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TODAY: Births: Francis I, King of France, 1494; William Bell Scott, poet and painter, 1811; Herbert Henry Asquith, first Earl of Oxford and Asquith, statesman, 1852; Fernand Edmond Jean Henry Louis Mencken, journalist and writer (The American Language), 1880; Maurice Chevalier, entertainer and actor, 1888; Frederick Louis MacNeice, poet and broadcaster, 1907; John Cleveland (Jesse) Owens, athlete, 1913. Deaths: Pope Innocent VI, 1362; Francois Couperin ("Le Grand"), composer, 1733; Jean-Philippe Rameau, composer, 1764; Dr Peter Mark Roget, lexicographer, 1869; Rupert D'Oyly Carte, operatic impresario, 1948; Anthony Perkins, actor, 1992; Raymond William Stacy Burr, actor, 1993. On this day: Eton College received its first charter, 1440; the Hudson river was discovered by Henry Hudson, 1609; the obelisk of Thothmes III ("Cleopatra's Needle") was erected on the Thames Embankment, London, 1878; the marriage took place of Winston Churchill and Clementine Hozier, 1908; the world's first policewoman, Mrs Alice Stebbins Wells, was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Department, 1910; the Lascaux Caves, France, containing examples of Cro-Magnon man's art, were discovered, 1940.

Today is the Feast Day of St Ailbhe, St Eanswida and St Guy of Anderlecht.

TOMORROW: Births: William Cecil, first Baron Burghley, statesman, 1520; Clara Josephine Schumann (Wieck), pianist, 1819; Milton Snavely Hershey, chocolate company founder, 1857; John Boynton Priestley, novelist and playwright, 1894; Claudette Colbert (Lily Claudette Chauchoin), actress, 1903; John Smith QC MP, politician, 1938. Deaths: Sir John Cheke, classical scholar, 1557; Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, essayist, 1592; Philip II, King of Spain, 1598; Charles James Fox, statesman, 1806; Samuel Alexander, philosopher, 1938; Arthur George Walker, sculptor, 1939; William Heath Robinson, artist and illustrator, 1944; Joe Pasternak, film producer, 1991. On this day: John Bunyan was released from Bedford jail after 12 years, 1672; New York became the capital of the new United States of America, 1788; the Battle of the Aisne began, 1914; the German attack on Stalingrad began, 1942; General Chiang Kai-shek was re-elected president of China, 1943.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Amatus or Ame, abbot, St Amatus or Ame, bishop, St Eulogius of Alexandria, St John Chrysostom and St Mauritius.