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Intriguing People and their Intriguing Connections.

Intriguing people in British history. In this historic theme we muse upon characters we find intriguing. People whose deeds or words capture our imagination find there way onto our time line. What is really intriguing is seeing the people who we know about disparately but who lived at the same time. Did they know each other, were they friends or foes? Take a look at the timeline to find out more.



Find out who we find intriguing using the timeline or explore other historical themes via maps and timelines. Intriguing people in British history who are they, and who did they know? How did they connect with each other and our history?

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious
Albert Einstein

In this theme we explore individuals who left their mark on history or influenced others. Drawn from a wide sphere Kings, Queens, Princes, Politicians, Reformers, Artists, Scientists, Matchmakers and Lamplighters, Engineers to Philosophers, what makes them do what they do and be who are they?

Intriguing people who sometimes slip through the net of history.

Lt. Colonel Percival Harrison Fawcett born in 1867 was a British artillery officer, archaeologist and South American explorer. Along with his eldest son, he disappeared under unknown circumstances in 1925 during an expedition to find "Z", his name for what he believed to be an ancient lost city in the uncharted jungles of Brazil.

Intriguing People

Percival Harrison Fawcett

Some people have been written out of history or not included in the first place, Many influential women, whose influence has changed the course of history are some of the most intriguing. Everyone has their place in history and the voices of rich and poor need to be heard. All are intriguing people, their actions and inaction, their friends and families, colleagues and known associates and even their enemies, detractors and opponents.

Despite our island status, our history, stretches outwards, far and wide across 5 continents.

British Monarchs and Prime Ministers,  Who is your "Greatest Britain in History?" coming soon, 50th Anniversary tribute Winston Churchill was he a polymath? Expanding our collections shortly to include, Aritists, Authors, Architects, Artisans and Women in History. Interactive and searchable lists, articles, timelines and family trees to help you make your own intriguing connections.


John Wilkinson

John Wilkinson Ironmaster

This entry is part 13 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

Industrial RevolutionJohn Kay Inventor of the Flying ShuttleState Intervention escalates in Victorian BritainLancashire Cotton FamineThree Abraham Darby’sJohn Kay 1753-54 House destroyed by machine breakers…keeps inventingPopulation England & Wales 1780James Brindley Canal BuilderNorthampton and the First Cotton Spinning Mill 1742Silk making machinery 1745Repeal of Calico Act 1774What Caused the Industrial Revolution?James Watt Industrial RevolutionJohn Wilkinson IronmasterThe…

Old Books

Historic Gold in Old Books

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Intriguing London

A chance find in a charity book store, led to the unexpected discovery of a collection of books that belonged to the late Colin Sorenson. All sorts of books on London containing a few historical golden nuggets.

Caroline of Ansbach

Caroline of Ansbach Wife of King George II

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series Intriguing Women

Caroline of Ansbach, Queen Consort to George II, described her son as a filthy beast, was friends with Leibnitz the philosopher and Walpole the politican. She was a shrewd and intelligent woman who played the game of royalty with considerable skill.

Drinking Fountain Movement

Public Drinking Fountains

Public drinking fountains in London resulted from the Public Drinking Foundation Movement established in 1858 to provide clean water to London’s poor.

Tudor queens and the Tower of London

Tudor Queens and the Tower of London

The Tudor queens and the Tower of London had a tumultuous relationship for the fifty years of their combined reigns.

James Watt

James Watt Industrial Revolution

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Industrial Revolution

James Watt the inventor of the steam engine and the industrial revolution was driven by steam but he was a man with a ferociously keen scientific mind that dabbled in many areas. This is an introduction to one of Britain’s finest engineers, we salute James Watt and his steam engines.

Katherine Swynford

Katherine Swynford Mistress of John of Gaunt

This entry is part 10 of 15 in the series Intriguing Women

Intriguing WomenMedieval Women, Hodierna Mother of Alexander NeckhamElizabeth Woodville Queen of Edward IVAda Lovelace 1815 – 1852 and the first computer programmeEleanor of Aquitaine Mother of English KingsKing Edward IV’s Mistress Jane ShoreWho was Catherine of Valois?IT Livery Companies History and Dame ShirleyHedy Lamarr Actress and Intriguing InventorLady Florence Dixie journalist and feminist 1856Katherine Swynford…

Sir John Beauchamp

Sir John Beauchamp

Sir John Beauchamp of Holt was a Medieval nobleman who supported King Richard II during the 100 Years War but was accused of treason by the ‘Miserable Parliament’ of 1388 and executed.

John Gower

John Gower 14th Century Poet

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Intriguing London

John Gower was one of the great Medieval poets and a friend and contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer. He was poet laureate to King Richard II and then Henry IV.

King George VI VE Day Speech

VE Day 1945 King George VI Speech

VE Day 1945 King George VI Speech an inspired reading at this week’s service in Westminster Abbey commemorating the end of WW2 in Europe VE Day on 8th May. Did you hear the The King’s Speech, how much does a national act of commemoration provide a timely reminder of the need to give back and participate and not just leave it all to the political class?

The British Hussar's at Waterloo Denis Dighton

Duke of Wellington Battle of Waterloo 1815

The Duke of Wellington stood at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, facing yet again Napoleon and the French army. He probably never thought he would have to face the Frenchman again after his victory in the Peninsular Campaign. The bloody battle left Wellington victorious

Sir Hugh Myddletons New River Head a lasting Mark on London

Sir Hugh Myddleton

Sir Hugh Myddleton was a brilliant 17th century engineer who was in part responsible for improving the water supply to London via the New River project which still provides 8% of the capitals water supply.

Birth DateDeath DatePersonBiography and Connections.
11471219William Marshall
Politician Knight under King John.
11671216King John
King of England who sealed Magna Carta
14451527Jane Shore
Mistress of King Edward IV
14851540Thomas Cromwell
English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540. Cromwell was one of the strongest and most powerful advocates of the English Reformation
14941536William Tyndale
English scholar who became a leading figure in Protestant reform under King Henry VIII until he was executed. He is well known for his translation of the Bible into English
15521634Edward Coke
English barrister and judge who opposed James I and authored the Petition of Right
16241691George Fox
Theologian. English dissenter and Founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers)
16441718William Penn Theologian Lawyer
Theologian Lawyer. The son of an admiral and landowner, he was educated in theology and the law. In his twenties he converted to the Quaker religion and was jailed several times for his resistance to the Church of England. In 1681, he received a royal charter to form a new colony in America, to be named Pennsylvania; he envisioned this territory as a peaceful refuge for members of all religious beliefs.
16601731Daniel Defoe. Writer, journalist and dissenter. Educated at Newington Green Academy, Defoe is probably best known for his book, Robinson Crusoe. He was however at heart a trader who believed that trade was the most noble, most instructive and improving of anyway of life. He was a man of his time who thought that all hope for Britain's future lay in its ability to trade with the rest of the world.
16891762Mary Wortley Montagu Writer and Social Reformer
Aristocrat, writer and social reformer.
Writer Social Reformer
16971764William Hogarth. Engraver, painter, satirist and social critic who dared to poke and prod the deepest and darkest aspects of life as he saw it. His series of moral works, The Harlots Progress and The Rakes Progress brought him instant recognition.
17091784Dr Samuel Johnson.Writer, lexicographer
17281779James Cook
Captain in the Royal Navy, scientist, cartographer and explorer
17431820Joseph Banks
British explorer and naturalist, and one of the great men of his age. As long-time President of the Royal Society he steered the course of British science for the first part of the 19th century.
17491806Charlotte Turner SmithPoet, Novelist whose hard life did not diminish her but seemed to spur her to write. Wordsworth identified her as having an important influence on the Romantic Movement.
17461815James Lackington.Bookseller, trader, author. Bookseller who owned a book shop called the 'Temple of the Muses' and who through selling books cheaply, revolutionised the sale of books and who saw reading as enlightenment.
17591833William Wilberforce
English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade.
Politician Philanthropist
17701852Sarah Guppy Engineer
In 1811 she patented the first of her inventions, a method of making safe piling for bridges. She was a friend of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and gave him and the government advice on the GWR.
17801845Elizabeth Fry
English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a Christian philanthropist
Social Reformer
17991847Mary Anning Fossil Hunter
Dorset fossil dealer and palaeontologist who became famous for her discovery of the first ichthyosaur skeleton.
18051865Robert Fitzroy
Royal Naval Officer. Captain of HMS Beagle with Darwin. Scientist and meteorologist who created an accurate way of forecasting weather for sailors.
Naval Officer Scientist
18151852Ada Lovelace
English mathematician who worked with Charles Babbage on his early mechanical computer
18191891Joseph Bazalgette
Engineer who built London's sewers and embanked the Thames.
18271912Joseph Lister
British surgeon and pioneer of the use of antiseptics in surgery.
18281906Josephine Butler
Feminist and social reformer who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes.She campaigned against child prostitution and against the Contagious Diseases Acts which allowed women suspected of being prostitutes to be forceably examined. She also campaigned on educational issues.
18311904Isabella Bird
English explorer, writer, photographer and naturalist. She worked with Josephine Butler on various social issues.
Writer Explorer naturalist social reformer
18551926Dorothy Tennant Stanley
Victorian neo-classicist painter who married Henry Stanley the explorer. She was also an author.
Writer Painter
18621900Mary Kingsley Writer and Scientist
Ethnographic and Science writer who explored and wrote about Africa among the founders of the Royal African Society. She was the niece of Charles Kingsley the writer.
18711962Ethel Mary Charles
Architect. First woman to be admitted to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1898.
18761928Eglantyne Jebb Founder of Save the Children Social Reformer
18941978Victoria Drummond First woman marine engineer in BritainEngineer
19081964Ian Fleming Author of James Bond Novels
In WW2 Ian Fleming received a commission in the Royal Navy and worked for British Naval Intelligence. Eventually serving as the assistant to Admiral John Godfrey, the director of Naval Intelligence. He learnt about espionage and after the war became an author, writing the James Bond novels.
18201910Florence NightingaleEnglish social reformer, statistician and founder of modern nursing.
18121870Charles DickensEnglish writer and social reformer, friend of Florence Nightingale.
17921867Archibald AlisonScottish advocate and historian.
17881872Samuel BamfordEnglish radical and writer.
17811864Lucy AikinEngish historical writer, biographer and correspondent.
17781818Mary BruntonEnglish naturalist, botanist and patron of the Natural Sciences.
17751817Jane AustenEnglish novelist primarily known for her 6 major novels.
17621851Joanna BaillieScottish poet and dramatist.
17481832Jeremy BenthamPhilosopher, social reformer and founder of modern Utilitarianism.
17371794Edward GibbonHistorian, writer, Member of Parliament. Author of The History of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.
17311802Erasmus Darwin One of the key thinkers of the Midlands Enlightenment, he was also a natural philosopher, physiologist, slave-trade abolitionist, inventor and poet.
17281792Robert AdamsScottish Neoclassical architect. Interior and furniture designer.
17281809Matthew BoultonManufacturer and business man. Founder of the Lunar Society.
17251795Robert BakewellEnglish agriculturalist. Recognized as one of the most important people in the Agricultural Revolution. Implemented system of selective breeding.
17171806Elizabeth CarterEnglish philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy.
17161772James BrindleyEnglish engineer who is best known for his work on canal building.
16931776John HarrisonClock maker and inventor of the marine chronometer for determining longitude.
16721719Joseph AddisonEnglish essayist, poet and politician who along with Richard Steele founded the spectator.
16661731Mary AstellEnglish feminist and rhetorician. Her advocacy of equal educational opportunities for women earned her the title, the first English feminist.
16601731Daniel DefoeEnglish trader, writer, journalist, pamphleteer and spy. He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe
16591695Henry PurcellEnglish composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music
16321704John Locke English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism"
16321723Christopher Wren English anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist, as well as one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history.
16231673Margaret CavendishEnglish aristocrat, philosopher, poet, scientist, fiction-writer, and playwright
16171692Elias AshmoleEnglish antiquary, politician, officer of arms, astrologer and student of alchemy.
15881679Thomas HobbesEnglish philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan
15611626Francis BaconEnglish philosopher and statesman. His works are credited with developing the scientific method, and remained influential through the scientific revolution.
15431634Lettice KnollysRival to Queen Elizabeth I, she was Countess of Essex and Countess of Leicester, was an English noblewoman and mother to the courtiers Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and Lady Penelope Rich, although via her marriage to Elizabeth I's favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, she incurred the Queen's unrelenting displeasure