1215 King John agreed to put his royal seal on the Magna Carta, or Great Charter of English liberties, at Runnymede, near Windsor. The document was the first to be forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects. It was essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, guaranteed the nobles their feudal privileges and promised to maintain the nation’s laws.
The Black Prince
1330 The birth of Edward the Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III. He married his cousin Joan, ‘The Fair Maid of Kent’, who gave him two sons, one of whom was the future Richard III.
With the Sword at Smithfield by the Mayor of London
1381 Wat Tyler – leader of the Peasants’ Revolt, was killed at Smithfield in London. Richard II had agreed to meet the leaders of the revolt, and listen to their demands. What was said between Tyler and the king is largely conjecture but by all accounts the unarmed Tyler was suddenly attacked without warning and killed by the Lord Mayor of London, Sir William Walworth, and John Cavendish, a member of the king’s group. This unprovoked betrayal of the truce flag and Tyler’s killing threw the people into a panic. Not being organized as a military force, they broke ranks and began to flee for their lives.
The Grand Old Duke of York and the New London Bridge
1825 The foundation stone of the New London Bridge was laid by ‘the grand old’ Duke of York. It now spans an artificial lake in Arizona.
Florence Nightingale’s Nursing School
1860 British nurse Florence Nightingale, famous for tending British wounded during the Crimean War, opened a school for nurses at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
Imperial Cricket Conference
1909 Representatives from England, Australia and South Africa met at Lords and formed the Imperial Cricket Conference. It was renamed the International Cricket Conference in 1965. The ICC has 105 members including 10 Full Members that play official Test matches.
1910 British explorer Captain Robert Scott began his ill-fated expedition to reach the South Pole.
Pin Easter Down
1928 The House of commons voted to fix the date of Easter. However, a clause in the Bill allowed the consideration of the opinions of all the major churches and the Act was never put in force.
The Day of the Bently
1929 British made Bentleys occupied the first four places at the finish of the Le Mans 24 hour race in France.
Thatcher the Milk Snatcher
1971 Opposition grew to Education Secretary Margaret Thatcher’s plans to end free school milk for children over the age of seven and some Labour controlled councils threatened to put up the rates in order to continue supplying free milk.
Farewell James Hunt
1993 James Hunt, English racing driver and 1976 Formula One world champion died from a heart attack, aged 45. His charisma and charm both on and off the track brought a whole new fanbase to the sport of Formula One.
1996 An IRA bomb, the biggest ever to go off on the British mainland, devastated the centre of Manchester. Miraculously no-one was killed but 200 people were taken to hospital. The explosion caused £100 million worth of damage.
The Pound is Not Enough
1998 Britain introduced a £2 coin.