January - Parliament passes an Act encouraging iconoclasm.
24 March - England and France sign the Treaty of Boulogne; England withdraws from Boulogne in France and returns territorial gains in Scotland.
French Protestant Church of London established by Royal Charter.
approx. date - Establishment of St Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London.
11 October - John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, de facto Lord Protector of England, is created Duke of Northumberland.
Parliament passes the Ale Houses Act licensing taverns for the first time.
Silver sixpence and crown first minted.
Outbreak of sweating sickness.
January - Act of Uniformity imposes the Second Book of Common Prayer (with effect from March).
22 January - Execution of the former Lord Protector Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset for treason.
24 February - The privileges of the Hanseatic League are abolished in England.
King Edward VI founds 35 grammar schools, including Shrewsbury; Leeds Grammar School is also established.
16 June - King Edward founds Christ's Hospital for London orphans.
21 June - King Edward nominates Lady Jane Grey as his successor.
6 July - King Edward VI dies of tuberculosis.
10 July - Lady Jane Grey is proclaimed Queen of England.
19 July - Thomas White Lord Mayor of London proclaims Queen Mary as the rightful Queen — Lady Jane Grey is imprisoned after using the title of queen for nine days.
9 August - Mary arrives in London from Framlingham.
22 August - Duke of Northumberland, a supporter of Lady Jane Grey, executed.
August - Richard Chancellor enters the White Sea and reaches Archangel, going on to the court of Ivan IV of Russia, opening up trade between England and Russia.
September - Protestant bishops in England are arrested and Roman Catholic bishops are restored.
Approximate date - Ralph Roister Doister, the first known comedy in the English language, is written by London schoolmaster Nicholas Udall for his pupils to perform. Gammer Gurton's Needle by "Mr. S." follows.
25 January - Wyatt's rebellion: Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Queen Mary's proposed marriage to Prince Philip of Spain.
9 February - Wyatt's rebellion collapses and he surrenders in London.
12 February - After claiming the throne of England the previous year, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason alongside her husband.
17 March - Princess Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London, suspected of involvement in Wyatt's rebellion.
21 May - A Royal Charter is granted to Derby School.
25 July - Wedding of Queen Mary and Prince Philip of Spain, only son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, at Winchester Cathedral under the terms of the Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain.
November - English captain John Lok voyages to Guinea.
30 November - England formally rejoins the Roman Catholic Church.
c. December - Revival of the Heresy Acts: Parliament revives laws against heresy.
Foundation of Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall, and The Free Grammar School of King Philip and Queen Mary, Clitheroe.
4 February - John Rogers, burned at the stake at Smithfield, London, is the first Marian Protestant martyr.
8 February - Laurence Saunders is the second Protestant martyr.
9 February - Rowland Taylor, Rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk, and John Hooper, deposed Bishop of Gloucester, are burned at the stake.
1 May - Foundation of St John's College, Oxford.
30 May - Foundation of Trinity College, Oxford.
12 July - The first four Canterbury Martyrs are burned at the stake.
16 October - Two of the Oxford Martyrs, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, are burned at the stake.
English captain John Lok returns from Guinea with 5 Africans to train as interpreters for future trading voyages.
The Muscovy Company established.
Establishment of the following grammar schools: Boston Grammar School, Gresham's School at Holt, Norfolk (founded by Sir John Gresham) and Ripon Grammar School (re-foundation).
Richard Eden translates The Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India, urging his countrymen to follow the lead of Spain in exploring the New World.
January - Soldier Sir Henry Dudley, from France, plots to raise an invasion force which is planned to land on the Isle of Wight, march on London, remove Queen Mary to exile in Spain and place the Protestant Elizabeth on the throne. By July, the plot is discovered and abandoned.
21 March - The third of the Oxford Martyrs, Thomas Cranmer, deposed Archbishop of Canterbury, is burned at the stake for treason.
22 March - Reginald Pole enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.
27 June - Thirteen Protestant Stratford Martyrs are burned at the stake in London.
Establishment of Laxton Grammar School.
Period of rapid inflation; prices of many basic commodities double in 12 months.
28 February - A commercial treaty is signed with Russia.
May - Benedictine monks allowed to return to Westminster Abbey.
5 June - Publication in London of Tottel's Miscellany (Songes and Sonettes), the first printed anthology of English poetry.
7 June - Italian War of 1551–59: England, now allied with Spain, declares war on France.
10 August - Italian War: English and Spanish victory over the French at the Battle of St. Quentin. First record of a Royal Artillery Band.
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, is refounded by John Caius.
The following schools are founded: Brentwood School, Essex, by Sir Antony Browne; Hampton School, Hampton, London, by Robert Hammond; and Repton School, Derbyshire, by Sir John Port.
Robert Recorde's The Whetstone of Witte is published, the first English book on algebra, containing the first recorded use of the equals sign and also the first use in English of plus and minus signs.
Thomas Tusser's instructional poem A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie is published.
7 January - French troops led by Francis, Duke of Guise take Calais, the last continental possession of England.
15 November - The last five Protestant martyrs of the English Reformation are burnt, at Canterbury.
17 November - Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I dies and is succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth, who will rule for 44 years.
20 November - William Cecil appointed principal Secretary of State.
15 January - Elizabeth I of England is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
23 January - Elizabethan Religious Settlement: Parliament passes the Act of Uniformity and the Act of Supremacy, re-establishing the Protestant Church of England.
10 February - House of Commons makes a 'Loyal Address', urging Queen Elizabeth to marry.
2 April - Peace of Cateau Cambrésis - France makes peace with England and Spain. France gives up most of its gains in Italy (including Savoy), keeping only Saluzzo, but keeps the three Lorraine bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, and the formerly English town of Calais.
19 December - Matthew Parker enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Reintroduction of the Book of Common Prayer.
Benedictine monks once again expelled from Westminster Abbey.
The predecessor of the private banking house of Child & Co. (which will still exist in the 21st century) is established in London.
April 12 - Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, Lord Great Chamberlain (died 1604)
Ralph Sherwin, Roman Catholic martyr and saint (died 1581)
Henry Barrowe, Puritan and Separatist (died 1593)
Philip Henslowe, theatrical entrepreneur (died 1616)
Approximate date - Edward Somerset, 4th Earl of Worcester (died 1628)
2 May - William Camden, historian (died 1623)
George Tuchet, 1st Earl of Castlehaven (died 1617)
1 February - Edward Coke, colonial entrepreneur and jurist (died 1634)
30 December - Simon Forman, occultist and astrologer (died 1611)
Thomas Aufield, Catholic martyr (died 1585)
Richard Hakluyt, author, editor and translator (died 1616)
Philemon Holland, translator (died 1637)
Edmund Spenser, poet (died 1599)
Jack Ward, pirate (died 1622)
Approximate date - Henry Robinson, Bishop of Carlisle (died 1616)
Giovanni Florio, writer and translator (died 1625)
Jasper Heywood, translator of Seneca (died 1598)
William Russell, 1st Baron Russell of Thornhaugh, military leader (died 1613)
March - Richard Hooker, Anglican theologian (died 1600)