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Births: Henry Glapthorne, playwright, 1610; Charles Lucas, cellist, organist, conductor and composer, 1808; John Stuart Blackie, classical scholar, 1809; Gerard Manley Hopkins, poet, 1844; Helen Beatrix Potter, author and illustrator, 1866; Marcel Duchamp, surrealist painter, 1887.

Deaths: Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, Chancellor to King Henry VIII, executed 1540; Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, poet and soldier, 1655; Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, priest, composer and violinist, 1741; Johann Sebastian Bach, composer, 1750; Georges Couthon, French revolutionary, executed 1794; Maximilien-Francois-Marie-Isidore de Robespierre, French revolutionary leader, executed 1794; Louis-Antoine-Leon- Florelle de Richebourg de St Just, French revolutionary leader, executed 1794; Giuseppe Sarti, composer, 1802; Vyacheslav Konstantinovich Plehve, Russian Minister of the Interior, assassinated 1904; William James Mayo, surgeon and co-founder of the Mayor Clinic, 1939; Otto Hahn, nuclear physicist, 1944; Margot (Emma Alice Margaret) Asquith, writer, 1945.

On this day: potatoes were first brought to England from Colombia, 1586; the Forth and Clyde Canal was opened, 1790; Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, 1914; the IXth Olympic Games opened in Amsterdam, 1928; Edward Heath became leader of the Conservative Party, 1965.

Today is the Feast Day of St Botvid, Saints Nazarius and Celsus and St Samson of Dol.