In this chapter I shall be discussing salient moments in the history of English with reference to the standardisation cycle. The two periods which are of particular interest are the years which followed the introduction of printing by Caxton in 1476 and the development of a fully codified educational model of English grammar which was significantly advanced by various writers in the late eighteenth century. However, since changes in language tend to be slow moving (particularly in written language) I shall need to situate these moments within the broad sweep of history. I shall, though, be concentrating on discussions of variety as they occurred at the time and try to locate these discussions within the social contexts which motivated them.