This Day in History - 11th June
1381Wat Tyler led the peasants of Southern England in a march to London; the first popular rebellion in English history. His leadership proved one of the chief factors in the success of protest against the harsh taxation of the poorer classes.
1488James III of Scotland was murdered by rebellious Scottish nobles and was succeeded by his 15 year old son, James IV.
1509Eighteen year old King Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, the first of his six wives. When Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry divorced her against the will of the Roman Catholic Church, thus precipitating the Protestant Reformation in England. Henry went on to have five more wives; two of whom (Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard) he executed for alleged adultery after he grew tired of them. Mary, his only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon, ascended to the throne upon the death of Edward VI in 1553.
1770Captain James Cook, in his ship Endeavour, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef during his first voyage of exploration. The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed for almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach. When he eventually arrived at Possession Island, he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory.
1776John Constable, English landscape painter was born. He is best known for his paintings representing his native valley of the River Stour, an area that came to be known as 'Constable country'.
1847Sir John Franklin, English naval officer and Arctic explorer, died in Canada, in an attempt to discover the North-West Passage.
1907Gloucestershire dismissed Northamptonshire for 12 runs. It was the lowest total in English county cricket. George Dennett (a left arm spin bowler) took 8 wickets for 9 runs and the other 2 were caught by England Test Player Gilbert Jessop.
1937 The death of RJ Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire aircraft. Born at this house in 1895 in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire, his single-seat fighter aircraft was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War and continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s. The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was the only British fighter in production throughout the war.
1952English cricketer Denis Compton hit his 100th century.
1955Eighty three people were killed and at least 100 were injured after an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz collided at the 24 Hours Le Mans race. The race was continued, officially in order to prevent departing spectators from crowding the roads and slowing down ambulances. Britain's Mike Hawthorn and the Jaguar team, led by motorsport manager Lofty England won the race with teammate Bueb. As a mark of respect, the pair did not indulge in wild celebration. Funeral services for the dead were held the next day at the cathedral in the town of Le Mans. It was the deadliest ever accident in motorsports.
1959The Hovercraft, invented by Christopher Cockerell was officially demonstrated for the first time, at Southampton.
1965It was announced that all four members of the British group The Beatles, would be awarded MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in Queen Elizabeth II's birthday honours list. John Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen on 25th November 1969, as an act of protest against the Vietnam war.
1972Six people were killed and 126 injured when a train derailed on a sharp curve at Eltham Well Hall station in London. At the subsequent public inquiry it was revealed that the driver (who was also killed) had been intoxicated and had most likely been drinking alcohol at the controls.
1987Margaret Thatcher declared she was 'raring to go' after winning a record third term as Prime Minister.
1997The British House of Commons voted for a total ban on handguns in a free vote.
2012Downing Street admitted that David Cameron had left his eight year old daughter in the pub after a Sunday lunch two months previously, because of a mix-up with his wife Samantha. The story proved embarrassing for the Prime Minister, as it came on the same day that the government relaunched its £450m 'Troubled Families Programme'.
2014JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, made a £1m donation to help fund the campaign against Scottish independence.