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Timeline

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22 August 1485
Battle

Henry Tudor defeats King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard is killed and Henry becomes King Henry VII.

Henry VII (1457-1509)

18 January 1486
Marriage

Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York (Richard III’s niece).

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York (top), Whitehall Mural

19 September 1486
Birth

Elizabeth of York gives birth to a son, Prince Arthur.

Prince Arthur (1486-1502)

28 June 1491
Birth

Elizabeth of York gives birth to a son, Prince Henry.

Henry VIII (1491-1547) as a young boy

3 August 1492
Expedition

Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, sails to the Americas.

Christopher Columbus discovers The Americas for Spain

14 November 1501
Marriage

Prince Arthur marries the Spanish princess, Katherine of Aragon. He is 15 years old and she is 16.

Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536)

02 April 1502
Death

Prince Arthur dies aged 15.

21 April 1509
Crown

Henry VII dies and Prince Henry becomes King Henry VIII, aged 17.

Henry VIII (1491-1547)

11 June 1509
Marriage

King Henry VIII marries Katherine of Aragon. The couple have to get special permission from the Pope in Rome, as Katherine had been Henry’s brother’s wife.

10 September 1515
Church

Thomas Wolsey becomes a cardinal and Lord Chancellor, making him the most powerful man in the country after the king.

Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530)

8 February 1516
Birth

Katherine of Aragon gives birth to a daughter, Princess Mary.

Princess Mary, later Queen (1516-1558)

24 June 1520
Joust

Henry VIII meets Francis I, King of France, at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. This was a lavish two-week event held near Calais in France involving jousts, feasts and other entertainments.

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

17 October 1521
Church

Henry VIII is named ‘Defender of the Faith’ by Pope Leo X in recognition of his book criticising the reforms preached by the German priest Martin Luther.

February/March 1526
Love

Henry VIII falls in love with Anne Boleyn, maid of honour in the household of Katherine of Aragon.

Anne Boleyn (c.1501–1536)

1527
Church

Henry VIII asks Pope Clement VII to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Katherine is in her 40s and unlikely to have any more children. Henry wants to marry Anne Boleyn and have a son.

1529
Church

Thomas Wolsey falls from power as he has been unable to arrange an annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage. He gives up most of his positions and his property is given to the king.

Introduction to Hampton Court Palace

4 November 1530
Arrest

Thomas Wolsey is arrested for treason.

29 November 1530
Death

Thomas Wolsey dies on 29 November at Leicester on his way back to London.

25 January 1533
Marriage

Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn in secret, after ordering the Archbishop of Canterbury to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.

1 June 1533
Crown

Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen.

7 September 1533
Birth

Anne Boleyn gives birth to Princess Elizabeth.

Princess Elizabeth I (1533-1603)

November 1534
Church

The Act of Supremacy makes Henry VIII head of the English church. The Act separates the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope in Rome is no longer in control of religion in England.

6 July 1535
Death

Thomas More, Henry VIII’s former Chancellor, is executed for treason after refusing to swear to the Act of Succession (an Act of Parliament recognising Princess Elizabeth as the heir to the throne).

1535-1537
Death

The Prior and six monks at the monastery of Charterhouse are executed when they refuse to take the Oath of Supremacy recognising Henry VIII as head of the Church of England. Nine other Charterhouse monks die in Newgate Prison.

Find out about the monks who refused to recognise King Henry VIII as Head of the Church of England

1536–1540
Church

The Dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII orders religious houses to be closed and takes their money and lands.

Find out about the Dissolution of the Monasteries and why Sir Edward North made Charterhouse his home

19 May 1536
Death

Anne Boleyn is executed for treason at the Tower of London.

30 May 1536
Marriage

Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour, his third wife.

Queen Jane Seymour (1508/9-1537)

4 August 1536
Church

The first official English language Bible is delivered to England. Previously Bibles had been in Latin, a language which lots of people could not understand.

June 1537
Church

The monastery of Charterhouse is given to the king.

12 October 1537
Birth

Jane Seymour gives birth to a son, Prince Edward, at Hampton Court Palace.

Edward VI (1537-1553)

24 October 1537
Death

Jane Seymour dies on 24 October due to problems after giving birth.

1538
Palace

Building starts on Nonsuch Palace.

Henry VIII's palace of Nonsuch, 1541-1547

1539
Palace

A courthouse is built next to Newgate Prison. The Central Criminal Court stands on the site today.

6 January 1540
Marriage

Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife. Henry finds her ugly and the marriage is not a success.

Anne of Cleeves (1515-1557) wrongly inscribed as Ann de Boleyn

10 June 1540
Arrest

Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, is arrested for treason. One of reasons for Cromwell’s fall from power is that he arranged Henry’s failed marriage to Anne of Cleves.

Sir Thomas Cromwell (c.1485-1540)

9 July 1540
Annulled

The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves is annulled.

28 July 1540
Marriage

Henry VIII marries Katherine Howard, his fifth wife.

Katherine Howard (c.1523-1542)

28 July 1540
Death

Henry’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, is executed for treason at the Tower of London.

13 February 1542
Death

Katherine Howard is executed for treason at the Tower of London.

12 July 1543
Marriage

Henry VIII marries Katherine Parr, his sixth wife, at Hampton Court Palace.

Katherine Parr (1512-1548)

1545
Palace

Sir Edward North takes over Charterhouse and turns the monastery into a luxurious town house.

Find out about the medieval monastery of Charterhouse and what happened after it was closed

28 January 1547
Death

Henry VIII dies at the palace of Whitehall. His son Edward becomes King Edward VI at the age of nine.

19 February 1547
Crown

Edward VI travels in a great procession from the Tower of London, along Cheapside to Westminster Abbey where he is crowned the next day.

May 1547
Marriage

Katherine Parr marries Sir Thomas Seymour, the love of her life.

5 September 1548
Death

Katherine Parr dies six days after giving birth to a daughter.

1549
Church

The ‘Book of Common Prayer’ is compiled by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. This sets out all the official prayers for different types of church service such as marriages, Sunday services and baptisms. The prayers are written in English for the first time and help to establish the Protestant religion in England.

History of the Reformation of the Church of England

6 July 1553
Death

King Edward VI dies after nominating his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey, to be queen.

10 July 1553
Crown

Lady Jane Grey is proclaimed queen but never crowned.

Lady Jane Grey (c.1536-1554)

19 July 1553
Crown

Edward VI’s Catholic sister Mary becomes Queen Mary I. She is determined to re-establish Catholicism as the religion of England.

Queen Mary I (1516-1558)

19 July 1553
Arrest

Lady Jane Grey, who had been queen for only nine days, is arrested and held prisoner in the Tower of London.

07 February 1554
Battle

Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Mary I. The rebels are angry at Mary’s plans to marry the Catholic Philip of Spain (Philip became King of Spain in 1556). The rebellion is stopped when the rebels march on London.

12 February 1554
Death

Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley, are executed at the Tower of London. They had been convicted of treason at their trial at the Guildhall in November 1553.

25 July 1554
Marriage

Queen Mary I marries Philip of Spain. Many people are very unhappy about the marriage and are afraid that Spain will take over England as a result.

Phillip II (1527-1598), King of Spain

1556
Palace

The former monastery of Charterhouse is sold to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. It is re-named Howard House.

21 March 1556
Death

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, is burnt at the stake for refusing to give up his Protestant religious beliefs.

Cranmer’s martyrdom, from John Foxe’s book (1563)

7 January 1558
Battle

The town of Calais, the last bit of English territory in France, is surrendered to France.

17 November 1558
Death

Queen Mary I dies. Her half-sister Elizabeth becomes Queen Elizabeth I.

15 January 1559
Crown

Elizabeth travels in a great procession from the Tower of London, along Cheapside to Westminster Abbey where she is crowned.

Find out about Cheapside and the royal processions that took place there

24 June 1559
Church

The Protestant ‘Book of Common Prayer’ becomes the only legal form of worship. Catholic forms of worship are declared illegal.

1561
Palace

A lightning strike destroys the 500ft spire of St Paul’s Cathedral. The spire is never replaced.

St Paul's map image printed from the Copperplate Map, 1559

1562
Expedition

Captain John Hawkins, a trader and naval commander, becomes the first English slave trader.

1563
Death

A severe outbreak of plague kills nearly a quarter of the people living in London.

23 January 1571
Palace

Sir Thomas Gresham’s London shopping centre and merchants’ meeting place is re-named the Royal Exchange by Elizabeth I. The Royal Exchange still stands today near Bank Underground station but has been rebuilt twice.

Royal Exchange

1576
Palace

The first playhouse is built in London. It is called the Red Lion and is built in Stepney.

26 September 1580
Expedition

Sir Francis Drake arrives at Plymouth after his three-year voyage at sea. He is the first Englishman to sail around the world.

Sir Francis Drake receives knighthood from Queen Elizabeth

1585
Battle

War begins between England and Spain.

1587
Palace

The Rose is the first playhouse to be built on Bankside, south of the river Thames.

Reconstruction of the Rose Theatre © Bill Dudley/The Rose Theatre Trust

8 February 1587
Death

Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I’s cousin, is executed for treason. She had been the focus of several plots against Elizabeth.

Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87)

1588
Battle

King Philip of Spain launches a fleet of ships known as the Spanish Armada against England. English ships attacked the Armada in August 1588, scattering the Spanish ships. At least 30 Spanish ships were wrecked in storms while trying to sail around the British Isles to get home to Spain.

1592
Theatre

William Shakespeare, actor and playwright from Stratford-upon-Avon, is first recorded as living in London.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

7 June 1594
Death

Rodrigo Lopez, personal doctor of Elizabeth I, is executed following a trial at the Guildhall convicting him trying to poison the Queen.

1599
Palace

The Globe playhouse is built on Bankside.

Reconstruction of the Tudor theatres in Southwark. The Globe Theatre in the foreground. © Faith Vardy/MOLA

1603
Death

Another severe outbreak of plague hits London. The theatres are closed to prevent the spread of the disease.

24 March 1603
Death

Queen Elizabeth I dies, aged 69. As she never married or had any children, Elizabeth’s cousin, King James VI of Scotland, becomes King James I of England. James is from the Stuart family and so the Tudor period ends.

James VI & I (1566-1625)