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Births: Jacques-Francois Fromental- Elie Halevy (Elie Levy), composer, 1799; Enoch Arnold Bennett, novelist, 1867; Isadora Duncan, dancer, 1878; Vincent Leonard Price, actor and writer, 1911.

Deaths: John Calvin, theologian, 1564; Niccolo Paganini, violinist, 1840; Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, physicist and chemist, 1914.

On this day: the Habeas Corpus Act was passed, 1679; St Petersburg (Leningrad) was founded by Peter the Great, 1703; the German battleship Bismarck was sunk, 1941; the Swiss physicist Auguste Picard was the first man to ascend into the stratosphere, reaching a height of 51,000ft in a balloon, 1931.

Today is the Feast Day of St Augustine of Canterbury, St Eutropius of Orange, St Julius of Durostorum, St Melangel or Monacella and St Restituta of Sora.