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Births: (Eleanor) Nell Gwynn, actress and mistress of Charles II, 1650; William Borlase, naturalist, antiquarian and cleric, 1695; John Nichols, printer and author, 1745; Henry Havelock Ellis, psychologist, 1859; Fritz Kreisler, violinist and composer, 1875; James Augustine Joyce, author, 1882; James Stephens, poet and novelist, 1882; Jussi Bjorling, singer, 1911.

Deaths: Martin Schongauer (or Schon), engraver and painter, 1491; Baldassare Castiglione, writer and courtier, 1529; Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, composer, 1594; John Lawrence Sullivan, bare-knuckle fighter, 1918; Sir Owen Seaman, editor of Punch, 1936; Bertrand Russell, third Earl Russell, philosopher, 1970; Alistair Maclean, novelist, 1987.

On this day: King Stephen was defeated and captured at the Battle of Lincoln, 1141; the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, 1461; Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza, 1535; the first parliament assembled of Great Britain and Ireland, 1801; Greece declared war on Turkey, 1878; bread rationing was introduced in Britain, 1917; Estonia was declared independent following a Russian- Estonian peace treaty, 1920; 60 countries attended the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, 1932; the remaining German army at Stalingrad surrendered to the Russians, 1943; Idi Amin declared himself to be absolute ruler in Uganda, 1971; a mob in Dublin burned down the British Embassy, 1972.

Today is Candlemas (Wives' Feast Day) and the Feast Day of St Adalbald of Ostrevant, St Joan de Lestonnac, The Martyrs of Ebsdorf and The Purification.