Updated: Jul 27, 2021
New to our website, running alongside our Royal Blog, this page will feature events throughout British History. For more information on the royal events mentioned below visit the Royal Blog page.
15 July 1381 – John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hanged, drawn & quartered in the presence of King Richard II of England.
15 July 1445 - Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots died
15 July 1573 - Inigo Jones was born
Inigo Jones (15 July 1573 – 21 June 1652) was the first significant architect in England in the early modern period, & the first to employ Vitruvian rules of proportion & symmetry in his buildings. As the most notable architect in England, Jones was the first person to introduce the classical architecture of Rome & the Italian Renaissance to Britain. He left his mark on London by his design of single buildings, such as the Queen's House which is the first building in England designed in a pure classical style, & the Banqueting House, Whitehall, as well as the layout for Covent Garden square which became a model for future developments in the West End. He made major contributions to stage design by his work as theatrical designer for several dozen masques, most by royal command & many in collaboration with Ben Jonson.
15 July 1685 - James Scott, Duke of Monmouth executed
15 July 1815 – Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon.
Napoleon on Bellerophon at Plymouth, by Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, 1815. Eastlake was rowed out to Bellerophon to make sketches, from which he later painted this portrait.
Napoleon on Board the Bellerophon, exhibited in 1880 by Sir William Quiller Orchardson. Orchardson depicts the morning of 23 July, as Napoleon watches the French shoreline recede. His retinue, from left to right Planat, Montholon, Maingault [fr], Las Cases, Savary, Lallemand & Bertrand, look on. In the background, Las Cases's son leans over the rail.
15 July 1830 - George IV funeral
15 July 1858 – Emmeline Pankhurst was born
Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden; 15 July 1858 – 14 June 1928) was a British political activist. She is best remembered for organizing the UK suffragette movement & helping women win the right to vote. In 1999, Time named her as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating that "she shaped an idea of objects for our time" & "shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back". She was widely criticised for her militant tactics, & historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in the United Kingdom.
Pankhurst (wearing prison clothes) described her first incarceration as: "like a human being in the process of being turned into a wild beast."
After selling her home, Pankhurst travelled constantly, giving speeches throughout Britain & the United States. One of her most famous speeches, "Freedom or death", was delivered in Connecticut in 1913.
15 July 1909 - Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married Infanta Alfonso.
Remembering Private Michael Wood.
Mechanical Transport, Army Service Corps.
Death: 15 July 1915. Died of fever shortly before his Regiment went to France, Home Front.
Remembering Second Lieutenant William Kelly Carmichael Ogg
9 (Glasgow Highlanders) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry.
He was reported missing, aged 18, on 15 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Remembering Second Lieutenant John Christopher Arthur Williams-Vaughan
South Wales Borderers, attached to 100th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry).
Death: 15 July 1915, Western Front, aged 25.
Remembering Second Lieutenant Richard Dermott Atkinson
"A" Company, 16 Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps.
Death: 15 July 1916, High Wood, Somme.
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Remembering Private Alexander Black
"B" Company, 9th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders).
Death: 15 July 1916, High Wood, Somme, Western Front.
15 July 1916 - First World War: Battle of Flers–Courcelette begins.
The Battle of Flers–Courcelette (15 to 22 September 1916) was fought during the Battle of the Somme in France, by the French Sixth Army & the British Fourth Army & Reserve Army, against the German 1st Army, during the First World War. The Anglo-French attack of 15 September began the third period of the Battle of the Somme but by its conclusion on 22 September, the strategic objective of a decisive victory had not been achieved. The infliction of many casualties on the German front divisions & the capture of the villages of Courcelette, Martinpuich & Flers had been a considerable tactical victory but the German defensive success on the British right flank, made exploitation & the use of cavalry impossible. Tanks were used in battle for the first time in history & the Canadian Corps & the New Zealand Division fought for the first time on the Somme. On 16 September, Jagdstaffel 2, a specialist fighter squadron, began operations with five new Albatros D.I fighters, which were capable of challenging British air supremacy for the first time since the beginning of the battle. The attempt to advance deeply on the right & pivot on the left failed but the British gained about 2,500 yd (2,300 m) in general & captured High Wood, moving forward about 3,500 yd (3,200 m) in the centre, beyond Flers & Courcelette.
15 July 1918 – World War I: The Second Battle of the Marne begins near the River Marne with a German attack.
15 July 1989 – Laurie Cunningham, English footballer died in a car crash
Laurence Cunningham (8 March 1956 – 15 July 1989) was an English professional footballer. A left winger, he notably played in England, France & Spain, where he became the first ever Englishman to play for Real Madrid.
After being turned down by Arsenal, he began his career at Leyton Orient in 1974, & moved on to West Bromwich Albion three years later, where he played alongside Cyrille Regis & Brendon Batson under coach Ron Atkinson, becoming only the second trio of black players to be fielded in the top flight of English football. His form at the Hawthorns later earned a move to Real Madrid, where he remained for five years, winning La Liga once & the Copa del Rey twice. After a spell in France with Marseille, he returned to England with Leicester City in 1985, followed by a return to Spain with Rayo Vallecano. Cunningham signed with Wimbledon in 1988, where, as a member of the "Crazy Gang", he won the FA Cup in 1988 for the final trophy of his career. Cunningham received his first international call-up to the England U21 side in 1977 while playing for West Bromwich Albion, becoming the first black footballer to represent an England international team organised by the Football Association. He later earned 6 caps for the full national team between 1979 & 1980, becoming one of the first ever black England internationals. While playing for Rayo Vallecano, Cunningham was killed in a car crash in Madrid on the morning of 15 July 1989, at the age of 33
16 July 946 - Eadred, king of the English coronation at Kingston-upon-Thames
16 July 1377 – King Richard II of England is crowned.
16 July 1546 – Anne Askew, English author and poet executed (b. 1520)
Anne Askew (née Ayscough, Ascue; married name Anne Kyme; 1521 – 16 July 1546) was an English writer, poet, & Protestant martyr who was condemned as a heretic in England in the reign of Henry VIII of England. Along with Margaret Cheyne, wife of Sir John Bulmer, who was similarly tortured & executed after the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537, she is the only woman on record known to have been both tortured in the Tower of London & burnt at the stake. She is also one of the earliest known female poets to compose in the English language & the first Englishwoman to demand a divorce (especially as an innocent party on scriptural grounds).
Anne Askew was burned at the stake at Smithfield, London, aged 25, on 16 July 1546, with John Lascelles, Nicholas Belenian & John Adams. She was carried to execution in a chair wearing just her shift, as she could not walk & every movement caused her severe pain. She was dragged from the chair to the stake which had a small seat attached to it, on which she sat astride. Chains were used to bind her body firmly to the stake at the ankles, knees, waist, chest & neck. Those who saw her execution were impressed by her bravery, & reported that she did not scream until the flames reached her chest. Prior to their death, the prisoners were offered one last chance at pardon. Bishop Shaxton mounted the pulpit & began to preach to them. His words were in vain, however. Askew listened attentively throughout his discourse. When he spoke anything she considered to be the truth, she audibly expressed agreement; but when he said anything contrary to what she believed Scripture stated, she exclaimed: "There he misseth, & speaketh without the book.
16 July 1770 – Francis Cotes, English painter and academic died
Francis Cotes RA (20 May 1726 – 16 July 1770) was an English painter, one of the pioneers of English pastel painting, & a founding member of the Royal Academy in 1768.
Francis Cotes R.A. Portrait of Maria Walpole, Countess Waldegrave, Later H.R.H. Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1736-1807), 1765, oil on canvas
Visit The National Gallery London.
16 July 1796 – George Howard, English field marshal and politician died (b. 1718)
16 July 1907 - Brigadier General Edward Stevenson Browne, VC died (b.1852)
Remembering Corporal Victor William Todman
26th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
Death: 16 July 1916, Battle of the Somme, Western Front.
16 July 1918 - HMS Anchusa was sunk by the German submarine U-54 off the north coast of Ireland killing 78.
16 July 2015 – Denis Avey, English soldier, engineer, and author died (b. 1919)
17 July 924 - King Edward the Elder died
Edward was King of the Anglo-Saxons from 899 until his death in 924. He was the elder son of Alfred the Great & his wife Ealhswith.
17 July 1453 - The Battle of Castillon
17 July 1453 – John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, English commander and politician died (b. 1387)
17 July 1717 – King George I of Great Britain sails down the River Thames with a barge of 50 musicians, where George Frideric Handel's Water Music is premiered.
17 July 1790 – Adam Smith died (b. 1723)
Adam Smith FRSA (1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher, moral philosopher, pioneer of political economy, & a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment. Also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism,'' Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) & An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus & the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.
17 July 1845 – Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom died (b. 1764)
Remembering Private George William Binns
6th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers.
Death: 17 July 1916, La Bassee, Somme, Western Front.
Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Remembering Private Daniel Jones
2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment.
Death: 15 July 1916, missing in action, Somme, Western Front. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
17 July 1917 – King George V issues a Proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family will bear the surname Windsor.
17 July 1918 – The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; five lives are lost.
RMS Carpathia was a Cunard Line transatlantic passenger steamship built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson in their shipyard in Wallsend, England. The Carpathia made her maiden voyage in 1903 from Liverpool to Boston, & continued on this route before being transferred to Mediterranean service in 1904. In April 1912, she became famous for rescuing survivors of the rival White Star Line's RMS Titanic after the latter struck an iceberg & sank with a loss of 1,496 lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Carpathia navigated the ice fields to arrive two hours after the Titanic had sunk, & the crew rescued 705 survivors from the ship's lifeboats.
The Carpathia was sunk on 17 July 1918 after being torpedoed three times by the German submarine U-55 off the southern Irish coast with a loss of five crew members. The name of the ship comes from the mountain range of the Carpathians.
The Carpathia sank after being struck by three torpedoes fired by U-55 west of Land's End.
17 July 1945 – World War II: The main three leaders of the Allied nations, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.
17 July 1947 – Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was born.
17 July 2005 – Sir Edward Heath died
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath (9 July 1916 – 17 July 2005) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the UK from 1970 to 1974 & Leader of the Conservative Party from 1965 to 1975. Heath served for 51 years as a Member of Parliament from 1950 to 2001. Outside politics, Heath was also a world-class yachtsman & a talented musician.
18 July 1290 – King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.
The Edict of Expulsion was a royal decree issued by King Edward I of England on 18 July 1290 expelling all Jews from the Kingdom of England. Edward advised the sheriffs of all counties he wanted all Jews expelled by no later than All Saints' Day (1 November) that year. The expulsion edict remained in force for the rest of the Middle Ages. The edict was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of over 200 years of increasing antisemitism. The edict was overturned during the Protectorate more than 350 years later, when Oliver Cromwell permitted Jews to return to England in 1657.
18 July 1389 – France and England agree to the Truce of Leulinghem, inaugurating a 13-year peace, the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years' War.
18 July 1555 – The College of Arms is reincorporated by Royal charter signed by Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain.
18 July 1817 – Jane Austen, English novelist died (b. 1775)
18 July 1872 – The Ballot Act 1872 in the United Kingdom introduced the requirement that parliamentary & local government elections be held by secret ballot.
18 July 1890 – Lydia Becker died (b. 1827)
Lydia Ernestine Becker (24 February 1827 – 18 July 1890) was a leader in the early British suffrage movement, as well as an amateur scientist with interests in biology & astronomy. She is best remembered for founding & publishing the Women's Suffrage Journal between 1870 & 1890.
18 July 1892 – Thomas Cook, English travel agent, founded the Thomas Cook Group died (b. 1808)
18 July 1938 - Marie of Romania died.
18 July 2009 – Henry Allingham, First World War soldier died.
19 July 1333 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Halidon Hill: The English win a decisive victory over the Scots.
19 July 1415 – Philippa of Lancaster, Portuguese queen died (b. 1360)
19 July 1545 – The Tudor warship Mary Rose sinks off Portsmouth; in 1982 the wreck is salvaged in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology.
Visit: The Mary Rose, Historic Dockyards Portsmouth.
19 July 1553 - Lady Jane Grey is replaced by Mary I of England as Queen of England after only nine days on the throne.
19 July 1821 - George IV coronation.
19 July 1822 – Princess Augusta of Cambridge was born (d. 1916)
19 July 1832 – The British Medical Association is founded as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association by Sir Charles Hastings at a meeting in the Board Room of the Worcester Infirmary.
19 July 1843 – Brunel's steamship the SS Great Britain is launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull and screw propeller, becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world.
19 July 1916 – World War I: Battle of Fromelles: British and Australian troops attack German trenches as part of the Battle of the Somme.
Remembering Private James Abel Reed
5th Platoon, "B" Company, 14th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment.
Death: 19 July 1916, missing, Somme, Western Front. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Lest We Forget
Visit: The Imperial War Museums
19 July 1940 – World War II: Army order 112 forms the Intelligence Corps of the British Army.
19 July 1940 – World War II: Battle of Cape Spada: The Royal Navy and the Regia Marina clash; the Italian light cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni sinks, with 121 casualties.
20 July 1189 - King Richard I of England invested as Duke of Normandy
20 July 1304 - Edward I takes Stirling Castle using the War wolf for the first time.
20 July 1346 – Margaret, Countess of Pembroke, daughter of King Edward III of England was born (d. 1361)
20 July 1398 – Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, Welsh nobleman died (b. 1374).
He was considered the heir presumptive to King Richard II, his mother's first cousin. He served several tenures as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland & died during a battle at Kellistown, Co. Carlow.
20 July 1405 – Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, fourth son of King Robert II of Scotland died (approximate, b. 1343)
20 July 1885 – The Football Association legalizes professionalism in association football under pressure from the British Football Association.
The FA initially tried to outlaw professionalism but, in the face of a threatened breakaway body (the British Football Association), by 1885 was forced to permit payments to players. Three years later, in 1888, the first Football League was established, formed by six professional clubs from northwest England & six from the midlands.
20 July 1916 - Major W. la Touche Congreve earns his VC 20 July, Brigade Major 76th Brigade, 3rd Division.
20 July 1916 - Corporal Joseph John Davies earns his VC on 20 July: 10th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 76th Brigade, 3rd Division
20 July 1916 - Private Albert Hill earns his Victoria Cross on 20 July: 10th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 76th Brigade, 3rd Division.
20 July 1918 - HMS E34 was lost at sea
20 July 1940 - HMS Brazen (H80) was sunk by German aircraft
20 July 1982 – Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombings
21 July 1403 - Battle of Shrewsbury
The Battle of Shrewsbury was a battle fought on 21 July 1403, waged between an army led by the Lancastrian King Henry IV & a rebel army led by Henry "Harry Hotspur" Percy from Northumberland. Visit our Royal Blog for more.
21 July 1545 – The first landing of French troops on the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight.
21 July 1656 – The Raid on Málaga takes place during the Anglo-Spanish War.
21 July 1796 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet and songwriter died (b. 1759)
21 July 1917 - HMS C34 was sunk by a German submarine U-52 off Fair Isle in Shetland while on the surface. The only survivor was picked up by U-52.
HMS C34 was one of 38 C-class submarines built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. HMS C34 was built by HM Dockyard, Chatham for the Royal Navy. She was laid down on 29 March 1909 & was commissioned on 17 September 1910. The boat was sunk by the Imperial German Navy submarine U-52 off Fair Isle in Shetland while on the surface on 17 July 1917. The only survivor was picked up by U-52.
21 July 1925 – Malcolm Campbell becomes the first man to exceed 150 mph (241 km/h) on land. At Pendine Sands in Wales, he drives Sunbeam 350HP built by Sunbeam at a two-way average speed of 150.33 mph (242 km/h).
Campbell was a British racing motorist & motoring journalist. He gained the world speed record on land & on water at various times, using vehicles called Blue Bird, including a 1921 Grand Prix Sunbeam. His son, Donald Campbell, carried on the family tradition by holding both land speed & water speed records.
21 July 1972 – The Troubles: Bloody Friday: The Provisional IRA detonate 22 bombs in central Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom in the space of 80 minutes, killing nine and injuring 130.
21 July 1976 – Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, is assassinated by the Provisional IRA.
Christopher Thomas Ewart Ewart-Biggs, (5 August 1921 – 21 July 1976) was the British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, an author & senior Foreign Office liaison officer with MI6. He was killed in 1976 by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in Sandyford, Dublin. His widow, Jane Ewart-Biggs, became a Life Peer in the House of Lords, campaigned to improve Anglo-Irish relations & established the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for literature.
21 July 2005 - Four attempted bomb attacks in London
Four attempted bomb attacks by Islamist extremists disrupted part of London's public transport system as a follow up attack from the 7/7 London bombings that occurred two weeks earlier.
On Thursday 21 July 2005, four attempted bomb attacks by Islamist extremists disrupted part of London's public transport system as a follow up attack from the 7 July 2005 London bombings that occurred two weeks earlier. The explosions occurred around midday at Shepherd's Bush, Warren Street & Oval stations on the London Underground, & on London Buses route 26 in Bethnal Green on Hackney Road. A fifth bomber dumped his device without attempting to set it off.
Connecting lines & stations were closed & evacuated. Metropolitan Police later said the intention was to cause large-scale loss of life, but only the detonators of the bombs exploded, probably causing the popping sounds reported by witnesses, & only one minor injury was reported. The suspects fled the scenes after their bombs failed to explode. The four attempted bombers were each sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 40 years' imprisonment.
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