John Donne and his time

  • Period: Jan 1, 1572 to

    Donne's Life

  • Jan 16, 1572

    Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England.

  • Jan 21, 1572


    Born in Bread Street, London, England to a Roman Catholic family. His father, John Donne, was a well-to-do ironmonger who died in 1576, leaving his three children to be raised by their mother. John's mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of epigrammatist and playwright John Heywood and was a relative of Sir Thomas More.
  • Jul 7, 1575

    Raid of the Redeswire: Sir John Carmichael defeats Sir John Forster. Last Battle between England and Scotland.

  • Jan 26, 1578

    The sixth and so far last outbreak of the sweating sickness occurs in England.

  • Jun 17, 1579

    Sir Francis Drake, during his circumnavigation of the world, lands in what is now California, which he claims for Queen Elizabeth I. With an English claim here and in Newfoundland, it becomes the basis for English colonial charters which will claim all la

  • Jan 16, 1581

    The English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism.

  • In Stratford-upon-Avon, 18 year-old William Shakespeare and 26 year-old Anne Hathaway pay a 40-pound bond for their marriage license (Shakespeare would later become one of the greatest playwrights in history).

  • John in Oxford

    At the age of 11, John and his younger brother Henry were entered at Hart Hall, University of Oxford where he studied for three years.
  • The Queen Elizabeth's Men troupe of actors is founded.

  • England enters the Eighty Years' War.

  • John in Cambridge

    After Oxford, he spen three years studying in Cambridge but took no degrees at either university because he refused to take the Oath of Supremacy required at graduation.
  • The Treaty of Berwick is signed between Queen Elizabeth I of England and King James VI of Scotland.

  • Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England, after she is implicated in a plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

  • The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, begins to set sail from Spain heading for the English Channel (it will take until May 30 for all of the ships to leave port).

  • John at Thavie's Inn

    He was admitted to study law at Thavies Inn
  • John at Lincoln's Inn

    He was admitted to study law as a member of Lincoln's Inn. It seemed natural that Donne should embark upon a legal or diplomatic career.
  • Henry Donne dies

    His younger brother Henry dies of a fever in prison after being arrested for giving sanctuary to a prescribed Catholic priest. John begins to question his faith.
  • 'Jack' joined a naval expedition

    He joined the naval expedition that Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, led against Cádiz, Spain.
  • Jack joined another expedition

    He joined an expedition to the Azores, where he wrote "The Calm".
  • Jack appointed private secretary

    Upon his return to England in 1598, he was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, afterward Lord Ellesmere.
  • Donne becomes MP

    He became MP for Brackley, and sat in Queen Elizabeth's last Parliament.
  • Jack gets married

    He secretly married Lady Egerton's niece, seventeen-year-old Anne More, daughter of Sir George More, Lieutenant of the Tower, and effectively committed career suicide.
  • The Black Death breaks out in England.

  • Elizabeth I of England dies at Richmond Palace and is succeeded by her cousin's grandson, King James VI of Scotland, uniting the crowns of Scotland and England.

  • The funeral of Elizabeth I of England is held in Westminster Abbey.

  • James I of England is crowned.

  • Gunpowder Plot: A plot by to blow up the English Houses of Parliament is foiled when Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, finds Guy Fawkes in a cellar below the Parliament building and orders a search of the area (records show 36 barrels of gunpowde

  • The Union Flag is adopted as the national flag of Great Britain.

  • Shakespeare's King Lear is performed before King James I in the banqueting hall of Whitehall Palace.

  • "Divine Poems"

  • Jakc refuses to take Anglican orders

    King James persisted, finally announcing that Donne would receive no post or preferment from the King, unless in the church.
  • Jack's father-in-law pays dowry

    A reconciliation was effected between Jack and his father-in-law, and Sir George More was finally induced to pay his daughter's dowry.
  • "Pseudo-Martyr"

    First anti-Catholic poem. It held that English Catholics could pledge an oath of allegiance to James I, King of England, without compromising their religious loyalty to the Pope, it won Donne the favor of the King.
  • "A Funerall Elegie"

    In return for patronage from Sir Robert Drury of Hawstead, he wrote A Funerall Elegie (1610), on the death of Sir Robert's 15-year-old daughter Elizabeth.
  • Jack moves to Drury Lane

  • Galileo Galilei first observes the four Galilean moons of Jupiter: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Io, but is unable to distinguish the latter two until the following day.

  • "Ignatius his Conclave"

    Second anti-Catholic poem.
  • Anniversaire - "An Anatomy of the World"

  • King James Bible is published for the first time in London, England By printer Robert Barker

  • Anniversaire - "Of the Progress of the Soul"

  • Jack enters the ministry

    He reluctantly entered the ministry and was appointed a Royal Chaplain later that year.
  • Jack appointed Reader in Divinity at Lincoln's Inn

    He was appointed Reader in Divinity at Lincoln's Inn (Cambridge had conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity on him two years earlier).
  • In London and neighboring towns, an epidemic of louse-borne typhus ravages the poor, crowded English. Lack of bathing encourages body lice that, when scratched, defecate on the skin, where a minor cut or sore can serve as an entry portal for the typhus-in

  • Anne Donne dies

    Just as things were once again improving, his wife goes and dies, aged 35. She dies just after giving birth to their twelfth child, a stillborn. Seven of their children survived their mother's death.
  • "Holy Sonnets"

  • King James I of England disbands the English Parliament.

  • Charles Stuart (Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland) succeeds James I of England.

  • King Charles I of England dissolves the English Parliament.

  • King Charles I reconvenes the English Parliament and accepts the Petition of Right as a concession to gain his subsidies.

  • Charles I of England dissolves Parliament, starting the Eleven Years' Tyranny in which there is no parliament.

  • Death

    Died aged 57, allegedly of stomach cancer. Is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
  • "Biathanatos" published