Life & Times



Political events

Notable events

Robert Hooke events


Charles I 1625 to 1649





Robert Boyle born 25th January




Christopher Wren born 20th October





Born 18th July in Freshwater, Isle of Wight



Nov 24, A 2nd predicted transit of Venus occurred. Jeremiah Horrocks of England predicted and observed the event with his friend William Crabtree



Civil War 1642 - 1651

King Charles I and his family fled London for Oxford.

Aug 22, Civil war in England began as Charles I declared war on the Puritan Parliament at Nottingham


Aug 13, Christian Huygens discovered the Martian south polar cap

Jan 8, Astronomer Galileo Galilei (77) died in Arcetri, Italy

Dec 25, (OS) Isaac Newton (d.1727), English physicist, mathematician and scientist, was born in Woolsthorpe



Jul 27, Cromwell defeated the Royalists at the Battle of Gainsborough.




Jul 2, Lord Cromwell crushed the Royalists at the Battle of Marston Moor near York, England




Charles I surrenders to the Scots at Newark








Charles I arrives on the Isle of Wight

Oxford surrenders

Father dies October. Robert moves to London to study under Peter Lely the renowned portrait painter but this does not suit him. He also had some instruction in drawing from Samuel Cowper. Enters Westminster School


Jan 30, King Charles I of England, who ruled from 1625-1649, was beheaded for treason at Banqueting House, Whitehall, by the hangman Richard Brandon

Council of State 1649 to 1653


Enters Westminster School and the house of the famous Dr. Busby. He learnt to play the organ. He mastered six books of Euclid in a week


Establishment of the Protectorate

Apr 20, Oliver Cromwell dissolved the English parliament

Apr 12, England, Ireland and Scotland united.


He takes up a poor scholar’s choristers place at Christ Church Oxford and becomes a friend of Christopher Wren who had entered Wadham College three years earlier and was also from Westminster School



Mar 25, Christiaan Huygens, Dutch inventor and astronomer, discovered Titan, Saturn's largest satellite.

Studies Astronomy with Seth Ward and assists Thomas Willis in Chemistry



Christiaan Huygens interpreted Saturn’s “ears” as a simple flat ring

Christian Huygens invented the first pendulum clock, as described in his 1658 article "Horologium". It was built by Solomon Coste

Chris Huygens' pendulum clock was regulated by a mechanism with a "natural" period of oscillation and had an error of less than 1 minute a day

Starts assisting Robert Boyle having been recommended by Willis


Richard Cromwell


Contrived and perfected a working air pump for Robert Boyle and conducted experiments on combustion with Robert Boyle. Describes the balance spring applied to a circular pendulum for pocket watches



Christien Huygens of Holland used a 2-inch telescope lens and discovered that the Martian day is nearly the same as an Earth day

The British Parliament invoked law that made it a crime, punishable by burning at the stake, to forecast the weather.



Restoration of Charles II

Foundation of The Royal Society

September 25 – Samuel Pepys has his first cup of tea



Apr 23rd - English king Charles II crowned in London

Jan 30th - Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is ritually executed after having been dead for two years


May 3rd - Johannes Hevelius observes 3rd transit of Mercury ever to be seen

Jun 5th - Isaac Newton admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge

Jun 23rd - Marriage contract for Charles II of England & Catharina of Portugal

Moves to London with Robert Boyle. Publishes a pamphlet on capillary attraction presented on 10th April


Oct 17th - Charles II of Great Britain sells Dunkirk to France for 2.5 million livres (£320,000 )

Feb 13th - Elisabeth Stuart, of James I of Scotland and England, dies at 65

The Royal Society 1st Charter 15th July

Sep 12th - John Flamsteed sees partial solar eclipse, stirs his interest in astronomy

Appointed Curator of Experiments at The Royal Society on 12th November. Conducted experiments on “weight” at the top of Westminster Abbey



The Royal Society 2nd Charter 23rd April

Nominated for MA at Oxford. Elected to Fellow of The Royal Society on 3rd June




Observed and recorded spot on Jupiter moving from east to west by about half a diameter in two hours on the evening of 9th May. Discovers 5th star in Orion. Proposed that the freezing point of water be zero on the thermometric scale.


Jan 26th - France declares war on England & Munster

Aug 4th - Sea battle between Netherlands & England

Aug 5th - English fleet beats Dutch under Michiel de Ruyter

Aug 9th - Rear Admiral Robert Holmes leads a raid on the Dutch island of Terschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships in the Vlie estuary, and pillaging the town of West-Terschelling, an act later known as "Holmes's Bonfire".


Great plague of London

Nov 14th - Samuel Pepys reports on 1st blood transfusion (between dogs)

His post as Curator of Experiments at The Royal Society made permanent together with rooms at Gresham College in Bishopsgate Street London. Nominated Professor of Geometry at Gresham College. His mother Cecellie dies at Newport on the Isle of Wight. Publishes Micrographia. Demonstrates his spring balance pocket watch to The Royal society. Hooke and Wren study two comets.



Sept 2nd - Great Fire of London begins at 2.00 am in Pudding Lane, 80% of London is destroyed.     Sept 5th - Great Fire of  London ends leaving 13,200 houses destroyed and eight dead.



Presents a paper on planetary motion. Publishes Cometa.




Presents a lecture on earthquakes. Develops his ideas on fossils and the changing shape of the earth. Appointed a City Surveyor for the rebuilding of London in partnership with Christopher Wren after the “Great Fire”.



Jul 7th - Isaac Newton receives MA from Trinity College, Cambridge




31 May - Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last entry in his diary

29 October - Isaac Newton appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge

Robert Boyle discovers the chemical element now known as phosphorus.[2]

Christopher Wren appointed Surveyor of the King's Works.

Attempts to measure the parallax of a fixed star




Appointed Assistant to Christopher Wren for the rebuilding of 51 London churches




Presents a paper to The Royal Society on the Motion of the Earth




Publishes a paper on the diffraction of light




Produces an “Arithmetric Machine” better than Leibniz’s




Publishes “An Attempt to Prove the Motion of the Earth from Observations”, he had previously read a paper on this subject to the Royal Society in 1671. Publishes “Animadversions” which criticises Helevius but also contains a clear description of Hooke 's Universal Joint. Designs a clock driven telescope and a gear wheel cutting engine. Architect for the design and construction of The Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam). Sets out the theory of the Arch. Building of St. Paul's Cathedral with Christopher Wren.




Publishes “Descriptions of Helioscope

”. Constructs the first Gregorian telescope. Architect for Montague House. Had some input with the building of The Greenwich Observatory




Hooke takes over as Secretary to The Royal Society on the death of Oldenberg. Designed The Monument to The Great Fire of London. His elder brother commits suicide




Presented “Lectures de Potentia Restitutiva” giving the first statement of Hooke’s Law as applied to springs, elasticity and kinetic theory of gases. Observed that a falling barometer was an indicator of bad weather. Artichitect for The Royal College of Physicians.




Wrote to Isaac Newton suggesting an inverse Square Law for Planetary Motion.



Christopher Wren Appointed President of The Royal Society





Hooke steps down as Secretary to The Royal Society in November and is replaced by Richard Waller.


James II






Hooke’s niece and housekeeper dies


William III

Mary II of Scotland





Robert Boyle dies 30th December

Created Doctor of Physic




Hooke’s heath failing




Hooke becomes blind and bedridden



Isaac Newton appointed President of The Royal Society until his death

Hooke dies on 3rd March in his rooms at Gresham College. He was buried at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate, London.






George II





Christopher Wren dies 25th February