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  • Irish rebellion 1641

    The plantation of Ireland under James I and Charles I had not proved popular with the indigenous Irish population and with the generations of \'Old English\' - families who had been in the country for generations. Unlike Scotland and England, those who rose against the King\'s authority in Ireland tended to be Catholic. News reached Charles I of the Irish rebellion late in 1641 - at a period of high tension in England (where the populace was alre ...


  • English civil war 1642

    In 1641/2, parliament was increasing worried concerning the prospects of Charles controlling military action against his Irish rebels. Charles, on the other hand, was confident that he had substantial support (especially among those who felt that parliament was becoming too radical and zealous). In January 1642, the king entered the House of Commons and attempted to arrest five of his staunchest opponents. The Commons stood firm and, in June 1642 ...


  • Charles i's surrender and execution 1649

    In November 1647, after intriguing for a Scottish invasion, Charles escaped from imprisonment, and with the assistance of a Scots invasion force took up the Civil War again. Throughout the summer of 1648, Charles attempted to regain some initiative but, despite limited successes with the capture of Pembroke, Berwick and Carlisle, his ambitions were ultimately thwarted at Preston in August 1648. In January 1649, the House of Commons set up a high ...


  • Cromwell and the commonwealth 1649 - 1660

    Oliver Cromwell, Puritan leader of the Parliamentary side of the Civil War, declared England a republic, or the \'Commonwealth\', in 1649. As Lord Protector, (he refused the title, \'King\'), from 1653, Cromwell established greater religious toleration and raised England\'s prestige in Europe on the basis of an alliance with France against Spain. He was quick to curb any opposition, and in 1649, he executed the leaders of the Levellers, (an influ ...


  • Charles ii and the restoration of the monarchy 1660

    In 1660, parliament accepted the restoration of the monarchy after the collapse of the Commonwealth (along with Charles II\'s promise in the form of the \'Declaration of Breda\' to establish a general amnesty and freedom of conscience). Already King in Scotland since 1651, Charles (1660-85) was proclaimed King of England on 8 May 1660. When a new Westminster parliament was elected, no representatives from Scotland were requested - the Cromwellian ...


  • Pentland rising 1666

    In Scotland, a group of over a thousand discontented religious radicals marched on Edinburgh to protest concerning the Restoration government\'s favourable policy towards Episcopalianism. The rebels were met in the Pentland Hills by a force of government troops and defeated. The rising caused the government to reconsider its views and, under John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, they began a policy of granting concessions to the discontented groups. ...


  • Plague, population and economy 1665

    In spring 1665, parishes began to report deaths attributable to the bubonic plague, which had already attacked London several times early in the century (the population would already have been weakened by an exceptionally hard winter during which the River Thames had frozen). By November 1665, when the epidemic ceased in the cold weather, the lives of over 100,000 people had been lost. Read more about the plague in 1665. This contributed to what ...


  • The great fire of london and christopher wren 1666

    In September 1666, a fire broke out at night in a baker\'s shop in Pudding Lane, near the Billingsgate fish market in London. Fanned by a high wind, the fire quickly became uncontrollable and in four days the heritage of centuries was reduced to ashes. Two thirds of the city within the walls was destroyed although the slums outside remained untouched. Within three weeks of the fire, a young architect named Christopher Wren had presented plans for ...


  • The test acts, titus oates and the popish plot 1673 - 1681

    In 1673, a Test Act was passed to try to help differentiate between Anglicans and Catholics. Public officeholders were required to swear an oath of allegiance (which recognised the monarch as the head of the Church of England) and accept communion by Protestant form. The intention of the Act was to exclude Catholics from public office. James, Duke of York (Charles II\'s brother and the future James VII and II), being Catholic, was forced to surre ...


  • James vii and ii and the monmouth rising 1685 - 1688

    The second son of Charles I, James VII (0f Scotland) and II (Of England, 1685-88) became a Catholic in 1671, leading to the first attempts to exclude him from succession. Attempts continued when the Whig opposition tried unsuccessfully to use the Exclusion Bill to secure the succession for the Duke of Monmouth, an illegitimate son of Charles II.In 1685, Monmouth\'s rebellion - a Protestant rising against James - was crushed at Sedgemoor in Somers ...


  • 'glorious' revolution 1688

    William of Orange landed in Britain on 5 November 1688. Although he claimed he was only there to support parliament, it soon became clear that a different agenda was operating. William marched unopposed to London as James fled (dumping the Great Seal of the realm in the Thames as he went). By the end of 1688, it was clear that William would accept nothing less than the English crown, if parliament wished for him to remain and defend Protestantism ...


  • William of orange, mary ii and the declaration of rights 1689

    William II (Of Scotland) and III (Of England, 1688-1702), a Dutch prince, became joint sovereign with his wife Mary II (1688-94) - the daughter of King James - in 1689. When offered the English crown on 13 February 1689 (Scotland was not consulted), they were presented with a Declaration of Rights drafted by parliament. It stated that parliaments had to meet frequently, that elections should be free and fair, that the debates in parliament should ...


  • Battle of the boyne 1690

    Despite the situation in England and Scotland, King James was still relatively popular, and militarily strong, in Ireland. In July 1690, however, James\'s army was outflanked by a force led by William (who forced his way over the River Boyne near Drogheda). Defeated, James decided to flee to France. ...


  • Massacre of glencoe 1692

    William II and III\'s policy in Scotland was to force clan chieftains to subscribe an oath of loyalty to the crown. MacIain of Glencoe (a sept of the MacDonald\'s) was slow in doing so and eventually missed the deadline by a matter of days (he was still willing to swear the oath). Government forces consisting, in part, of the MacDonald\'s bitterest enemies, the Campbells, billeted themselves upon the Glencoe population, in February 1692, and then ...


  • Bank of england founded 1694

    The continental wars of King William were expensive. As a result, England was forced to raise a considerable national debt. In 1694, William Paterson (a Scotsman) founded the Bank of England to assist the crown by managing the public debt.The Bank of England became the national reserve for the British Isles. In 1697, its position of prominence was secured when parliament forbade the formation of any further joint-stock banks in England (a writ th ...


  • Darien colony 1695

    Still attempting to challenge England in terms of trade and influence, the Company of Scotland, attempted to set up colonial interests in South America. The site they chose (in Spanish territory) was a disease infested, swampy isthmus at Darien. As the Scots attempted to export bibles, wool coats and wigs to their colony, the colonists were overcome by disease, hunger, natives and Spaniards. The scheme, which struggled on through the late 1690s, ...


  • Eddystone rock lighthouse 1699

    Ships had founded off the British coast for centuries. Although fires were used to keep ships from the shore, the foundation of the Eddystone Rock lighthouse in 1699 was the first high-seas lighthouse to be built round the British coast. ...


  • Queen anne and the act of union 1707

    Anne (1702-14) was the second daughter of King James, but Protestant. Events in her reign included the War of Spanish Succession, Marlborough\'s victories at Blenheim, Ramilies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet, and the replacement of the Tories with a Whig government in 1703. In 1707, she presided over the union of the parliaments of Scotland and England into the parliament of Great Britain - which first sat on 1 May 1707. The Scots had, controversially ...


  • Jacobite rising 1708

    In response to the unpopular union, a French fleet brought the son and Catholic heir of King James to the Firth of Forth in an attempt to raise a rebellion. Poor weather meant that the French forces were unable to land and the ships were driven away from shore. No \'rising\' in any real sense occurred, despite the propitious timing. ...


  • The first steam engine 1712

    The century which was to follow would witness the beginnings of an industrial revolution in Britain which was to change the world. Arguably the most significant invention of the Industrial Revolution was the steam engine. This was originally invented for draining mines, but was rapidly put to use in factories and later on the railways. The first successful engine was built in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen and developed over the next ninety years by Jam ...



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