Timeline of English history

This is a timeline of English history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in England and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of England.

Prehistory: Mesolithic/Neolithic periods  Bronze/Iron Ages
Centuries: 1st  2nd  3rd  4th  5th  6th  7th  8th  9th  10th  11th  12th  13th  14th  15th  16th  17th  18th  19th  20th  21st
References  Sources

1st century BC

55 BCRoman General Julius Caesar invades Great Britain for the first time, gaining a beachhead on the coast of Kent.[1]
54 BCCaesar invades for the second time, gaining a third of the country. These two invasions are known as Caesar's invasions of Britain.[1]

Centuries in 1st millennium: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th

1st century

c.10–c.40Reign of Cunobelinus, an influential king of southern England before the Roman occupation; son of Tasciovanus[2]
43Aulus Plautius leads an army of forty thousand to invade Great Britain; Emperor Claudius makes Britain a part of the Roman Empire
C. 47 - 50 London settled by the Romans, known as Londinium

2nd century

122 - 128Emperor Hadrian builds walled defences on the border with Scotland, known as Hadrians Wall

3rd century

4th century

5th century

401 Romans begin their withdrawal from Britain
The Angles begin their invasion of England and establish tribal kingdoms on the east coast.[3]

6th century

7th century

8th century

740-756 Reign of Cuthred, King of Wessex
757 Offa becomes King of Mercia
793 8 June Viking raid on a monastery in Lindisfarne, often taken as the beginning of the Viking age[4]

9th century

10th century

Centuries in 2nd millennium: 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

11th century

1016Cnut the Great of Denmark becomes king of all England.
1043Edward the Confessor becomes king of all England.
1055The Great Schism/Split of the Roman Catholic Church
1066 Battle of Fulford: English forces were defeated by Norse invaders in northeastern England.
Battle of Stamford Bridge: The remaining Norse under Harald Hardrada were defeated by the bulk of England's army under the command of its king.
Battle of Hastings: England's remaining forces were defeated by invaders from Normandy. This was known as the Norman Conquest, which caused William the Conqueror to be crowned king of England and permanently changed the English language and culture.
1086Work commenced on the Domesday Book.

12th century

1135The Anarchy began, a civil war resulting from a dispute over succession to the throne that lasted until 1153.
1138The Battle of the Standard, an engagement in which the English defeated an invading Scottish army led by King David I.[5]
1164The Constitutions of Clarendon, a set of laws which governed the trial of members of the Catholic Church in England, were issued.
1170Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was assassinated.
1192Crusades: King Richard I was captured by Austrian Duke Leopold V, Duke of Austria while returning from the Holy Land.
1194Richard was ransomed and returned to England.

13th century

1209King John was excommunicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Innocent III.
1214 The English defeated in Battle of Bouvinnes.
1215The Magna Carta was signed.
1237The Treaty of York was signed, fixing the border between Scotland and England.
1264Battle of Lewes: Rebel English barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester defeated King Henry III.
1267Henry recognised the authority of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in Gwynedd.
1277England annexed Gwynedd.
1279The Statute of Mortmain was issued.
1287Rhys ap Maredudd led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1294Madog ap Llywelyn led a revolt against English rule in Wales.
1297Battle of Stirling Bridge: The Scots, led by William Wallace, defeated the English.

14th century

130523 AugustWilliam Wallace was executed by the English on a charge of treason.
131423 – 24 JuneBattle of Bannockburn: Scotland won a decisive victory over England.
13281 MayThe Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, under which England recognised Scottish independence, was signed.
1348The Black Death arrived in England.
135619 SeptemberBattle of Poitiers: Second of the three major battles of the Hundred Years' War took place near Poitiers, France.
137316 JuneThe Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373 is signed, forming an alliance between England and Portugal, which is still an active treaty to this day.
1381May – JunePeasants' Revolt: Also called Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England led by Wat Tyler.
1395The Statute of Praemunire was issued.

15th century

140321 JulyBattle of Shrewsbury was a battle waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King, Henry IV, and a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland.[6]
141525 OctoberBattle of Agincourt was a major English victory in the Hundred Years' War[a]that occurred on Saint Crispin's Day, near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France.
145522 MayThe start of the Wars of the Roses a civil war for control of the throne of England between the House of York in Yorkshire and House of Lancaster in Lancashire.
148522 AugustBattle of Bosworth Field (Battle of Bosworth): the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Richard III, the last Plantagenet king was killed, succeeded by Henry VII.
148716 JuneBattle of Stoke was the decisive engagement in an attempt by leading Yorkists to unseat Henry VII of England in favour of the pretender Lambert Simnel.
1491 28 June King Henry VIII is born in the Palace of Placentia.

16th century

1513Battle of Flodden Field: Invading England, King James IV of Scotland and thousands of other Scots were killed in a defeat at the hands of the English.
1521Lutheran writings begin to circulate in England.
1526Lord Chancellor Cardinal Thomas Wolsey ordered the burning of Lutheran books.
1533King Henry VIII severed ties with the Catholic Church and declared himself head of the church in England.
Henry's wife Anne Boleyn gives birth on 7 September to a daughter, Elizabeth, who will become Queen Elizabeth I in 1558.
1534Henry VIII issued the Act of Supremacy.
Henry VIII issued the Treasons Act 1534.
1535Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher were executed.
1536William Tyndale was executed in Antwerp.
Henry VIII issued the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
1549Prayer Book Rebellion: A rebellion occurred in the southwest.
1553The Act Against Sectaries 1553 was issued.
1558Elizabeth I claims the throne of England and rules until 1603.
1559The Act of Supremacy 1559 was issued.
1571The Treasons Act 1571 was issued.
The Act Prohibiting Papal Bulls from Rome 1571 was issued.
1585The Roanoke Colony was founded in the Americas.
15888 AugustThe Spanish Armada was destroyed.
1589The English Armada (or Counter Armada) was defeated by Spain.
1593The Act Against Papists 1593 was issued.

17th century

1601 Catholic plot against the Earl of Essex includes some of the plotters from the gunpowder plot.
1603 King James VI of Scotland ascends to the English throne, becoming James I of England and uniting the crowns – but not the parliaments – of the two kingdoms.
16055 NovemberGunpowder Plot: A plot in which Guy Fawkes and other Catholic associates conspired to blow up King James VI and I and the Parliament of England was uncovered.
1607 14 May Jamestown was founded in the Virginia Colony and was the first permanent English colony in the Americas.
1611Henry Hudson died.
161829 OctoberWalter Raleigh was executed.
1639Bishops' Wars: A war with Scotland began which would last until 1640.
1640Long Parliament: The Parliament was convened.
1642The English Civil War began (see timeline of the English Civil War).
1649JanuaryTrial and execution of Charles I
1649Interregnum began with the First Commonwealth.
1653–1659the Protectorate under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and later (1658) his son Richard Cromwell
1659The Second Commonwealth brings with it a period of great political instability.
1660Restoration of the monarchy: After a chaotic short revival of the Commonwealth of England, the monarchy was restored in May 1660, after agreeing to the Declaration of Breda, largely through the initiative of General George Monck.
16662 – 5 SeptemberGreat Fire of London : A major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London.
1688Glorious Revolution:[7] Also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of James II by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau (William of Orange).
1692-1693Salem Witch Trials, More than 200 people accused; 20 of which were executed (19 by hanging, 1 being pressed to death). Many accused died in jail awaiting trial.
1694 27 July The Bank of England is founded.

18th century

1701The Act of Settlement 1701, which required the English monarch to be Protestant, was passed.
17028 MarchWilliam III died and was succeeded by Anne.
17044 AugustGibraltar was captured by a combined Dutch and English fleet under the command of Admiral of the Fleet George Rooke.
13 AugustBattle of Blenheim: A combined English and Dutch army under the command of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough defeated the French army in Bavaria.
170622 JulyThe Treaty of Union was agreed between representatives of the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland.
1707The Acts of Union 1707 were passed in the Parliament of England and Parliament of Scotland, ratifying the Treaty of Union.
1744An attempted French invasion of southern England was stopped by storms.
1765William Blackstone published his first volume of Commentaries on the Laws of England.
177519 AprilWar of American Independence officially starts with the battles of Lexington and Concord. Lasts until 1789.

19th century

181916 August Peterloo Massacre: about 18 people killed and several hundred injured in Manchester when cavalry charge a large demonstration demanding parliamentary representation reform[8]
185924 November On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin is published[9]
186310 January The first underground train goes into operation in London[10]
1878 Women first admitted to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge[11]

20th century

1912 AugustHarry Brearley invents Stainless Steel in Sheffield, Yorkshire.[12]
1940 10 July Battle of Britain: Royal Air Force defend the United Kingdom against attack from Nazi Germany air force during the Second World War.
1979 4 May Margaret Thatcher becomes UK's first woman prime minister; she becomes the longest-serving PM of the 20th century.
1982 11 OctoberThe Mary Rose is raised from the seabed of the Solent, where she had sunk in 1545.[13]
1997 1 May Tony Blair becomes prime minister, ending the Labour Party's 18-year spell in opposition.[14]
1997 31 August In the early hours, Diana, Princess of Wales dies in hospital after a car crash in Paris, France.[15]

21st century

2004 The population of England reaches fifty million.
2005 A series of co-ordinated terrorist bombings strikes London's public transport system during the morning rush hour, killing 52 people and injuring hundreds.
2012 The 2012 Summer Olympics are held in London, hosted at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.[16]
2016 Voters of the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union (aka Brexit)
2017 Westminster attack: A 52-year-old Muslim convert drives a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer, killing five people and injuring 49.
Manchester Arena Bombing: A suicide bombing is carried out at Manchester Arena after a concert by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds.
London Bridge attack: A van is driven into pedestrians on London Bridge, killing eight people and injuring 48.
2019 14th July ICC Cricket World Cup: England win a thriller at Lords and clinch their maiden ODI World Cup led by Eoin Morgan.
2020 March Coronavirus pandemic causes tens of thousands of deaths despite social distancing and lockdown being put into operation to limit spread of infection.
2021 April His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh dies at the age of 99 at Windsor Castle.

See also

City and town timelines
County timelines


    1. Caesar, Commentarii de Bello Gallico 4.20–35, 5.1, 8–23; Dio Cassius, Roman History 39.50–53, 40.1–3; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 1.45
    2. Malcolm Todd (2004), "Cunobelinus [Cymbeline] (d. c. AD 40), king in southern Britain". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
    3. "Angle". Encyclopedia Britannica.
    4. Swanton, Michael (6 April 2000). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (New ed.). Phoenix Press. p. 57. ISBN 1-84212-003-4.
    5. "The Anarchy: Battle of the Standard". About.
    6. English Heritage (1995). "English Heritage Battlefield Report: Shrewsbury 1403" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2011.
    7. Name of the Glorious Revolution in the languages of Britain and Ireland:
    8. Bush, M. L. (2005). The casualties of Peterloo. Lancaster: Carnegie Pub. ISBN 1-85936-125-0. OCLC 71224394.
    9. Desmond, Adrian; Moore, James (1991), Darwin, London: Michael Joseph, Penguin Group, p. 477, ISBN 0-7181-3430-3
    10. Wolmar, Christian (2004). The Subterranean Railway: how the London Underground was built and how it changed the city forever. Atlantic. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-84354-023-6.
    11. Frances Lannon (30 October 2008). "Her Oxford". Times Higher Education. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
    12. "A non-rusting steel". The New York Times. 31 January 1915.
    13. Wendell Lewis, "Raising the Mary Rose" in Marsden (2003), pp. 53–59; Rule (1983), pp. 206–27.
    14. Early, Chas (2 May 2015). "May 2, 1997: Labour win general election by a landslide to end 18 years of Conservative rule". BT news. Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
    15. "1997: Princess Diana dies in Paris crash". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
    16. "London 2012 Summer Olympics - results & video highlights". International Olympic Committee. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.


    • Marsden, Peter, Sealed by Time: The Loss and Recovery of the Mary Rose. The Archaeology of the Mary Rose, Volume 1. The Mary Rose Trust, Portsmouth. 2003. ISBN 0-9544029-0-1

    Further reading