TODAY: Births: Grinling Gibbons, sculptor and woodcarver, 1648; Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) rhythm and blues singer, 1915. Deaths: Oliver Goldsmith, playwright, 1774; Martin Luther King, clergyman and civil rights campaigner, assassinated 1968; Gloria Swanson, actress, 1983. On this day: Francis Drake completed his circumnavigation of the world and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I, 1581; a Chinese republic was proclaimed in Tibet, 1912. Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agathopus and Theodulus, St Benedict the Black, St Isidore of Seville, St Plato and St Tigernach.

TOMORROW: Births: Thomas Hobbes, philosopher, 1588; Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Chevalier de Seingalt, lover and adventurer, 1724; Bette Davis, actress, 1908. Deaths: Howard Robard Hughes, aviator, industrialist and film producer, 1976; Chiang Kai-shek, statesman and soldier, 1975; Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur Travers Harris Bt, former chief of Bomber Command, 1984. On this day: Oscar Wilde was arrested for offences committed with Lord Alfred Douglas, 1895. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Albert of Montecorvino, St Derfel-Gadarn, St Ethelburga of Lyminge, St Gerald of Sauve-Majeure and St Vincent Ferrer.