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18 December: On this day in history

What events happened on 18 December in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

Published: December 18, 2021 at 6:05 am
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18 December 1381

Anne of Bohemia, the future wife of Richard II, disembarked at Dover. Shortly afterwards the ship that had carried her across the Channel foundered. The incident was viewed as a bad omen by contemporary observers.


18 December 1619

Birth in Prague of Prince Rupert, the son of Elector Frederick V and Elizabeth, the daughter of King James VI and I. He served his uncle, Charles I, as a general and his cousin, Charles II, as an admiral.

18 December 1640

William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, was impeached for treason by the House of Commons. He was eventually executed in 1645 after failure to secure a guilty verdict forced his enemies to pass a Bill of Attainder.

18 December 1707

Hymn writer Charles Wesley is born in Lincolnshire.

18 December 1883

Joseph Poole, a 28-year old member of the Irish Fenian Movement, is hanged in Richmond Prison, Dublin for the murder of government informer John Kenny who had been shot dead the previous July.


18 December 1912

Newspapers announced the discovery in Sussex of the skull and jaw of the ‘Piltdown Man’. It was presented as the missing link between apes and humans but 40 years later the ‘discovery’ was revealed to have been an elaborate hoax.

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Dominic SandbrookHistorian and presenter

Dominic Sandbrook is historian and presenter, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine


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