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flag  History of England

Journey back in time to England

(United Kingdom)

Visit England. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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 England - Chapter House, Hereford The Antiquities of England and Wales, 1787

In 1591, Sir John Harington of England invented the flush toilet.

In 1666, Isaac Newton of England, discovers gravity.

In 1698, Thomas Savery, of England, invents the steam engine.

In 1870, The British House of Lords officially decided that a man cannot marry his widow's sister.

In England, Santa Claus is known as Father Christmas. Children set their Christmas wish lists on fire instead of putting them in the mail. Gifts are not placed under the Christmas tree, they are placed at the foot of the bed inside a big stocking.

Crimbo is an English slang word for Christmas.

Instead of leaving cookies and milk for Santa, children in England leave brandy, cookies and mince pie for Father Christmas.

The pulling of Christmas crackers often accompanies food on Christmas Day. Invented by a London baker in 1846, a cracker is a brightly colored paper tube, twisted at both ends, which contains a party hat, riddle and toy or other trinket. When it is pulled by two people it gives out a crack as its contents are dispersed.

The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day. It is a day for servants to receive a Christmas box.

There is MUCH more to discover about England. Read on!

England Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards


Chapter House, Hereford
The Antiquities of England and Wales, 1787


South West Front, St Albans Abbey


(IL) - Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois


(IL) - Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois


Blackfriars Bridge, London


Folkestone, Madeira Walk, Kent, England


Visit England
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Discover England : History, News, Travel, and Stories

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  • The Stone of Destiny was stolen from Scotland by King Edward I of England in 1296 and placed under the throne at Westminster Abbey in London.

  • 1430 - Capture, trial, and execution of Joan of Arc

  • 1455 - The Wars of the Roses begin in England

  • 1509 - King Henry VIII marries his first wife, Katherine of Aragon

  • 1533 - Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn

  • 1534 - Henry VIII broke with the Church in Rome with the Act of Supremacy, which made the king head of the Church of England places-timelines/ 16-england-history-timeline.htm
  • 1536 - Anne Boleyn tried for treason, adultery and incest and executed on Tower Hill on May 19th places-timelines/ 16-england-history-timeline.htm
  • 1547 - King Henry VIII died; Edward VI (age nine) became King webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1549 - Book of common prayer introduced; First Act of Uniformity passed, banning Roman Catholic mass webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1553 - King Edward VI died; Lady Jane Grey declared Queen of England for nine days; Mary I crowned Queen webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1558 - French retook Calais; Queen Mary I died; Elizabeth I crowned Queen webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1559 - Mary, Queen of Scots, claimed her royal right to the English throne webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1567 - Mary, Queen of Scots, abdicated, son James declared King webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1587 - Queen Elizabeth ordered execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, for treason webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1591 - The flush toilet is invented (Sir John Harington, England)
    Harington devised England's first flushing toilet - called the Ajax. It was installed at his manor in Kelston...

    The forerunner to the modern flush toilet had a flush valve to let water out of the tank, and a wash-down design to empty the bowl. The term "John", used particularly in the US, is thought by some to be a reference to its inventor, although this is disputed.

    Read more about John HARINGTON
  • 1601 - Queen Elizabeth I died; James VI of Scotland became James I of England, first Stuart king webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1621 - Thirty Years War began (Protestants against Catholics) webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1625 - King James I died; son Charles I crowned webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1642-1645 - 1641 - English Civil War began; 1645 - Civil War ended, Charles I defeated webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1649 - King Charles I tried for levying war; found guilty and was executed; son Charles II declared himself King webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • (1653 - 1658) Lord Cromwell ruled England as Lord Protector webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1654 - England declared war on Spain webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1660 - Monarchy restored with King Charles II webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1665 - Great Plague struck London; over 75,000 died webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1666 - Isaac Newton discovers gravity
    "...According to the well-known story, it was on seeing an apple fall in his orchard at some time during 1665 or 1666 that Newton conceived that the same force governed the motion of the Moon and the apple. He calculated the force needed to hold the Moon in its orbit, as compared with the force pulling an object to the ground. He also calculated the centripetal force needed to hold a stone in a sling, and the relation between the length of a pendulum and the time of its swing..."

    Read more about Isaac NEWTON photo of ancestor
  • 1685 - King Charles II died; brother James, Duke of York, crowned King James II webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • (1688 - 1689) Glorious Revolution took place, King James II deposed by Parliament webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • News  1689 - William & Mary assume English throne. Peter the Great assumes Russian throne.

  • 1694 - Queen Mary II died; Bank of England established webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1698 - The steam engine is invented (Thomas Savery, England)
    "Thomas Savery was an English inventor credited with making important advancements and discoveries in the development of the steam engine. He was born in 1650 at Shilston and belonged to a well known family of Devonshire. He received a thorough education and was fond of mathematics, mechanics and philosophy. He spent a great deal of time performing experiments and engineering new types of equipment for use in his experiments. Savery chose the profession of military engineering and achieved considerable success, rising to the rank of captain...

    ...England was facing a severe shortage of timber. Most of the timber from forestry was being used for shipbuilding and firewood. Therefore, coal was replaced with firewood as often as possible. However, this meant digging deeper into coal mines which led to the possibility of water seeping into the mines. In 1698, Savery patented a steam engine known as the “Miner’s friend” after presenting the same to the “Royal Society of London”. This... Read MORE...

    Read more about Thomas SAVERY
  • 1702 - King William III died; Anne, daughter of James II, crowned Queen webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1702 - March 11 - 1st English daily newspaper "Daily Courant" publishes
  • News  1702 - May 14 - England & Netherlands declare war on France & Spain
  • 1707 - Act of Union passed - united England and Scotland as Great Britain webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
  • 1709 - February 2 - British sailor Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years, his story inspires "Robinson Crusoe"
  • 1712 - July 20 - The Riot Act takes effect in Great Britain.
  • News  1714 - January 7 - Typewriter patented by Englishman Henry Mill (built years later)
    January 7, 1714
  • 1717 - March 2 - The Loves of Mars and Venus becomes the first ballet performed in England
  • 1720 - June 10 - Mrs Clements of England markets first paste-style mustard
    "In 1720 Mrs Clements, in Durham, England, developed a process to remove the husks from ground mustard and make smooth mustard. This was the first recorded smooth mustard made in England. Mrs Clements understood the value of her innovation well and kept the process secret for as long as possible, even supplying the smooth mustard to King George 1st."
  • News  1733 - May 17 - Great Britain passes Molasses Act, putting high tariffs on rum & molasses imported to the colonies from a country other than British possessions
  • News  1735 - September 22 - Robert Walpole becomes the first British "Prime Minister" (actually First Lord of the Treasury) to live at 10 Downing Street
    September 22, 1735
  • News  1750s - The game of cricket became popular in England

  • News  1754 - Beginning of the French and Indian War between Great Britain and France for control of the North American colonies. It is part of the Seven Years War.

  • December 1780 - Britain declared war on Dutch Republic (Fourth Anglo-Dutch War)

  • Treaty of Paris signed by King George III April 9, 1784
    British gave United States all land between Atlantic Ocean and Mississippi River from Canada to Florida. Spain received Florida.
  • 1800 - Population of the Kingdom of Great Britain - 10,481,401

  • News  1801 - Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland creates the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

  • 1824 - Portland cement is invented (Joseph Aspdin, England)
    One of the greatest commodities in the United States today is a greyish powder commonly sold in 50-pound bags for about 10 cents a pound.

    Modern Portland cement has a rather short but fabulous history. Back in 1824 an English mason named Joseph Aspdin mixed a compound composed of lime, silica, alumina and iron oxide. The result was a grayish substance which reminded him of the stone quarried from the isle of Portland off the British coast.

    Joseph Aspdin's Portland cement proved to be the best answer to an age-old problem. Down through the centuries men had attempted to bind stone into a solid mass.

    Some of their efforts were remarkably successful. The Assyrians and Babylonians achieved some good restults with clay. The Egyptians built the Pyramids by using lime and gypsum mortar as a binding agent.

    The Russians, who mixed slaked lime with a volcanic as from Mount Vesuvius, produced a cement capable of hardening under water. As proof of the quality of their cement, many... Read MORE...

    Read more about Joseph ASPDIN
  • 1825 - The locomotive is invented (George Stephenson, England)
    "... in 1811 George Stephenson made an engine. 'At last something practical has been designed,' thought many. George improved his design, and by 1825 his locomotion was on the rails. This was the first engine for the first important railway in the world. It went from Stockto to Darlington, England, for the first time on 27th September 1825. This great old parent engine is preserved in the South Kensington Museum..."
    The Age
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    December 19, 1930

    Read more about George STEPHENSON photo of ancestor
  • 1826 - The gas stove is invented (James Sharp, UK)
    ...John Baptist von Helmont, born at Brussels in 1677, while engaged in chemical research, discovered gas and named it. An English rector, Rev. Dr. John Clayton, discovered coal gas in 1792, thereby causing great consternation in his village in Wales. It was nearly 40 years later that the practicability of gas for cooking was demonstrated by James Sharp, of Northampton, England...
    The Winnipeg Tribune, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, February 2, 1931

    ..."Mr. James Sharp, for many years Engineer to the Southampton Gas works. In a pamphlet which was published by him in 1851, he stated that it was then upwards of 24 years since he first introduced the application of gas to cooking, and referred to a lecture given by him in June, 1837, at the the Mechanics' Institution at Southampton, on which occasion he cooked a substantial supper which was partaken by a large number of the company. He further mentions, as one of the obstacles which had to be contended with in introducing this system of ... Read MORE...

    Read more about James SHARP
  • 1827 - Matches are invented (John Walker, England)
    In 1827 the first friction match was invented in England by John Walker. Walker's matches were sticks tipped with a mixture of chemicals that burst into flame when scratched against a rough surface.

    Walker found that when the mixture dried, he could ignite the stick by drawing the head through a piece of sandpaper. Other people began making such matches, but they presented many problems. They were hard to ignite, they didn't always light properly, and the heads often came off.

    In 1830 the walker matches were improved by substituting white phosphorus for one of the ingredients. This type of match was first made in the United States in 1836.

    Sulfur was used to help the match-head flame light the wooden splint. The sulfur was later replaced with paraffin, and fire retardants were added to the wooden match splint to make it burn more slowly.

    In 1911 an American match company perfected a formula that used a nonpoisonous compound of phosphorus and sulfur, and thus eliminated... Read MORE...

    Read more about John WALKER
  • News  1839 - February 26 - The Grand National horse race was first run
    The Grand National is a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England.
  • 1839 - April 9 – The world's first commercial electric telegraph line comes into operation alongside the Great Western Railway line in England, from London Paddington station to West Drayton.

    April 9, 1839
  • 1843 - The Christmas card is invented (Sir Henry Cole and John Callcott Horsley, England)
    "The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He was a civil servant (Government worker) who had helped set-up the new 'Public Record Office' (now called the Post Office), where he was an Assistant Keeper, and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.

    Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each... The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the centre panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn't like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine! About 1000... were printed and sold."
  • News  1851 - August 22 - The first America's Cup yacht race was held, with the US schooner America beating the British yacht Aurora.
    The course was called "The Queen's Course". The course was near Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight, where the Royal Yacht Squadron headquarters are located.
  • News  1863 - December 19 - The first ever soccer match was played, between Barnes Football Club and Richmond Football Club. The final score: 0-0.

  • News  1870 - A sexton in Middlesex, England, while digging a grave, found twenty-five silver coins, dating back to the Stuart period.

    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 4, 1870
  • News  1870 - The British House of Lords has officially decided that a man cannot marry his widow's sister.

    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 4, 1870
  • 1895 - England
    England, ing'gland (L. An'glia; Fr. Angleterre, 6N' l'tain'; It. Inghilterra, £, Sp. and Port. Ingla terra, ing-glà-tèR'Rā; Ger. England, &ng’lānt; Dutch, En eland, éng'He-lânt'), the southern and larger section of the island of Great Britain, and the most important of the three kingdoms constituting the British empire, between lat. 49° 57' 42" and 55° 46' N. and lon. 1° 40' E. and 5° 42' W. The northern boundary, between it and Scotland, is constituted by the Solway Firth and the river Sark on the west, then by a line to the point where the Liddell falls into the Esk, thence by the Liddell eastward and upwards till it is struck by the Cheviots, then by the watershed of that range till they sink into the valley of the Tweed, and finally by the Tweed till it falls into the sea. On all other sides Eng land is washed by the sea, (See GREAT BRITAIN.) Its coast-line is irregular, being much indented by a continuous series of bays, estuaries, and headlands, so that although measured from... Read MORE...

  • 1900 - Population of United Kingdom (including Ireland) - 39,875,900

  • News  1901 - January 22 - Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom dies at age 81, after more than 63 years on the throne, and her son the Prince of Wales formally succeeds her as King Edward VII.
    January 22, 1901
  • 1902 - August 9 – Edward VII is crowned King of the United Kingdom.
    August 9, 1902
  • News  1940 - May 10 - Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain

    May 10, 1940
  • In the early hours of Christmas Day 1950 three Glasgow (Scotland) students broke into Westminster Abbey (England) and stole the Stone of Destiny from beneath the throne at Westminster Abbey in London.

  • News  1979 - May 4 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female prime minister of Great Britain

    May 4, 1979
  • 1982 - Women are allowed to spend their money in English pubs without being refused service.
  • News  1985 - May 16 - Hole in Ozone layer is discovered by British scientists
    The discovery of the annual depletion of ozone above the Antarctic was first announced in a paper by Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner and Jonathan Shanklin which appeared in Nature (magazine) on May 16th 1985.
    May 16, 1985
  • On St Andrews Day 1996 the Stone of Destiny completed a 400 mile, police escorted journey from Westminster Abbey to Edinburgh Castle.

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Updated: 4/19/2023 8:38:26 AM

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