British characters

Characters that are British by geography, not necessarily those that are produced in Britain (so no Judge Dredd or the Doctor, for example), but including those who might predate Britain as a nation.

List items

  • Though most reported sightings of the monster come post-1933, allegedly a creature mentioned in Adomnán's 7th century Vita Columbae (Life of St. Columba) is the earliest mention of Nessie, recording details of a sighting a century or so before the text was written.

  • Legendary British king, supposedly active circa 5th or 6th century AD. First confirmed mention in print was Nennius' Historia Brittonum in the 9th century.

  • King Arthur's treacherous son. First mentioned in Annales Cambriae (circa 960 to 970) as Medraut, noting he and Arthur fell at Camlann in 537 AD.

  • Round Table Knight who returned Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake when King Arthur was dying. Mentioned as early as Pa Gur yv y Porthaur, circa the 10th century.

  • King Arthur's nephew, and the champion who fought the Green Knight. First seen as Gwalchmei in Culhwch and Olwen, circa 1100.

  • King Arthur's advisor, the wizard Merlin. Said to have been active circa the 6th century, but the first confirmed print mention of him was in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae in 1136.

  • Morgan Le Fay's sister, and Mordred's mother. First mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, circa 1136

  • Knight most famous for his love for Iseult (Isolde). First mentioned in print circa 1150s in Béroul's Tristan and Thomas of Britain's Tristan, but both were adapting earlier, oral tales.

  • King Arthur's wife. First mentioned in Chrétien de Troyes' Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, circa 1170.

  • One of the Knights who sought the Holy Grail. Debuted in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, le Conte du Graal, circa 1181 to 1191.

  • Caradoc Strongarm, a Welsh king and Arthurian knight. Debuted in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, le Conte du Graal, circa 1181 to 1191.

  • Opponent of Percival, introduced in Chrétien's Perceval, le Conte du Graal in 1181.

  • The Grail Knight, mentioned in Lancelot Propre and star of Queste del Saint Graal, both circa 1210 AD.

  • Knight forever pursuing the Questing Beast. Beating Arthur in jousts, he broke Arthur's sword, which resulted in Arthur replacing his damaged blade with Excalibur. Mentioned in the Post-Vulgate cycle of Arthurian tales, circa 1230 AD.

  • Robin Hood's sweetheart. Initially associated with the May Day games, she appeared as early as 1283 in Adam de la Halle's Le Jeu de Robin et Marion, but became associated with Robin Hood only centuries later, replacing his previous paramour, Clorinda.

  • Scottish knight who fought in the Wars of Scottish Independence to stop England taking control of the country towards the end of the 13th century.

  • Sherwood Forest's robber archer, fighting the tyranny of England's Norman overlords circa the 12th century. Official records mention an outlaw of similar name from 1228, but the first literary reference appears to be in William Langland's Piers Plowman, circa 1362 or thereabouts.

  • Indestructible knight who could even survive decapitation, often conflated with the legend of the Green Man. Debuted in the late 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

  • John Little, a.k.a. Little John, Robin Hood's giant right hand man. Though he may have existed in older verbal accounts, his first written mention appears to be Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, circa 1420.

  • Much the Miller's son, member of Robin Hood's Merry Men. Though he may have debuted earlier, the earliest confirmed mention of him is in Robin Hood and the Monk, written circa 1450.

  • Member of Robin Hood's Merry Men. First mentioned in A Gest of Robyn Hode, written circa 1450 but printed around forty to fifty years later.

  • Robin Hood's nemesis. A real world position, the sheriff was first mentioned as an adversary of the outlaw in A Gest of Robyn Hode, written circa 1450 but printed around forty to fifty years later.

  • Monk and member of Robin Hood's Merry Men. First appeared in Robin Hood and the Knight, circa 1475.

  • The Kitchen Knight, brother to Gawain and Gaheris. Mentioned in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published 1485.

  • Brother of Sir Gawain, unintentionally slain by Sir Lancelot during the rescue of the imprisoned Guinevere. Mentioned in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published 1485.

  • Elaine of Astolat, unrequited in her love for Lancelot. Mentioned in Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, published 1485.

  • Mischievous fairy whose earliest print appearance may be William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, circa 1590, though he seemingly appeared in verbal folklore prior to that, with mention of his alias Robin Goodfellow in the 1531 Oxford English Dictionary.

  • A fictional representation of Queen Elizabeth the First but set in Arthurian times, introduced in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen in 1596.

  • A ghost of Windsor Forest, often associated to older pagan legends circa Arthurian times, though the first written mention of him is much later, in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor in 1597.

  • Of the many Black Knights in Arthurian legend, this is the grandson of Arthur, who debuted in Richard Johnson's Tom a Lincoln, published 1599.

  • Explorer and author born in 1580. Became a literary character in his own accounts of his explorations, starting with the 1608 "A True Relation of Such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Happened in Virginia."

  • Ambitious Scottish noble whose desire to attain the crown leads him to murder, from William Shakespeare's play, circa 1611, based on a real life Scottish king who took the throne in 1040 AD.

  • Wife of Macbeth, who pushes her husband to pursue his murderous ambitions. From William Shakespeare's play, circa 1611, based on a real life Scottish king who took the throne in 1040 AD.

  • British fairytale character whose adventures are set in Arthurian time. Debuted in The History of Tom Thumb in 1621.

  • Star of John Bunyan's 1678 story, The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come.

  • Minstrel member of Robin Hood's Merry Men. Introduced in the late 17th century ballad Robin Hood and Allen a Dale.

  • 17th century scholar and mathematician.

  • Mid-17th century castaway, title star of Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel.

  • Infamous 18th century English pirate. Charles Johnson's A General Historie of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, published in 1724, began his literary career.

  • Protagonist of Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels.

  • Infamous highwayman, finally hanged in 1739. A biography, Richard Bayes' The Genuine History of the Life of Richard Turpin, mixing fact with fiction was swiftly released that same year to capitalise on his notoriety.

  • Star of John Cleland's 1748 novel Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure.

  • "The Highland Rogue," Scottish outlaw who lived around the turn of the 17th into 18th century, and who was immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his 1817 novel "Rob Roy."

  • Though created in 1819 by Sir Walter Scott, the Saxon Crusader knight Ivanhoe's story is set in the 12th century, the era of Robin Hood.

  • Prince John Plantagenet, aka John Lackland, brother to Richard the Lionheart. Though a real person, he wasn't shown as a contemporary of Robin Hood until Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe in 1819, and didn't encounter the outlaw as an adversary until Howard Pyle's 1883 novel The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire.

  • Undead star of Dr. John Polidori's 1819 serialised novel The Vampyre.

  • Allegedly real-life monster who terrorised Victorian London. The first sighting of him was in 1837.

  • Star of Charles Dicken's 1838 novel.

  • Friend of Oliver Twist, and leader of Fagin's gang of child thieves. Debuted in Charles Dicken's 1838 novel Oliver Twist.

  • Commander of child thief gang. Debuted in Charles Dicken's 1838 novel Oliver Twist.

  • Brutal thug and enemy of Oliver Twist. Debuted in Charles Dicken's 1838 novel Oliver Twist.

  • Title star of Charles Dickens' 1838 novel.

  • Miserly star of Charles Dicken's 1843 story, A Christmas Carol.

  • Scrooge's late partner and now ghost in Charles Dicken's 1843 story, A Christmas Carol.

  • Ebenezer Scrooge's underpaid clerk in Charles Dicken's 1843 story, A Christmas Carol.

  • Crippled son of Bob Cratchit in Charles Dicken's 1843 story, A Christmas Carol.

  • The "Demon Barber of Fleet Street," a murderer who first appeared in The String of Pearls: A Romance in The People's Periods and Family Library issue #7 on 21st November 1846.

  • Star of Wilkie Collins' 1859 novel The Woman In White.

  • The protagonist of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, 1st December 1860.

  • Title character of Lewis Carroll's 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

  • One of the earliest comic characters in the world, debuting in the humour magazine Judy in 1867.

  • From the 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, created by Jules Verne. Traveller and adventurer.

  • 18th century pirate from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel, Treasure Island.

  • The protagonist of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel, Treasure Island.

  • Hunter star of H. Rider Haggard's 1885 novel King Solomon's Mines.

  • The title character(s) of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

  • From the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Victorian era's greatest consulting detective. First appeared in 1887's A Study in Scarlet.

  • Sherlock Holmes' chronicler and best friend. First appeared in 1887's A Study in Scarlet.

  • Scotland Yard detective and ally of Sherlock Holmes, who debuted in Holmes' first story, the 1887 novel A Study in Scarlet.

  • Sherlock Holmes'housekeeper. First appeared in 1887's A Study in Scarlet, though not named until the next story, 1890's The Sign of the Four.

  • Titular equine star of Anna Sewell's 1887 novel.

  • Real life serial killer in London in 1888. The combination of his grisly crimes and never being caught have created a mystique around him that has kept his legend alive, and still spawns theories about who he really was to the present day.

  • Oscar Wilde's immortal hedonist, who debuted in The Picture of Dorian Gray, published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20th June 1890.

  • The Amateur Cracksman.

  • Sherlock's brother, introduced in 1893's The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.

  • The Napoleon of crime, Sherlock Holmes' greatest foe, introduced in 1893's The Final Problem.

  • Detective. Debuted in Hal Meredith (Harry Blythe)'s "The Missing Millionaire" in The Halfpenny Marvel #6, December 1893.

  • Protagonist of H.G. Well's 1895 novel The Time Machine.

  • The title character to H.G. Well's 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau. A scientist who transformed animals into beast-men.

  • Star of H.G. Wells' 1897 novella of the same name.

  • Lawyer and foe of Dracula. Debuted in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

  • Debuted in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. First woman to be targeted by the vampire Dracula upon his arrival in England.

  • Dracula's chosen paramour in England, the fiance and later wife of Johnathan Harker. Debuted in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

  • Asylum doctor, suitor to Lucy Westenra, and ally of Professor van Helsing against Dracula in the 1897 Bram Stoker novel.

  • Son of Jonathan and Mina Harker. First appeared in the final pages of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

  • Scientist star of H.G. Well's 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon.

  • Professor Moriarty's right-hand man and one of the best shots in the British Empire, unluckily for Sherlock Holmes. Debuted in 1903's The Adventure of the Empty House, though that story reveals he was present but unseen in 1893's The Final Problem.

  • The boy who never grew up, created by J.M. Barrie in the 1902 novel The Little White Bird.

  • Late 18th century adventurer who rescued nobles from revolutionary France's guillotines. Created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in 1903.

  • The villainous pirate antagonist of J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Female star and Peter Pan's love interest in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Elder brother of Wendy Darling. Debuted in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Younger brother of Wendy Darling. Debuted in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Captain Hook's right hand man in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Pet / nanny of the Darling children. Debuted in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).

  • Patriarch of the Darling family. Debuted in J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan (and subsequent 1911 novel).