowry. Her only recommendations were her proficiency in needlework and her meek and mild temper. The marriage contract was signed on 24/9/1539; she landed at Deal on 27/12/1539, and Henry VIII met her at Rochester on 1/1/1540. On 2/1/1540 Henry VIII openly said about her looks, “She is no better than a Flanders mare”. On the wedding morning, 6/1/1540, he said nothing would have persuaded him to marry her but the fear of driving the Duke of Cleves into the arms of the Holy Roman Emperor. Soon after Henry regretted identifying so closely with the German Protestants. Henry then declared the marriage non-consummated and so null and void, on 9/7/1540. Anne lived the rest of her life happily in retirement in England, dying on 28/7/1557; she was buried at Westminster Abbey.
4/9/1539, King Henry VIII contracted to marry Anne of Cleves.
24/10/1537 Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII,died, of the all-too-common childbed fever.
12/10/1537. Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, was born at Hampton Court Palace, London. He succeeded his father at the age of 9 but died aged 15. Henry intended him to marry Mary, daughter of King James V of Scotland. In 1543 the Treaty of Greenwich provided for this marriage when Edward reached the age of 10; however the Scottish Parliament rejected this Treaty.
25/8/1537, The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army and the second most senior, was founded.
16/10/1536, York was occupied by rebels against the takeover of the Church by King Henry VIII. This was the Pilgrimage of Grace. Much of northern England, from Lincolnshire to north Yorkshire, was in uproar at this takeover, the valuation of Church property, the suppression of smaller monasteries, and the cancellation of some Saints day holidays. Led by Robert Aske, rebels seized northern towns. Henry VIII made peace with the rebels and issued a pardon, only to go back on this on a pretext in January 1537 and execute the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace, including Aske.
30/5/1536. King Henry VIII married Jane Seymour, his third wife, in the Queen’s Chapel, Whitehall, eleven days after the execution of Anne Boleyn.
19/5/1536. Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII, mother of Queen Elizabeth I, was beheaded at Tower Green, in the Tower of London, aged 29. She was accused of adultery – Henry VIII was already flirting with his third wife Jane. Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and lost her right of succession to the English throne.
2/5/1536, Anne Boleyn was charged with incest and adultery, and taken to the Tower of London.
7/1/1536, Catharine of Aragon died at Kimbolton Palace, Huntingdonshire. She was the first of Henry VIII’s six wives, and the mother of Queen Mary I.
1535, Hurst Castle was built by King Henry VIII, to guard the south-western approaches to the Solent.
6/7/1535. Sir Thomas Moore was beheaded in London, for refusing to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. Thomas More was born in 1477 in London. He published Utopia in 1515 which described a pagan, communist, city state in which the institutions and policies are governed entirely by reason. His ideas contrasted with the self-interest and greed for power seen in Europe’s Christian states.
15/1/1535, The Act of Supremacy was passed in England. This made King Henry VIII head of the Church.
7/9/1533. Queen Elizabeth I was born at Greenwich Palace in London, the daughter of Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was recognised as heir to the English throne ahead of her half sister Mary, daughter of Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. See 19/5/1536.
21/1/1535, Henry VIII appointed Cromwell as vice-regent in spiritual or vicar-general. Cromwell now set about assessing the value of England’s monasteries.
See also History of Christianity
11/7/1533. Henry VIII was excommunicated by Pope Clement VII.
23/5/1533, The marriage of Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon was annulled.
25/1/1533. King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were secretly married by the Bishop of Lichfield, and became the future parents of Queen Elizabeth I.. Anne Boleyn was crowned at Westminster on 1/6/1533, shortly after Thomas Cranmer (who was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury on 30/3/1533) had declared Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void. On 23/5/1533 Henry VIII actually divorced Catherine of Aragon, resulting in a break between England and the Church of Rome.
1/9/1532, Lady Anne Boleyn was created Marquess of Pembroke by her fiancé, King Henry VIII.
16/5/1532, Sir Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor of England. This was in protest at King Henry VIII’s break with Rome.
18/1/1532, English Parliament banned payment by English church to Rome.
11/2/1531, King Henry VIII was recognised as official head of the Church of England.
29/11/1530. Cardinal Wolsey died after being arrested as a traitor. He died at Market Harborough whilst being taken from York to London.
17/10/1529, Henry VIII of England dismissed Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor, replacing him with Thomas Moore.
21/6/1529, John Skelton, tutor to the King Henry VIII as a boy, died.
13/9/1520, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth 1st, was born in Bourne Lincolnshire.
6/6/1520. Henry VIII and Francis I of France met in a glittering ceremony at The Field Of The Cloth Of Gold near Calais.
18/2/1516, Queen Mary I, Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary), was born at Greenwich Palace, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon. She was known as Bloody Mary due to her relentless persecution of the Protestants.
15/11/1515, Thomas Wolsey was invested as a Cardinal.
22/9/1515, Anne of Cleves, one of King Henry VIII’s wives, was born.
9/10/1514, Louis XII, King of France, married Mary Tudor.
15/9/1514, Thomas Wolsey was appointed Archbishop of York.
16/8/1513, The Battle of the Spurs. King Henry VIII defeated the French.
24/6/1509, King Henry VIII of England was crowned.
11/6/1509. King Henry VIII, aged 18, married his sister in law, the Spanish princess Catharine of Aragon, aged 24. She was the first of his six wives.
21/4/1509. King Henry VII died in Richmond, Surrey, probably from tuberculosis. His second son, Henry VIII, succeeded him. The coronation of Henry VIII was on 24/6/1509.
23/11/1499. Perkin Warbeck was executed at the Tower of London. He was a Flemish impostor, the son of a boatman from Tournai, claiming to be Richard of York, son of Edward II, whom he closely resembled. Initially treated leniently after his attempt on the throne (see 31/7/1495), he then attempted to escape the Royal Palace and team up with another usurper, Edward Earl of Warwick.
3/7/1495, The Pretender to the English throne, Perkin Warbeck, landed at Deal, Kent, with 150 men. He hoped to gather enough supporters to overthrow King Henry VII. However his force was routed and he went on to Ireland, where he was again unsuccessful at besieging the pro-Henry town of Waterford. Warbeck then fled to Scotland. See 23/11/1499.
28/6/1491. Henry VIII, best known for his six wives and religious split from Rome, was born at Greenwich. He was the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
2/7/1489. Thomas Cranmer, Henry VIII’s first reformed Archbishop of Canterbury, was born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire. He produced the Book of Common Prayer in 1549.
16/6/1487, The Battle of Stoke Field. The rebellion of the Pretender Lambert Simnel to the English throne, led by John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, and Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell, was crushed by troops loyal to Henry VII.
24/5/1487, Lambert Simnel was crowned ‘King Edward VI of England’ in Christchurch cathedral. He claimed to be Edward, Earl of Warwick, and challenged Henry VII for the throne of England. He was actually the son of a carpenter from Oxford who went to France and won the backing of one of Warwick’s aunts, who had never actually met the real Warwick. He then went to Ireland where he was welcomed, and from where he planned to invade England.
19/9/1486, King Henry VII’s son Arthur was born.
18/1/1486, In England, the houses of York and Lancaster were united by the marriage of King Henry VII to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV.
16/12/1485, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, was born, the fourth daughter of Ferdinand Isabella.
30/10/1485. (1) Coronation of King Henry VII. aged 28.
(2) King Henry VII established the Yeoman of the Guard.
22/8/1485. Battle of Bosworth Field, 12 miles west of Leicester. The two sides met at White Moor, on the slopes of Ambien Hill, some two miles from the market town of Market Bosworth. Richard had a force twice the size of Henry’s, but the Stanleys, the Earl of Derby and his brother, defected to Henry’s side. King Richard III, (White Rose, Yorkist) the last Plantagenet king, born 2/10/1452 at Fotheringay, was killed as he tried to reach the usurper to the English throne, Henry Tudor, (Red Rose, Lancastrian) now Henry VII.
Henry, exiled to France, had landed at Milford Haven on 7/8/1485 and reached Shrewsbury on 15/8/1485, gathering only moderate support along the way. He then passed through Newport (Shropshire), Stafford, Lichfield, Tamworth, and reached Atherstone on the borders of Leicestershire on 20/81485. Here he linked up with the Stanley brothers, both anti-Yorkist. The night of the 21st, Henry encamped at White Moors, south west of what was to be the battlefield. Richard and his army halted three miles away on high ground at Sutton Cheney. Both sides attempted to occupy Ambien Hill, midway between the two armies. The Stanleys moved against the Yorkist flanks , and the Yorkist Duke of Northumberland, at the rear, failed to intervene. Richard was unhorsed and killed, and the Yorkist army melted away, unpursued.
7/8/1485, Henry Tudor (Henry VII) landed at Milford Haven, Wales.
1/8/1485, Henry Tudor (Henry VII) set sail from France for Wales. He had been advised by Rhys ap Thomas (a powerful Welsh landowner), wrongly as it turned out, that the whole of Wales would rise up in his favour.
21/6/1485, King Richard III, anticipating a challenge for his rulership, issued a proclamation against ‘Henry Tydder and other rebels.
17/8/1483. The date on which the two young princes, the uncrowned Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, are believed to have been murdered by their uncle and successor, Richard III, in the Tower of London. See 9/4/1483.
6/7/1483. The coronation of King Richard III.
28/6/1483, The Dukedom of Norfolk was created.
26/6/1483, Richard III became King of England.
9/4/1483. King Edward IV died at Windsor. During his second reign he re-established peace after the Wars of the Roses, but his heir, Edward V, was only aged 12. See 17/8/1483.
25/8/1482, Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, died.
7/2/1478, Sir Thomas Moore, Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, was born in London, the son of a judge. He was executed for refusing to deny the authority of the Pope.
14/2/1477. A man in Norfolk received the world’s first known Valentine. Margery Brews sent her fiancée John Poston a letter saying ‘To my right welbelovyd Voluntyne’. She explained that she had asked her mother to put pressure on her father to increase her dowry but also said that if he loved her, she would marry him anyway. The Romans, around 600 BC, celebrated a February festival with romantic games and dancing. When the Roman Empire was converted to Christianity, the festival was linked to the martyrdom of St Valentine on 14 February, ca. 270 AD, by the Roman Emperor Claudius. Another possible origin is the medieval belief that birds traditionally pair off on 14 February. Oliver Cromwell’s government banned St Valentine’s day but it was restored when Charles II came to the throne in 1660. See 14/2/1822.
21/5/1471. King Henry VI died, in the Tower of London. He was probably murdered, and was succeeded by Edward IV.
4/5/1471. The Yorkists under Edward IV defeated the Lancastrians under Margaret of Anjou at the Battle of Tewkesbury. The Lancastrians were attempting to cross the River Severn to join with Welsh troops under Jasper Tudor. The death of Margaret’s son, Prince Edward, as he fled the battlefield extinguished the House of Lancaster.
14/4/1471, Yorkists under King Edward IV defeated the Earl of Warwick’s Lancastrians at the Battle of Barnet.
2/11/1470, Edward V, King of England, was born.
9/10/1470. Lancastrian King Henry VI was restored to the English throne after having been deposed nine years earlier. The power behind the throne here was held by Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, a former Yorkist who abandoned the cause when his protégé, Edward IV, strong-willed, secretly married the woman he wanted to, the young widow Elizabeth Woodville, rather than undertake an arranged marriage to a French Princess. Henry VI, a weak character, was accustomed to abdication of political responsibilities so an alliance with power-hungry Warwick suited them both. However Henry VI’s weak reign was blamed for the wars that had split England for the previous 15 years, and the loss of English lands in France, and Henry’s days seemed numbered.
26/7/1469, Battle of Edgecote, Northamptonshire, Wars of the Roses
25/4/1464, At Hedgeley Moor, near Alnwick, Northumberland, the Lancastrians in northern England were defeated.
28/6/1461, Coronation of Yorkist King Edward IV.
29/3/1461, The Battle of Towton (North Yorkshire) took place, during the Wars of the Roses, in a snowstorm. It was the bloodiest battle ever on British soil; over 28,000 died. The Lancastrians were heavily defeated and the position of King Edward IV was secured.
5/3/1461, Henry VI was deposed as King of England. Edward IV (Duke of York) succeeded him.
17/2/1461, The Second Battle of Barnet. Margaret of Anjou’s Lancastrian forces defeated the Yorkist Earl of Warwick. Warwick, defending the Yorkists in London, was taken by surprise and fled in disarray, failing to take King Henry VI with him.
3/2/1461, At Mortimer’s Cross, Richard’s son, Edward, Earl of March, defeated the Lancastrian forces.
30/12/1460, The Battle of Wakefield. A superior Lancastrian force caught Yorkists, foraging, by surprise, and the Duke of York was killed. This would have ended the Yorkist cause but for the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, 3/2/1461.
10/7/1460. The Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians in the Wars of the Roses and captured King Henry VI at the Battle of Northampton.
23/9/1459, (-) The Battle of Blore Heath, during the Wars of the Roses. The Yorkists under Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, defeated the Lancastrians under Lord Audley. Salisbury was now able to join forces with the Yorkists at Ludlow.
28/1/1457, Henry VII born at Pembroke Castle. The start of the Tudor dynasty. He was the son of Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, and of Margaret Beaufort.
22/5/1455. The First Battle of Barnet. In the Wars of the Roses, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, Yorkist, fought his way into the Lancastrian camp because Henry VI had refused Richard of York’s demand that Simon Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, be imprisoned. The Yorkists won, killing their principal enemies, Somerset, Northumberland and Clifford.
17/7/1453. The end of the Hundred Years War, when the French defeated the English at Castillon. Now only Calais remained in English hands; in 1449 England occupied nearly a third of France.
2/10/1452, Richard III, King of England, was born.
3/2/1452, The Duke of York accused the Beaufort family, who backed the Lancastrian King Henry VI, of incompetence and ineptitude and of thereby losing the English territories in France.
20/8/1451, The French captured Bayonne, the last English stronghold in Guyenne.
30/6/1451, French troops under the Comte de Dunois invaded Guyenne and captured Bordeaux.
12/8/1450, Cherbourg, the last English territory in Normandy, surrendered to the French.
12/7/1450, Cade had been promised a free pardon and had disbanded his army. However he was then hunted down by Government forces and killed this day.
6/7/1450, Caen surrendered to the French.
4/7/1450, Jack Cade entered London. Henry VI had left London for Kenilworth, allowing Cade’s men to enter the caoital and execute unpopular courtiers. However Cade proved unable to maintain discipline amongst his followers and Londoners turned against him.
27/6/1450. Jack Cade, an Irish born physician, led an insurrection march of 40,000 through Kent to London to protest against the high taxes of King Henry VI. The English Government was unpopular after its defeat in the Hundred Years War. Meanwhile Henry VI’s courtiers blamed the Men of Kent for the murder of William de la Pole in May 1450 and wanted reprisals, sparking the Kentish rebellion. Pole had been involved in the disastrous English military campaign in France that culminated with the loss of Normandy to the French; Parliament had him sent to The Tower on charges of treason. King Henry VI, to save Pole from a trial with a foregone conclusion, declared him innocent but banished him from England for five years. As Pole left Dover, his ship was intercepted, and Pole was forcibly dragged into a small boat and beheaded.
15/4/1450, The Battle of Formigny. Fought near Caen, the French defeated an English force sent to halt King Charles VII’s reconquest of Normandy.
29/10/1449, The French recaptured Rouen from the English.
11/12/1444, The earliest mention of the Welsh town of Bridgend, in a legal document, as Bruggen Eynde. The older
market town of Kenfig had been abandoned due to coastal flooding and encroachment by sand dunes, and a bridge over the River Ogmore was constructed to the new town site.
28/4/1442, King Edward IV was born in Rouen, son of Richard, Duke of York.
16/12/1431. The Bishop of Winchester, Henry Beaufort, crowned King Henry VI King of France.
23/3/1430, Margaret of Anjou, Queen of England, was born.
6/11/1429, The coronation of King Henry VI of England.
18/6/1429. Jeanne D’Arc, 13 years old, defeated the British at the Battle of Patay. Historians are still in dispute over Jeanne D’Arc’s role in the Hundred Years War between Britain and France. Born a peasant’s daughter on 7/1/1412, she believed she was led by divine guidance and her mission was to make sure that Charles VII became King of France and not the English Henry V. The French and the English came face to face at Patay on 18/6/1429 and Jeanne D’Arc had promised the French a greater victory than ever they had seen so far. The English army was indeed routed and also its reputation for invincibility, as the Earl of Salisbury’s 5,000 men were forced back across the River Loire. She was captured by the English a year later, on 24/5/1430, with the help of French collaborators, and burnt as a witch on 30/5/1431. She was canonised in 1920.
17/8/1424, Battle of Verneuil. John of Lancaster, Duke of Bedford, defeated a French force, consolidating English conquest of Normandy.
31/8/1422. King Henry V died in Vincennes, France, struck down by dysentery.. Aged 35, he was just about to take the crown of both France and England; his son, Henry VI, was just 9 months old, and English power in France looked uncertain again.
For Hundred Years War events see also France
6/12/1421, Henry VI was born in Windsor Castle, the only child of Henry V and Catherine Valois. Catherine Valois, daughter of Charles IV and Isabella of France, had married Henry V on 2/6/1420.
1/12/1420, Henry V made a triumphal entry into Paris, see 25/10/1415 and 21/5/1420.
21/5/1420, Under the Treaty of Troyes, King Henry V of England became ruler of France also, following his victory at Agincourt. Henry V married Catherine de Valois and when Charles de Valois dies Henry would inherit the throne, so long as Henry and Catherine produce a male heir. Under French Salic Law, a woman could not rule France.
19/1/1419, In the Hundred Years' War, Rouen surrendered to Henry V of England, which took Normandy under the control of England.
14/12/1417, Sir John Oldcastle, prototype of Shakespeare’s Falstaff, was hanged.
24/6/1417, The Isle of Man held its first known Tynwald Day; the annual meeting of its parliament (Tynwald) which has continued every year until the present.
25/10/1415. Battle of Agincourt, 20 miles inland from Boulogne. The English forces, after the capture by the French of Harfleur, had set out to march to Calais through Picardy. Their crossing of the River Somme was delayed by torrential rains and the French set out to block their passage. The French troops set up at the northern end of a defile of open ground between the woods of Agincourt and Tramercourt. The English were short of food and supplies and hunger might have eventually forced their surrender. The French outnumbered the English three to one.
However King Henry V was able to use his archers, in the restricted space of the battlefield, to mow down the French cavalry and so win the battle. Thick mud, from the rains, restricted the movement of the French cavalry. The English victory gave Henry the finances and reputation to continue the war. Four years later the whole of Normandy was under British control, and in 1420 the Treaty of Troyes recognised Henry as heir to the French throne, see 1/12/1420.
10/8/1415, Henry V of England set sail for Normandy with an army of 12,000 men; two-thirds archers. . Harfleur was captured in September 1415 and Henry V set out for Paris. However illness began to thin his military ranks. On 5/10/1415 military advisers told Henry to return to England via Calais.
20/3/1413 England’s King Henry IV died, after suffering a stroke in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey. He had earlier prophesied that he would die in Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his eldest son Henry V. See 30/3/1399.
1/1/1409, The Welsh surrendered Harlech Castle to the English.
19/2/1408, The Battle of Bramham Moor. Near Tadcaster, Yorkshire, forces loyal to King Henry IV defeated rebels under Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. This ended the Percy Rebellion.
14/7/1404, Rebel leader Owain Glyndwr, having declared himself Prince of Wales, allied with the French against the English. He later began holding parliamentary assemblies.
22/7/1403, The Battle of Shrewsbury. Sir Henry Percy, known as Harry Hotspur, was killed trying to overthrow King Henry IV.
16/9/1400, The Owen Glendower revolt in Wales; Welsh landowners proclaimed Owen King of Wales, and attacked the English in Flint and Denbigh.
14/2/1400, Richard II was killed whilst being held at Pontefract Castle, to prevent further rebellions by his followers.
13/10/1399, Coronation of Henry IV, first Lancastrian King of England.
11/10/1399. The Order of the Bath was instituted.
30/9/1399. King Richard II, born 6/1/1367, was deposed. Unpopular, he had dispossessed many of the nobility. He was crowned, aged 10, on 22/6/1377. He surrendered to Bolingbroke without a fight; Bolingbroke became King Henry IV. Henry IV was born at Bolingbroke Castle, Lincolnshire, on 3/4/1366. He reigned from 1399 to 1413. See 20/3/1413.
4/7/1399, Henry of Lancaster, Henry IV, landed at Ravenspur, Yorkshire.
3/2/1399, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III and father of Henry IV, died (born 24/6/1340).
20/12/1387, The Battle of Radcot Bridge. An army raised by Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, to assist Richard II, was attacked as it crossed the Thames. De Vere escaped and fled the country.
16/9/1387, King Henry V was born at Monmouth Castle, the eldest of six children of Henry IV. He defeated the French at Agincourt.
24/3/1387, (-) In the Hundred Years War, at the Battle of Margate: The English defeated an invading French and Castilian naval force.
9/5/1386, The Treaty of Windsor cemented the alliance between England and Portugal.
15/6/1381. Richard II summoned Wat Tyler, the first poll tax rebel, and his band, to Smithfield. Tyler met the King, grew insolent and abusive, and was killed by Mayor Walworth.
14/6/1381, Richard II rode to Mile End to negotiate with the rebels. They demanded an end to serfdom and limits on rents, and the execution of Chancellor Sudbury, Treasurer Hales, John of Gaunt, and others. Richard II agreed to all but the executions. However at this time Kentishmen were breaking into the Tower and beheading Sudbury and Hales. The deaths of the Chancellor and the Treasurer (who was also the Archbishop of Canterbury) were followed by a general massacre of Flemings in the City of London. The rebels attempted to break into all places where records might be stored, such as chirch buildings and lawyer’s houses, and to massacre all clerks..
13/6/1381, The rebels entered London and the King withdrew to the safety of The Tower. The rebels ransacked and burnt John of Gaunt’s Palace.
12/6/1381, Kentish rebels reached Blackheath, and Essex rebels reached Mile End.
10/6/1381, Wat Tyler led his rebels into Canterbury.
7/6/1381, Rebels entered Maidstone and chose Wat Tyler as their leader.
6/6/1381, Rebels in the Peasant’s Revolt besieged Rochester.
4/6/1381, The Peasants Revolt began. Rebels attacked Dartford. The poor were protesting over the imposition of a Poll Tax, whilst the peasants wages were held down by the Statute of Labourers Act, 1351. Peasant’s pay had been rising since the Black Death killed many workers.
1378, A Sheffield-made knife (‘thwitle’)was famous across the UK.
16/7/1377, Coronation of Richard II, King of England.
22/6/1377. The 10 year old King Richard II inherited the English throne from his grandfather, Edward III. Effective power was with the Royal Council. He was deposed 22 years later on 30/9/1399.
21/6/1377, King Edward III of England died.
8/6/1376. Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, died.
29/4/1376, Sir Peter de la Mare took office as first Speaker of the House of Commons.
7/4/1374, King Edward III appointed the Church reformer, John Wycliffe, to the rectory of Lutterworth.
30/6/1399, Henry IV, exiled to France by King Richard II for treason, landed at Ravenspur, Humberside, to retake the English throne.
3/4/1367, In the Hundred Years War, the English under the Black Prince defeated a Spanish and French army at the Battle of Navarrete.
2/4/1367, Henry IV, the first Lancastrian King of England, was born in Bolingbroke castle, Lincolnshire, the son of John O’Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and Duchess Blanche.
6/1/1367, King Richard II was born at Bordeaux, France. He was the son of Edward the Black Prince and the grandson of King Edward III.
24/10/1360, (-) (Britain, France) The Treaty of Brétigny was ratified at Calais, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War. Under its terms, King John II of France, who had been captured at Poitiers, would be released for a ransom of 3 million Ecus. Calais, Guines, Ponthieu and all of Aquitaine would be ceded to Edward III of England. In return Edward, who had besieged Rheims (December 1359 – January 1360) but failed to capture it, promised to renounce claims to the French Crown when John renounced sovereignty over Aquitaine. In fact these renunciations never took place and the Hundred Years War resumed 1369.
19/9/1356. The English, led by Edward the Black Prince, defeated the French under King John II, at the Battle of Poitiers, western France, in the Hundred Years War.
10/8/1348, The first investiture ceremony of the Order of the Garter, at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle. King Edward III revived the notion of King Arthur’s Round Table, and had the Round Tower at Windsor built to house a replica version of the Table. In 1344 Edward III began holding knightly tournaments and feasts around this Table. Following British successes in the Hundred Years War against France, Edward III instituted the Order oif the Garter, with Windsor as the new Camelot.
19/1/1348. Edward III established the Order of the Garter.
17/10/1346, The Battle of Neville’s Cross. An attempted Scottish invasion of England was routed, west of Durham. Whilst the English King Edward III was occupied with the siege of Calais, King David II of Scotland invaded England in support of his French ally. However his army was heavily defeated by English archers, and David was wounded and captured. Held for 11 years, Scotland had to raise taxes to pay a heavy ransom for his release.
26/8/1346. The Battle of Crecy took place, 32 miles south of Boulogne. The outnumbered army of Edward III, aided by his son Edward the Black Prince, defeated the French under Philip IV, who fled,, leaving over 1,500 French dead. On 3/8/1347 the English captured Calais after nearly a year’s siege, which began on 3/9/1346. This battle, during the Hundred Years War, was the first time the English had used longbows in continental warfare. The crossbow assault at Crecy decimated the French-Geonese archers and the French knights behind, attempting an attack through the Genoese, caused a troops jam into which the English longbowmen continued to fire. The French retreated; Edward decided against pursuing the survivors but marched on north to attack Calais.
For Hundred Years War events see also France
12/7/1346, An English invasion force landed unopposed at St Vaast, western Normandy, with the aim of capturing Paris. This force was defeated by a superior French army and the English attempted a retreat back to England, marching west 60 miles in four days. However the French followed their march just to the south, denying the Seine Valley to the English. The English needed a port to evacuate their forces. The English now had to cross the lower Somme between Amiens and the sea, but this tract was tidal, full of treacherous marches, passable only along narrow causeways for a few hours a day at low tide. Crossing points to the north of the Somme were guarded by the French. The English attempted to force a crossing of the Somme at Crecy.
25/10/1340. Geoffrey Chaucer, writer, was born. He died on his birthday in 1400.
24/6/1340. The English fleet, under Edward III (see 21/9/1327) defeated the French fleet at Sluys. The French fleet was virtually destroyed, giving Edward III control of the sea. However both the French and English rulers were short of money and unable to pay their troops; so Edward III, and Philip VI of France, settled at the Treaty of Esplechin.
The dispute between England and France had links to the Flemish weavers who rebelled but were defeated on 24/8/1328 by the new Philip VI of France. Also Philip VI supported the Scots under David Bruce against the English, see 21/9/1327. In 1336 Edward III renewed his claim to the French throne. In 1338 Edward III cut wool exports to Flanders, forcing up wool prices and causing economic hardship to the weavers there. Edward then lifted the wool embargo, and encouraged the weavers to rebel again against Philip VI, to secure the unification and independence of Flanders.
17/3/1337, Edward, the Black Prince, was made the first Duke of Cornwall, by his father King Edward III.
15/6/1330, Edward, the Black Prince, was born.
21/9/1327. Edward II was murdered with a red-hot poker at Berkeley castle in Gloucestershire, to ensure his son Edward III, aged 15, could ascend the English throne under Isabella’s Regency.. Edward II’s fate was sealed in 1326 when his wife Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer landed with a band of foreign mercenaries and marched on London. Isabella found widespread support amongst the barons, among whom Edward had caused dissension by granting some lands and lordships, but not others. Edward was also resented after his defeat by Robert the Bruce in Scotland. See 21/6/1314, and 24/6/1340.
In 1330 Edward III took real power, sending his mother Isabella into a monastery. He executed her lover, Roger Mortimer. See 24/6 1340.
25/1/1327, Edward III became King of England.
16/3/1322, The Battle of Boroughbridge. Forces loyal to the rebel, Thomas of Lancaster, were defeated at the crossing of the River Ure by an army loyal to King Edward II, led by Andrew Barclay. Edward then ordered the execution of more than 20 of the rebel leaders, an act that shocked contemporaries by its severity.
13/11/1312. Edward III, King of England from 1327, was born in Windsor Castle, son of Edward II.
19/6/1312, Piers Gaveston was beheaded at Deddington on the orders of the Duke of Warwick.
19/5/1312, After a 2-week siege of Scarborough Castle, Piers Gaveston, close associate of King Edward II, was taken prisoner.
25/2/1308, Coronation of Edward II of England.
17/11/1307. William Tell is reputed to have shot an apple off his son’s head this day.
7/7/1307. King Edward I of England died in his way north to invade Scotland and was succeeded by his son Edward II.
25/3/1306. (-) Robert The Bruce, Eight Earl of Carrick, was crowned King of Scotland (Robert I) at Scone. See 21/6/1314.
29/5/1303, Treaty of Paris restored Gascony to the English.
7/2/1301, The first Prince of Wales was created, Edward of Caernarfon, who later became King Edward II.
1/4/1299, Kings Towne on the River Hull (Kingston upon Hull) was granted city status by Royal Charter of King Edward I of England.
28/8/1297, Edward I of England unsuccessfully invaded Flanders.
20/1/1288, Newcastle Emlyn Castle in Wales was recaptured by English forces, bringing Rhys ap Maredudd's revolt to an end.
8/6/1287, Rhys ap Maredudd revolted in Wales; the revolt was not suppressed until 1288.
25/4/1284, Edward II was born at Caernarfon Castle, third son of Edward I.
11/12/1282, At the Battle of Orewin Bridge in mid-Wales, Llewellyn the Last was killed and the Welsh suffered their final decisive defeat at the hands of the English. King Edward I took Llewellyn’s head to London on a stake as proof of English triumph in Wales. Wales had held out against the Norman English for over 200 years thanks to its remote terrain, enabling the Welsh to simply vanish whenever the English Armies went in, and its atrocious weather, deterring these armies. The Welsh also made alliances with England’s natural enemies, the Scots and French.
20/7/1280, Neath, Wales, held its first fair (St Margaret’s Day), granted by Charter. The local abbey had extensive sheep pasturage so there was a large trade in wool.
22/4/1275, The first Statute of Westminster was passed by the English Parliament, establishing a series of laws in its 51 clauses, including equal treatment of rich and poor, free and fair elections, and definition of bailable and non-bailable offenses.
19/8/1274, Coronation of King Edward I.
16/11/1272, Henry III died at Westminster, succeeded by his eldest son Edward I. Edward I was in Sicily at the time.
4/8/1265. Simon De Montfort, who had promoted the power of the barons against King Henry III, was defeated and killed at the Battle of Evesham. Royalist forces won, led by the future King Edward I. This was during the Second Barons War. The last Montfortian resistance ceased in 1268.
20/1/1265. England’s first Parliament met in Westminster Hall, summoned by Simon De Montfort, Earl of Leicester. De Montfort was the brother-in-law of King Henry III.
14/5/1264, The Battle of Lewes of the Second Barons' War was fought between Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and King Henry III of England in Sussex. By the end of the battle, de Montfort's forces had captured both King Henry and his son, future King Edward I, making de Montfort the "uncrowned king of England" for 15 months before Edward escaped captivity and regained the throne.
11/5/1264, Henry III marched through Kent, captured Tunbridge Castle, forcing the Cinque Port rebels to submit. He rested at Lewes.
24/4/1264, After his victory at Northampton, Henry III moved south to deal with De Montfort in London. De Montfort had been besieging Rochester Castle, a southern Royalist stronghold, bit now abandoned the siege to return to protect London.
5/4/1264, Henry III attacked Simon de Montfort’s forces at Northampton Castle and defeated them, forcing all De Montfort’s forces in the east Midlands to surrender. De Montfort himself was in London, his other main base of support. The dispute between Henry and de Montfort had been arbitrated in January 1264 by King Louis IX at Amiens, the Mise of Amiens (Mise = settlement); however de Montfort refused to accept this result.
12/6/1261, King Henry III of England obtained a papal bull releasing him from his oath to maintain the Provisions of Oxford (1258), setting the stage for the Second Barons' War (1263–1268).
1259, The first historical record of mining in England. King Henry III granted the freemen of Newcastle on Tyne a licence to dig for coals.
4/12/1259, Kings Louis IX of France and Henry III of England agreed to the Treaty of Paris, in which Henry renounced his claims to French-controlled territory on continental Europe (including Normandy) in exchange for Louis withdrawing his support for English rebels.
17/6/1259, Edward I, King of England, was born.
20/5/1259, Britain and France signed the Treaty of Abbeville, whereby Britain relinquished claims to French territories.
14/12/1247. Robin Hood is said to have died on this day, aged 87.
24/1/1236, King Henry III of England married Eleanor of Provence.
12/9/1217, First Barons' War in England ended by the Treaty of Kingston upon Thames: French and Scots to leave England, and an amnesty was granted to rebels.
24/8/1217, First Barons' War: In the Battle of Sandwich in the English Channel, English forces destroyed the French and the French mercenary Eustace the Monk was captured and beheaded.
20/5/1217, First Barons' War in England: French forces under Louis (21/5/1216) were defeated at the Battle of Lincoln by English royal troops led by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke and survivors forced to flee south. Louis had alienated the English barons who once supported him as he preferred to bring in French advisors to help him. Louis returned to France.
19/10/1216. King John died suddenly at Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire, of a fever, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral. He had been King of England since 1199. He was succeeded by his nine year old son Henry III; William Marshall was made Regent. The young Henry III of England was crowned at Gloucester on October 28.
11/10/1216, King John’s baggage was lost in The Wash. His attendants had attempted to ford the estuary of the River Welland as the tide was coming in, rather than take a long detour inland to reach Newark.
14/6/1216, King Louis captured Winchester and by the end of June controlled the southern half of England. King John fled north.
21/5/1216, King Louis VIII of France attempted an invasion of England, landing at Stonor. This was at the request of the English barons who were disgruntled at King John having got Pope Innocent III to annul the Magna Carta (24/8/1215). Moreover the barons maintained that John had effectively abandoned his kingship, as he had technically ‘abdicated’ rulership of England to Pope Innocent III (4/3/1215), which made the barons enemies of the Church if they resisted John. Louis was also married to John’s niece, giving him some claim to the English throne. Louis entered London with little resistance and was crowned King Louis I of England. King Alexander II of Scotland also supported this development, attending Louis’ coronation.
24/8/1215, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta invalid, at the request of King John.
15/6/1215. Magna Carta was sealed by King John at Runnymede, near Windsor. King John was forced to have the taxation of his subjects reviewed by a Great Council, which eventually evolved into the Parliament of today. If the King reneged on the Charter, a council of 25 barons could take him to war.
22/5/1215, King Philip II Augustus of France received instructions from the Pope to abandon his invasion of Britain, following 4/3/1215. King John of England has considerable economic interests in the District of Flanders, whose cloth merchants received almost all their wool from England, With English agents in many Flemish towns, France feared losing influence over the region to England.
4/3/1215, King John of England made an oath to Pope Innocent III as a crusader to gain his support. John also technically passed authority of his kingdom over to the Pope, thereby making anyone who tried to depose him an enemy of the Pope and liable to excommunication. This move was a precaution by John who was facing rebellion by his barons. This healed the rift between King John and Pope Innocent III, see 15/7/1207.
27/7/1214, The Battle of Bouvines. Near Lille, France, Philip II Augustus of France defeated an Anglo-German-Flemish alliance. This dashed the hopes of King John of invading France on two fronts to recover the Angevin lands, and this humiliation for John brought on the Magna Carta rebellion.
30/5/1213, Battle of Damme: King John’s English fleet under William Longespée, 3rd Earl of Salisbury destroyed a French fleet off the Belgian port of Bruges, in the first major victory for the fledgling Royal Navy. This forced King Philip II Augustus to abandon plans for the invasion of England.
18/3/1208, Great Yarmouth was granted a Royal Charter by King John
1/10/1207, Henry III, son of King John, was born at Winchester, Hampshire.
28/8/1207, Liverpool was created a borough by King John.
15/7/1207, King John expelled the monks at Canterbury who were supporters of Stephen Langton. The dispute between John and Pope Innocent led to King John being excommunicated in 1008; an interdict was placed upon England, meaning Church services could not officially be held there. In 1213 Pope Innocent III authorised King Philip II of France to invade England and depose King John. However see 4/3/1215.
17/6/1207, Pope Innocent III consecrated Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, following the death of the previous incumbent, Hubert Walter, in 2105. However King John of England preferred John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, to succeed to the post.
1/4/1204, Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Henry II of England, died. She was buried at Fonteraud. In June 1204 England lost Normandy to the French King, Philip Augustus.
25/5/1200, The town of Ipswich, population ca. 3,000 received its Royal Charter from King John. Under the terms of the Charter, the burgesses of Ipswich, a thriving fishimg port with a trade in salt production and in export of grain and wool to the Netherlands, received the right to govern the town in return for an annual payment to the Crown of £65.
27/5/1199, King John became King of England.
6/4/1199. Richard I, Richard Lionheart, died, killed by an arrow in battle whilst besieging Chaluz Castle.
26/3/1194, Richard captured Nottingham Castle – the cause of his brother, John was lost.
2/11/1192. Peace was concluded between Richard I (Lionheart) of England and Saladdin of Jerusalem. The Crusades never achieved their objective of liberating the Holy Land from the Muslims but because they caused the death of so many noblemen the system of serfdom and landholding in Europe was gradually dismantled. Feudalism gradually ended over the period from 1300 to the Thirty Year’s War, 1618-48.
4/7/1190, Richard I set out on a Crusade, leaving his younger brother John in Europe.
3/9/1189. Richard the Lionheart (Richard I) was crowned King at Westminster, after his father Henry II, died. His first act was to free his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine from the Tower of London where King Henry II imprisoned her 16 years earlier for supporting their sons, Richard and John, in a rebellion against Henry. Richard was planning a Third Crusade.
13/8/1189, Richard the Lionheart arrived in England, to a hero’s welcome.
6/7/1189, King Henry II, King of England, died at Chinon, succeeded by his third son, Richard I (Lionheart).
11/6/1183, Richard I’s elder brother died. Richard became heir to the English throne, also the Angevin lands, Normandy and Aquitaine.
24/12/1167, King John, sixth and youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, was born in Oxford.
1161, The monks at Kirkstead, near Sheffield, had four iron-smelting furnaces.
7/2/1161, The title ‘Confessor’ was conferred upon King Edward, by Papal Bull. It signified his adherence to religious principles in the face of temptation.
8/9/1157. King Richard I was born in Oxford, third son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and later known as Richard the Lionheart. Although he reigned for nearly ten years he was only in England twice, for a total of 160 days. He was mostly away on crusades.
28/2/1155, (-) Henry, son of Henry II, was born.
19/12/1154. Henry II became King of England, on the death of Stephen on 24/10/1154.
24/10/1154. King Stephen of England died at Dover.
1/11/1141. Following the death of King Henry I, Matilda his daughter and her cousin Stephen of Blois were fighting a civil war for the English throne. Rival barons robbed and burned villages and abbeys.
14/9/1141, The Battle of Winchester; King Stephen’s release was secured.
20/2/1141, At the Battle of Lincoln, King Stephen was captured. He had been besieging Lincoln Castle, and was taken by forces under Earl Robert of Gloucester and Earl Ranulf of Chester.
22/8/1138, At the Battle of The Standard, a Scottish Highland and Pict army under King David was defeated near Northallerton by English from Yorkshire and the east Midlands.
22/12/1135, The coronation of King Stephen took place.
1/12/1135. King Henry I died, aged 66, apparently of a surfeit of lampreys, near Rouen. See 1/11/1141. His nephew Stephen succeeded him. Henry’s only son, Robert, had drowned in 1120 and Henry I wanted his daughter Maud to succeed him; the barons considered it unfitting for a woman to be monarch and backed the claim of Stephen, Henry’s nephew.
25/3/1133, (-) Henry II, first Plantagenet King of England, was born near Le Mans, eldest son of Geoffrey Count of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I.
25/11/1120, William Aethelney, son and heir of the English King Henry I, drowned when his ship hit rocks whilst sailing from Normandy to England.
28/9/1106. King Henry of England defeated his brother Robert at the Battle of Tinchebrai in France and reunited England and Normandy, divided since William the Conqueror died, see 5/8/1100 and 9/9/1087.
5/8/1100, Henry I, youngest son of William the Conqueror aged 31, was crowned in Westminster Abbey. The rightful heir, older brother Robert, was away on the First Crusade and not expected to return until 1101. Henry I was expected to buy him off with territories in Normandy, see 28/9/1101.
2/8/1100. William Rufus, (William II), king of England after William the Conqueror, (see 9/9/1087) was killed in the New Forest by an arrow in a hunting accident; he was allegedly mistaken for a deer. His brother, Henry, who became Henry I, was crowned on 5/8/1100, succeeded him.
1092, Carlisle Castle built. William II subdued Cumberland.
15/11/1087. Domesday Book completed.
26/9/1087, The coronation of King William II of England.
9/9/1087. William the Conqueror died, aged 60, in Rouen, France, from injuries sustained when his horse stumbled. He was succeeded in Normandy by Robert Curthose and in England by William Rufus, William II, who was crowned on 26/9/1087. See 2/8/1100, and 28/9/1106.
25/12/1085, (-) King William I of England ordered a complete survey of the wealth of the kingdom, known as the Domesday Book.
1075, Richmond Castle built.
25/12/1066. (-) William the Conqueror was crowned King of England, in Westminster Abbey.
14/10/1066 Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror had landed in England, at Pevensey Bay, seven miles from the Batlle site, on 28/9/1066. The English lost partly because they left their strong position on the crest of a hill, and partly because they were exhausted by the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the long march south. The Witan chose Edgar Atheling, grandson of Edmund Ironside, as King. William circled London and approached from the north. At Berkhamsted, Edgar and other Saxon nobles met William and offered him the crown.
King Edward the Confessor of England (1003-66, see 5/1/1066) had promised the throne of England to King William of Normandy upon his death. However in response to a Viking threat, Edward also promised the throne to the Danish King Svein Estrithsson, and Harald Hadraada of Norway had also been promised the English throne by an earlier King. The English nobility preferred a native ruler, Harold of Wessex.
28/9/1066, William the Conqueror landed at Hastings.
25/9/1066. King Harold defeated the Norwegians under Tostig at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, near York, unaware that William of Normandy was about to invade the south coast. Tostig had begun an invasion of Northumbria.
20/9/1066. Harald Hardraada of Norway and Earl Tostig defeated the northern English Earls Edwin and Morcar. However the Norwegian forces were weakened so that they lost to Harold II at Stamford Bridge (25/9/1066). In turn the noerthen English forces were so weakened by these two battles that they could not fully assist Harold at Hastings (14/10/1066).
7/1/1066. Harold was crowned King of England in succession to Edward the Confessor. Ten months later he died at the Battle of Hastings.
5/1/1066. Death of Edward the Confessor, said to be England’s most pious king. Leaving no heir, he recommended Harold as his successor. See 14/10/1066.
14/4/1053, Godwin, Earl of Wessex, died.
3/4/1043, Edward the Confessor was crowned.
8/6/1042, Harthacanute, King of Denmark and England, died.
17/3/1040, Harold Harefoot, King of England, was born.
12/11/1035. (-) Death of the Danish King of England, Canute (Cnut), aged 40. His kingdom disintegrated. Harold I, Cnut’s son by Aelgifu of Northampton, became Regent of England whilst his half-brother delayed in Denmark. England split into the old political pattern of Northumbria and Mercia against Wessex.
30/11/1016, (-) King Edmund was murdered and Cnut became King of England.
18/10/1016, (-) The Danes under Canute defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Assandun (now Ashingdon, Essex)
23/4/1016, Ethelred died and was succeeded by his son Edmund II, Ironside. Edmund and Cnut fought for the throne. Edmund agreed to keep Wessex and leave Cnut ruling over the rest of England.
25/12/1013, The Danish King, Swein Forkbeard, invaded England and was declared its King. However he died 5 weeks later.
2/12/1001. The Danes in England were massacred on the orders of King Aethelred, after his policy of buying them off had failed to halt the Dane’s raids. In revenge Sweyn returned in 1002 and ravaged Exeter in 1003 and Norwich and Thetford in 1004. After a lull in 1005 Danish attacks on English towns resumes and Aethelred bought them off for a larger sum than ever, £36,000, in 1007. But in 1010 the Danes were bough off again, for £48,000 this time. In the 1010s the Danes made efforts to gain political control of the English Kingdom of northern and western England. Aethelred, called the Unready as he was without rede or counsel, had been a weak, improvident, and self-indulgent monarch, and he died in London on 23/4/1016. His wife Emma subsequently married Canute, and died in retirement at Winchester on 6/3/1052 after not her son (Hardicanute) but Harold Harefoot had become king of England.
See also Christianity
18/3/979, King Edward the Martyr was murdered at Corfe castle, and succeeded by Ethelred II (The Unready).
970, Teignmouth Devon, was burned by the Danes.
965, England invaded the Celtic Kingdon of Gwynedd.
1/10/959, King Eadwig of England died, and was succeeded by his brother Edgar, who effectively completed the unification of England when Northumbria finally submittted to his rule.
27/10/939, King Athelstan of Mercia died.
XX/XX/937, The Battle of Brunanburh. This probably took place at Bromborough, on The Wirral. Aethelstan had inherited the thrones of Mercia from his aunt and of Wessex from his father, making him the first true king of all England. In 934 Aethelstan, as part of a border campaign to secure his northern frontier, attacked Scotland and the Welsh Kingdom of Strathclyde (comprising the modern Strathclyde region plus the Lake District). In 937 King Constantine III of Scotland and Owain map Dynfwal, King of Strathclyde, allied with Olaf (Anlaf) Gothfrithson, the Viking King of Dublin, and attacked the Kingdom of England. Aethelstan and his brother Eadmund marched to meet them in battle. Athelstan won a notable victory at Brunanburh; five northern kings and seven Irish-Viking earls were killed. This was the first victory by an English as opposed to an Anglo Saxon King.
17/7/924, King Edward the Elder of England died and was succeeded by his son Aethlstan.
911, Tamworth was burnt by the Danes.
13/12/902, The Anglo-Saxon men of Kent defeated the Vikings of East Anglia at the Battle of the Holme
8/1/900, Coronation of Edward the Elder.
26/10/899. Death of King Alfred the Great, succeeded by Edward the Elder. Born in ca.848, he was sent at the age of 5 to be confirmed by Pope Leo IV. At this time Alfred had three elder brothers and so was by no means guaranteed to be the future King of Wessex. Alfred’s two eldest brothers, Aethelbald and Aethelbert, had short reigns. The third brother, Aethelred, became king in 866. In 868 Aethelrerd and Alfred made an unsuccessful attempt to throw the Danes out of Mercia. In 870 numerous battles were fought by Aethelred against the Danes; a Danish defeat at Englefield, Berkshire, on 31/112/870 was followed by a Danish victory at Reading on 4/1/871. The Danes lost again at the Battle of Ashdown, near Compton Beauchamp, Shrivenham, on 8/1/871, but defeated the English on 22/1/871 at Basing, and repeated the Danish victory at Marton, Wiltshire, on 22/3/871. Aethelred, Alfred’s older brother, died in April 871, and while Alfred was busy with the funeral the Danes won another victory, and defeated his army once more at Wilton in May 871.
From then until 876 the Danes were occupied fighting elsewhere in England but in 876 they returned to Wessex to occupy Wareham and in 877 managed to take Exeter. Here the Danes were blockaded by Alfred, and a Danish relief fleet was scattered by storms. Hence the Danes submitted and withdrew to Mercia. In early January 878 the Danes suddenly attacked King Alfred’s Christmas celebrations at Chippenham; most were killed but Alfred and a few men escaped to the fort at Athelney, from where he made preparations for attacks on the Danes. By May 878 Alfred was ready and he moved out of Athelney, joined by armed soldiers from Somerset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire. The Danes also moved out of their camp at Chippenham and the two armies met at Edington in Wiltshire.The result was a decisive victory for Alfred; the Danes surrendered, and Guthrum, the Danish King, and 29 of his chief men, submitted to baptism as Christians. By the Peace of Wedmore, 878, the Danes were cleared from all of Wessex and from Mercia west of Watling Street. There were no more Danish attacks on England until 884 or 885 when a Danish landing in Kent was successfully repelled; this nevertheless encouraged an uprising by East Anglian Danes. Alfred then managed to capture London from the Danes. After a further period of peace, the Danes on the continent found their position becoming more precarious and in 892 or 893, attempted to colonise, with their women and children, areas of Kent and the Thames estuary.
23/4/871, King Ethelred of Wessex died in battle; succeeded by King Alfred.
22/3/871, Battle of Merton, between the Danes and Wessex.
22/1/871, Battle of Basing, between the Danes and Wessex.
8/1/871, Battle of Ashdown, between the Danes and Wessex.
4/1/871, Battle of Reading, between the Danes and Wessex.
31/12/870, Battle of Englefirld, between the Danes and Wessex.
20/11/870, The Danes murdered Edmund, King of East Anglia, when he refused to become their subject. He was succeeded by Oswald, last English King of East Anglia. The Danes moved south west and camped at Reading, ready to invade Wessex.
3/6/859. Edgar, King of All England, was crowned on Whit Sunday by Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the Saxon Abbey on the site of the present Bath Abbey.
13/6/858, Ethelwulf, King of Wessex, died and was succeeded by his son Ethelbald, who had been his co-ruler for three years and who married his stepmother Judith.
851, Canterbury Cathedral sacked by the Danes; rebuilt ca. 950.
815, King Egbert of Wessex defeated the Britons of Cornwall.
29/7/796. Death of King Offa of Mercia. His kingdom covered much of England south of a line from the Humber to Preston, and he had subdued the only other kingdom south of this line, Wessex, (Hampshire to Cornwall) in 777. on 17/12/796 Offa’s son and successor Egfrith died and was succeeded by Cenwulf.
757, Accession of Offa, King of Mercia, after he had defeated the usurper, Beornred.
25/5/735. Death of the historian Bede at Jarrow monastery, aged 63.
9/5/729, Osric, King of Northumbria, died and was succeeded by Ceolwulf.
20/5/685, Ecgfrith, King of Northumbria, died.
4/7/673, Egbert I, King of Kent, died.
642, Oswald, King of Northumbria from 634, died in battle against King Penda of Mercia.
20/1/640, Eadbald, King of Kent, died and was succeeded by his son Earconberht.
577, Battle of Deorham. The Kingdom of Wessex defeated the Welsh.
571, The Saxons captured Aylesbury from the Britons.
550, Ethelbert I, son of Eormenric, became King of Kent. He died in 616.
514, The history of Wessex began, when a band of Saxons, calling themselves the Gewissas, landed at Southampton. Under King Cerdic (519-34) the Kingdom of Wessex formed from an alliance of the Gewissas and Jutes, becoming known as the West Saxons. Under King Cynric (534-60) Wessex expanded from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to encompass Salisbury Plain and up to the Thames, where the East Saxons held their ground. Under King Ceawlin (560-92) Wessex defeated the Jutes of Kent, and then pushed northwards from the Thames and up the Severn Valley as far as Uriconium (The Wrekin, Shropshire), where, however, he was defeated at Faddiley by Mercian forces. Mercia then expanded southwatds to the Thames Valley. Meanwhile Wessex bevame Christian in 635, and under King Cenwealh (643-72) it expended its territory west from the River Axe to the River Parrett. Further westwards expansion was achieved under King Ine (688-726) . Underr King Cuthred (741-54) Wessex pushed the Mercians back north, although in 779 King Offa of Mercia (757 – July 796) again pushed Wessex back south to the Thames. Under King Egbert (802-839) Wessex defeated Mercia in 829 (under King Wiglaf, who was temporarily forced into exile). Although Wiglaf returned in 830 and Mercian power was reasserted, Egbert had captured London and was now known as Bretwalds, Lord of all Britain. Wesses eventually came to dominate all of England.
457, The Battle of Crayford; the Britons defeated by Hengest, and gave up Kent to the Jutes.
436, No Roman troops were now left in Britain.
429, Saxons, Jutes and Angles displaced the Picts and Scots from southern England.
410, The last Roman legions left Britain, to protect Italy from Germanic invasions.
383, Roman legions began to leave Britain, forever, see 410.
285 AD, Carausius, Roman Commander of the British Fleet, proclaimed himself independent Emperor of Britain.
330 BCE, The Greek explorer Pytheas of Massilia (now Marseilles) reached Britain.
Appendix One – Events relating solely to Scottish history up to 1707 Act of Union.
1/5/1707. Act of Union between England and Scotland. The Union of the English and Scottish crowns was on 24/3/1603, when James VI of Scotland also became King of England. Scotland failed economically, and England put pressure for Union on the Scottish Parliament. Scottish aristocrats were offered compensation and voted for Union. Coinage, taxation, sovereignty, and parliament became one, but Scotland retained its own legal and religious system. The Union Jack was adopted as the National Flag.
12/4/1606, The Union Jack was adopted as the flag of England, Wales, and Scotland.
27/3/1603. King James VI of Scotland halted in Berwick, on his way to also become King James I of England. He attended a church service at Berwick to ‘give thanks for his peaceful entry into his new dominions. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to ban the use of the word ‘borders’ and replace it by ‘middle shires’. However frontier fortresses in both England and Scotland were dismantled and their garrisons reduced to nominal strength. James I left Berwick on 5/4/1603, and entered London on 7/5/1603.
1/1/1600, Scotland adopted 1st January as New Year’s Day.
10/12/1599, The Assembly of the Convention of States at Edinburgh.
16/5/1568. Mary Queen of Scots escaped from Loch Leven Castle. She had been imprisoned there on 16/6/1567. She sailed from Point Mary, crossing the Firth of Forth to begin her exile in England.
29/7/1567, James VI, then 12 months old, was crowned King at Stirling.
24/7/1567, Mary Queen of Scots abdicated, after being defeated by Protestants at Carberry Hill.
9/2/1567, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, and father of James IV of Scotland and I of England, was murdered at his house near Edinburgh.
19/6/1566. James VI of Scotland, later James I of England, the first Stuart King, was born in Edinburgh Castle. He was the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Lord Darnley.
9/3/1566, Lord Darnley killed the secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, David Riccio (born 1531?). Mary I, six months pregnant with the future James VI of Scotland, witnessed the murder. Mary had romantic feelings for Riccio, and the nobility feared the rising influence of Riccio upon the royal court.
29/7/1565. Mary Queen of Scots married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in the Old Abbey Chapel at Holyrood, Edinburgh.
19/8/1561, Mary Queen of Scots returned from France. She arrived at Leith, near Edinburgh, in thick fog; this may have saved her life, because her half-brother, James Stuart Earl of Moray, wanted to rule Scotland and was waiting for her in English ships.
6/7/1560, The Treaty of Edinburgh was signed. This ended French interference in Scottish affairs. French troops in Scotland had tried to support Mary Queen of Scots claim to the throne.
10/9/1547. The English won a major victory over the Scots at Pinkie.
25/2/1545, The English were defeated by the Scots at Ancrum Moor. See 24/11/1542. In September 1545 the English again invaded Scotland.
14/12/1542, James V, King of Scotland, died, aged 30. He was succeeded by his baby daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.
7/12/1542, Mary Queen of Scots, cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, was born in Llinlithgow Palace, daughter of King James V of Scotland.
24/11/1542. The English defeated the Scots at Solway Moss as Henry VIII fought to gain control of Scotland. On 1/7/1543 England and Scotland signed the Peace of Greenwich, but this was repudiated by the Scottish Parliament on 11/12/1543. England invaded Scotland again in 1544, pillaging Edinburgh, but failed to gain a surrender from Scotland. See 25/2/1545.
18/10/1541, Margaret, Queen of Scotland, died.
29/2/1528, Patrick Hamilton, Scottish martyr, was burnt at the stake.
9/9/1513. Battle of Flodden Field, at Branxton, Northumberland. The Scots were defeated by the English, under Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, and James IV of Scotland was killed. James IV had abandoned his alliance with Henry VIII and attempted an invasion of England. Margaret, the sister of King Henry VIII, became regent for her one year old son, James V.
10/4/1512, James V, King of Scotland, born.
8/8/1503, The marriage of King James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII, took place at Holyrod Palace, Edinburgh.
28/5/1503, The Treaty of Everlasting Peace between Scotland and England was signed; peace actually lasted ten years.
21/12/1491, A five-year truce between England and Scotland was declared at Coldstream.
11/6/1488, James III, King of Scotland, was assassinated. He was succeeded by his son, James IV.
21/9/1484, Treaty of Nottingham: Three-year truce between the kingdoms of England and Scotland signed.
17/3/1473, James IV, King of Scotland, was born.
20/2/1472, Orkney and Shetland were returned by Norway to Scotland, due to a defaulted dowry payment. King Christiaan of Norway and Denmark wanted to form an alliance with Scotland by marrying his daughter Margaret to James III. However Christiaan lacked money for a dowry, so Orkney and Shetland were temporarily handed over in lieu. The dowry was never paid so these islands became part of Scotland.
3/8/1460. James II, King of Scotland, killed during the siege of Roxburgh Castle by the English.
20/2/1437. James I, King of Scotland, aged 42, was assassinated by a group of dissident nobles led by Sir Robert Graham, who wanted a rival on the Scottish throne. James had become King in 1424, executing many of the nobility to establish control. James was staying at the Dominican Friary at Perth when murdered.
16/10/1430, James II, King of Scotland, was born.
19/4/1390, Robert II, King of Scotland 1371-90, died at Dundonald, Ayrshire.
10/12/1394, King James I of Scotland was born.
10/8/1388, The Battle of Otterburn. A Scottish raiding party led by the Earls of Douglas, March and Moray was confronted by the English at Redesdale, Northumberland. The Scots won, and the English leader, Hotspur, was captured.
22/2/1371, King David II of Scotland died; Robert II succeeded him, as the first Stuart King of Scotland.
19/7/1333, The Battle of Halidon Hill. Edward III defeated Sir Archibald Douglas, during the last of the Wars of Scottish Independence.
12/8/1332, Edward Balliol (1283-1364, the elder son of John Balliol), having landed at Kinghorn, Fife, made a surprise attack on the Scottish Army at Duplin Moor. Balliol was leading an army of 3,400 soldiers fighting for the ‘disniherited Barons’. Balliol routed the Scots under the Regent, the Earl of Mar, and was crowned King of Scotland on 24/9/1332 at Scone. However in December 1332 Balliol himself fell victim to a surprise counter attack at Annan and fled across into England on an unsaddled horse. Further attempts by Balliol to gain the Scottish throne in 1334 and 1335 were unsuccessful and in 1356 he formally renounced his claim in favour of King Edward III. Balliol died without heirs.
7/6/1329. Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland from 1306, died of leprosy at Cardross Castle on the Firth of Clyde. He was buried at Dunfermline Abbey under the High Altar.
6/4/1320, The Scots reaffirmed their independence by signing the Declaration of Arbroath. The Pope did not recognise Robert The Bruce as legitimate King of Scotland, and Pope John XXII had demanded that Scotland make peace with England, However the Scottish barons, with the support of the Church in Scotland, asserted under this Declaration the identity of Scotland as a separate nation with its ‘uninterrupted succession of 113 Kings, all our native and royal stock’. The Declaration also noted the injuries caused by English incursions into Scotland. Since then this has been a key document for those campaigning for Scottish independence.
1/4/1318, Berwick-upon-Tweed was retaken by the Scottish from the English.
24/6/1314. English forces under Edward II suffered a major defeat at Bannockburn by the Scots. Robert The Bruce was confirmed in power in Scotland. See 21/9/1327. By the time the Battle of Bannockburn was fought, Scotland had been almost cleared of English troops, with the exception of Stirling Castle. Here the governor, Alexander Mowbray, had promised to surrender if not relieved by St John the Baptist’s Day. Edward II collected a huge army for the relief of Stirling, and Robert the Bruce assembled his smaller force at Torwood, 4 miles north-west of Falkirk. At the Battle, on the Bannock Burn, the superior numbers of the English cavalry were hampered by the cramped site of the battle; the rear ranks of the English could not reach the fighting, but hampered the retreat of those in front under Robert’s attacks. Robert then led his reserves in to complete the rout of the English. Many English, uninjured in the battle, perished in the Bannock Burn and the marshes beyond. Edward II, seeking refuge in Stirling Castle, was refused on account of its imminent surrender; he escaped by a roundabout route via Dunbar back to England.
23/8/1305, William Wallace, Scottish patriot, was hanged in London, see 5/8/1305.
5/8/1305. Sir William Wallace, leader of the Scots, campaigner for their independence from the English, was captured by the English and later executed.
20/7/1304, Fall of Stirling Castle: Edward I of England took the last rebel stronghold in the Wars of Scottish Independence.
24/7/1298. The English under King Edward I used longbows for the first time when they defeated the Scots under William Wallace at the battle of Falkirk.
11/9/1297. Scottish hero William Wallace defeated the English under Edward I at Stirling Bridge. William Wallace was a minor noble from Elderslie and one of the few to take on Edward when he assumed the overlordship of Scotland. He realised that the neck of land between the rivers Forth and Clyde at Stirling was narrow enough to create a tactical advantage for the Scottish defenders. Wallace’s men stood at the slopes of the Abbey Craig, in front of a narrow bridge across the Forth, wide enough for only two horsemen abreast. As the English drew up, Wallace’s men charged them before they could get into battle position. The narrow bridge then collapsed, drowning many English.
27/4/1296. English defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.
30/3/1296, Capture of Berwick: King Edward I of England captured Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking what was at this time a Scottish border town with much bloodshed. He slaughtered most residents, including those who fled to the churches.
10/2/1296, King Edward I of England forced John Balliol (1250-1313), King of Scotland (see 17/11/1792) to surrender his Crown. Although John had started out his reign as a vassal and ally of Edward, by 1295 a council of Scottish Lords had taken power from John and started making alliances with France, which was then at war with England. John was imprisoned for three years, first on Hertford and then in the Tower of London. In 1302 John was permitted to retire to his estates in Normandy.
23/10/1295, The first treaty forming the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France against England was signed in Paris.
17/11/1292, John Balliol was selected by King Edward I of England as King of Scotland from among 13 candidates; Edward then treated John as a puppet ruler and Scotland as a vassal state, eventually provoking the Wars of Scottish Independence, commencing in 1296.
16/3/1285. Death of King Alexander III of Scotland, killed by a fall from his horse whilst riding in the dark to visit the Queen at Kinghorn, with only Yolande of Dreux, Queen of Scotland's unborn child and 3-year-old Margaret, Maid of Norway as heirs; this sets the stage for the First War of Scottish Independence and increased influence of England over Scotland.. Alexander III was born in 1241 and became king in 1249 aged eight. See 8/7/1249. He laid a formal claim against King Haakon of Norway for sovereignty of the Hebrides, settled by Scandinavians since the ninth century. King Haakon responded by sending a large naval fleet in 1263. Haakon’s fleet halted off Arran, where Alexander III stalled negotiations until the autumn storms should begin. Haakon finally attacked only to encounter a severe storm; the Battle of Largs on 12/10/1263 was indecisive but left Haakon in a hopeless position. He turned back to Norway but died on the way.
8/10/1275, Battle of Ronaldsway: Scottish forces defeated the Manx of the Isle of Man in a decisive battle, firmly establishing Scottish rule of the island.
11/7/1274. Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, who defeated the English at Bannockburn, was born at Turnberry, Ayrshire. He was raised at Turnberry Castle amid the political upheavals of the 13th century; he was created Earl of Carrick in 1296. He supported the Scots against the English, hoping to secure the kingship of Scotland. However he saw Edward I proclaim himself king of Scotland, and defeat William Wallace. Initially Bruce joined with John Comyn against the English but later sided with the English to obtain the Scottish throne. He murdered Comyn, and there was a price on his head for doing this. However Bruce now used force, not politics, to obtain his goals; this paid off and he was crowned King at Scone in 1306, having been granted absolution by Bishop Wishart. Bruce managed to unite the Scottish clans to defeat the English at Bannockburn in 1314.
2/7/1266, The Treaty of Perth was signed, between King Magnus ‘the lawmaker’ of Norway and King Alexander III of Scotland. Norway sold to Scotland the ownership of the Isle of Man (Sodor, or Southern Island) and the Western Isles, although Norway retained the Orkney and Shetland Islands. This treaty was a result of the Battle of Largs (2/10/.1263).
2/10/1263, The Battle of Largs. Fought at Largs on the Clyde between Norwegian forces under King Haakon and Scottish levies under King Alexander III. Haakon wanted to put on a show of strength to demonstrate continued Norwegian power over the Western Isles (see 2/7/1266). However Alexander III’s 1500 Scots defeated the Norwegians.
24/5/1154, David I, King of Scotland 1124-53, died.
8/7/1249. Death of King Alexander II of Scotland. He was born in 1198, and succeeded William the Lion to the Scottish throne in 1214. He joined the English barons in their struggle against King John, marched into England, and besieged Norham Castle in 1215. In 1217 he again invaded England but then made peace with King Henry III, marrying his sister Joanna in 1221. Alexander captured Argyll from the Norwegians, and was on an expedition to capture the Western Isles also from Norway when he died at Kerrera. See 16/3/1285.
9/12/1165, Malcolm IV, King of Scotland, died.
1135, King David of Scotland expelled the Norwegians (Vikings) from Arran and Bute.
27/11/1124. Death of King Alexander I of Scotland.. He was born in ca.1078. He founded many abbeys and bishoprics, among them Incholm and Scone.
8/1/1107, King Edgar of Scotland died and was succeeded by his brother Alexander I.
12/11/1094, Duncan II, son of Malcolm III Canmore and his first wife Ingibiorg, was murdered by his uncle Donald III Ban. In 1072 Duncan II had been sent as hostage to the court of William I The Conqueror, where he remained until his father’s death in 1093. Then, with the help of an army supplied by William II Rufus, he defeated Donald III in May 1094. However Duncan II was loathed in Scotland for being too pro-Norman/English and so he was assassinated.
13/11/1093, Malcolm III, King of Scotland, died.
17/3/1058, Lulach, King of Scots, died and was succeeded by Malcolm III, son of Duncan I.
15/8/1057. The Scottish king Macbeth, who killed King Duncan 1 in 1040, was killed in battle by Duncan’s son, Malcolm.
14/8/1040, Macbeth murdered Duncan I, King of Scotland, and became King himself.
863, Constantine II, son of Kenneth I, became King of Scotland.
22/8/565, First recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, by St Columba.
See also Roman Empire