Kent History Timeline 1000 - 2000

 


1066 28th September William Duke of Normandy landed at Pevensy, Sussex, with an army to claim the English crown from Harold II.

1066 14th October William Duke of Normandy won the Battle of Hastings, killing Harold II and his brothers Gyrth and Leofwine, leaving no Anglo Saxon opposition to his becoming King William the Conqueror. He was acclaimed King in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066.

1067 - 70 Revolts occurred every year between 1067 - 70 to William the Conqueror's rule.

1067 Christ-Church Canterbury was burned.

1070 King William the Conqueror ordered all the monasteries in England to be plundered.

1070 Lanfranc, 36th Archbishop of Canterbury

1070s Odo of Bayeux (1st Earl of Kent) (c. 1036 - 97) Son of Herleva, the mother of William I the Conqueror, but fathered by Herluin of Canteville (whom she married after the death of William's father). When William I returned to Normandy in January 1067, Odo remained to complete the conquest. In the 1070s he became Earl of Kent and after the King the richest man in England. In 1082 for unclear reasons William I had him arrested, perhaps it was rumoured, because he wished to take an army to Rome to have himself elected Pope. Released in 1087, on William's death, he led the rebellion in England against William II on behalf of the Duke of Normandy Robert II Curthose. His forces were defeated at Pevensy (Sussex) and Rochester (Kent) and he escaped to Normandy. In 1096 he accompanied Robert on crusade and died at Palermo. Odo may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry for hanging in the rebuilt Bayeux Cathedral, in 1077.

1076 Arnost Bishop of Rochester

1077 Gundulf (? - 1108) A Norman monk of Bec, Prior of St. Stephen's Caen and from 1077, Bishop of Rochester. He was renowned as the greatest architect of his day, working on the castles and cathedrals of Canterbury and Rochester.

1082 King William the Conqueror imprisons Bishop Odo, Earl of Kent

1086 The landowners of Kent are called to a meeting on Penenden Heath, to give details concerning their lands and possessions, for the Domesday Survey.

1086 The Domesday Book reveals there were only four major landholders of English descent left in the whole of England, the rest having been replaced by Norman and French.

1087 Abbot of St Augustine died.

1087 Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester founded Benedictine abbey

1088 Bishop Odo rebels against William II besieged at Rochester castle.  Banished from England. 

1089 Lanfranc, 36th Archbishop of Canterbury died.

1090 Benedictine Abbey of St Mary founded

1093 St. Anselm (1033 - 1109) becomes 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, appointed by William II (Rufus).

1093 Eadmer (c. 1060 - c. 1130) Historian monk, who wrote a history of St. Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury, starting in 1093. When Anselm discovered what he was doing "He ordered me to destroy the quires (notebooks) on which I had put together the whole work. I was utterly confounded. I did not disobey him, but could not face the destruction of a work on which I had spent so much time. So I obeyed him to the letter by destroying those quires having first transcribed their contents on to other quires." He wrote "History of Recent Events in england" & "Life of Anselm".

1097 Anselm 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, disagrees with William II and flees to France.

1100 CE

Henry I 1100 - 35 King of England

Stephen 1135 - 54 King of England

Henry II 1154 - 89 King of England

Richard I 1189 - 99 King of England


1100 Anselm 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, returns to England but disagrees with Henry I and in 1103 goes into exile once more.

1106 Anselm Archbishop of Canterbury, returns to England and dies in 1109. Anselm is the first Archbishop to instruct clergy to "put away their wives" and he prohibited sons from inheriting their father's churches.

Circa 1120 Thomas Becket is born future Archbishop of Canterbury 1162 -70

1138 Theobald of Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury (1138 - 61) A monk at the Norman monastery of Bec for 45 years, Abbot in 1137, he was created Archbishop by Stephen in 1138. He angered Stephen by attending a papal council in 1148 against his wishes and then by refusing to crown his son Eustace. When Henry II became king things were simpler as his reign was undisputed. He drew both Thomas Becket and John Salsbury into his service.

1145 Gervase of Canterbury (c. 1145 - c. 1210) A monk of Christ Church, Canterbury, he wrote historical works using the archives and particularly recorded the rebuilding of Canterbury Cathedral after the fire of 1174.

1162 2nd June Thomas Becket becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding Theobald.

1170 29th December Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

1173 February Thomas Becket is canonised by Pope Alexander III and his shrine becomes a focus of pilgrimage to Canterbury.

1174 Canterbury Cathedral catches fire, the eastern end is badly damaged.

1174 William of Sens (fl. 1174 - 84) architect from France, a master mason, he was appointed by the monks of Canterbury to rebuild the eastern part of the Cathedral, severely damaged by fire. William is credited with the introduction to England of the Gothic style of architecture.

1175 Hubert De Burgh (born c 1175 - 1243) (2nd Earl of Kent) He rose to govern England as Justiciar from 1215 until 1232.

1193 Hubert Walter (c. 1140 - 1205) Archbishop of Canterbury (1193 - 1205). Richard I made Hubert responsible for secular and ecclesiastical government as Justiciar and Archbishop, whilst he was in France.

1197 St. Richard Wych (St. Richard of Chichester) (?1197 - 1253) churchman he became Bishop of Chichester against royal wishes in 1244, accepted by Pope Innocent IV in 1245, he was eventually accepted by Henry III. He was canonised in 1262.

1200 CE

John 1199 - 1216 King of England

Henry III 1216 - 1272 King of England

Edward I 1272 - 1307 King of England


1207 Stephen Langton (c. 1156 - 1228), Archbishop of Canterbury (1207-15, 1218-28) He revised the order of the books of the Bible and arranged them into chapters. His appointment as Archbishop by Pope Innocent III, caused a rift with King John, who refused him entry to England until 1213, when he relented. He was suspended in 1215, returning to Rome and did not return until 1218.

1215 - 1217 Hubert De Burgh appointed Defender of Dover.

1215 Louis heir to the French throne (became Louis VIII) was invited by rebel barons angry at King John’s rejection of the Magna Carta to come to seize the English Crown.

1215 In October Rochester Castle the powerful and strategic fortress lying on the road between London and Dover was handed over to rebels supporting the claim of Louis and garrisoned by 140 men under William d’Albini. Two days later they were put under close siege by King John, but held out for over six weeks, whilst waiting for reinforcements from London. No support arrived and the defenders eventually had to resort to eating their war horses. Mines were used to bring down the curtain wall and another tunnel brought down the south eastern tower, after which the defenders were forced to surrender..

1216 ‘Louis the Lion’ landed with a large army on the Isle of Thanet in May 1216. King John (nicknamed John Softsword) refused to face him and Louis conquered and occupied over one third of England for about 18 months.

1216 May 21st 1216, the French Prince Louis marched to Canterbury where he was welcomed by the citizens who threw open the gates for him. Following this easy success, the City of Rochester was quickly taken and, after a short siege, so was the castle, enabling Louis's army to control the river crossing and the road to London.


1216 Louis laid siege to Dover Castle, which was successfully defended by Hugh de Burgh. The vulnerable north gate that had been breached in the siege was converted into an underground forward-defence complex (including St John's Tower), and new gates built into the outer curtain wall on the western (Fitzwilliam's Gate) and eastern (Constable's Gate) sides. During the siege, the English defenders, numbering 140 knights and other soldiers, tunnelled outwards and attacked the French, thus creating the only counter tunnel in the world. This can still be seen in the medieval works. Even though Louis used his stone throwing machine ‘Evil Neighbour’ they were not able to breach the walls.

1216 In September the Scottish King, Alexander II, paid homage to Louis at Dover, bolstering his regal claim. However Louis made little headway.

1216 The French troops were harried outside Dover by a company of forest dwelling bowmen under the governance of William of Kensham, who may have been an inspiration for tales of Robin Hood.

1216 Louis led the French raid on the town of Sandwich, did considerable damage to the town.

1216 14th October, following the failure to take Dover Castle a truce was agreed but four days later King John died leaving only his nine year old son Henry (later to become King Henry III) as his heir. The Regency Council of King Henry III was then led by William Marshal.


1217  May William Marshal organised the English response to Louis, beating him in a battle at Lincoln and forcing the French back to London.

1217 24th August (St. Bartholomew's Day) Louis’s hopes lay with reinforcements coming over from France and his wife Blanche of Castile assembled a fleet of around 80 vessels, under the command of Eustace the Monk, a cross dressing, farting and foul mouthed pirate. William Marshal ordered a full muster at the port of Sandwich, Kent, which resulted in about 40 ships meeting the French challenge, successfully sailing downwind and casting lime dust into the eyes of the French, blinding them. They then rammed, boarded and sunk the French vessels, capturing Eustace’s flagship and beheading him. Sandwich men led by Hubert De Burgh as commander of the Fleet and Philip d’Albini his second in command, secured victory over Louis’ French naval force, slaughtering the sailors. Thereafter in September, Louis sought peace terms and left England forever.

1225 Hubert De Burgh created as the 2nd Earl of Kent.

1233 St. Edmund Rich (c. 1170 - 1240) Archbishop of Canterbury (1233 - 40), Aesthetic and critic of Henry III.

1236 Holinshed describes a great tide pounded at the east "for several days with unabated fury". He says in one village over one hundred corpses were buried.

1250 1st October Massive storm described by Holinshed "so huge and mightie, both by land and sea, that the like had not been lightie knowne". The tide did not turn but was forced to flow twice without ebbing, the same occuring at night and the town of Winchelsea being inundated, three hundred houses and some churches being swept away.

1264 14th May. Battle of Lewes, Sussex. Simon de Monfort, with the support of Gilbert de Clare 6th Earl of Gloucester, confronted Henry III, in the First English civil war and, against the odds, defeated the King. This led to a period of rule by Simon, Gilbert de Clare and the Bishop of Chichester with legitimisation by a Parliament called by Simon in January 1265. Later in 1265 Edward son of Henry III escaped custody and the civil war began again, culminating in the Battle of Evesham Wors. on the 4th August, when Simon de Montford was defeated.

1272 Carmelite Priory founded in Sandwich by Henry Cowfield.

1272 Walter Merton (?- 1277) elected Bishop of Rochester (1274 - 1277). Prior to this he founded Merton College, Oxford. He died after he fell off his horse while fording the River Medway in 1277.

1275 Edward I introduced a custom duty on wool export to raise revenue for his foreign and domestic wars .

1287 Old Winchelsea was swept away by a mighty tempest and the island disappeared. Edward I decided thereafter to site the new town on a hill to the east, a little south west of Rye. The river Rother also changed its course, the little town of Bromehill had disappeared and the former Cinque port of Romney became an inland town. Also affected was the Cinque port of Hythe and the subsidiary port of Tenterden.

1290 Expulsion of Jews ordered by King Edward I

1293 Robert De Winchelsea (? - 1313) Archbishop of Canterbury (1293 - 1313) He found himself at odds with the crown, being a resolute upholder of clerical authority over civil. Edward I outlawed him and the rest of the English clergy in 1296, when he obeyed a papal bull ordering the clergy only to pay State taxes, with the agreement of the Pope.

1300 CE

Edward II 1307 - 27 King of England

Edward III 1327 - 77 King of England

Richard II 1377 - 99 King of England


Canterbury Cathedral becomes principle Archbishopric over that of the subordinate Archbishopric of York.

1322 - Sir Bartholomew de Badlesmere was hanged and beheaded in Canterbury. He was captured by the forces of Edward II after fighting for the rebels at Boroughbridge.

1330+ Ightam Mote, Kent probably in existence as a Manor House.

1333 John Stratford (? _ 1348) Archbishop of Canterbury (1333 - 48) Edward III's advisor from 1330, until they fell out in spectacular fashion in 1340. He played a key role in the diplomatic negotiations at the onset of the "Hundred Years War". Blamed by Edward following the King's unsuccessful 1340 campaign, he appealed to Parliament , who confirmed the right of peers to be tried by their peers in Parliament.

1348 - 50 The Black Death also known as the Great Pestilence, when bubonic plague raged throughout England and probably carried off about 40% of the population.

1350's Henry Yevele (c. 1325 - 1400) architect was continuously employed in the redesigning of palaces, manor houses, castles and churches in southern England undoubtedly a master of the distinctively English perpendicular style.

1356 King John II of France captured after the Battle of Poiters travelled through Kent, on his way to imprisonment in London, staying on his travels in Ospringe.

1361 Edward the Black Prince (1330 - 1376) married Joan of Kent (1328 -85) known as the "Fair Maid of Kent". Reputedly one of the most beautiful women of her day, she was the daughter of Edward I's son Edmund, Earl of Kent. In 1347 she married William Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, but this was invalidated, when it was claimed she was already secretly married to Sir Thomas Holland. Widowed in December1360, she married the following October to Edward the Black Prince, after gaining the necessary papal dispensations, to validate what would otherwise have been an incestuous marriage. As Richard II's mother she played an important mediatory role and it is said that during the Peasants' Revolt (1381) some of the rebels asked her for a kiss, though her legendary beauty would by the age of 53 have been rather motherly.

1361-2 Bubonic plague the "Black Death" returns.

1366 John Ball, priest and Kent rebel is banned from preaching by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Subsequently imprisoned three times by the Archbishop, when the Kentish rebels revolted he was freed from Maidstone Jail.

1368-9 Bubonic plague returns.

1374-5 Bubonic plague returns.

1375 Simon Sudbury (? - 1381) Archbishop of Canterbury (1375 - 81) Being first Bishop of London from 1361, he was raised to become Archbishop of Canterbury in 1375, where he paid for Yevele's rebuilding of the nave of the Cathedral. He was later made Chancellor of England.

1376 Edward the Black Prince (1330 - 1376) , Prince of Wales son of Edward III died and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. His tomb was designed by Henry Yevele (c. 1325 - 1400) architect, who was also responsible for the tombs of Edward III, Richard I and Anne of Bohemia.

1377 Richard II (1367 - 1400) King of England (1377 - 99) Son of Edward the Black Prince and Joan of Kent, accesses the throne when only 10 years old.

1380 The imposition of the deeply unpopular Poll Tax a flat rate tax levied on every head "poll". Caused riots in South east England. Simon Sudbury the Chancellor of England is blamed for government mismanagement and unjust taxation.

1381 Stringent measures taken during early summer to enforce the collection of the Poll Tax particularly in south east England.

1381 7th June - Wat Tyler (perhaps of Maidstone), meets with his Kentish rebels on Penenden Heath with John Ball the radical priest and Jack Straw (Rackstraw)(this may have been an alias for Wat Tyler), freed when the Kentish Rebels, led by Wat Tyler marched on the Archbishop's Prison in Maidstone.

1381 10th June - Wat Tyler led the Kentish rebels protesting against the 1380 Poll Tax. Made a bonfire of the Sheriff of Canterbury's records.

1381 12th June - Simon Sudbury, Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury, resigns the Great Seal.

1381 13th June - the Kentishmen and some from Essex, crossed London Bridge and burned John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace.

1381 14th June - King Richard II meets with the rebels at Mile End and promises various reforms. The rebels enter the Tower and drag the ex Chancellor Simon Sudbury and the Treasurer Sir Robert Hales. Sudbury is beheaded. His mummified head is displayed in the vestry of St. Gregory's Church, Sudbury, (Suffolk).

1381 15th June - Wat Tyler again meets with King Richard II, at Smithfield, however the Lord Mayor of London William Walworth mortally wounds Wat, he was subsequently beheaded and the revolt is quickly quashed, the participants being persuaded to disperse. John Ball was captured, hanged, drawn and quartered.

1381 November Richard II asks Parliament if he had been right to quash the rebellion and revoke his promises using the phrase "Serfs ye are, and serfs ye shall remain.". The Parliament answered "as with one voice that it had been well done."

1381 William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury (1381 - 96)

During reign of Richard II the French landed at Rye and burnt the town.

1382 21st May - Earthquake seriously affecting Canterbury. The bell tower of Canterbury Cathedral was severely damaged and the six bells "shook down". Cloister walls from the Chapter House to the Dormitory were ruined and the Abbey of St. Augustine was damaged. All Saints church at Hollingbourne sustained damage to the chancel. William Courtenay, Archbishop of Canterbury (1381 - 96) was presiding at a synod to condemn the doctrines of John Wycliffe in Blackfriars when the earthquake struck and the meeting was suspended, with both parties claiming the intervention, as an act of God on their behalf.

1385 the French set fire to Stonar having been invited over by Sir Simon de Burley Constable of Dover Castle.

1386 Geoffrey Chaucer (1340 - 1400) becomes Member of Parliament for Kent. Lasts only one year as MP.

1391 Geoffrey Chaucer lives in semi retirement, in Kent writing the "Canterbury Tales"

1400 Geoffrey Chaucer Poet, M.P. and Public Figure dies.


1400 CE

Henry IV 1399 - 1413 King of England

Henry V 1413 - 22 King of England

Henry VI 1422 - 61 King of England

Edward IV 1461 - 70 King of England

Henry VI 1470 - 71 King of England

Edward IV 1471 - 83 King of England

Edward V 1483 King of England

Richard III 1483 - 85 King of England

Henry VII 1485 - 1509 King of England


1443 John Stafford (? - 1452) Archbishop of Canterbury (1443 - 52) He held a series of great offices, including Treasurer, Keeper of the Privy Seal and Chancellor (1432 -50). He was then made Bishop of Bath and in 1443 Archbishop. It was said of him that, if he had done little good, he had done little harm.

1450 May - Kent people blamed for the murder of the King Henry VI's principal councillor William de la Pole, (1396 - 1450) Duke of Suffolk. William had been a favoured royal servant but was blamed for the collapse of English Normandy in 1450. Parliament sent him to the Tower on charges of treasonable dealings with the French and corruption in his management of East Anglia. The King Henry VI declared his innocence but banished him for 5 years, to save him from a trial, of which the outcome was a foregone conclusion. As he left the realm, dissidents intercepted his ship off Dover and William was dragged into a small boat, and beheaded. Government threats of reprisals for his murder precipitated the Kent people's rebellion led by Jack Cade.

1450 Jack Cade leader of a Kentish rebellion, which brought the government of Henry VI to its knees and produced the manifesto, "The Complaint of the Commons of Kent". Cade called himself Mortimer, perhaps in the hope of winning the support of Richard of York. Cade mustered his "army" of Kentishmen including Richard Culpepper, William Beale and John Fisher on Penneden Heath and marched on London.

1450 4th July - When Jack Cade ambushed an advance guard sent against them, the King Henry VI retreated to Kenilworth allowing the rebels to enter London and execute unpopular courtiers. However the Londoners turned on Cade, when he proved unable to control his army.

1450 12th July - Although promised a free pardon, when he disbanded his troops, Jack Cade was hunted down and executed, his head displayed on London Bridge.

1457 Sandwich put to the flame after a raid by the Frenchmen of Honfleur.

1476 William Caxton (c. 1420 - 91) Printer & Publisher born in the Weald of Kent brought the Gutenberg Press to England and began to publish books in the English language. He said of himself in his first prologue "I was born and learned mine English in Kent in the Weald."

1485 Sir Edward Poynings (1459 - 1521) From a knightly family of Kent, Poynings took part in the unsuccessful rebellion of Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham in 1483. He returned to England with the expeditionary force which put Henry VII on the throne in 1485. His latter career was spent in Ireland.

1486 John Morton (c. 1420 -1500) becomes Archbishop of Canterbury (1486 - 1500), Lord Chancellor in 1487 and Cardinal in 1493. He was prominent in Henry VII's ruthless financial exactions, giving rise to the "Morton's fork" principle for tax assessment : ostentation is proof of wealth, while a poverty stricken appearance is proof of hidden savings.

1496 Anthony St. Leger (?1496 - 1559) A Kentish gentleman who rose in Thomas Cromwells' service to become Lord Deputy of Ireland (1540 - 8, 1550 - 1 & 1553 - 5). Noted for his consistently conciliatory policies to the Gaelic lords.

1497 Henry VII faced the pretender Perkin Warbeck and in 1497 there was a popular uprising in Cornwall against excessive taxation, which gained widespread support in the West Country and which reached Blackheath Kent, before it was defeated.


1500 CE

Henry VIII 1509 - 47 King of England

Edward VI 1547 - 53 King of England

Mary I 1553 - 58 Queen of England

Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603 Queen of England


1500 Archbishop Morton dies

1501 Henry Deane Archbishop of Canterbury

1501 Anne Boleyn is born, (future second wife of Henry VIII) daughter of Sir Thomas Boleyn, a courtier and Norfolk and Kentish magnate.

1503 William Warham (c. 1456 - 1532) Archbishop of Canterbury (1503 - 32) A useful diplomat, he was rewarded by Henry VII with the bishopric of London, the Archbishopric of Canterbury in 1503 and Lord Chancellor in 1504. Although he expressed reservations over Henry VIII marrying the widow of his brother Prince Arthur, Catherine of Aragon, he presided over their marriage. Although he disagreed with Henry VIII's "Submission of the Clergy" by which in May 1532, the English churches legislative bodies, the convocations of Canterbury and York, surrendered their power to make laws independently of the King and Parliament.

1503 Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (?1503 - 42) Son of a Kentish knight, he entered court service in 1516. He survived his association with Anne Boleyn on her fall in 1536 and his treasonable involvement with Cardinal Reginald Pole in 1540 - 1. He was a pioneer of the sonnet form in English.

1500s Building of the central "Bell Harry Tower" of Canterbury Cathedral, by John Wastell (? - after 1516)

1504 John Fisher Bishop of Rochester

1510 Birth of Leonard Digges (c. 1510 - 1557) mathematician from a Kentish gentry family, famous for his work on optics and mathematics. His son Thomas Digges (? - 1595) continued and expanded his mathematical and astronomical work.

1512 Royal dockyard at Woolwich

1516 John Hales (c.1516 - 72) From a Kentish family which included many lawyers, he profited from working for Thomas Cromwell. A royal servant and MP under Edward VI, he was a prominent exponent of the "commonwealth" programme. He led an official campaign against the enclosure of commons and arable land for pastoral farming. In 1551 he went into exile throughout Mary I's reign and because of his pamphleteering on the royal succession had further problems under Elizabeth I.

1521 Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger (?1521 - 1554), son of the elder Sir Thomas Wyatt he embarked on a military career, returning in 1550 to his native Kent. His Kentish rising against Mary I in January 1554 led to his execution.

1525 Elizabeth Barton (1506 -34) a Kentish servant girl who started to utter prophecies, which were declared to be genuine after a diocesan investigation. Known as the Holy Maid of Kent in the reign of Henry VIII, she was tried for treason by Richard Rich (who later testified against Thomas More), executed at Tyburn on 20th April 1534, following her prophetic denunciation of Henry's annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

1530s Henry Harte (?-1557) A religious radical from Kent, he was involved in radical Anabaptist religious dissent and by 1550 led a group called "Freewillers" who opposed strict theories of predestination. He was imprisoned by Mary I, arguing bitterly with Protestant leaders in gaol. He died in 1557, and by this time he had been released from gaol.

1533 24th or 25th January a pregnant Anne Boleyn is married to Henry VIII.

1533 Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury

1534 20th April - Elizabeth Barton known as the Holy Maid of Kent she was tried for treason by Richard Rich (who later testified against Thomas More), and was executed at Tyburn on 20th April 1534, following her prophetic denunciation of Henry VIII's annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

1535 "Inspectors" sent to all monasteries to compile report on faults

1535 John Hilsey Bishop of Rochester

1536 19th May. Anne Boleyn second wife of Henry VIII, is executed being found guilty of incest and adultery.

1536 Dissolution of the monasteries begun.  Hospitals and smaller religious houses dissolved, the larger ones by 1540.

1538 Henry VIII declares St. Thomas Becket a traitor and destroyed the shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.

1540 Birth of Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 - 96) Although of a Devon family, his father moved to Chatham, to be near the naval dockyard. His father was ordained as a Protestant parish clergyman in a Upchurch parish church in 1560, whilst two of his brothers took up a career at sea. Francis also went to sea apprenticed to his distant cousin John Hawkins in 1563 and 1566. Eventually, with the proceeds of his successful transatlantic expedition of 1579, Francis Drake bought a former monastery and settled in Devon. He died of dysentery in 1596, following an unsuccessful expedition, off Porto Bello (Panama).

1540 Nicolas Heath Bishop of Rochester

1540s Dissolution of the Roman Catholic Monasteries, Nunneries etc. by Henry VIII provided former church properties and land for sale to local gentry.

1544 Henry Holbeach Bishop of Rochester

1547 Jillyngham Dockyard (Gillingham) was established as a royal navy fleet base.

Walloons and Dutchmen fled religious persecution to Sandwich setting up cloth trade.

1547 Nicholas Ridley Bishop of Rochester

1548 Maidstone, first borough charter

1549 Maidstone school founded

1549 Joan Boucher "Joan of Kent" advocated religious reform. Arrested and tried for heresy following her attack on the orthodox account of the Trinity, she was burned as an Anabaptist in 1550.

1550 John Ponet Bishop of Rochester

1551 John Scory Bishop of Rochester

1551 Alice Arden, who had conspired with a group of friends to have her husband, Thomas Arden of Faversham, murdered, whilst witnessing the act herself is burned at the stake in Canterbury. Her lover and six others were eventually tried and hung. Basis of an anonymous 1590 play and 17th century ballad.

1553 Tonbridge school founded

1554 January - Wyatt's Kentish Rebellion - Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger (?1521 - 1554), son of the elder Sir Thomas Wyatt marched from Allington Castle, to London to oppose Mary I's plans to marry the Catholic Philip II of Spain. It was intended to form part of a failed, general Protestant uprising, supporting the ousted regime of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. The attempt to win popular support in Kent was losing momentum, when the government's expeditionary force, deserted to the rebels. Wyatt marched to London, but Mary personally steadied panic and the rebel army disintegrated. Wyatt was executed.

1554 Maurice Griffith Bishop of Rochester

1556 Bad storms and 3 failed harvests between 1556 - 58

1556 Reginauld Pole (1500 - 58) Archbishop of Canterbury (1556 - 8) and Cardinal. Grandson of George Planagenet, Duke of Clarence. Pope Paul III made him a Cardinal in 1536, to slight Henry VIII. Appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury, by Mary I, in 1556, he tried to initiate Church reform. He died within hours of Mary I in November 1558.

1558 Deadly influenza rampant in England.

1559 Matthew Parker (1504 - 75) Archbishop of Canterbury under Elizabeth I. He sponsored historians pioneering especially Anglo-Saxon studies. Under Elizabeth's instruction he also undertook various surveys and investigations, which earned him the enduring nickname of "nosey Parker".

1560 Edmund Gheast Bishop of Rochester

1562 Gravesend given borough status

1564 Birth of Christopher Marlowe, to a Canterbury shoemaker, Dramatist, Kent.

1566 Biddenden school founded

1566 Sir Roger Manwood school founded

1568 Sir Henry Wotton (1568 - 1639) a scholar from a Kent knightly family, he was in the service of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, who used him to gather information. He wrote on a variety of subjects including architecture, international relations and he published poetry.

1572 French Protestants escape to England after the massacre of St. Bartholomew in August 1572.

1572 Edmund Freke Bishop of Rochester

1572 In May a man from a neighbouring village was shot and killed attempting to remove the Maypole from Warbelton, Sussex.

1573 Cranbrook school founded

1575 Faversham school founded

1575 Sutton Valence shcool founded

1576 Dartford school founded

1576 Edmund Grindal Archbishop of Canterbury

1576 John Piers Bishop of Rochester

1578 John Young Bishop of Rochester

1580 April 6th Earthquake in Kent causing some damage. Mentioned in Sandwich, in Hythe it rang the church bells and damaged St. Peter's and St. Mary's, in Broadstairs the Church of St. Peters was cracked from top to bottom, Saltwood Castle was made ruinous, Dover Castle lost part of its wall, when some of the cliff collapsed, portions of St. Nicholas Church Plumstead were shaken down and in London, Thomas Gray and Mabel Everite were killed by stones falling from Christ Church, Newgate.

1581 William Lambarde (1536 - 1601) historian, Kentish gentleman he wrote "Eirenarcha" (Rule of Peace), a classic handbook for Justices of the Peace and published several books on history including in 1570 "Perambulation of Kent".

1583 John Whitgift (1532 - 1604), Archbishop of Canterbury (1583 - 1604), he confronted non conforming Puritan clergy with brisk discipline. In 1595 he drew up a series of doctrinal articles in the "Lambeth Articles" which outlined his broadly Calvinist beliefs. Elizabeth I refused to give the articles her support.

1584 Hops introduced to Kent.

1586 Chatham Naval Dockyard opens

1588 Paper mills at Dartford

1588 Spanish Armada

1589 Reginald Scott (or Scot) (C. 1537 - 99) A Kentish gentleman, and MP in 1589, who was openly sceptical of beliefs into alternative cosmologies especially the effectiveness of witchcraft. His book "The Discoverie of Witchcraft" 1584 was very influential in Europe, in demolishing such beliefs, though James I ordered it to be burned.

1590 Iron mills at Dartford

1590 The Chatham Chest - for the relief of injured sailors is set up by a consortium including Sir Francis Drake.

1592 - 94 Plague in London causes the closure of all the theatres.

1593 Allegations of atheism and homosexuality were brought against Christopher Marlowe, but his friendship with Walsingham, shielded him, from immediate punishment. His death later that year in a Deptford pub brawl continues to provoke speculation.

1596 First map of Kent by Symonson

1597 Bubonic Plague rages through Sandwich.


1600 CE

Reign of James I 1603 - 25 King of England, Scotland & Ireland

Reign of Charles I 1625 - 49King of England, Scotland & Ireland

Interregnum 1649 - 60

Republic 1649 - 1660 Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell

Reign of Charles II 1660 - 85 King of England, Scotland & Ireland

Reign of James II 1685 - 88 King of England, Scotland & Ireland

Reign of William & Mary 1689 - 1702 (Mary died in 1694) King of England, Scotland & Ireland

1602 Josias Nicholls (1553 - 1639) A churchman, son of a Canterbury merchant, Josias became a minister in Kent, who exercised a remarkable sway over county clergy, leading opposition to Archbishop Whitgift's attempt to impose religious conformity and lobbying Parliament to Puritan causes. Following a tract sent to James VI in 1602, he suffered official punishment and left the church becoming a schoolmaster. His sons Suretonhie, Josias and Repentance were also nonconformist activists.

1603 Plague in London causes the closure of all the theatres.

1604 Richard Bancroft Archbishop of Canterbury

1605 William Barlow Bishop of Rochester

1606 Springs of chalybeate water "discovered" at Tonbridge Wells, Kent.

1606 Birchington church wardens pay to have the village Maypole taken down.

1607/8 ‘Great Winter’ trees died due to the severity (and length) of the frost; ships were stranded by ice several miles out into the North Sea - this latter a major concern as much commerce was done in these days via coastal shipping. In December, a "deep" frost until mid-month, then a thaw until just before Christmas, then from 21st December intense freeze for much of the time until at least mid-January. Ice formed on the Thames in London, sufficient to bear all sorts of sports, perambulations and even cooking! The frost lasted overall for some two months. The severe weather lasted in parts of England until about 20th February.

1608 Plague in London causes the closure of all the theatres.

1608 Richard Neile Bishop of Rochester

1611 George Abbot Archbishop of Canterbury

1611 John Buckeridge Bishop of Rochester

1617 Pocahontas (1595 - 1617) native American who reputedly saved a Virginian colonist, was captured as a hostage and converted to Christianity taking the name Rebecca, before accompanying her new husband John Rolfe (1585 -1622), to England in 1616, being presented to the royal family and in 1617 attending a court masque. She died in 1617 at Gravesend, Kent, where she is buried.

1623 John Seldon (1584 - 1654) Son of a Sussex yeoman, Seldon became a lawyer and keeper of the records at the Inner Temple. He entered Parliament in 1623, having gained a certain notoriety with his "History of Tithes" 1618, an anti clerical document. He was a sharp opponent of the crown's prerogative but withdrew before the trial of Charles I having no time for parliamentarians who fought to displace princes. He was admired by Milton and was a friend of Ben Jonson.

1624 3rd & 4th October - In a terrible gale, 120 vessels at anchor in the Goodwin Sands were wrecked. The next day the area was strewn with wreckage of a Dunkirk man-o'-war, which along with the Dutch flagship the Moy Lambert had been wrecked after a battle in the channel.

1628 Walter Curil Bishop of Rochester

1630 Norton Knatchbull school founded

1630 John Bowle Bishop of Rochester

1630 Birchington the Mayploe taken down in 1606 was restored.

1635 12th March Bubonic Plague rages through Sandwich, there were 78 houses visited and 180 persons infected with bubonic plague. From July - October there were 10 buried each week in St. Clements parish.

1640 Aphra Behn (nee Johnson born 1640 - 89) Female playwright from Kent.

1642 First English Civil War breaks out and finishes 1646.

1642 Dover Castle was held for the king but then taken by a Parliamentarian trick without a shot being fired (hence it avoided being ravaged and survives far better than most castles)


1641 William Laud (1573 - 1645), Archbishop of Canterbury (1633 - 1645), supported Charles I through the Civil War, is arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, almost forgotten for several years, he was tried in 1644 and executed in 1645 for treason. The position then lapses, during the Commonwealth, until the restoration of the monarchy.

1646 Charles I King of England is defeated confirming the New English Commonwealth.

1647 Great Kent Rebellion or Plum Pudding Riots

1648 Roger L'Estrange (1616 - 1704) Son of the Royalist Governor of King's Lynn during the First English Civil War, he escaped and tried to stir up a Royalist rising in Kent in 1648, then fled to the Netherlands. He later became a journalist and was appointed a censor of the press.

1649 Charles I King of England was executed.

1650's Mary Knatchbull (1610 -96) from a Kentish, Roman Catholic, gentry family, she became a Benedictine Abbess in Ghent and used the nunnery's extensive clandestine contacts to help exiled Royalists, with finance and lines of communication.

1654 - 8 Thorpe Hall (near Peterborough) built by Peter Mills (1598 -1670) son of a Sussex tailor, he made a career in the London construction industry, becoming one of the supervisors for rebuilding the city after the Fire of London 1666.

1655 Oliver Cromwell allows Jewish people back into England following their expulsion in 1290.

1659 Edward Montagu (1625 - 72) a sailor who fought for Parliament during the Civil Wars of the 1640's but after Richard Cromwell fell in 1659, he became a Royalist and he collaborated with George Monck in bringing Charles II back to Britain. He was rewarded by his creation as the 1st Earl of Sandwich. He resumed his naval career, commanding the fleet at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665 and at the Battle of Sole Bay in 1672, he was killed at the beginning of the Third Dutch War.

1660 King Charles II lands at Dover to reclaim throne

1660 Charles II appoints William Juxton as Archbishop of Canterbury (1660 - 63) restoring this position.

1661 Sunday 13th October Tower of St. Peter's Church Sandwich collapses.

1663 George Byng (1663 - 1733) naval commander and diplomat, son of a Kentish landowner, became 1st Viscount Torrington.

1663 Gilbert Sheldon (1598 - 1677) Archbishop of Canterbury (1663 - 77) Confidential advisor to Charles I between 1646-7 and during the Isle of Wight Treaty negotiations. In 1648 he was ejected from his wardenship and imprisoned for a year. He became Archbishop in 1663 having previously filled the post of Bishop of London, Warden of All Souls and a member of the Privy Council.

1660s Robert Ferguson (c. 1637 - 1714) Conspirator. A Scot, he became a minister in Kent, but was expelled from his living, when he refused to conform after the Restoration. He became a prominent religious controversialist writing many pamphlets promoting the exclusion of the future James II from the accession, after Charles II. He is thought to have been involved in the "Rye House Plot" 1683, for which Algernon Sidney and William Russell were executed. Although he initially supported the invasion of William of Orange, he felt unrewarded by him and became a leading Jacobite agent. He published a "History of the Revolution" 1706, which alleged that the Glorious revolution was a papal plot and his final book published in 1715 was appropriately enough a history of conspiracies against governments from the reign of William I onwards.

1665 The "Plague of London" reaches Kent.

1666 John Dolben Bishop of Rochester

1665 - 67 Second Dutch War

1667 "The Dutch in the Medway" The Dutch sailed up the Medway river destroying property and ships from Sheerness to Gillingham, where the Chain stretched across theriver failed to prevent them from penetrating to the heart of the laid up fleet.

1668 Sir Charles Sedley (c. 1639 - 1701) Younger son of a Kentish baronet, he succeeded to the title on the death of his elder brother. A writer he released "The Mulberry Garden" in 1668. He was MP for Romney and an active parliamentary speaker. His daughter Catherine was a mistress of James II. He had a reputation as a rake and was a friend of the dissolute John Wilmot (Rochester) and Sackville.

1668 Tower of St. Mary's Church Sandwich collapses.

1670 "Treaty of Dover" Charles II signed this 'secret' treaty with Louis XIV of France, promising to return England to Roman Catholicism.

1670 Horsmonden school founded

1672 29th December at 11pm - In Bennenden a storm brought down the church steeple, by lightning and fire.

1674 Folkestone school founded

1675 Thomas Shirley (1638 -78), physician in ordinary to Charles II, in 1675 brought a suit in Chancery against Sir John Fagg (? - 1701), a veteran of Cromwell's army and MP for Steyning, West Sussex, in attempt to regain his grandfather's estate, which he claimed had been sold illegally. Although he lost, he appealed to the Lords. The Commons voted this a breach of Privilege, and had Fagg imprisoned when he appeared to answer the appeal. Charles II prorogued Parliament and when it reconvened it did not contest the Lord's right. The episode in effect established the right of the House of Lords to be the last court of appeal, even in cases involving MPs and thus established a constitutional principle.

1678 Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey (1621-78) the younger son of a Kentish gentry family, he was knighted in 1666, for his efforts to relieve suffering and keep order during the Great Plague. In September 1678, Titus Oates reported the Popish Plot to Godfrey, swearing depositions before him. A few weeks later Godfrey was found murdered, in a ditch on Primrose Hill having been stabbed with his own sword and some signs of strangulation. Three men connected with the Queen's Chapel in Somerset House were hanged for his murder, more on the basis of anti Catholic hysteria than evidence.

1678 William Sancroft (1617 - 93) Archbishop of Canterbury (1678 - 89). He tried unsuccessfully to convert James II to Anglicanism and fell into open dispute with James II, when he headed the seven bishops, who refused royal orders to promulgate the "Declaration of Indulgence for Dissenters and Catholics" He was suspended from office in 1689 when he refused to take the oath to William III & Mary II, since he said that he had already taken an oath to James II.

1683 Francis Turner Bishop of Rochester

1683 Rye House Plot to assassinate Charles II and the future James II was uncovered.

1684 Persistent northerly winds in the coldest recorded winter, swept polar ice south from the Arctic and through the Dover straits, closing the sea ports for a number of days.

1684 Thomas Sprat Bishop of Rochester

1688 June - birth of a son to James II gave rise to fear of a line of Roman Catholic monarchs and the "immortal seven" led by William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, led to the invitation to William of Orange to come with an army to lend support to a rising.

1688 5th November - William landed with a force of 20,000 men, James II fled to France and the Glorious Revolution, wherein he became King William II, in 1689 as joint monarch with his wife Mary II.

1689 Shepherd Neame brewery founded

1691 John Tillotson (1630 - 94) Archbishop of Canterbury (1691 - 94) son of a prosperous clothworker. He succeeded William Sancroft in 1691, having undertaken his duties since 1689, when Sancroft was disabled from acting after his refusal to take the oath of allegiance. Tillotson had been Dean of Canterbury and a Prebendary of St. Paul's since 1675.

1692 8th September - Earthquake affecting Kent, in Deal chimneys fell, several houses and the Norman castle in Tonbridge were damaged, Leeds Castle near Maidstone, shook so violently, that the occupants of the Castle expected it to fall down, so went outside.

1694 Thomas Tension (1636 - 1715) Archbishop of Canterbury (1694 - 1715). He was involved in opposition to James II's "Declaration of Indulgence" and was in the confidence of those who invited William of Orange to Britain. Becoming Archbishop in 1694, he supported moves for stricter observance of morality, reproving William III for adultery and he promoted Episcopal Protestantism in North America and Prussia.

1700 CE

Reign of Anne 1702 - 14

Reign of George I 1714 - 27

Reign of George II 1727 - 60

Reign of George III 1760 - 1820

1703 26th November - The Great Storm described in an account by Daniel Defoe, wrought havoc from Cornwall to Kent. Over 1,100 houses, outhouses and barns were destroyed in Kent and the lives of 8,000 were lost. The tower of Brenchley Church, near Tonbridge lost its steeple and Penshurst Park lost over 500 trees. The entire fleet of Sir Basil Beaumont (about 13 ships) was destroyed by the Goodwin Sands off Deal harbour.

1710 First turnpike road in Kent

1712 Tax imposed on newspapers introduced "half a penny per half sheet, twopence a large sheet and an extra is for each advertisement. So called "tax on knowledge".

1713 Francis Atterbury Bishop of Rochester

1716 Elizabeth Carter (1717 - 1806) Poet, Writer and translator, daughter of Nicolas Carter, curate of Deal, who taught her nine languages, ancient and modern history, geography and music. From 1734 she was a regular contributor to "Gentleman's Magazine", wrote "Poems on Several Occasions" and translated "Epictetus".

1716 Woolwich Arsenal founded

1716 William Wake (1657 - 1737), Archbishop of Canterbury (1716 - 37) As Archbishop re opposed the repeal of the "Test & Corporation Acts", but believed in reconciliation with the Nonconformists. He gained a reputation in old age of corruption and ineffectiveness, distributing lucrative sinecures to his family.

1717 James Abree produces the first Kent newspaper "Kentish Post and Canterbury Newsletter" from St. Margaret Street, Canterbury.

1721 Strood, Kent, erected a parish workhouse, prompted by the eloquent appeal of Rev. Caleb Prefect, vicar of the parish from 1719 - 33.

1723 The Workhouse Act sometimes termed "Marriott's Act" after Matthew Marriott, allowed parishes to band together to set up workhouses and to make relief conditional on admission. Whilst some parishes did apply the "workhouse test", "outdoor" relief, through payments to the unemployed in their own homes remained predominant.

1723 Samuel Bradford Bishop of Rochester

1724 October Chatham parish meeting agree to subscribe enough money "for the building of a workhouse for employing the poor" The building situated at the eastern end of Chatham High Street, was completed in 1725.

1731 Joseph Wilcocks Bishop of Rochester

1737 John Potter Archbishop of Canterbury

1739 Paper maker, James Whatman at Boxley

1740 Act of Parliament prevented further development around The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells

1743 23rd & 24th February "A fearful gale in East Kent" 12 ships were lost & 52 men drowned. Many ships were run aground between Sandwich and Walmer.

1747 Thomas Herring Archbishop of Canterbury

1751 - Change of Calendar from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. 1751 only ran from the 25th March to 31st December. Previous to this, the new year started on the 25th March each year.

1752 Change of Calendar The year 1752 started on the 1st January and ran to the 31st of December, and was the first year that ran from 1st January to 31st December (in England, that is), but lost the 11 days, jumping from 2nd September to the 14th September. This incidentally caused riots, because some people thought the government were stealing 11 days of their lives.

1756 Zachary Pearce Bishop of Rochester

1757 Matthew Hutton Archbishop of Canterbury

1758 Thomas Secker Archbishop of Canterbury

1759 HMS Victory launched at Chatham

1761 Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, Methodist convert, with leanings towards Calvinism opens her first independent Huntingdon Chapel in Brighton. followed by chapels in Bath, Tonbridge and London, all registered as dissenting chapels.

1763 Catherine Macaulay (nee Sawbridge) (1731 -91) radical historian and early feminist, daughter of a Kentish landowner. In 1763, she published the first instalment of "History of England from the Accession of James I to that of the Brunswick Line" She married George Macaulay in 1760, a physician at a lying-in hospital. Her other writings included "Letters on Education" in 1790 arguing for the equality of the sexes in the classroom. She took in 1778, as her second husband the 21 one year old William Graham and thereby scandalised society by the 26 year age difference.

c. 1768 James Simmons, influential Canterbury businessman, bought the "Kentish Post and Canterbury Newsletter", and renamed it the "Kentish Gazette".

1768 Frederick Coirnwallis Archbishop of Canterbury

1774 John Thomas Bishop of Rochester

1776 A survey of English workhouses, by Thomas Gilbert, revealed that there were some 2,000 workhouses, with places for 90,000 paupers.

1776 A Flash flood following thunder and lightning, inundated Canterbury with several people losing their lives.

1778 1st Earl of Chatham, William Pitt died

1780s Vicesimus Knox (1752-1821) educationalist of Tonbridge school, whose prolific output of text books, encouraging a return to classical education, were in their day very popular. His "Liberal Education" ran into 10 editions by 1790.

1783 A troop of the 13th Light Dragoons were sent to Kingsgate, Kent and billeted at the "Fig Tree Inn" to try to stop smuggling.

1783 John Moore Archbishop of Canterbury

1784 A troop of the 17th Lancers were billeted at "Stone House" near the North Foreland to patrol the clifftops between Herne Bay and Deal to try and stop smuggling.

1792 Royal School for deaf children opened in Margate

1793 Kent & Canterbury hospital opened

1793 Samuel Horsley Bishop of Rochester

1797 Richard Parker (1767 - 97), a royal navy sailor, who returned to the service, in 1797 as a volunteer, to escape imprisonment for debt. The navy was recruiting for the war effort against revolutionary France. Parker joined the crew of the "Sandwich" at the Nore off Southampton on 31st March. There was a mutiny among the Channel Fleet at Spithead, the Admiralty responded with a number of concessions and pardoned the leaders. A further mutiny at Plymouth, in mid May, was settled with some violence. Parker's fellow sailors elected him president of a committee of delegates on 10th May and within a fortnight had mutinied, demanding the same terms agreed with the Channel Fleet and that arrears of wages should be paid to them before they set sail. The government was intransigent and stopped supplies to them, so the mutineers responded by blockading London and threatening to sail to France. The Sandwich crew surrendered on 13th June and Parker was court martialed and executed on board ship on 30th June: at least 36 others were also executed.

1800 CE

Reign of George IV 1820 - 30 Regent from 1811

Reign of William IV 1830 - 37

Reign of Victoria 1837 - 1901

1800 Fort Pitt barracks built

1801 The first British Census, listed just numbers of people in a place without detail.

1802 Thomas Dampier Bishop of Rochester

1804 The Martello Towers, a system of circular forts, were built as a defence against Napoleon along the south coast of Kent / Sussex.

1805 Napoleon was camped outside Boulogne ready to invade England. To create economic instability and to raise himself ready currency, he opened the small Breton port of Roscoff as an open port to English smugglers so long as they paid in gold.

1805 Martello towers built

1805 Charles Manners-Sutton Archbishop of Canterbury

1806 The Royal Military Canal from Shorncliffe to West Hythe was opened. Built as a response to fears that Napoleon would invade.

1807 18th February - The entire coastline between North and South Foreland, was strewn with wreckage, as a severe gale hit. 36 vessels, with heavy loss of life resulted on sea and land.

1809 It was estimated that there were around 20,000 smugglers operating along the Kent / Sussex coast.

1809 Walker King Bishop of Rochester

1811 The second British Census, listed just numbers of people in a place without detail.

1812 Birth of Charles Dickens (1812- 70) Writer, son of a naval petty officer. He was born in Portsmouth, moved to Chatham, Kent and then London. When he grew up he became the foremost Victorian writer espousing the cause of the poor and dispossessed. He settled at "Gad's Hill" in Kent his beloved home where he died after a talking tour.

1813 First London to Gravesend steam boat ferry

1816 Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) Son of the MP for Horsham, Sussex, Percy was a poet and political philosopher. He eloped with the 16 year old Harriet Westbrook in 1811 and in 1814 with Mary Godwin (1797 - 1851), who he went on to marry in 1816. He continued to write until his death by drowning in the Bay of Spezia in August 1822. Mary Shelley wrote "Frankenstein" at Lake Geneva, influenced by Lord Byron, in 1818.

1817 Introduction of the Coast Blockade which was a scheme to cut smuggling along a stretch of coast from Shellness at the mouth of the Swale in Kent, to Cuckmere Haven near Beachy Head in Sussex. The scheme was based on an idea of Captain Jock McCulloch and replaced the Preventative Waterguard a vast but ineffective organisation which theoretically patrolled the entire coast of England. The H.M.S. Ganymede, under Captain McCulloch was stationed in the Downs and he was ordered to establish a blockade between the North and South Forelands. Later the H.M.S. Ramillies a 74 gun ship was stationed off Deal, where it was used as a guardship and floating barracks for the blockade.

1818 The problem of housing the "Warriors" of the Coast Blockade, was solved by housing the men in the chain of circular forts, the Martello Towers, built as a defence against Napoleon in 1804. Where no forts were available barracks or rows of cottages were built.

1819 24th May - Birth of Alexandrina Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, the only child of George III's fourth son, the Duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Colberg-Gotha. She succeeded George III as Queen Victoria in 1819 and was the longest reigning monarch reigning until 1901.

1821 The third British Census, listed just numbers of people in a place without detail.

1822 The Treasury ordered "the whole of the forces for the prevention of smuggling, consisting of Revenue Cruisers, Preventative Waterguard, and Riding Officers, shall be consolidated under the direction of the Board of Customs." This order did not affect the Coast Blockade which did not disband until 1831.

1824 2 mile tunnel connects Thames at Gravesend with Medway at Strood

1825 Last turnpike road in Kent

1825 2nd November - A destructive high tide was whipped up by hurricane force winds, causing the 513 ton Ogle Castle, to run onto the Goodwin Sands, more than 100 sailors and passengers died, as the sands swallowed the ship.

1826 Samuel Palmer (1805 - 81) precociously talented painter, who exhibited in the Royal Academy at the age of 14 and was a friend of William Blake. He set up an artists' commune in Kent from (1826 - 35) which was known as the "Ancients".

1827 Hugh Percy Bishop of Rochester

1828 William Howley Archbishop of Canterbury

1830 First railway locomotive used in Kent   

1831 The fourth British Census, listed just numbers of people in a place without detail.

1831 The Central Control Coastguard Office was established in London and the Coast Blockade disbanded in their favour, their places being taken by the newly formed British Coastguard.

1833 Fordwich borough deprived of status   

1836 The newspaper tax was cut to a penny.

1836 Strood Kent, erection of a new Union Workhouse.

1837 July - The civil registration of births, marriages and deaths is introduced in England.

1837 Benjamin Disraeli (1804 -81) Elected as Member of Parliament for Folkestone, Kent. He became Prime Minister of Britain in 1868 and again in 1874 -80.

1838 Eccentric quasi religious group led by Thomas alias Sir William Courtney dispersed by force, from Bossenden Woods, Kent.

1841 Railways open up access to Kent   

1841 The fifth British Census, the first more comprehensive census listed names of people in a place with a little detail.

1842 Tunbridge renamed Tonbridge   

1842 Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 82), Naturalist and Evolutionist, established his marriage home with his wife Emma Wedgwood, in Down House in Kent. He lived in Down House for 16 years and wrote his landmark book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" whilst there.

1844 Ramsgate becomes borough

1845 Elizabeth Acton (1799 - 1859) daughter of a Hastings brewer, published "Modern Cookery", which became an instant success and played an important role in the development of middle class sociability.

1845 Conical design of oast house now used in Kent   

1845 Augustus Pitt Rivers (1827 - 1900) Educated at Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards (1845) and pioneered the scientific study of the development of firearms and established an army school of musketry at Hythe, Kent.

1846 Kent County Opthalmic & Aural Hospital opened

1847 4th December - An overnight hail storm caused flooding in Tunbridge Wells, when a river of water ran down High Street and Mount Pleasant.

1848 John Sumner Archbishop of Canterbury

1849 South East Railways works established at Ashford

c 1850 Preston Hall built at Aylesford     

1850s Chatham Prison built to house serious offenders between 1854 - 1893. Prior to this prisoners were housed in prison hulks moored along the Medway and once used to imprison Napoleonic prisoners. The Prison which was a "hard labour" establishment, supplied a workforce for the building of the Chatham dockyards.

1853 The advertisement tax for adverts placed in newspapers was abolished.

1855 Repeal of the "Stamp Duty Act" allowing for much greater development of local newspapers, through the abolition of the newspaper tax.

1855 16th July "Folkestone Improvement Act" makes provision for the extension of the town and redevelopment of the town centre.

1855 William John Parrett born Lenham starts the "Sittingbourne and Faversham Gazette"

1855 Henry Igglesden founds the "Ashford and Alfred News" the first Kent penny paper.

1855 Lydd becomes borough

1856 Establishment of the Medway Master Mariners Society, for the support of families in the event of "shipwreck or death"

1857 Samuel Cole founds the "Sittingbourne and Sheerness Gazette" which rivalled the "Sheerness Guardian" which began production 8 months later.

1857 County Police Force established

1857 Margate becomes borough

1857 - 61 Publication of "History of Civilisation in England" written by Kent man Henry Buckle (1821 - 62) Historian and master linguist speaking 18 languages.

1858 East Kent Railway Company formed

1859 William Morris (1834 - 96) influential designer, writer and socialist, commissioned Philip Webb, (1831 - 1915) to build the Red House at Bexleyheath, Kent in the Arts & Crafts style.

1859 J. Lurcock, Library owner in Earl Street in Maidstone, founded the "Maidstone Telegraph" forerunner of the "Kent Messenger".

1860 Joseph Wigram Bishop of Rochester

1861 1st January - In thick fog, driving snow and hurricane force winds, the Gottenburg, a Hamburg registered brig, ran ashore with 23 souls lost, including 6 women, the distress signals from the ship having gone unnoticed.

1861 February - A full scale riot broke out in Chatham Prison in which the mess hall was totally destroyed.

1862 Charles Longley Archbishop of Canterbury

1863 1st November - Shorncliffe and Sandgate station on the South Eastern Railway line opened.

1866 Herbert George Wells (1866 - 1946) born to a lower middle class family home in Bromely Kent. Social commentary and Science fiction writer, with dissolute fabian tendancies.

1867 Thomas Claughton Bishop of Rochester

1868 22nd July - A temperature of 100.5F (38.1C) in the shade and 142F in direct sunlight was recorded by Dr. Fielding of Tonbridge. Reports of cattle dying in fields for want of water. The summer was estimated to have lasted for 5 months of extreme heat and the Registrar General's returns for the quarter ending on 30th September, showed a massive increase in England of 21,000 deaths.

1869 William Blair from Canterbury moves to Tonbridge following his marriage and starts the "Tonbridge Free Press"

1869 Archibald Tait (1811 - 82) Archbishop of Canterbury (1869 - 82)

1876 Samuel Cole editor of the "Sittingbourne and Sheerness Gazette" which by this time had been remodelled as the "Sheerness Times" caused his reporters to be banned from attending the meetings of several local authorities on the Isle of Sheppey, because of his anti local government stand. The ineffectual ban lasted until 1881.

1877 Anthony Thorold Bishop of Rochester

1877 1st January - An especially high tide blown by a south westerly, breached the Hythe sea wall at a point where builders had been working and flooded from the High Street to Marine Walk. In Margate a storm-driven wreck, sliced through the pier marooning 40 - 50 people at the seaward end until rescue the next day.

1877 12th January - The storm of a few days earlier had loosened the chalk and rubble causing a Landslip of about 100 acres at Folkestone Warren, at the eastern end of the Martello Tunnel.

1877 24th November - A severe storm caused a schooner bound from South Shields to Devon to smash into Deal pier destroying 200 feet of pier and killing the Captain a Mr. Head and 2 seamen.

1877 25th November - In a series of great tidal waves, which struck the Thanet coast, 20 vessels were driven ashore on rocks, between Westgate and Westbrook, including 10 schooners, 4 brigantines, 2 barques, 2 luggers a Ketch and a smack. The crew of all ships were rescued by the 4 launched lifeboats.

1878 Earthquake in Kent caused some structural damage. Tower of St. Mary's Church Sandwich collapsed.

1878 24th October - Tornado visits Walmer uprooting oak trees at Coldblow, and taking out the windows of the Cambridge Arms and the roof from the Granville Arms.

1879 22nd December - Dense fog smothered London and North Kent.

1880 20th October - Snow fell in Kent and at Sevenoaks it was said to hve been to a depth of a foot.

1881 18th January - Snow blizzard combined with a high easterly wind hits the South East of England burying trains in 16 feet of snow and100 barges were sunk on the Thames. At Folkestone half of the promenade was washed away.

1881 The "Sidcup and Chiselhurst Times" forerunner of the "Kentish Times" began life as a tradesman's newsletter.

1882 Work begun on first Channel Tunnel

1883 Fordwich ceased to be borough

1883 Edward Benson Archbishop of Canterbury

1884  Ramsgate becomes borough

1884 22nd April - An earthquake centred in Essex, also caused problems in Kent. In Strood the master ordered the Board School evacuated, and at Westgate-on-Sea it caused the church bells to ring.

1885 6th August - 5.30pm A whirlwind hit the village of Birling near Rochester.

1886 February - Ice froze lakes and ponds sufficiently for ice skating.

1888 autumn Jack the Ripper. "There was only one topic throughout all England" wrote W. T. Stead in the Pall Mall Gazette. the brutal murder of 5 prostitutes in Whitechapel in the East End of London.

1888 The Local Government Act of 1888 created the County of London. The Act took effect in the early part of 1889. At this point "Deptford, Kent" became "Deptford, London".

1888 Kent County Council created

1889 Tunbridge Wells become borough

1889 Boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham became part of London

1890s Gas installation in homes begins to be introduced. Prior to this only the rich could afford it.

1890 Chatham becomes borough

1890 Randall Davidson Bishop of Rochester

1890 November - The snow in Maidstone reached a depth of 22 inches.

1890 30th December - was the coldest on record the temperature in Cranbrook did not exceed 22F (-6C)

1892 15th & 16th April - Snow was a foot deep at Hoo, and driven into deep drifts by a northerly gale.

1893 Chatham Prison is closed and the prisoners transferred.

1894 Parish Councils established

1895 Edward Talbot Bishop of Rochester

1896 Frederick Temple (1821 - 1902) Archbishop of Canterbury (1896 - 1902) An advocate of educational reform he was headmaster at Rugby School from 1857 - 69. As Bishop of Exeter from 1869 -85, he fostered Church schools and the temperance movement. He became Bishop of London in 1885, played an important part in the Jubilee celebrations. He was in constant conflict with the High Church and his translation to Canterbury in 1897 coinciding with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee was a political statement echoed by the Lambeth Conference 1897 and the Lambeth Opinions 1899 - 1900.

1897 HMS Pembroke the Chatham Naval Barracks built on the site of the former Prison.

1897 December - a tidal surge did damage to Margate Pier.

1898 Territorial army established in Kent

1899 Formation of Southern Railway from several other private concerns.

1900 CE

Reign of Edward VII 1901 - 10

Reign of George V 1910 - 36

Reign of Edward VIII 1936 Abdicated

Reign of George VI 1936 - 52

Reign of Elizabeth II 1952


1900  Penge added to Kent from Surrey

1902 Kent Education Committee established

1903 Gillingham & Bromley become boroughs

1903 Randall Davidson Archbishop of Canterbury

1905 John Harmer Bishop of Rochester

1908 the "Prevention of Crime Act" introduced the borstal system, for young offenders, rather than prison. Named after a trial of the system in the town of Borstal Kent.

1909 Cross channel flight

1911 9th August - Canterbury held a record for a temperature high of 98F (36.7C) on this day.

1912 Charles Dawson (1864 -1945) A Sussex solicitor whose hobby was geology, "discovered" remains in a chalk pit at Piltdown, Sussex, which became known as the "Piltdown man" temporarily believed to provide proof of the so called "missing link" between the evolution of apes and man. Proved to be an elaborate hoax in 1953.

1912  Snowdon colliery opens

1912 East Kent light railway opens

1913  Tilmanstone colliery opens

1913 East Malling Horticultural Research centre opens

1915  Royal British Legion village established

1915 Sir Bertram Ramsay (1883 - 1945) Son of an army officer, he served in the Dover Patrol (1915 - 18), which culminated in the raid against Ostend. After a bitter clash with Commander in Chief of the Home Fleet (1935) Ramsay was forced to resign, but was recalled in September 1939 to establish a modern version of the Dover Patrol. Ramsay organised the Dunkirk evacuation (May 1940) and subsequently oversaw the D-Day landings of 6th June 1944.

1916 Sir Edward Heath (born 1916-) Politician and Prime Minister (1970 -4) Born in Broadstairs, Kent, the son of a builder and a lady's maid. Lifelong Conservative.

1918  Chislet colliery opens

1919  Hythe Mills at Aylesford established

1919 Kent County Agricultural Show established

1919 William Rootes (1894 - 1964) Became 1st Baron Rootes of Ramsbury. Born of a Kent engineering family he took joint managership with his brother Reginald Rootes (1896 - 1977, later Sir), of the family motor vehicle distribution business in 1919, which developed into a manufacturing company encompassing Humber, Hillman, Commer, Talbot and Sunbeam.

1919 Dame Caroline Haslett (1895-1957) Daughter of a Sussex railway-signal fitter, she worked as a secretary in an engineering firm and transferred to the works side and during World War I, qualified as an engineer and electrical engineer. She founded the "Women's Engineering Society" in 1919. She edited "The Electrical Handbook for Women" and "Household Electricity" and in 1924 founded the Electrical Association for Women, which grew into a national organisation.

1925  Act of Parliament ends Gravelking

1925 Electrificaiton of railway begins

1927  Betteshanger colliery opens

1927 Vita Sackville-West (1892 - 1962 born at Knole, Kent in a magnificent Tudor house reputed to have a bedroom for every day of the year.) won the Hawthornden Prize for her epic poem "The Land". Vita was a lesbian who had an open marriage and two sons to writer Harold Nicolson. Later she became famous as the creator of the garden at Sissinghurst, Kent.

1928  William Lang Archbishop of Canterbury

c 1930's The "Sittingbourne and Sheerness Gazette" and the "Sheerness Guardian" amalgamate to become the "Sheerness Times and Guardian".

1930  Martin Smith Bishop of Rochester

1933  Dartford becomes borough

1935  Beckenham becomes borough

1937 Bexley becomes borough

1937 Kent & Canterbury Hospital opened

1938  Erith becomes borough

1940  Battle of Britain

1940 Christopher Chavasse Bishop of Rochester

1942  William Temple Archbishop of Canterbury

1945  George Fisher 99th Archbishop of Canterbury

1948 Nationalisation of the Railways

1950  Isle of Grain BP refinery opens

1953  Coastal floods

1956 One of the coldest (at CET 13.5C) and wettest of the century: only 1912 was colder. The month was characterised by a succession of depressions crossing the country. Some places in the northwest had their wettest month of the century. The highest temperature recorded was 25C, widely, mid-month. Bank Holiday Monday (6th) was one of the worst Bank Holidays on record. There was a severe thunderstorm, with large hail and 4' of water causing flooding, in Tunbridge Wells. The storm started midmorning with thunder and heavy rain, and the hail started just before midday. At one point parts of the centre of the town was buried beneath a foot of ice, with drifts of hailstones 4' deep. Cool northerly airstream. On the same days, storms affected other parts of the country: 62 mm of rain in an hour at Swanage and Arundel; 80 mm of rain at Faversham. The midday temperature in London was only 13C. 75 mm in Somerset on the 25th and in the Borders on the 27th. A ground frost on the 31st in some places. 239 mm of rain this month in Blackpool. Locally in the northwest, it was the wettest month of the century up to this point. It was a thundery month: 11 thunder days at Tangmere (Sussex).

1960 Kingsferry bridge opened linking Isle of Sheppey to mainland

1961 Michael Ramsey, Baron Ramsey of Canterbury (1904 - 88), became 100th Archbishop of Canterbury (1961 - 74) Liberal on social issues and leaning towards the High Church wing of Anglicanism, Ramsey tried to reconcile Anglican and Methodist churches, which was rejected. He presided over a transfer of power in the church from Parliament to the General Synod, ending 300 years of direct parliamentary jurisdiction over the national Church.

1961 Richard Say Bishop of Rochester

1963  Richborough power station opens

1965  University of Kent at Canterbury founded

1964 The Igglesden family sell the "Ashford and Alfred News", which becomes the "Kentish Express" part of the South Eastern Newspapers Group.

1968  First Hovercraft service Dover to Boulogne

1969  Chislet colliery closed

1974  Queen Mother Elizabeth Windsor becomes Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports

1976 Anita Roddick (nee Perella 1942 - Born in Littlehampton, Sussex) opens her first "Body Shop" premises in Brighton Sussex.

1978 Storm caused Margate Pier superstructure to collapse.

1980 Robert Runcie (1921 - 2000) Baron Runcie of Cuddesdon, 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury (1980 - 91) Noted for his clashes with Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minster over social issues, he is, however, not remembered for much physical change in the nature of the Church.

1984  Maidstone Hospital opened

1985 Tilmanstone colliery closes   

1987 Storms raged across Kent & Sussex, in October causing extensive damage.

1988 Anthony Turnbull Bishop of Rochester

1989 Betteshanger, the last Kent coal field closes  

1991 Queen Elizabeth II bridge opened linking Kent to Essex

1991 Dr George Carey 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury

1994  Channel Tunnel opens

1996  Ashford International Railway Station opened

1998  Medway Authority created


2000 CE

2002 September One of the Brighton Piers swept away in storm

2002 26th & 27th October Gales swept across the south west of England towards the south east causing extensive damage.

2003 1st-3rd January - Flooding in Kent.

2003 6th February Serious fire damage to Brighton's Palace Pier.

2004 Rowan Williams becomes 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, formerly Bishop of Wales