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Major Events in British History

This historic theme is an intriguing look at events that have changed the course of history, either on a local or national scale.
We have created timelines for various major events which you can access via the links on the timeline at the bottom of this page e.g The War of The Roses. This is a dynamic timeline that we are updating as and when time and the dog allow.

Some historical events do not fit into a definite theme, they are things that happen, quite often in a narrow timescale that are cataclysmic in their effects.

It is difficult to imagine how a country, how communities dealt with events such as the Great Fire of London. Where did people go, how did they begin again with no money or clothes? How did the local powers re-build the city of London and how long did it take, who paid for it's re-building?

What were the consequences of the Black Death, who stepped up to take charge and re-form communities? Did leaders naturally emerge from those who survived or were they pushed to the forefront?

We struggle to cope with major weather events today. What did people do when the temperature plummeted to -15 C during the mini ice of the middle ages? What strategies did people use to survive?

We know the outcome of the potato famine in Ireland and all over Europe, the mass migration of people to America, Canada and Australia but what about the people left behind? How did Irish communities begin to flourish again and what help did they receive?

All such events have multiple impacts on societies and sometimes the simplest decisions have the biggest. The introduction of the Speenhamland System is one such decision, done with the best of intentions but with the most disastrous of results.

 

YearEventNarrative
1190Massacre of the Jews at York.A fire in York was blamed on the Jews living there. Baruch, a leading Jew had been killed six months previously. His house was the first target of the mob, his family and friends were murdered. The remaining Jews in York sought safety in the castle, in Clifford’s Tower , here they were besieged for several days, eventually a fire forced their hand and threatened with forced conversion, most took their own lives. The remainder were promised baptism and survival, but were murdered as they left the tower.
1290Expulsion of the Jews. King Edward I issued the Edict of Expulsion giving Jews three months to leave England. Edward was desperate for money. He had recently expelled Jews from his Gascon territories, relieving them of their good.Edward entered into a bargain with parliament which allowed him to levy a swingeing tax in return for forcing the small Jewish community out of England.
1308Knights Templars disbanded. The Templars existed to guide and protect pilgrims in the Holy Lands, they ammased wealth in their role as bankers to the pilgrims. In 1307 Philip IV of France used rumours of Templar heresy as an excuse to seize their wealth. He placed the Pope under pressure to command other monarchs to follow suit. King Edward II rather reluctantly did so. The order was dissolved and its lands given largely to the Knights Hospitallers.
1381The Peasants Revolt.The Black Death had reduced the labour force, wages and control of the ob market began to swing the way of the peasants but laws holding down wages and preventing movement of workers, soon put paid to that. The imposition of a third poll tax by King Richard and his regent John of Guant was seen as a step too far, people were tiring of financing foreign wars. Trouble flared when peasants refused to pay the tax. The rebels marched on London gathering pace but the result of this revolution was victory for the King and the execution of the rebels leaders. The revolution was put down

1348 - 1350Black Death. Raged throughout England. 1.5 million people out of an estimated total of 4 million people died between 1348 and 1350. It arrived through a port on the south coast and spread rapidly through the country. It's impact on society was devastating.
1474Caxtons printed his first book. Caxton produced the first book printed in the English language, a copy of his translation of le Fevre.In 1476 Caxton set up a printing press in England, at Westminster, the first known publication from this being The Dictes or Sayingis of the Philosophres, dated 18th November 1477.
1577Drakes first voyage around the world and the world and trade opens up for BritainThe world now opens up for Britain and leads us into wars and eventually the Empire.
1600East India Company Chartered. Queen Elizabeth granted the company a monopoly on trade in the East Indies for 15 years and sespite a few ups and downs it remained a major force in India until the Indian Mutiny. At one point the East India Company controlled 50 per cent of world trade, it was responsible for founding Hong Kong and Singapore as trading centres. It was at the heart and in some ways the creator of the British Empire.
1605The Gunpowder Plot. The repression of the Catholics began under the Tudors by the time of King James I they were still considered second class citizens and a plot was hatched to blow up the King and Parliament and force the re-establishment of the old faith. It was discovered and those implicated brought to trial.
1607 These pioneers left Britain on board the Discovery, the Godspeed and the Susan Constant. Their journey and attempt to take root in the new land of America is a story of courage and perseverance and it was the begining of opening up the West to European settlement . List of first settler surnames JamestownThe emigration of people from the shores of Britain has impact on the lives of tens of millions and on the place of Britain in the world and the English language.
1642The English Civil War beginsA period of intense disturbance changing the face of Britain and turning neighbour upon neighbour and family upon family. It has a dvastating effect on society as does the Commonwealth period that follows.
1666 On 2nd Sep 1666Great Fire of London 1666started and raged for five days destroying much of the property in the City of LondonThe Great Fire of London changed the face of London in the space of a few days. The rebuilding of it was an opportunity to free it from its Medieval shackles.
1689The Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights, more formally An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown. A very important Bill that is at the heart of our uncodified constitution.
This Bill of Rights, more formally An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown. A very important Bill that is at the heart of our uncodified constitution.
1720South Sea bubble burstsThe South Sea investment collapse affected thousands of people from all walks of life.
1770Cook reaches Australia after mapping New Zealand. He heads off in search of Tasmania but trumps up on the shore of AustraliaThe history of Britain and Australia is inextricably bound up in these early explorations and subsequent emigrations.
1773The Boston Tea Party.
The American colonists were determined they would not pay taxes to a parliament they had no sight of. The Boston Tea Party was one rather momentous niggle in the lead up to the American Revolution. There had been confrontation between the colonists and British authorities over taxation, with the Stamp Act withdrawn to appease the Americans. There were vested interests involved in the tea trade and the resulting fracas over tea and tax pushed the colonists to the limit. The result, a dumping of the very expensive product, tea, into the harbour.
1776American colonies declare their Independence The American colonies from Britain and in that declaration one of the most moving pronouncements “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,”
1783The eruption of the Laki volcanoThe eruption in Iceland brought horrendous conditions to Britain. Unbearable heat, then the Laki choking fog created by dust. Thousands died. This was then followed by a freezing winter. The final death toll from this major event is not known.
1788Botany Bay founded. The First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay Australia delivering more than 700 convictsThe First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay Australia delivering more than 700 convicts
1789Storming of the BastilleRevolution in France and Britain shudders at the possible consequences of such an action. The begining of the French Wars.
1796Smallpox Vaccination 1853A vaccination against the dreadful disease smallpox will improve public health beyond belief/
1807, Pall Mall, the world never looks quite the same againGas lights and the lamplighters 1807We take lit streets for granted but moving in the darkness as our ancestors did was dangerous and limited all sorts of activities.
1825The first steam railway opens, A 26 mile line was constructed between Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees, intended to serve the coal industry. So begins the age of railways that will change the face of Britain forever. A 26 mile line was constructed between Darlington and Stockton-on-Tees, intended to serve the coal industry. So begins the age of railways that will change the face of Britain forever.
1831Darwin sets sail on the Beagle and so begins the amazing journey to the Theory of Evolution that will turn science on it's head.Darwin sets sail on the Beagle and so begins the amazing journey to the Theory of Evolution that will turn science on it's head.
1834Britain abolishes slaveryHaving traded in slaves and made vast fortunes from this barbaric trade Britain finally abolishes slavery.
1837 The first railway terminus at Euston 1837rong>Euston StationThe explosion of rail travel changes the way society functions.
1857Sheffield Football Club founded worlds oldest clubFootball is the national sport. Its roots are amongst the working class, battling with better working conditions and reform.
1867 is perforIntroduction of Antiseptics 1867medThe introduction of antiseptics saves the lives of thousands. It takes medicine into a new era of health care.
1903The women's suffragette movement is formed.Emmeline Pankhurst and five other women formed a new action group initially they used non-violent protest to gain publicity for their cause but it was not having the impact they thought was needed and they became more extreme, with many of them being imprisoned for their actions.

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