This is an Old One from BBC History Magazine but its certainly thought provoking. I like the century by century focus.
Reproduced from original source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4561624.stm
'Worst' historical Britons list
The full list is:
1900-2000: Oswald Mosley (1896-1980)He was elected as an MP for first the Conservatives and then Labour before becoming disillusioned with mainstream politics and founding the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932.
1800-1900: Jack the RipperThe name given to a serial killer believed to be responsible for the murders of at least four prostitutes in Whitechapel, East London, in the second half of 1888. His identity has never been established.
1700-1800: Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65)A younger son of King George II, he was given the nickname "Butcher" for the merciless manner in which he defeated the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746 and quelled the Jacobite Rising.
1600-1700: Titus Oates (1649-1705)In 1678 he made up a story about a Catholic plot to murder King Charles II which led to scores of people being rounded up and several innocent men being executed. He was later convicted of perjury and jailed.
Sir Richard Rich, Lord Rich of Leighs (1496/7-1567)Throughout his life he shifted his political and religious allegiances to further his career. During Henry VIII's reign he gave evidence against Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher which helped to convict them of treason, for which they were executed.
1400-1500: Thomas Arundel (1353-1414)Archbishop of Canterbury in 1397 and from 1399 until his death, he persecuted the Lollards, a group calling for reform of the Catholic Church by promoting a lay priesthood and translations of the Bible.
1300-1400: Hugh Despenser (The Younger) (died 1326)He became one of the richest men in the kingdom by ruthlessly eliminating his enemies and greedily seizing land in South Wales. He was executed as a traitor.
1200-1300: King John (1167-1216)He captured and apparently murdered his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, who was his rival for the throne after the death of Richard the Lionheart in 1199.
1100-1200: Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (c.1120-70)He divided England by quarrelling with King Henry II over the rights of the church. He was assassinated by four knights from Henry's court in Canterbury Cathedral.
1000-1100: Eadric Streona (died 1017)King Aethelred II's chief counsellor betrayed his country by switching sides when the Danish king Cnut invaded England in 1015.