1533 – Pope Clement VII ordered Henry VIII to abandon Anne Boleyn and drew up a papal bull excommunicating Henry VIII. He held off issuing it in the hope that Henry would abandon Anne, and in the end the bull was not issued until 1538.
1536 – Death of Desiderius Erasmus, the famous Humanist scholar, from dysentery at Basel during the night of the 11th/12th July. He was buried in the cathedral at Basel on 18th July. His works included Novum Instrumentum omne (a Latin translation of the epistles and gospel), “The Praise of Folly,” “De Copia”, “Adagia” and “The Education of a Christian Prince”.
1558 – Baptism of Robert Greene, writer and playwright, at St George's Church, Tombland, Norwich. His works included the plays “The Scottish History of James IV” and “Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay”, and the romance “Mamillia”.
1564 – The plague hit Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. The epidemic lasted six months and killed over 200 people, around a fifth of the population. William Shakespeare was born in April of that year, and his family were fortunate in escaping the plague.
1537 – Execution of Robert Aske, lawyer and rebel. He was hanged in chains outside Clifford's Tower, the keep of York Castle. Aske was one of the leaders of the rebels in the 1536 northern uprising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace.
1543 - King Henry VIII married his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr, in the Queen’s Closet at Hampton Court Palace.
1548 – Death of Stephen Borough, navigator and naval administrator, at Chatham in Kent. He was buried in St Mary's Church, Chatham. His memorial brass paid tribute to his career:
“He in his lifetime discovered Moscovia, by the northern sea pasage to St Nicholas, in the yere 1553. At his setting forth of England he was accompanied in his ship by Sir Hugh Willoughbie, being Admirell of the fleete, who, with all the company of the said two shippes, were frozen to death in Lappia the same winter. After his discoverie of Roosia and the costes adjoyning to wit Lappia, Nova Zembla, and the cuntry of Samoyeda etc: he frequented the trade to St Nicholas yearlie, as chief pilot for the voyages, until he was chosen one of the four principal Masters in ordinarie of the Queen's Majesties royall Navy, where in he continued in charge of sundrie sea services till time of his death.”
1549 – The rebels of Kett's Rebellion set up camp on Mousehold Heath, overlooking Norwich.
1555 – Burnings of preachers John Bland and John Frankesh, rector Nicholas Sheterden and vicar Humphrey Middleton at Canterbury. They were all Protestants burned for heresy.
1581 – Death of Maurice Chauncy, martyrologist, Carthusian monk and prior of Sheen Anglorum Charterhouse at Nieuwpoort in Flanders. He died in the Paris Charterhouse on his way back to Flanders from Spain, where he had been trying to get funding for the Charterhouse.
1598 – Execution of John Jones, Franciscan friar, at St Thomas's Waterings, Southwark. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for being a Catholic priest.
1527 - Birth of John Dee, astrologer, mathematician, alchemist, antiquary, spy, philosopher, geographer and adviser to Elizabeth I and various influential statesmen during her reign, in London. Click here to read more about him.
1551 – Death of Sir John Wallop, soldier and diplomat, at Guînes from sweating sickness. His body was buried at Guînes, but then moved to the parish church at Farleigh Wallop, his home town.
1566 – Death of Sir Thomas Hoby, diplomat, courtier and translator, at Paris. He was buried in Bisham parish church. His translations included “The Gratulation of M. Martin Bucer unto the Church of England” (1549) and Castiglione's “Il cortegiano” (1561).
1612 – Death of Edward Seymour, Viscount Beauchamp, eldest son of Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, and Lady Katherine Grey, at Wick in Wiltshire. He was buried first at Bedwyn Magna and then in Salisbury Cathedral.
1626 – Death of Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, poet and courtier, at Penshurst Place. He was buried at Penshurst on the 16th July. His notebook, which still survives today, holds a collection of poems and sonnets, and also shows the revisions he made to them.
1486 – Death of Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scots and consort of James III, at Stirling Castle. She was buried in Cambuskenneth Abbey. False rumours spread that she had been murdered by poison by John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell, but there was no evidence of this.
1514 – Death of Cardinal Christopher Bainbridge, also Ambassador and Archbishop of York, in Rome. His death was controversial, in that his servant, Raimondo da Modena, confessed to poisoning him on the orders of Silvestro Gigli, Bishop of Worcester, and the English ambassador at Rome. He was buried in chapel of the English Hospice (now the English College) in Rome.
1544 – Henry VIII landed at Calais in preparation for the Siege of Boulogne, which began five days later.
1551 – Deaths of Henry Brandon and Charles Brandon, sons of the late Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Catherine Brandon (née Willoughby), Duchess of Suffolk, from sweating sickness in Buckden, Huntingdonshire. They were buried at Buckden. Charles survived his brother by just half an hour.
1575 – Death of Richard Taverner, evangelical reformer and translator, at Woodeaton in Oxfordshire. Taverner is known for his Bible translation known as “Taverner's Bible”, or, to give it its full name, “The Most Sacred Bible whiche is the holy scripture, conteyning the old and new testament, translated into English, and newly recognized with great diligence after most faythful exemplars by Rychard Taverner”. He was buried in the parish church at Woodeaton.
1599 – Death of Sir Robert Salesbury, member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Denbighshire.
1621 – Death of Edmund Hooper, composer and organist of Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal, in London. He was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.
1497 – Birth of William Neville, poet. He was the son of Richard Neville, 2nd Baron Latimer, and his wife, Anne (née Stafford). Neville was the author of the allegorical ‘The Castell of Pleasure’.
1553 – The royal ships guarding the Eastern coast for 'Queen Jane' swapped their allegiance to 'Queen Mary'. Their crews had not been paid, and they received a visit from Sir Henry Jerningham asking them to support Mary instead, so it was an easy decision.
1556 – Beginning of the trial of Julins Palmer, John Gwyn and Thomas Robyns, now known as the Newbury Martyrs. They were tried for sedition and heresy at St Nicholas Church, Newbury.
1561 – Death of William Bill, Dean of Westminster, at Westminster. He was buried in St Benedict's chapel, Westminster Abbey. Bill's other offices included Master of St Johns College, Cambridge, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Provost of Eton College.
1573 – Birth of Inigo Jones, architect and theatre designer, in London. Jones is known for his design of the Banqueting House, the Queen's House at Greenwich and his stage design work, in collaboration with Ben Jonson.
1597 – Death of Sir Robert Dillon, lawyer, judge, Privy Councillor and Chief Justice of Common Pleas, at Riverston, County Meath, Ireland. He was buried in the parish church at Tara.
1517 – Birth of Frances Grey (née Brandon), Duchess of Suffolk, at Hatfield. She was born on St Francis's Day and was the eldest daughter of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and Mary Tudor, widow of Louis XII and sister of Henry VIII.
1546 - Protestant martyrs Anne Askew, John Lascelles, John Adams and Nicholas Belenian were burned at the stake at Smithfield in London for heresy.
1556 – Burnings of Julins Palmer, John Gwyn, and Thomas Robyns [some sources say Askew or Askin] in the old sandpits in Enborne Road, Newbury, after they were found guilty of sedition and heresy. They are known as the Newbury Martyrs.
1557 – Death of Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, at Chelsea Old Manor after a few months of illness. On the same day, her body was embalmed and placed in a coffin covered with a cloth bearing her arms. Tapers were lit around her coffin and prayers said on a daily basis. She was buried in Westminster Abbey on 4th August.
1574 – Death of John Hart, scholar, phonetician and Chester Herald, in London.
1600 – Death of George Cranmer, scholar, administrator and nephew of Thomas Cranmer, the late Archbishop of Canterbury, in a skirmish with Irish rebels at Carlingford. He was in Ireland serving Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, as Secretary during a military campaign.
1497 – Death of Sir James Ormond (Butler), administrator and illegitimate son of John Butler, 6th Earl of Ormond, in a duel with Sir Piers Butler, near Kilkenny. The Butlers of Ormond were related to Thomas Boleyn, Queen Anne Boleyn's father.
1537 – Burning of Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis, on the castle hill at Edinburgh after being found guilty of two counts of treason. She had been charged with plotting the King's death (by poison) and assisting and corresponding with her brothers, Sir George Douglas and Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus.
1555 - Protestant martyrs Christopher Wade (Waid) of Dartford, linen-weaver, and Margaret Polley of Tunbridge, were burned for heresy.
1555 – Birth of Richard Carew, antiquary, bee-keeper, translator and poet, at Antony House, Torpoint, Cornwall. Carew was the eldest son of Thomas Carew and his wife Elizabeth (née Edgcumbe). Carew was a member of the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries, and his works included his “Survey of Cornwall”, a county history.
1565 – Death of Sir Thomas Dacre of Lanercost, illegitimate son of Thomas Dacre, 2nd Baron Dacre. He died while holding the office of Sheriff of Cumberland.
1601 – Death of Richard Latewar, poet, theologian, Vice-President of St John's College, Oxford, and chaplain to Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy. He died from a gunshot wound sustained in a skirmish at Bennurb, in Ireland, while on a campaign there with Mountjoy. Latewar was buried at Armagh Cathedral, and a monument was erected to him in the chapel of St John's in Oxford.