Events from the 1579 in England.

Map from Saxton's Atlas of the Counties of England and Wales, 1579
George Gower's Plimpton Sieve Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, 1579




  • 4–10 February – On the 4th there were heavy snowfalls which continued through the night, and on the next morning the same snow was found in London to lie two feet deep in the shallowest, and otherwise being driven by the wind, very boisterous in the north-east on banks 1 ell or 1½ yds (1.1 or 1.4 m) deep.[1] In the drifts of snow, far deeper in the country, many cattle, and some men and women were overwhelmed and lost. It snowed till the 8th, and froze till the 10th, and then followed a thaw with continual rain a long time after, which caused such high waters, and great floods, that the marshes and low grounds were temporarily inundated, and the water of the Thames rose so high into Westminster Hall, that after the flood receded, says Stowe, "some fishes were found to remain in the hall."[1]
  • 17 February – An Irishman, for murdering of a man in a garden of Stepenheth parish, was hanged in chains on the common called Mile End Green. This common was sometimes a full mile long (from Whitechapel to Stepenheth church) and therefore called Mile End Green, but by 1587, through enclosures, and the building of houses, it remained barely half a mile in length.[1]
  • 25 April – Thomas Bromley, the General Solicitor of Queen Elizabeth, a Counsellor of the Law, and one of the Inner Temple, was made Lord Chancellor.[2]
  • 17 July – About 9 pm, Queen Elizabeth was on the River Thames (between the royal manor of Greenwich and Dartford) in her "privy barge", accompanied by the French ambassador, the Earl of Lincoln, and the Vice-Chamberlain. At the same time, one Thomas Appletree, a young man, and servant to Henry Carey, with two or three others, were in a boat on the Thames, rowing up and down in the same general area. Thomas had a "caliver" or arquebus charged with bullet, and shooting at random, shot one of the watermen, being the second man next to the bales of the barge (within 6 ft (1.8 m) of the Queen) clean through both arms, and moved him out of his place. Thomas being apprehended and condemned to death, was on 21 July brought to the waterside, where was a gibbet set up, directly placed between Dartford and Greenwich. But when the hangman had put the halter about his neck, Sir Christopher Hatton, Captain of the Guard, and one of the Queen's Privy Council, showed the royal pardon, and delivered him from execution.[3][4]
  • August – John Wolton was called to be Bishop of Exeter, and consecrated at Lambeth by Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury.[5]
  • September and October – There were "great winds" and "raging floods" in sundry places, as in the town of Newport: "the cottages were borne down, the corn lost, pasture-ground overwhelmed, and cattle drowned. In the town of Bedford the water came up to the market place, where cupboards, chests, stools, and forms swam about the houses; their fuel, corn and hay, was wrecked and borne away."[3] Also the town of Saint Edes in Huntingtonshire was overflowed suddenly in the night, when all men were at rest; and the waters broke in with such force, that the town was almost all defaced; in Stowe's phrase: "the swans swam down the market place, and all the town about the boats did float."[3] The town of Gormanchester was suddenly flooded, their houses flowed full of water, when men were at rest, and their cattle with other things were destroyed.[3]
  • "John Fox of Woodbridge, William Wickneie of Portsmouth, and Robert More of Harwich", Englishmen, having been prisoners in Turkey about the space of thirteen or fourteen years, with more than two hundred and sixty other Christians of diverse nations, by killing their keeper, escaped, and returned into their native countries.[3]


  • 20 February – Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, who was buried under a sumptuous monument or tomb (by him in his lifetime erected) in Saint Paul's church of London, on 9 March. This Sir Nicholas Bacon in his lifetime gave for six scholars, to be found in Bennet's college in Cambridge, to each of them 3l. 6s. 8d. the year for ever.[1]
  • 21 November – Sir Thomas Gresham, who had in his life built the Royal Exchange in London, between 6 and 7 pm, coming from the same Exchange to his house (which he had sumptuously built) in Bishopsgate street of London, suddenly fell down in his kitchen, and being taken up was found speechless, and presently dead, who afterwards was solemnly buried in his own parish church of Saint Helen there, where he had prepared for himself a sumptuous tomb or monument, without any epitaph or inscription thereupon. This Sir Thomas Gresham in his testament (which long before his death he had ordained) bequeathed diverse large legacies.[3]

See also



  1. ^ a b c d Holinshed & Stow 1586, p. 1271.
  2. ^ Holinshed & Stow 1586, p. 1286.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Holinshed & Stow 1586, p. 1310.
  4. ^ Rollins, Hyder E. (1920). "William Elderton: Elizabethan Actor and Ballad-Writer". Studies in Philology. 17 (2): 223. ISSN 0039-3738.
  5. ^ Holinshed & Stow 1586, p. 1300.