On this Day in History ... 31 December

31 Dec is in December.

870 Battle of Englefield

1189 Dec New Bishops Consecrated

1369 Creation of Garter Knights

1600 East India Company Chartered

1660 Rump Parliament

1660 December Creation of Baronets and Peerages

1665 Great Plague of London

1705 Death of Catherine of Braganza Dowager Queen Consort

Battle of Englefield

On 31 Dec 870 Æthelwulf Mercia Earldorman Berkshire (age 45) defeated the Viking army at the Battle of Englefield at Englefield. The Viking Army retreated to Reading [Map]. Sidrac Viking was killed.

1189 Dec New Bishops Consecrated

On 31 Dec 1189 two of Richard I's new bishops were consecrated ...

Bishop William Longchamp was consecrated Bishop of Ely.

Bishop Richard Fitzneal (age 59) was consecrated Bishop of London.

On 31 Dec 1299 Ralph Basset 1st Baron Basset Drayton (age 35) died. His son Ralph Basset 2nd Baron Basset Drayton (age 21) succeeded 2nd Baron Basset Drayton 2C 1295.

On 31 Dec 1302 Frederick Metz III Duke Lorraine (age 62) died. His son Theobald Metz II Duke Lorraine (age 39) succeeded II Duke Lorraine.

On 31 Dec 1318 Walter Fauconberg 2nd Baron Fauconberg (age 54) died. His son John Fauconberg 3rd Baron Fauconberg (age 28) succeeded 3rd Baron Fauconberg. Some sources report his death at Battle of Bannockburn.

1369 Creation of Garter Knights

On 23 Apr 1369 King Edward III of England (age 56) created new Garter Knights

46th John Neville 3rd Baron Neville of Raby (age 32).

47th Robert Dampierre (age 46).

48th John Hastings 2nd Earl Pembroke (age 21). Some sources say 1370 but that would be inconsistent with the numbering?

49th Thomas Grandison 4th Baron Grandison (age 30).

50th Guy de Bryan (age 50). Possibly on 31 Dec 1369?.

On 31 Dec 1369 John Chandos (age 49) was killed. Chandos' force retreated towards the bridge across the Vienne at Lussac-les-Châteaux, along the route to Poitiers through Chauvigny. The French, unaware of their presence, had decided to follow the same route to harass any English troops. The adversaries met at the bridge of Lussac. In the battle, Chandos' long coat made him slip on the frost. James de Saint-Martin, a squire in the house of Sir Bagnac (or Guillaume Boitel, according to Paul Hay du Chastelet) struck Chandos with his lance, piercing his face below the eye. Chandos' uncle Edward Twyford, standing over his wounded nephew, repulsed the attackers. One of his squires pierced both legs of James Saint-Martin with his sword; Saint-Martin died three days later at Poitiers. John Chandos was carried on a large shield to Morthemer, the nearest English fortress. He was buried at Les Aubeniaux, Mazerolles where there is a monument.

On 31 Dec 1426 Thomas Beaufort 1st Duke Exeter (age 49) died at Greenwich [Map]. Some sources say 27 Dec 1426 and 01 Jan 1427. Duke Exeter 2C 1416 and Earl Dorset 2C 1411 extinct.

On 31 Dec 1559 Bishop Owen Oglethorpe (age 52) died.

Henry Machyn's Diary. 31 Dec 1559. The sam day at nyght at the quen('s) court ther was a play a-for her grace (age 26), the wyche the plaers plad shuche matter that they wher commondyd to leyff off, and contenent the maske cam in dansyng.

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East India Company Chartered

On 31 Dec 1600 Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland (age 67) granted a Royal Charter to the Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies aka the East India Company led by George Clifford 3rd Earl of Cumberland (age 42) by which they received a monopoloy on trade with the East Indies. Thomas Smythe (age 42) was appointed first Governor of the East India Company.

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After 31 Dec 1633. Memorial at St Peter's Church, Tawstock [Map] to William Skippon (deceased).

William Skippon: Around 1568 he was born to Bartholomew Skippon at Weasenham, Norfolk. Before 31 Dec 1633 William Skippon (age 65) was appointed Secretary to William Bourchier 3rd Earl Bath. On 31 Dec 1633 William Skippon (age 65) died.

Rump Parliament

Pepy's Diary. 01 Jan 1660. My wife (age 19) … gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year … [the hope was belied.] The condition of the State was thus; viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert (age 40), was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the Army all forced to yield. Lawson (age 45) lies still in the river, and Monk (age 51) is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert (age 40) is not yet come into the Parliament, nor is it expected that he will without being forced to it.

1660 December Creation of Baronets and Peerages

On 31 Dec 1660 ...

George Marwood 1st Baronet (age 59) was created 1st Baronet Marwood Little Busby in Yorkshire.

John Jackson 1st Baronet (age 29) was created 1st Baronet Jackson of Hickleton in Yorkshire.

James Livingston 1st Earl Newburgh (age 38) was created 1st Earl of Newburgh, 1st Viscount of Kinnaird with remainder to his heirs whatsoever.

Great Plague of London

Evelyn's Diary. 31 Dec 1665. Now blessed be God for his extraordinary mercies and preservation of me this year, when thousands, and ten thousands, perished, and were swept away on each side of me, there dying in our parish this year 406 of the pestilence! See Great Plague of London.

Pepy's Diary. 31 Dec 1665. Thus ends this year, to my great joy, in this manner. I have raised my estate from £1300 in this year to £4400. I have got myself greater interest, I think, by my diligence, and my employments encreased by that of Treasurer for Tangier, and Surveyour of the Victualls. It is true we have gone through great melancholy because of the great plague, and I put to great charges by it, by keeping my family long at Woolwich [Map], and myself and another part of my family, my clerks, at my charge at Greenwich [Map], and a mayde at London; but I hope the King (age 35) will give us some satisfaction for that. But now the plague is abated almost to nothing, and I intending to get to London as fast as I can. My family, that is my wife and maids, having been there these two or three weeks. The Dutch war goes on very ill, by reason of lack of money; having none to hope for, all being put into disorder by a new Act that is made as an experiment to bring credit to the Exchequer, for goods and money to be advanced upon the credit of that Act. I have never lived so merrily (besides that I never got so much) as I have done this plague time, by my Lord Bruncker's (age 45) and Captain Cocke's (age 48) good company, and the acquaintance of Mrs. Knipp, Coleman and her husband, and Mr. Laneare, and great store of dancings we have had at my cost (which I was willing to indulge myself and wife) at my lodgings. The great evil of this year, and the only one indeed, is the fall of my Lord of Sandwich (age 40), whose mistake about the prizes hath undone him, I believe, as to interest at Court; though sent (for a little palliating it) Embassador into Spayne, which he is now fitting himself for. But the Duke of Albemarle (age 57) goes with the Prince to sea this next year, and my Lord very meanly spoken of; and, indeed, his miscarriage about the prize goods is not to be excused, to suffer a company of rogues to go away with ten times as much as himself, and the blame of all to be deservedly laid upon him1. My whole family hath been well all this while, and all my friends I know of, saving my aunt Bell, who is dead, and some children of my cozen Sarah's, of the plague. But many of such as I know very well, dead; yet, to our great joy, the town fills apace, and shops begin to be open again. Pray God continue the plague's decrease! for that keeps the Court away from the place of business, and so all goes to rack as to publick matters, they at this distance not thinking of it.

Note 1. According to Granville Penn ("Memorials of Sir W. Penn (age 44)", ii. 488 n.) £2000 went to Lord Sandwich (age 40) and £8000 among eight others.

On 31 Dec 1677 Theobald Taaffe 1st Earl Carlingford (age 74) died.


Death of Catherine of Braganza Dowager Queen Consort

On 31 Dec 1705 Catherine of Braganza Queen Consort England (age 67) died at the Bemposta Palace some twenty years after the death of her husband King Charles II of England Scotland and Ireland. She was buried at Monastery of São Vicente de Fora.

On 31 Dec 1716 James Fitz James 2nd Duke Berwick (age 20) and Catalina Ventura Colón Duchess Berwick 9th Duchess Veragua (age 26) were married. She the daughter of Pedro Manuel Colón 7th Duke Veragua. He the son of James Fitzjames 1st Duke Berwick (age 46) and Honora Burke Duchess Berwick. He a grandson of King James II of England Scotland and Ireland.

Minutes of the Society of Antiquaries. 31 Dec 1718. Mr Samuel Gale brough a large and accurate Discourse upon the Horn of Ulphus given to the Church of York which is Engraven in Copper by the Society, for which the thanks of the Society is Unanimously given to him, it being read over. A Latin Inscription to be put under the New Plate of Rich: II was read over and approved by the Society.

On 31 Dec 1730 Newcomen Wallis (age 34) died. He was buried at Lincoln Cathedral [Map].

Newcomen Wallis: In 1696 he was born. In or before 1724 Newcomen Wallis (age 28) and Catherine Collingwood were married.

On 31 Dec 1730 Lucius Carey 6th Viscount Falkland (age 43) died. On 31 Dec 1730 His son Lucius Charles Carey 7th Viscount Falkland (age 23) succeeded 7th Viscount Falkland.

On 31 Dec 1743 Charles Hervey (age 40) and Martha Maria Howard (age 38) were married. There was no issue from the marriage. He the son of John Hervey 1st Earl Bristol (age 78) and Elizabeth Felton Countess Bristol. They were third cousin once removed.NOTEXT


On 31 Dec 1750 Francis Augustus Eliott 2nd Baron Heathfield was born to George Augustus Eliott 1st Baron Heathfield (age 33) and Anne Pollexfen Drake (age 24).


On 31 Dec 1804 George Evans 4th Baron Carbery (age 38) died without issue. His uncle John Evans 5th Baron Carbery (age 66) succeeded 5th Baron Carbery. Emilia Crowe Baroness Carbery by marriage Baroness Carbery.

On 31 Dec 1846 Francis Lindley Wood 2nd Baronet (age 75) died. His son Charles Wood 1st Viscount Halifax (age 46) succeeded 3rd Baronet Wood of Barnsley in Yorkshire.

On 31 Dec 1854 Nathaniel Clements 2nd Earl Leitrim (age 86) died. His son William Clements 3rd Earl Leitrim (age 48) succeeded 3rd Earl Leitrim.

On 31 Dec 1874 Algernon Freeman-Mitford 1st Baron Redesdale (age 37) and Clementina Gertrude Helen Ogilvy (age 20) were married.

On 31 Dec 1933 Bishop Leonard Jauncey White Thompson (age 70) died.

On 31 Dec 1964 Edward John Peregrine Cust 7th Baron Brownlow (age 28) and Shirlie Edith Yeaomans were married.