Births: St Francis Xavier, Jesuit missionary, 1506; Gerhard Douw, painter, 1613; William Wordsworth, poet, 1770; William Ellery Channing, Unitarian minister, 1780; Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey, sculptor and benefactor, 1781; Hermann Berens, flautist and composer, 1826; Gilbert Arthur A Beckett, playwright and author, 1837; Daisy (Margaret Mary Julia) Ashford, author, at 9 years old, of The Young Visiters, 1881; Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy Alcayaga), poet, 1889; Sir David Alexander Cecil Low, cartoonist and caricaturist, 1891; Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan), jazz singer, 1915.

Deaths: Richard (Dick) Turpin, highwayman, hanged 1739; El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), painter, 1614; Sir William Davenant, poet and playwright, 1668; Albert Venn Dicey, jurist, 1922; Joseph Aloysius Lyons, statesman, 1939; Henry Ford, motor manufacturer, 1947; James (Jim) Clark, car-racing champion, killed 1968; Sheik Abeid Karume, dictator of Zanzibar, assassinated 1972.

On this day: the metre was made the official measuring unit of length in France, 1795; the Rev S. Smith and his wife were convicted of the murderous assault on John Leech, 1858; during the American Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh ended after Federal reinforcements arrived, causing the Confederates to withdraw, 1862; the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway was completed, 1914; the first London production of the musical show The Desert Song was staged, 1927; President Niceto Alcala Zamora of Spain was deposed, 1936; Italy invaded Albania, 1939; the World Heath Organisation was formed as a specialised UN agency, 1948; Dag Hammarskjold of Sweden was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1953; the Cominform was dissolved, 1956; Spain relinquished its protectorate over Morocco, 1956.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aphraates, St Celsus or Ceallach of Armagh, St George the Younger, St Hegesippus, St Henry Walpole, St Herman Joseph and St John Baptist de la Salle.