Timeline of 17th-century Britain: murderous plots, plagues and a fire that destroyed most of London

Great fire london, pudding lane
Pudding Lane in London is where the Great Fire of London started Credit: iStock

The 17th-century was a tumultuous century in British history. Here, we highlight the key dates, from the Gunpowder Plot to the Great Fire of London, via the English Civil War and the Great Plague

 

1600

1603

Accession of King James I (James VI of Scotland), the first Stuart monarch of England

1605

The Gunpowder Plot

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1607

Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, is established

1611

Publication of Authorised Version of the King James Bible

1616webshakespeareCobbe-Portrait-resized.1

Death of William Shakespeare

1625

Accession of King Charles I

1642-46 

English Civil War begins

1649

webCharles_I_(Prince_of_Wales)Trial and execution of Charles I. The Common wealth begins

1652-54

First Dutch War

1653

Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector


1658

Death of Oliver Cromwell. His son Richard becomes Lord Protector

1660

Parliament invites Charles II to return to England. He is restored to the throne

1660

Samuel Pepys begins his diary (to 1669)

webGreat_plague_of_london-1665-(1) 1665

The Great Plague

1666
2-6 September – the Great Fire of London

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1666

France declares war on England (concluded 1667)

1667

16 March – Samuel Pepys sees some cellars that are still smoking, six months after the Great Fire

1668

An Act of Parliament establishes new fire prevention regulations for the City of London


1668

1,450 houses are built in London by year end. Halls for the Butchers’, Cutlers’ and Inn-holders’ are completed

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Custom House, the Guildhall, Royal Exchange are rebuilt. Work begins on four new churches and the Monument

1675

Foundation stone for St Paul’s Cathedral is laid. St Christopher-le-Stocks church is completed

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1677

The Monument is completed


1681

A plaque is set up on the site of the bakery where the fire began in Pudding Lane, blaming Catholics for starting the fire

1685

Death of Charles and accession of King James II. 24 churches are completed (1685-1689)

© Images Wikipedia/Shakespeare Birthplace Trust/Visit England

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