By Tim Lambert

There have been many famous women in British history. Below is a list of some of them.


In 61 AD she led the Iceni tribe of what is now East Anglia in a rebellion against the Romans

Berta or Bertha 539-612

In the 6th century AD England was divided into small kingdoms and the English were pagans. However Berta was a Christian and she married the king of Kent. It was partly due to her influence that Kent was converted to Christianity.

Hilda of Whitby 614-680

Hilda was an influential woman in the Saxon church who founded Whitby Abbey. In 664 she hosted the Synod of Whitby.

Gruoch 1007-1060 She was the real Lady Macbeth

Lady Godiva 11th Century

Lady Godiva certainly existed (she is mentioned in documents of the time) but whether her famous naked ride took place it is impossible to say. According to the story her husband Leofric was taxing the people of Coventry heavily and Godiva begged him to remove the tax. He jokingly said he would lift the tax if she rode through the town naked. Godiva did so!

Matilda 1102-1167 Queen of England 1135-1154

Lady Agnes Randolph aka Black Agnes 1312-1369 She defended a castle

Alice Perrers 1340-1400 She was the mistress of the English King Edward III

Julian of Norwich 1342-1416

Despite the masculine name Julian was a woman. She was a famous mystic and writer. Julian wrote about the 'motherhood' of God.

Margery Kempe 1373-c. 1439

Margery was an English mystic. The story of her life became a famous book The Book of Margery Kempe

Jane Shore c. 1445-1527 She was the mistress of the English King Edward IV

Anne Neville 1456-1485 She was the wife of Richard III and Queen of England 1483-1485.

Anne Askew 1521-1546 She was an important English Protestant

Anne Boleyn 1501-1536 She was an English Queen

Elizabeth I 1533-1603 She was queen of England

Catherine Parr 1512-1548 She was an English queen

Mary Tudor 1516-1558 She was queen of England

Amye Everard Ball In 1637 she became the first woman in England to be granted a patent

Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672 Anne was a poet of the 17th Century. She was born in England but in 1630 she emigrated to North America.

Margaret Fell 1614-1702 She helped to found the Quakers

Mary Beale 1633-1699 She was an artist

Margaret Hughes c. 1660-1719 She was the first professional woman actress in England

Mary Astell 1666-1711 She was a famous philosopher

Queen Anne 1665-1714 Anne was queen of Britain

Hannah Glasse 1708-1770 She was famous for writing cookery books

Catharine Macaulay 1731-1791 She was an English historian

Mary Wollstonecraft 1759-1797 She is famous for her book A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Elizabeth Fry 1780-1845 She was a great prison reformer

Jane Austen 1775-1817 She was a great writer

Mary Shelley 1797-1851 Mary was a writer. She is famous for her novel Frankenstein

Ada Lovelace 1815-1852 Ada was a famous mathematician

Grace Darling 1815-1842 In Britain Grace Darling rowed a little boat 1 mile through a storm to rescue 5 people from a steamship that had struck rocks. She became a heroine.

Charlotte Bronte 1816-1855 She was also a writer

Emily Bronte 1818-1848 She was another writer

Queen Victoria 1819-1901 She was queen of Britain

Catherine Booth 1829-1890 Catherine helped to found the Salvation Army

Gertrude Jekyll 1843-1932 She was a famous gardener

Mary Kingsley 1862-1900 She was a woman explorer

Beatrix Potter 1866-1943 She was a famous author

Margaret Bondfield 1873-1953 In 1929 she became the first woman cabinet minister in Britain

Agatha Christie 1890-1976 She was a famous writer

Enid Blyton 1897-1968 She was a children's writer

Amy Johnson 1903-1941 She was a famous woman pilot

Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013 She was the first woman prime minister of Britain

A History of Women's Jobs

A History of Women's Rights

A Timeline of Women Writers