1713 Born in Clonmel, Ireland, on 24 November to army ensign Roger and his wife Agness. Although he grew up on military bases in England and Ireland, the family often visited the ancestral seat: Woodhouse, Yorkshire.
1724 Attends the Hipperholme School near Halifax, Yorkshire, close to the home of his uncle, Richard Sterne, who is a member of the school's Board of Governors.
1731 Roger Sterne dies of malaria at the garrison on Jamaica on 31 July.
1733 Becomes a sizar (charity student) at Jesus College, Cambridge, 11 November.
1734 Receives the Richard Sterne scholarship (named after his uncle, Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, 1633-79), but suffers his first tubercular hemorrhage.
1738 Takes orders in the Anglican Church, and becomes vicar of Sutton-on-the-Forest (charity student) for twenty-one years.
1740 Receives an MA from Cambridge on 1 July.
1741 Marries Elizabeth Lumley, also a consumptive.
1743 Publishes his only known poem, the 64-line "Unknown World: Verses occasion'd by hearing a Pass-Bell" In the Gentleman's Journal for July.
1746 Publishes an anti-Catholic article in the York Journal: or Protestant Courant on 1 July.
1751 Sterne's mother Agnes is jailed for debt in January as a result of the machinations of his uncle, Jacques Sterne, an eminent ecclesiast who had become Precentor of York Minster in 1735.
1759 Recognizing his talent as a writer, Sterne turns his parishes over to his curate, and henceforth dedicates himself to literature. He publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy and A Political Romance, a satire on ecclesiastical in-fighting in York.
1760 Publishes the first two volumes of The Sermons of Mr. Yorick on 22 May, and takes up residence in a house adjacent to the church in the village of Coxwold (later known as "Shandy Hall," although Sterne himself never called it that). Also this year Sterne sits for portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds; the resulting oil-painting is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
1761 Volumes III and IV of Tristram Shandy published. In November, Sterne meets Dr. Samuel Johnson in London.
1762 Struggling with the ill effects of consumption in the damp English climate, Sterne attaches himself to a diplomatic mission to the more congenial environment of the Mediterranean. Despite the Seven Years War, Sterne is treated as a literary celebrity in Paris. There, he attends the salons, and meets such philosophes as Didertot and d'Alembert, but in late June suffers both a bout of pneumonia and a lung hemorrhage. Joined by his family (wife Elizabeth and daughter Lydia) on 8 July, Sterne travels to Toulouse for his health, and remains in the south of France until June 1763. He writes Shandy's satire of the Grand Tour for the sixth volume of Tristram Shandy.
1763 The Seven Years War officially ends. At Montpellier, Sterne meets Tobias Smollett. Reacting strongly to the Scottish novelist's splenetic and fractious nature, Sterne models the character of Smelfungus on him in A Sentimental Journey.
1766 Sterne sits for sculptor Joseph Nollekens; the statue is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
1767 The final, ninth volume of Tristram Shandy appears.
1768 On 27 February Sterne publishes A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, which contains some extravagant references to Eliza Draper, the wife of an East India Company official. Just weeks later, on 18 March, Sterne dies of pleurisy in his lodgings at 41 Old Bond Street, insolvent, at the age of 54, and is buried in the churchyard of St. George's, Hanover Square.
1969 Workers on the site a new apartment block being constructed on the former cemetery of St. George's, Hanover Square, discover what prove to be Sterne's remains. Since the top of the skull had been sawn off, the find would seem to substantiate the tradition that Sterne's body was stolen and anatomized at Cambridge for the benefit of the university's medical students before re-internment at St. George's. On 8 June, the remains are buried against the south wall of the Church of St. Michael's, Coxwold.

Last modified 7 September 2018