A Timeline of England in the 18th Century

By Tim Lambert


The Act of Settlement is passed

Jethro Tull invents the seed drill

1702 William dies. Anne becomes queen.


The Duke of Marlborough defeats the French at the Battle of Blenheim

The British capture Gibraltar

1706 The Duke of Marlborough defeats the French army at Ramillies

1707 The Act of Union joins England and Scotland

1708 The Duke of Marlborough defeats the army of Louis XIV at Oudenarde


Abraham Darby uses coke instead of charcoal to smelt iron

The Duke of Marlborough wins the battle of Malplaquet against the French

1712 A man named Newcomen makes steam engines for pumping water out of mines

1714 Queen Anne dies. George I becomes king

1715 The first Jacobite uprising. The Highlanders rise but the uprising ends in an indecisive battle near Stirling.

1719 Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe


The South Sea Bubble (stocks in the South Sea Company suddenly fall in price and many people lose huge sums of money.)


Robert Walpole becomes the king’s main minister. People call him the Prime Minister. (Originally it was a term of abuse).

1723 The great architect Christopher Wren dies.


George I dies. George II becomes king.

Isaac Newton dies

1733 John Kay invents the flying shuttle

1735 The Prime Minister moves into 10 Downing Street


The highwayman Dick Turpin is hanged

1742 Prime Minister Robert Walpole resigns

1745 The second Jacobite uprising. The Jacobites invade England and reach as far as Derby but then turn back.

1746 The Jacobites are crushed at the Battle of Culloden

1756 The Seven Years War against France begins

1759 General Wolfe captures Quebec but is killed. His victory ensures Canada will be a British colony not a French one.

1761 The Bridgwater canal opens

1763 The Seven Years War ends

1769 James Watt patents an improved steam engine

1771 Richard Arkwright introduces a loom powered by a water mill

1773 The Stock Exchange is founded

1775 Jane Austen is born


The world’s first iron bridge is built in Shropshire

Samuel Crompton invents the spinning mule

C. 1780

The Industrial Revolution begins to transform Britain

Lord George Gordon leads anti-Catholic riots in London

1783 Britain signs a treaty recognizing the independence of the American colonies


Henry Cort invents the ‘puddling’ process. A new way of making wrought iron. As a result iron production booms.


Edmund Cartwright invents the power loom (one worked by a steam engine). Cotton production grows very rapidly.

1787 The first convicts leave Britain from Portsmouth for Australia

1788 Lord Byron is born

1792 Gas light is invented

1796 Edward Jenner introduces vaccination against smallpox

1799 Income tax is introduced to pay for the war against France