Who was the first poet laureate of England?

While James I granted a pension to Ben Jonson in 1616, it was not until 1668 that the laureateship was created as a royal office.

John Dryden (1631-1700) was appointed by Charles II and held the office until 1688, when he was stripped of the laureateship by William and Mary because he had become a Catholic and had supported James II.