Top 20 Most Famous British People of All Time

We are going to learn about the Top 20 Greatest and Most Famous People from the United Kingdom. This list of the Most Famous British People is sorted by Historical Popularity Index of Pantheon.

Top 20 Most Famous People in Britain
Shakespeare (rank 3), Elizabeth II (rank 5) and John Locke (rank 6) are among the Top 20 Most Famous People in Britain

Throughout history, the United Kingdom has been home to remarkable individuals who have made significant contributions in various fields. From literature and science to politics and exploration, these influential British figures have left an enduring impact on the world. In this article, we will delve the top 20 most influential British people ever.

 

Top 20 British Icons: Ranking of the Greatest Britons of All Time 

The following 20 individuals are the most famous and Greatest Britons Ever, according to Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index (HPI) 2022. The highest HPI is 100, and we have listed people with HPI over 84.00.

 

The Most Famous Personalities of the United Kingdom

 

20. Michael Faraday (HPI : 84.47)

Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday (Image Credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Michael Faraday is ranked 20th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 84.47, and His biography is available in 143 different languages on Wikipedia.

Michael Faraday (22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis. Although Faraday received little formal education, he was one of the most influential scientists in history.

It was by his research on the magnetic field around a conductor carrying a direct current that Faraday established the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics. Faraday also established that magnetism could affect rays of light and that there was an underlying relationship between the two phenomena.

He similarly discovered the principles of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and the laws of electrolysis. His inventions of electromagnetic rotary devices formed the foundation of electric motor technology, and it was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. Read more on Wikipedia

 

19. George Frideric Handel (HPI : 84.66

George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), George Handel is ranked 19th among the most famous Britons of all time. His HPI is 84.66, and His biography is available in 128 different languages on Wikipedia.

George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-British Baroque composer well known for his operas, oratorios, anthems, concerti grossi, and organ concertos. Handel received his training in Halle and worked as a composer in Hamburg and Italy before settling in London in 1712, where he spent the bulk of his career and became a naturalised British subject in 1727.

He was strongly influenced both by the middle-German polyphonic choral tradition and by composers of the Italian Baroque. In turn, Handel’s music forms one of the peaks of the “high baroque” style, bringing Italian opera to its highest development, creating the genres of English oratorio and organ concerto, and introducing a new style into English church music. He is consistently recognized as one of the greatest composers of his age. Read more on Wikipedia

 

17. Richard III (HPI : 84.85

Richard III
Richard III (photo: History Today)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Richard III is ranked 17th among the most famous people in the UK. His HPI is 84.85, and His biography is available in 75 different languages on Wikipedia.

Richard III (2 October 1452 – 22 August 1485) was King of England from 26 June 1483 until his death in 1485. He was the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty and its cadet branch the House of York. His defeat and death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. Read more on Wikipedia

 

17. Thomas Hobbes (HPI : 84.85)

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Thomas Hobbes is also ranked 17th among the most famous British people in history. His HPI is 84.85, and His biography is available in 107 different languages on Wikipedia.

Thomas Hobbes (5/15 April 1588 – 4/14 December 1679) was an English philosopher. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, in which he expounds an influential formulation of social contract theory. In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes contributed to a diverse array of other fields, including history, jurisprudence, geometry, theology, and ethics, as well as philosophy in general. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Read more on Wikipedia

 

16. Queen Victoria (HPI : 85.80)

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the Queen Victoria is ranked 16th among the most famous British people of all time. Her HPI is 85.80, and Her biography is available in 137 different languages on Wikipedia. The Queen Victoria is also ranked 3rd among the most famous British women of all time.

Victoria (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 216 days is known as the Victorian era and was longer than any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. In 1876, the British Parliament voted to grant her the additional title of Empress of India.

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj is ranked 16th among the most famous people of Maharashtra. His Historical Popularity Index (HPI) is 58.48. His biography is available in 23 different languages on Wikipedia. Read more on Wikipedia

 

15. Henry VIII (HPI : 86.01)

Henry VIII
Henry VIII

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the king Henry VIII is ranked 15th among the most Famous People of Britain. His HPI is 86.01, and His biography is available in 101 different languages on Wikipedia.

Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for his six marriages, and his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon) annulled.

His disagreement with Pope Clement VII about such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated by the pope. Read more on Wikipedia

 

14. James Watt (HPI : 86.42)

James Watt
James Watt (Getty Images)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), James Watt is ranked 14th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 86.42, and His biography is available in 134 different languages on Wikipedia.

James Watt (19/30 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen’s 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world. Read more on Wikipedia

 

13. Stephen Hawking (HPI : 86.45

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking (Courtesy: Tom Dymond/REX/Shutterstock)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the scientist Stephen Hawking is ranked 13th among the most Famous People From the United Kingdom. His HPI is 86.45, and His biography is available in 141 different languages on Wikipedia.

Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who, at the time of his death, was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Between 1979 and 2009, he was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, widely viewed as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world. Read more on Wikipedia

 

12. Charlie Chaplin (HPI : 86.83

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Charlie Chaplin is ranked 12th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 86.83, and His biography is available in 190 different languages on Wikipedia.

Charlie Chaplin (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, the Tramp, and is considered one of the film industry’s most important figures. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. He is one of the most famous British celebrities. Read more on Wikipedia

 

11. Winston Churchill (HPI : 86.92

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Winston Churchill is ranked 11th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 86.92, and His biography is available in 166 different languages on Wikipedia.

Winston Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955.

Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, he was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1900 to 1964 and represented a total of five constituencies. Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, he was for most of his career a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955. He was a member of the Liberal Party from 1904 to 1924. Read more on Wikipedia

 

Top 10 Most Famous British People in History

10. Freddie Mercury (HPI : 87.01)

Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury (Fox)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Freddie Mercury is ranked 10th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 87.01, and His biography is available in 145 different languages on Wikipedia.

Freddie Mercury (5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer and songwriter, who achieved worldwide fame as the lead vocalist and pianist of the rock band Queen. He is one of the top 10 British celebrities of all time.

Regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury defied the conventions of a rock frontman with his theatrical style, influencing the artistic direction of Queen. Read more on Wikipedia

 

9. Elizabeth I (HPI : 87.64

Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the queen Elizabeth I is ranked 9th among the most famous British people of all time. Her HPI is 87.64, and Her biography is available in 145 different languages on Wikipedia. The Queen Elizabeth I is also ranked 2nd among the most famous British women of all time.

Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death in 1603. Elizabeth was the last monarch of the House of Tudor and is sometimes referred to as the “Virgin Queen”.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, his second wife, who was executed when Elizabeth was two years old. Anne’s marriage to Henry was annulled, and Elizabeth was for a time declared illegitimate.

After Henry, Elizabeth’s half-brother Edward VI, ruled until his own death in 1553, bequeathing the crown to a cousin, Lady Jane Grey and ignoring the claims of his two half-sisters, the Catholic Mary and the younger Elizabeth, in spite of a statute to the contrary.

Edward’s will was set aside and Mary became queen, deposing and executing Jane. During Mary’s reign, Elizabeth was imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels. Read more on Wikipedia

 

8. Francis Bacon (HPI : 87.67

Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon (gettyimages)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Francis Bacon is ranked 8th among the most Famous People of Britain. His HPI is 87.67, and His biography is available in 115 different languages on Wikipedia.

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England under King James I.

Bacon led the advancement of both natural philosophy and the scientific method and his works remained influential even in the late stages of the Scientific Revolution. Read more on Wikipedia

 

7. J. R. R. Tolkien (HPI : 88.02

J. R. R. Tolkien
J. R. R. Tolkien (BBC)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), JRR Tolkien is ranked 7th among the most Famous People From the United Kingdom. His HPI is 88.02, and His biography is available in 152 different languages on Wikipedia.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer and philologist. He was the author of the high fantasy works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. From 1925 to 1945, Tolkien was the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and a Fellow of Pembroke College, both at the University of Oxford.

He then moved within the same university to become the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, and held these positions from 1945 until his retirement in 1959.

Tolkien was a close friend of C. S. Lewis, a co-member of the informal literary discussion group The Inklings. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. Read more on Wikipedia

 

6. John Locke (HPI : 88.31

John Locke
John Locke (Getty Images)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), John Locke is ranked 6th among the most famous people in the UK. His HPI is 88.31, and His biography is available in 140 different languages on Wikipedia.

John Locke (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the “father of liberalism“. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, Locke is equally important to social contract theory.

His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American Revolutionaries.

His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence. Internationally, Locke’s political-legal principles continue to have a profound influence on the theory and practice of limited representative government and the protection of basic rights and freedoms under the rule of law. Read more on Wikipedia

 

Top 5 Most Famous British Icons

5. Elizabeth II (HPI : 90.46)

Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the Queen Elizabeth II is ranked 5th among the most famous British people of all time. Her HPI is 90.46, and Her biography is available in 202 different languages on Wikipedia. The Queen Elizabeth II is also ranked 1st among the most famous British women of all time.

Elizabeth II (21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime and remained the monarch of 15 realms by the time of her death. Her reign of over 70 years is the longest of any British monarch and the longest verified reign of any female head of state in history. Read more on Wikipedia

 

4. Charles Darwin (HPI : 90.67)

Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin (Getty Images)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), Charles Darwin is ranked 4th among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 90.67, and His biography is available in 195 different languages on Wikipedia.

Charles Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, widely known for his contributions to evolutionary biology. His proposition that all species of life have descended from a common ancestor is now generally accepted and considered a fundamental concept in science.

In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey. Read more on Wikipedia

 

3. William Shakespeare (HPI – 90.88)

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (Getty Images)

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), William Shakespeare is ranked 3rd among the most famous British people in history. His HPI is 90.88, and His biography is available in 215 different languages on Wikipedia.

William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “the Bard”).

His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, three long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare remains arguably the most influential writer in the English language, and his works continue to be studied and reinterpreted. Read more on Wikipedia

 

2. Adam Smith (HPI : 91.46

adam smith
Adam Smith

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the economist Adam Smith is ranked 2nd among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 91.46, and His biography is available in 155 different languages on Wikipedia.

Adam Smith (16 June 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist and philosopher who was a pioneer in the thinking of political economy and key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment. Seen by some as “The Father of Economics” or “The Father of Capitalism”, he wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776).

The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work that treats economics as a comprehensive system and as an academic discipline.

Smith refuses to explain the distribution of wealth and power in terms of God’s will and instead appeals to natural, political, social, economic and technological factors and the interactions between them. Among other economic theories, the work introduced Smith’s idea of absolute advantage. Read more on Wikipedia

 

1. Isaac Newton (HPI : 98.35)

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton

According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI), the scientist Isaac Newton is ranked 1st among the most famous British people of all time. His HPI is 98.35, and His biography is available in 222 different languages on Wikipedia.

Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, theologian, and author who was described in his time as a natural philosopher. He was a key figure in the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment that followed.

His pioneering book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), first published in 1687, consolidated many previous results and established classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing infinitesimal calculus. Read more on Wikipedia


See also

  1. Top 30 Most Famous Indian People
  2. Top 20 Most Famous American People
  3. Top 20 Most Famous British People
  4. Top 20 Most Famous French People
  5. Top 20 Most Famous German People
  6. Top 20 Most Famous Russian People
  7. Top 25 Most Famous Chinese People
  8. Top 20 Most Famous Pakistani People

About the Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

Pantheon aggregates information about individuals’ online popularity. Pantheon’s Historical Popularity Index (HPI) is currently made of five components: the “age” of a biography’s character (e.g. William Shakespeare is more than 450 years old), number of Wikipedia language editions in which the biography has a presence (L), the concentration of the pageviews received by a biography across languages (L*), the stability of pageviews over time (CV), and the number of non-English pageviews received by that biography.


Table of Top 20 Famous Britons of All Time

Rank

HPI

Name

Lifespan

Profession

1

98.35

Isaac Newton

1642 – 1726

Scientist

2

91.46

Adam Smith

1723 – 1790

Economist

3

90.88

William Shakespeare

1564 – 1616

Playwright

4

90.67

Charles Darwin

1809 – 1882

Scientist

5

90.46

Elizabeth II

1926 – 2022

Queen

6

88.31

John Locke

1632 – 1704

Philosopher

7

88.02

J. R. R. Tolkien

1892 – 1973

Writer and philologist

8

87.67

Francis Bacon

1561 – 1626

Philosopher and statesman

9

87.64

Elizabeth I

1533 – 1603

Queen

10

87.01

Freddie Mercury

1946 – 1991

Singer

11

86.92

Winston Churchill

1874 – 1965

Statesman

12

86.83

Charlie Chaplin

1889 – 1977

Actor

13

86.45

Stephen Hawking

1942 – 2018

Scientist

14

86.42

James Watt

1736 – 1819

Scientist

15

86.01

Henry VIII

1491 – 1547

King

16

85.80

Victoria

1819 – 1901

Queen

17

84.85

Thomas Hobbes

1588 – 1679

Philosopher

17

84.85

Richard III

1452 – 1485

King

19

84.66

George Frideric Handel

1685 – 1759

Composer

20

84.47

Michael Faraday

1791 – 1867

Scientist


Summary

Tell us how you liked this article? Who else do you think should have been on this list?

If you have any suggestion or want to know Historical Popularity Index (HPI) of any other Briton or non-briton person then you can ask us by email or in comment box. Thank you.


FAQs

Que. 1Who is the Greatest British Person of all time?
Ans. – Sir Isaac Newton is the Greatest British Person of all time, according to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI). 

 

Que. 2Who was ranked by BBC as the Greatest Briton?
Ans. – Sir Winston Churchill was ranked by BBC as the Greatest Briton in 2002. But, According to the Historical Popularity Index (HPI) 2022, Winston Churchill ranks 11th amoung the most famous Britons Ever. 

 

Que. 3Who is the most famous British man?
Ans. – Isaac Newton is the most famous British man, according to the Historical Popularity Index. 

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