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This Day in History - 17th May country was in a state of Civil War and English barons, in revolt against King John, took possession of London. Warham began a secret inquiry into Henry VIII's marriage with Catherine of Aragon, the first step in divorce proceedings. Boleyn (an English courtier and nobleman, and the brother of queen consort Anne Boleyn) along with Viscount Rochford and four other men were executed for treason.


1649 Cromwell's troops captured 300 Levellers and locked them up in Burford church. (The Levellers believed in civil rights, a 'level' society and religious tolerance and Cromwell was determined to crush them.) Three of the Levellers were executed on Oliver Cromwell’s orders in Burford churchyard, Oxfordshire. Jenner, English pioneer of vaccination was born. Norman Lockyer, English astronomer and co-discoverer of helium, was born. group of holidaymakers set off from London on the first foreign 'package trip' arranged by Thomas Cook. It was a six day holiday in Paris. Cook began his pioneering tour business 20 years previously when he organized the first publicly advertised railway excursion from Leicester to a temperance meeting at Loughborough (11 miles away). first weekly comic paper, Comic Cuts, was published by Alfred Harmsworth, in London. Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. siege of the British garrison at Mafeking by Boer forces was broken. The commander of the garrison, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell and his forces had held firm for 217 days. fall of the last all Liberal Party government. The poor British performance in the early months of the war forced Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith to invite the Conservatives into a coalition. Daylight-Saving Act (‘Summer Time’) was passed in Britain. McClean from Dublin left Newfoundland aboard Super Silver and completed the first transatlantic solo crossing in a rowing boat on 27th July when he arrived at Blacksod Bay, Co. Mayo. coffin containing the body of Charlie Chaplin, missing since his grave was pillaged nearly two months previously, was found. Charles called a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a 'monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend,' sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture. Beverley Allitt was convicted of murdering four babies under her 'care' at the Grantham and Kesteven hospital. Royal Marine commandos (Corporal Alan Chambers, 31, and Marine Charlie Paton, 29) became the first Englishmen to reach the geographical North Pole.