Anniversaries

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Balred, a 7th-century priest who lived on Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. Once, to protect sailors from shipwreck, he stood on a semi-submerged island in the Firth and made it float to the mainland, where it can still be found under the name of St Baldred's (sic) Cradle. His death, after a life of austerity and trial, provoked a dispute between three parishes over possession of his body, but his body miraculously divided into three and each parish had its own.

6 March, 1475: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Italian painter, sculptor and poet, born near Florence. He completed the St Peter's Pieta (detail above) in his twenties. In 1508 he began work on the Sistine chapel ceiling (now brighter but flatter after a dollars 3m restoration funded by Japanese television), considered a superhuman achievement, but the commission from Pope Julius II was accepted under duress.

1836: Davy Crockett and 148 other US frontiersmen killed at the siege of the Alamo; six survived.

1902: British soldiers allowed to wear spectacles.

1957: Ghana became independent.

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