The following list of events is based on William Gates' History of Portsmouth with additional entries by the author. Entries for the Members of Parliament for Portsmouth, The Mayors of Portsmouth and the Governors of Portsmouth have largely been omitted, as they appear elsewhere on this site. Gates cites no references for any entry.
1509 - William Coope appointed Constable of the King's Castle at Portchester and town of Portsmouth.
1512 July 31st—August 2nd - Having a desire to see his Navy together, Henry VIII rode to Portsmouth and offered his Captains a banquet "before their setting forward."
1512 August 9th - Admiral Howard left Portsmouth with 25 ships. On the following day an engagement took place with the French fleet off Brest, in which the Regent, one of the finest of the English ships, and the Cordeliere were burnt through an explosion of gunpowder on the latter. Of the English crew of 800 about 120 escaped, but only 20 Frenchmen were saved out of about 1,500.
1514 - Sir Thomas Wyndham appointed Deputy Lieutenant-Governor of Portsmouth.
1518 February 15th - Writing to Wolsey, the Bishop of Winchester declared that "if war be intended -against England the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth are too feeble for defence."
1531 - Thomas Carpenter elected Mayor. He built a Town Hall in the middle of High-street at his own expense. 1535 - The Vicarage of Portsmouth, held by Nicholas Damyars., was worth at this time £5 10s. The Vicarage of Portissay, held by Thomas Adams was worth, in form of globe land, tithes, oblations, &c., £9 13s. 91d., subject to a deduction of 9s. 7d. for procurations and of certain rent
1536 - The French cut out a Flemish ship from Portsmouth.
1539 - Southsea Castle built by Henry VIII.
1539 - Henry Byckeley (see Men of Portsmouth) elected Mayor. He was a man of great wealth and the largest owner of property in Portsmouth. In 1553 he represented the borough in Parliament.
1540 - The farms of Portsmouth and Portsey rectories were valued at £26 6s. 8d.
1540 - Leland, the antiquary, visited Portsmouth.
1543 July 12th - The rectories of Portsea and Portsmouth were granted to Winchester College.
1545 - John Chadderton appointed Captain of Portsmouth. He also appears to have been one of the Mayor's assistants, and to have held considerable property in the town.
1545 July 18th - Naval battle off Portsmouth. Loss of the Mary Rose.
1547 - Cranmer having eaten meat in Lent, some people at Portsmouth destroyed the images in the Parish Church.
1550 - The whole fleet of Edward VI. (except the Henri Grace do Dieu, which lay off Woolwich) lay at Portsmouth. It amounted to 53 sail, of 6,255 tonnage, manned by 5,136 seamen, 1,885 soldiers, and 759 gunners.
1551 - Richard Wingfield appointed Governor of Portsmouth. The fees at this time were 10s. a day.
1552 - Edward VI visited Portsmouth and criticised the fortifications.
1553 - In August the " Primrose" and " Lion" left Portsmouth on a voyage to Guinea, but returned with the loss of the Captain and a hundred men out of a crew of 140.
1556 May 7th - The Select Council reported to King Philip that measures had been taken for the defence of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
1558 August 27th - The Queen directed Lord Paulet to deliver 200 Men of the Garrison to Lord Adm. Clynton to serve on board the fleet.
1558 September 6th - Lord St. John reported to the Queen that sickness affected more than half the people in Portsmouth, Southampton and the Island.
1558 November 10th Grant was made to William Holstocke, of the office of Keeper of the Storehouses and Docks at Portsmouth, with a fee of £20 for life.
1559 Jan. 26 - A letter was sent to the Council, urging the necessity of completing the fortifications of Portsmouth.
1559 March 6 - Captain Edward Turnour wrote to Lord W. Cecill stating that he is unwilling to speak of the faults of others, but " the sacred profession of perfect men of war is now by ill-training, grown to disorder and mischief." He lives like a conjuror among devils.
1559 - Sir Adrian Poynings appointed Governor of Portsmouth.
1560 - Portenary submitted to the Council his plans for the fortification of Portsmouth.
1562 September 27 - Sir W. Keyllway was appointed to take charge of Portsmouth in place of Lord C. Paulet. Two days later he wrote to Sir W. Cecill complaining of the way in which Sir Adrian Poynings had stripped the Government House.
1562 September 29 - Darbie Savell elected Mayor. He had previously been " presented " ten times and fined for carrying on the trade of an inn-keeper, " not being free."
1562 October 1 - A quantity of armour was delivered at Portsmouth, and Sir W. Keyllwey reported that there was no place but the Church (Garrison) in which it would be stored. On the same day the Fleet sailed with the Earl of Warwick's expedition.
1563 Feb. 10 - Proclamation by sound of trumpet was solemnly made against " such° as did helpe the Frenchmen to rob and take divers ships and merchandise of the King of Spain° and of divers other merchants strangers."
1563 March 30 - Sir Adrian Poynings resumed the command of Portsmouth.
1563 June - The plague introduced by Portuguese ships, broke out at Portsmouth.
1563 July 31 - Return of the Earl of Warwick from his unsuccessful expedition to Newhaven.
1566 - Francis Robyns elected Mayor. He had a few years previously been " presented " by the Leet Jury five times and fined for carrying on the trade of a tailor, " not being free."
1568 Jane 20 - An order was given to the Borough Chamberlain to make up the butts within fourteen days "in payne to lose xx." In the fifth year of his reign Edward IV ordained that butts should he erected in every township for the practice of archery, at which the inhabitants should be compelled to shoot every feast-day under a penalty of a halfpenny for each omission. Henry VIII renewed this Act, and it was rigidly enforced at this date.
1571 - Sir Henry Radclyffe, afterwards Earl of Sussex, appointed Governor of Portsmouth.
1585 August - Now " great bridge" constructed at the entrance of the town, with gate and drawbridge.
1586 - Eight hundred men were this year employed upon the fortifications.
1588 - The "utter bridge" and stone gate finished at Portsmouth.
1588 December - Francis Cotton, writing to Lord Burghley, says he has been solicited even with tears to represent the lamentable distress of the men engaged on the works at Portsmouth, who have had no money since April last.
1590 Twelfth Eve Great storm at Portsmouth, in which God's House was seriously damaged.
1591 - The soldiers at Portsmouth under the Earl of Sussex only numbered 60, their rate of pay being 8d. a day. Two years later the entire monthly charge for the " ordinary " was £42 18s.
1591 August - Queen Elizabeth visited Portsmouth.
1597 October 10th - William Green and Thomas Thorney, chosen members for Portsmouth. The latter received 2s. a day from the Corporation to defray his expenses.
1598 - Thomas Byston for refusing to accept office as Mayor was fined £6 13s. 4d. Owen Tottie was chosen in his staid.
1598 - Owen Tottie elected Mayor. He had some years previously been " presented " no less than than eleven times, and fined for carrying on the business of a glover " not being free."
See also the Chronology of Events for the periods
500-1499 | 1600-1699 | 1700-1799 | 1800-1849 | 1850-1899 | 1900-1936