What were the main events of the Tudor period?


Tudor House
Artists impression of a Tudor wattle and daub house

A timeline of the main events of the Tudor period


22nd August 1485
Henry Tudor defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was proclaimed King on the same day.
30th October 1485
Henry Tudor was crowned Henry VII of England, the first monarch of the Tudor period.
16th December 1485
A daughter, Catherine, was born to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the monarchs of Spain.
18th January 1486
Henry VII married Elizabeth of York. The marriage united the houses of Lancaster and York and ended the thirty year conflict known as the Wars of the Roses.
19th or 20th September 1486
A son, Arthur, was born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at St Swithun’s Priory.
25th November 1485
Elizabeth of York was crowned Queen of England.
16th June 1487
Henry VII defeated the pretender to the throne, Lambert Simnel at the Battle of Stoke Field. Simnel had claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, Earl of Warwick. Son of King Edward IV’s younger brother, George and had threatened the continuation of the Tudor period.
27th March 1489
The Treaty of Medina el Campo was signed. It was an agreement between England and Spain that would be sealed with the marriage of Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur.
28th November 1489
A daughter, Margaret, was born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Westminster Palace.
28th June 1491
A second son, Henry, was born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Greenwich Palace,London
5th March 1496
Henry VII gave explorer John Cabot a patent to find land in the New World recently discovered by Christopher Colombus.
18th March 1496
A second daughter, Mary, was born to Henry VII and Elizabeth of York at Richmond Palace, London.
4th October 1497
The pretender to the throne, Perkin Warbeck was captured and imprisoned. Warbeck had claimed to be Richard Duke of York, son of King Edward IV and had gained the support of those that wanted to end the Tudor period.
An outbreak of plague killed around 30,000 people.
23rd November 1499
The pretender Perkin Warbeck was executed at Tyburn.
circa 1501
A second daughter, Anne, was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn.
14th November 1501
Prince Arthur married Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain at St Paul’s Cathedral.
24th January 1502
The Treaty of Perpetual Peace was signed at Richmond Palace by English and Scottish negotiators. The treaty provided for peace between England and Scotland to be sealed with the marriage of James IV to Henry VII’s eldest daughter, Margaret.
2nd April 1502
Prince Arthur, heir to the throne, died of an unknown illness at Ludlow Castle.
23rd June 1503
Prince Henry was betrothed to his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon.
8th August 1503
Henry VII’s daughter, Margaret, married King James IV of Scotland at Holyrood Abbey.
27th June 1505
Henry VII made his son, Henry, who, at 14 years old, had come of age, publicly repudiate his betrothal to Catherine of Aragon. Henry wanted his son free to enable him to make alternative marriage negotiations that would be more beneficial for England.
There was an outbreak of sweating sickness in England.
1508 or 1509
A daughter, Jane, was born to Sir John Seymour and his wife Margaret at Wulfhall, Wiltshire.
21st April 1509
Henry VII died of tuberculosis at Richmond Palace. He was succeeded by his son, Henry who took the throne as King Henry VIII, the second monarch of the Tudor period. 
11th June 1509
Henry married his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon at the Church of Observant Friars.
24th June 1509
King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon were crowned King and Queen of England.
1st January 1511
A son, Henry, was born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon at Richmond Palace.
22nd February 1511
Henry VIII’s son, Henry died.
circa 1512
A daughter, Katherine, was born to Maud, wife of Sir Thomas Parr.
11th April 1512
A son, James, was born to Margaret Tudor and James IV of Scotland.
30th June 1513
Henry VIII invaded France at the head of his army.
9th September 1513
Battle of Flodden Field – the English defeated the Scots army that had invaded England. King James IV of Scotland was killed.
21st September 1513
Margaret Tudor acted as regent for the young King James V of Scotland.
9th October 1514
Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, married King Louis XII of France. The marriage was part of a peace agreement between England and France.
April 1515
Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, returned to England following the death of her husband Louis XII of France.
22nd September 1515
A daughter, Anne, was born to Mary, wife of John Duke of Cleves at Dusseldorf in Germany.
24th December 1515
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey became Lord Chancellor of England.
18th February 1516
A daughter, Mary, was born to Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon at Greenwich Palace.
13th May 1516
Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, married Charles Brandon at Greenwich. The couple did not have the King’s permission to marry.
31st October 1517
The Protestant Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 theses on church indulgences to the door of the church in Wittenberg.
The Treaty of London was signed by representatives of Burgundy, France, England, the Netherlands, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain and the Papal States. The treaty agreed that if any one country was attacked the others would come to their aid.
15th June 1519
Henry VIII’s mistress, Elizabeth (Bessie) Blount gave birth to a son, Henry Fitzroy.
8th – 26th June 1520
The Field of the Cloth of Gold – this was a summit meeting between Henry VIII and Francis II of France. The name derives from the cloth of gold tents that were erected on the site.
15th August 1521
The Treaty of Bruges was signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Henry VIII. The secret treaty agreed a joint invasion of France within the next two years.
11th October 1521
Henry VIII was given the title Defender of the Faith by the Pope after he wrote a book denouncing Protestantism called Fidei Defensor.
March 1522
Anne Boleyn joined the court of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
circa 1525
A daughter, Kathryn was born to Jocasta, wife of Edmund Howard. She was the niece of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.
18th June 1525
Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, was created Duke of Richmond.
February 1526
Henry VIII began to pursue Anne Boleyn as a love interest.
The Treaty of Westminster was signed by Henry VIII and Francis I of France. The treaty united France and England against the Holy Roman Empire.
Spring 1527
Henry began to have serious doubts about the validity of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon sparking what became known as the Divorce Crisis.
17th and 31st May 1527
An ecclesiastical court was convened at Westminster to hear Henry VIII’s concerns regarding his marriage and to consider whether it should be annulled. The court concluded that they were not qualified to judge the case and that it should be referred to Rome.
22nd June 1527
Henry VIII separated from Catherine of Aragon.
September 1527
Henry VIII wrote to the Pope requesting an annulment of his marriage. The Pope sent Cardinal Campeggio to hear the case.
An outbreak of sweating sickness killed 100,000 people across Europe.
31st May 1529
Cardinal Campeggio opened his legatine court at Black Friars in London.
21st June 1529
Henry and Catherine of Aragon appeared before Campeggio’s legatine court.
17th October 1529
Henry VIII removed Cardinal Wolsey from the post of Chancellor due to his failure to secure his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
26th October 1529
Thomas More reluctantly accepted the post of Lord Chancellor of England.
29th November 1530
Thomas Wolsey died en-route to London to be tried for treason.
May 1531
Members of the King’s council unsuccessfully tried to persuade Catherine of Aragon to enter a convent. A move which would leave Henry free to re-marry.
14th July 1531
Henry sent Catherine of Aragon away from court. He also refused her permission to see her daughter, Mary.
15th May 1532
Thomas More and Bishop Fisher refused to sign the Submission of the Clergy which made Henry head of the Church in England.
16th May 1532
Thomas More resigned as Lord Chancellor of England.
15th November 1532
Pope Clement VII told Henry VIII that unless he returned to his lawful wife he would be excommunicated.
25th January 1533
Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in the private chapel in Whitehall Palace.
30th March 1533
Thomas Cranmer became Archbishop of Canterbury.
1st June 1533
Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England.
25th June 1533
Henry VIII’s sister, Mary, died at Westhorpe, Suffolk.
11th July 1533
Pope Clement VII excommunicated Henry and his council.
7th September 1533
A daughter, Elizabeth, was born to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn at Greenwich Palace, London.
25th November 1533
Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, married Mary Howard, daughter of the Duke of Norfolk.
February 1534
The Act of Annates was passed. The act determined that bishops in England would be chosen by the King.
23rd March 1534
The Act of Succession settled the succession on the children of Henry and Anne Boleyn. There was also a requirement for all of the king’s subjects to swear an oath to uphold the act.
17th April 1534
Thomas More was imprisoned in the Tower of London for refusing to swear the Oath of Succession.
July 1534
Anne Boleyn was delivered of a stillborn baby.
3rd November 1534
The Act of Supremacy declared that Henry VIII was Head of the Church in England. The reigning monarch has held the title ever since.
22nd June 1535
Bishop John Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill for refusing to sign the Act of Succession and accept Henry VIII as Supreme Head of the Church in England.
June 1535
Anne Boleyn suffered a miscarriage.
6th July 1535
Sir Thomas More was executed by beheading for refusing to sign the Act of Succession and accept Henry VIII as the Supreme Head of the Church in England.
November 1535
Henry VIII began pursuing Jane Seymour as a love interest.
An Act of Union joined England and Wales and made Henry VIII King of both.
Hans Holbein the Younger was appointed court painter.
7th January 1536
Catherine of Aragon died.
24th January 1536
King Henry VIII suffered a fall during a joust that left him unconscious for two hours.
1st May 1536
Anne Boleyn was arrested on a charge of treason for having committed adultery.
19th May 1536
Anne Boleyn was executed by beheading for treason on Tower Green.
30th May 1536
Henry VIII married Jane Seymour at Whitehall Palace, London.
8th June 1536
Dissolution of the monasteries began. Over the course of three years more than 500 monasteries were closed.
22nd July 1536
Henry’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, died of tuberculosis.
13th October 1536
The Pilgrimage of Grace began. It was a rebellion against the English Reformation and the closure of the monasteries led by Robert Aske.
12th October 1537
A son, Edward, was born to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour at Hampton Court Palace.
24th October 1537
Jane Seymour died from puerperal fever.
4th October 1539
A treaty of marriage, arranged by Thomas Cromwell, agreed the betrothal of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves.
6th January 1540
Despite the fact that he did not like his bride, Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves at Greenwich Palace.
April 1540
Henry VIII began pursuing Kathryn Howard as a love interest.
10th June 1540
Thomas Cromwell was charged with high treason.
9th July 1540
The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves was annulled. As a gift for agreeing to the annulment of the marriage, Anne was given Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, a pension for life and was made an honorary sister to the King.
28th July 1540
Henry VIII married Katheryn Howard at Oatlands Palace.
27th August 1541
Kathryn Howard appointed her former lover Francis Dereham as her private secretary.
18th October 1541
Henry VIII’s sister Margaret died in Scotland.
12th November 1541
Kathryn Howard was arrested, charged with treason for committing adultery.
The Crown of Ireland Act declared that Henry and descendant kings of England would also be King of Ireland .
13th February 1542
Katheryn Howard was executed by behading for treason.
24th November 1542
Battle of Solway Moss – the English army defeated the Scots.
8th December 1542
A daughter, Mary was born to James V of Scotland and his wife Mary of Guise.
14th December 1542
James V of Scotland died. His infant daughter, Mary became Queen of Scotland.
12th July 1543
Henry VIII married Katherine Parr at Hampton Court Palace.
14th July 1543
A new Succession Act settled the succession on the children of Henry VIII, Edward, Mary and Elizabeth.
9th September 1543
James V’s daughter Mary, aged 9 months, was crowned Queen of Scots.
May 1544
Thomas Wriothesley became Lord Chancellor.
May 1544
Henry VIII led an army into France.
14th September 1544
Henry VIII took Boulogne for England.
19th July 1545
Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose sank in the Solent.
24th April 1546
Henry VIII established the English navy.
28th January 1547
Henry VIII died at Whitehall Palace. He was succeeded by his son, Edward who became King Edward VI of England, Ireland and Wales, the third monarch of the Tudor period.
4th May 1547
Katherine Parr secretly married Edward VI’s uncle, Sir Thomas Seymour.
5th September 1548
Katherine Parr died 6 days after giving birth to a daughter, Mary Seymour.
15th January 1549
The Act of Uniformity introduced the Protestant Book of Common Prayer. All other prayer books were forbidden as was the Catholic mass.
16th January 1549
Thomas Seymour was arrested and charged with treason for plotting to marry Princess Elizabeth.
June 1549
There were protests in the West of England against the Book of Common Prayer and the very pro Protestant policy of the King.
April 1552
Edward VI contracted smallpox. The illness left him physically weak.
21st June 1553
Edward VI nominated Protestant Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary, to be his successor.
10th July 1553
Edward VI died. As directed by Edward, Lady Jane Grey became Queen. She was the fourth monarch of the Tudor period but only reigned for nine days and was not crowned.
19th July 1553
Henry VIII’s daughter Mary became Queen Mary I of England, Wales and Ireland, the fifth monarch of the Tudor period. She vowed to restore Catholicism to Britain. Jane Grey was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
23rd August 1553
Bishop Stephen Gardiner was released from imprisonment and was created Lord Chancellor of England
1st October 1553
Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was crowned Queen Mary I.
12th January 1554
Lady Jane Grey was executed by beheading on Tower Green, London.
February 1554
Thomas Wyatt led a rebellion against Mary I and her pro-Catholic policies.
18th March 1554
Princess Elizabeth was arrested and taken to the Tower of London. Mary was worried that Protestant factions would try to put Elizabeth on the throne in her stead.
19th May 1554
Princess Elizabeth was moved from the Tower of London and placed under house arrest at Woodstock.
25th July 1554
Mary I married Philip II of Spain at Winchester Cathedral.
November 1554
The Second Act of Repeal made null and void all religious laws passed since 1529.
4th February 1555
The public burning of Protestants began. John Rogers was the first of 284 people, including Bishops Ridley, Latimer and Gardiner as well as Thomas Cranmer, to be burned at the stake.
April 1556
Catholic Cardinal Reginald Pole was made Archbishop of Canterbury
7th June 1557
England declared war on France.
17th July 1557
Anne of Cleves died at Chelsea Old Palace, London.
7th January 1558
The French took Calais which had been in English hands for two centuries.
24th April 1558
Mary Queen of Scots married the Dauphin of France, Francis, at Notre Dame Cathedral.
17th November 1558
Mary I died. She was succeeded by her sister, Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth I of England, Ireland and Wales, the sixth monarch of the Tudor period.
15th January 1559
Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth I at Westminster Abbey.
8th May 1559
The Act of Uniformity made Protestantism the official faith of England. The Act of Supremacy made Elizabeth Supreme Head of the Church in England.
5th December 1560
Mary Queen of Scots’ husband, Francis II of France, died.
February 1562
John Hawkins began English involvement in the slave trade.
26th April 1564
William Shakespeare was christened in Stratford-upon-Avon.
29th July 1565
Mary Queen of Scots married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.
19th June 1566
A son, James, was born to Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley at Edinburgh Castle.
19th June 1567
Mary Queen of Scots was implicated in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley.
24th July 1567
Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate the throne in favour of her infant son who became James VI of Scotland.
May 1568
Mary Queen of Scots fled to England and sought the protection of Elizabeth I.
Autumn 1569
A number of northern Catholic nobles mounted a rebellion against the rule of Elizabeth I. They wanted to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots.
27th April 1570
Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I.
September 1580
Francis Drake returned to England having circumnavigated the World.
4th April 1581
Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.
4th June 1584
Sir Walter Raleigh established a colony on Roanoke Island which he named Virginia after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth.
July 1586
The Babington Plot was uncovered. Anthony Babington had sent secret coded letters to Mary Queen of Scots planning her escape from imprisonment and a rebellion set to overthrow Elizabeth and place Mary on the throne.
8th February 1587
Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle.
August 1588
The English navy defeated the Spanish Armada.
6th April 1590
Elizabeth’s councillor, Francis Walsingham, died.
22nd December 1590
James VI of Scotland married Anne of Denmark.
William Shakespeare wrote his first play, Henry VI part 1.
4th August 1598
Elizabeth’s councillor, Sir William Cecil, died.
31st December 1600
The East India Company was founded.
17th December 1601
The Poor Law was introduced. This law distinguished between deserving and undeserving poor.
24th March 1603
Elizabeth I died. The Tudor period ended as the next in line to the throne was James Stewart, King of Scotland. James became King James I of England, Ireland and Wales and James VI of Scotland. He declared himself King of Great Britain.


First published 2017; updated and re-published Jul 22, 2021 @ 10:28 am – Updated – May 1, 2024 @ 2:57 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2017 – 2024). What were the main events of the Tudor period? Available: https://www.tudornation.com/what-were-the-main-events-of-the-tudor-period Last accessed [date]