Eighteenth Century Timeline (1700 to 1799)
Britain Unlimited “Timelines” show the birth and deaths of the 250 famous British people covered in this site, together with the works they were associated with as well as other significant historical events of the time.
Era of King William and Queen Mary: (1688-1702)
1700: Death of John Dryden on the 1st May.
1701: The Act of Settlement is passed which settles the succession to the English and Irish crowns on Protestants only.
Jethro Tull invents the seed drill.
1702: Daniel Defoe’s tract “The Shortest Way with Dissenters” gets him imprisoned in Newgate but he continued as a secret Government Agent.
War of the Spanish Succession until 1713.
The first English Newspaper is published entitled the “Daily Courant.”
Era of Queen Anne (1702-1714)
1704: Isaac Newton writes “Opticks”.
The Duke of Marlborough is the victor at the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August and is given land and money to build Blenheim Palace.
Death of John Locke on the 28th October.
1705: Nicholas Hawksmoor begins working jointly on Blenheim Palace.
1709: Abraham Darby successfully manufactures iron in furnaces fired with coke at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire.
The Duke of Marlborough is victor at the Battle of Malplaquet on the French border on the 11th September as part of the War of the Spanish Succession.
Birth of Samuel Johnson on the 18th September.
First edition of “The Tatler” magazine is published.
1711: Birth of the philosopher David Hume on the 26th April.
the first edition of “The Spectator” magazine is published.
Era of King George the First (1714-1727)
1714: The Admiralty put up a £20,000 reward for anyone who can accurately chart longitude.
1715: Birth of “Capability” Brown.
Jacobite Rebellion (known as the ’15) to install , James Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender onto the throne.
The Battle of Sherifmuir on the 13th November is indecisive but the Earl of Mar surrenders at Preston due to lack of support.
1716: Birth of Thomas Gray on the 26th December.
1718: Birth of Thomas Chippendale on the 5th June.
1719: Daniel Defoe publishes “Robinson Crusoe”.
1720: The South Sea Bubble.
Opening of the Haymarket Theatre in London.
Birth of Gilbert White on the 18th July.
Edmond Halley is appointed Astronomer Royal.
Birth of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” on the 31st December.
1721: Robert Walpole becomes first “Prime Minister”.
1723: Nicholas Hawksmoor appointed Surveyor General at Westminster Abbey.
Death of Sir Christopher Wren on the 25th February.
Birth of Adam Smith on the 5th June.
Birth of Joshua Reynolds on the 16th July.
1724: Birth of George Stubbs on the 24th August.
1725:Birth of Robert Clive on the 29th September.
John Harrison finishes the first of his precision clocks.
Building of Richard Boyle’s Chiswick House in the Palladian style.
Guy’s Hospital in London is founded.
Era of King George the Second (1727-1760)
1728: John Wesley is ordained as a priest and leads the Oxford Group of Methodists with his brother Charles.
Birth of Robert Adam on the 3rd July.
Birth of Matthew Boulton on the 3rd September.
Birth of Captain Cook on the 27th October.
“The Beggar’s Opera is written by John Gay
1729: Birth of Edmund Burke on the 1st January.
Start of the Methodist Movement in Oxford.
1731: Death of Daniel Defoe on the 24th April.
1734: Death of Rob Roy MacGregor on the 28th December.
1735: William Hogarth completes his paintings “The Rake’s Progress”.
10 Downing Street becomes the residence of the First Lord of the Treasury and Prime Minister.
1739-48: The War of Jenkin’s ear is fought between Britain and Spain chiefly in the West Indies.
1740-48: War of the Austrian Succession.
1741: Foundation of the Foundling Hospital by Captain Thomas Coram.
John Harrison has the H2 chronometer ready.
Death of Jethro Tull on the 21st February.
Handel writes “The Messiah” in his home near Oxford Street, London.
1743: William Hogarth completes his paintings called “Marriage a la Mode.
1744: Death of Alexander Pope.
1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie left France and lands on the Hebridean Island of Eriskay and then raises his standard at Glenfinnan.
Battle of Prestonpans on 21st September.
Death of Jonathan Swift on the 19th October
Thomas Arne performs “God Save the King” for the first time.
1746: Bonnie Prince Charlie is defeated at the Battle of Culloden on 16th April.
1747: David Garrick becomes a co-manager at Drury Lane Theatre with James Lacy.
1749: Henry Fielding publishes “The History of Tom Jones”.
Birth of Charles James Fox on the 24th January.
Henry Fielding forms the “Bow Street Runners” an early police force.
Birth of Edmund Jenner on the 17th May.
1751: Birth of Richard Brinsley Sheridan on the 4th November.
“Capability” Brown sets up his gardening business and begins work at Croome Park, Worcestershire.
William Hogarth paints “Beer Street” and “Gin Lane.
Passing of the Gin Act.
David Hume writes “Enquiry Concerning Principles of Morals”.
1752: Birth of Humphry Repton on the 21st April.
Birth of Fanny Burney on the 13th June.
Britain adopts the Cabinet Government system for the first time.
The Gregorian Calendar is brought in officially and January 1st becomes New Year’s Day.
1753: Foundation of the British Museum Library
Death of George Berkeley on the 14th January.
1754: Foundation of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at St Andrew’s in Scotland.
Birth of William Bligh on the 9th September.
Death of Henry Fielding on the 8th October.
Birth of George Crabbe on the 24th December.
Thomas Chippendale publishes “Gentleman and Cabinet-Makers Director”.
Invention of the Baskerville typeface.
1756: Birth of William Godwin on the 3rd March.
1756-63: Seven Years War.
122 Britons die in “The Black Hole of Calcutta”on 20th July 1756.
Birth of John Loudon McAdam on the 21st September.
1757: The Battle of Plassey on the 23rd June.
Edmund Burke writes “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful”.
Birth of Thomas Telford on the 9th August.
Birth of William Blake on the 28th November.
1758: Birth of Lord Nelson on the 29th September.
Laurence Sterne writes “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman”.
David Hume republishes “The “Philosophical Essays” as “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding”.
Era of King George the Third (1760-1820)
1760: Turnpikes established on British roads.
Matthew Boulton begins manufacturing Sheffield silver plate.
Opening of Kew Gardens.
1764: Birth of Fletcher Christian.
Death of William Hogarth on the 26th October.
“Capability” Brown becomes Surveyor to His Majesty’s Gardens and Waters at Hampton Court Palace.
Edward Gibbon tours Italy and conceives “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.
1765: James Watt fits the Newcomen Engine with a separate condenser to increase its power.
1766: Foundation of the Lunar Society which meets at Matthew Boulton’s house.
Joseph Priestley writes the ”History and Present State of Electricity”.
Oliver Goldsmith publishes “The Vicar of Wakefield”.
Birth of Thomas Malthus on the 17th February.
Birth of John Dalton on the 6th September.
Henry Cavendish discovers the properties of Hydrogen, then known as “dephlogisticated air”.
1768: Foundation of the Royal Academy of Arts in London by Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough.
Joseph Priestley’s work “Essay on Government” published which inspired Thomas Jefferson with ideas for the American Declaration of Independence.
Death of Lawrence Sterne on the 18th March.
1771: Richard Arkwright sets up a factory powered by water at Cromford in Derbyshire.
Birth of Richard Trevithick on the 13th April.
Death of Thomas Gray on the 30th July.
Birth of Walter Scott on the 15th August.
The Falkland Islands are given to Britain by Spain.
1772: Birth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge on the 21st October.
Charles James Fox is promoted to become Lord of the Treasury.
King George the Third tested John Harrison’s H5 chronometer.
Warren Hastings is appointed the first Governor General of India.
1773: At The Boston Tea Party on 16th December radical colonists disguised as Native Americans board British Ships and throw the cargo into the sea as a protest against taxation.
Opening of the Birmingham Assay Office aids Matthew Boulton.
David Garrick plays Hamlet at Drury Lane.
Samuel Johnson makes a journey with Boswell through the Scottish Highlands.
Oliver Goldsmith writes “She Stoops to Conquer”.
1775: Death of John Baskerville on the 8th January.
Richard Arkwright patents his carding engine machinery.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan first production of “The Rivals”.
Birth of Walter Savage Landor on the 30th January.
Birth of J.M.W. Turner on the 23rd April.
Birth of Charles Lamb on the 12th February.
Birth of Jane Austen on the 16th December
1775-1783: Wars of the American Revolution against Britain.
1776: Death of John Harrison on the 24th March.
Adam Smith writes “The Wealth of Nations”.
Birth of John Constable on the 11th June.
Death of David Hume on the 25th August.
Edward Gibbon publishes ”The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.
1777: Richard Brinsley Sheridan writes “The School for Scandal”.
Josiah Wedgwood introduces jaspar ware.
In America British forces win the Battle of Brandywine Creek allowing Washington’s colonial army to escape.
1778: Fanny Burney publishes her first novel “Evelina”.
Death of Thomas Arne on the 5th March.
Birth of William Hazlitt on the 12th April.
Birth of Humphry Davy on the 17th December.
Passing of the Catholic Relief Act.
1784: First Mail coach runs from Bristol to London.
Death of Samuel Johnson on the 13th December.
Invention of shrapnel by British Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel.
1785: Birth of Thomas De Quincey on the 15th August.
1787: Thomas Telford is made the Surveyor of Shropshire.
Foundation of Marylebone Cricket Club.
1788: Birth of Lord Byron on the 22nd January.
Death of “Bonnie Prince Charlie” on the 31st January.
Birth of Robert Peel on the 5th February.
Death of William Pitt, The Elder on the 11th May.
Death of Thomas Gainsborough on the 2nd August.
1789: French Revolution.
Birth of Edmund Kean on the 17th March.
Jeremy Bentham writes “An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation”.
William Blake publishes the “Songs of Innocence”.
The Mutiny on the Bounty.
Gilbert White’s “Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne” is finally published.
1791: Death of John Wesley on the 2nd March
Foundation of the Ordnance Survey.
Birmingham Riots against the dissenting Joseph Priestley take place between 14-17th July.
Thomas Paine writes “The Rights of Man”.
Birth of Michael Faraday on the 22nd September.
1792: Death of Joshua Reynolds on the 23rd February.
Mary Wollstonecraft writes “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”.
Death of Robert Adam on the 3rd March.
Birth of Frederick Marryat on the 12th July.
Death of Richard Arkwright on the 3rd August.
Birth of Percy Shelley on the 4th August.
Birth of Charles Babbage on the 26th December.
Coal gas is used for the first time in lighting.
1793: William Blake publishes “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.
Death of Gilbert White on the 26th June.
John Dalton writes “Meteorological Observations and Essays”.
Death of Fletcher Christian in October.
William Godwin writes “An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice”.
The French Republic declares war on Britain
1794: Death of Edward Gibbon on the 16th June.
William Blake publishes “Songs of Experience”.
Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge meet in Bristol.
Joseph Priestley emigrates to America and founds the first Unitarian church there.
Tom Paine writes “The Age of Reason”.
1795: Formation of the Poor Law.
Death of Josiah Wedgwood on the 3rd January.
Birth of Charles Barry on the 23rd May.
Birth of John Keats on the 31st October.
Robert Burns writes “For a’ That and a’ That”.
Jane Austen writes the first versions of “Northanger Abbey”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”.
Birth of Thomas Carlyle on the 4th December.
1797: Death of Edmund Burke on the 9th July.
Mutiny in the Navy at Spithead on 15th April.
Matthew Boulton is given a contract to make copper coinage at Soho Manufactory by the Royal Mint.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge begins writing “The Ancient Mariner”.
Birth of Mary Shelley on the 30th August.
Death of Mary Wollstonecraft on the 10th September.
Birth of Charles Lyell on the 14th November.
1798: William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge complete the “Lyrical Ballads” and Coleridge writes “Kubla Khan”.
William Pitt the Younger brings in Income Tax.
The Battle of the Nile on 1st August.
Thomas Malthus writes “Essays on the Principle of Population”.
1799: Humphrey Davy writes “Researches Chemical and Physical”.