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TODAY is the feast day of Saint Tyrannio, martyred in Palestine in 304. He and fellow Christians were beaten and thrown to wild beasts. They survived exposure to bears, boars, bulls and leopards, all of whom approached the Christians with wide open jaws but, by a miracle, slunk away unable to touch them. Meanwhile non-Christians with them were torn to pieces 'as might naturally be expected' records Eusebius, an eyewitness. He goes on to describe how a furious bull which had gored and tossed several infidels could not approach the Christians. Martyrdom was only achieved when the Christians were killed by sword and flung into the sea.

20 February, 1482: Luca Della Robbia, Italian sculptor and a pioneer of the Florentine Renaissance style, died. His most important work, the cantoria, or singing gallery (above), was in marble but his name is more associated with enamelled terracotta, a process he developed and which was continued by his nephew and grandnephew, artists Andrea and Giovanni.

1861: A great storm hit England, damaging the Crystal Palace and the steeple of Chichester cathedral.

1917: The US bought the Dutch West Indies.

1962: John Glenn circled the Earth three times in Friendship 7.