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Births: Matthew Parker ('Nosey Parker'), Archbishop of Canterbury, 1504; Francois de Salignac de la Mothe Fenelon, playwright, priest and author, 1651; William Hyde Wollaston, chemist and physicist, 1766; Daniel O'Connell, Irish leader and lawyer, 1775; Alfred, Lord Tennyson, poet, 1809; Sir Henry Thompson, surgeon, 1820; Rolf Boldrewood (Thomas Alexander Browne), novelist, 1826; Hermann Mendel, writer on music, 1834; Paul-Louis Charles-Marie Claudel, poet, 1868; Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, 1881; John Middleton Murry, author and editor, 1889; Ruth Suckow, novelist, 1892.

Deaths: Pope Sixtus II, 258; Stephen V, King of Hungary, 1272; Pope Callixtus III, 1458; Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare, 1623; Ben Jonson, playwright, 1637; Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez, painter, 1660; David Allan, historical painter, 1796; John Mason Neale, hymnwriter, 1866; Joseph-Achille Le Bel, chemist, 1930; Preston Sturges, film director, 1959; Nancy Carroll (Ann Veronica La Hiff), actress, 1965; Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, Cuban dictator, 1973; Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini), 1978.

On this day: the Moors were defeated by the Spanish at the Battle of Simancas, 939; the Holy Roman Empire ended after the crown was renounced by Francis II, who became Francis I, Emperor of Austria, 1806; war broke out between France and Morocco, 1844; the Savoy Hotel, London, was opened, 1889; the Corinth Canal, Greece, was opened, 1893; the Allies landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, 1915; Gertrude Ederle, swimmer, became the first woman to swim the English Channel, 1926; the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 1945; Jamaica became independent, 1962.

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration and the Feast Day of St Hormisdas, pope and Saints Justus and Pastor.


Births: Abbe Maximilian Stadler, priest and composer, 1748; Dean Frederic William Farrar, theologian and author of Eric, or Little by Little, 1831; Ludwig Bernhard Hopffer, composer, 1840; Emile Nolde (Emil Hansen), expressionist painter, 1867; Sir Granville Bantock, composer and conductor, 1868; Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruide Zelle), spy, 1876; Billie Burke (Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke), actress, 1885; Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey, archaeologist and anthropologist, 1903; Ralph Johnson Bunche, diplomat and Nobel prizewinner, 1904.

Deaths: Caroline, Queen of George IV, 1821; Joseph-Marie Jacquard, weaver and inventor, 1834; Horace Wigan, actor, manager and playwright, 1885; James Hall, geologist and palaeontologist, 1898; Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok, poet, 1921; Curbastro Gregorio Ricci, mathematician, 1925; Bix (Leon Bismarck) Beiderbecke, jazz cornet-player and composer, 1931; Konstantin Stanislavsky (Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev), theatre director, 1938; Sir Rabindranath Tagore, writer, 1941; Oliver Norvell Hardy, comedian, 1957.

On this day: the Council of Pisa was dissolved, 1409; Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII) landed at Milford Haven in a bid for the crown, 1485; George Washington signed a peace treaty with the Muskogian Indians, whose half-Scottish chief was named Alexander McGillivray, 1790; the two suffragettes Mrs Mary Leigh and Gladys Evans were sentenced to five years' penal servitude for setting fire to the Theatre Royal, Dublin, 1912; Louis Philippe was proclaimed 'citizen king' of France, 1830; an Act of Parliament was passed prohibiting the employment of climbing boys as chimney-sweeps, 1840; Ottawa (formerly Bytown), became the capital of Canada, 1858; in London, Finsbury Park was opened, occupying the land of the former Hornsey Wood, 1869; Britain issued pounds 1 and 10-shilling notes, 1914; the Daylight Saving Act, which permanently established British Summer Time, was passed, 1925; the first motor-racing grand prix in Britain was held at Brooklands, 1926; Britain's transatlantic airmail service began, 1939; in Colombia, a train drawing seven trucks containing dynamite exploded, killing 1,200 people, 1956; the French colony of the Ivory Coast became independent, 1960.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Saints Agapitus, Sixtus II and Felicissimus, St Albert of Trapani, St Cajetan or Gaetano, St Claudia, St Dogmetius the Persian, St Donatus of Arezzo, St Victricius.