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Births: Francis I, King of France, 1494; Lodovico Cardi da Cigoli, painter and architect, 1559; Sir William Dugdale, herald and antiquary, 1605; James Hall, geologist and palaeontologist, 1811; William Bell Scott, poet and painter, 1811; Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy, historian, 1812; Richard Marsh Hoe, inventor of the rotary printing press, 1812; Richard Jordan Gatling, inventor (the Gatling gun), 1818; Theodor Kullak, composer, 1818; Richard Pohl, music critic and author, 1826; Anselm Feuerbach, painter, 1829; Herbert Henry Asquith, first Earl of Oxford and Asquith, statesman, 1852; Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff, painter and etcher, 1858; Henry Louis Mencken, journalist and writer (The American Language), 1880; Maurice Chevalier, entertainer and actor, 1888; Giuseppe Saragat, statesman, 1898; Frederick Louis MacNeice, poet and broadcaster, 1907; John Cleveland (Jesse) Owens, athlete, 1913.

Deaths: Pope Innocent VI, 1362; Jan van der Heyden, painter, 1712; Francois Couperin ('Le Grand'), composer, 1733; Jean-Philippe Rameau, composer, 1764; Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher, Prussian commander, 1819; Dr Peter Mark Roget, lexicographer, 1869; Leonid Nikolayevich Andreyev, novelist, 1919; Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick of Connaught, 1938; Rupert D'Oyly Carte, operatic impresario, 1948; William (Bill) Boyd, actor, 1972; Robert Traill Spence Lowell, poet, 1977.

On this day: Eton College received its first charter, 1440; the Hudson river was discovered by Henry Hudson, 1609; Drogheda was sacked by Oliver Cromwell, 1649; Vienna, besieged by the Turks, was relieved, 1683; Elizabeth Brownrigg, midwife, was hanged at Tyburn for the murder of an apprentice, 1767; Baltimore was defended against the British, 1814; the obelisk of Thothmes III ('Cleopatra's Needle') was erected on the Thames Embankment, London, 1878; the Allies were victorious at the Battle of the Marne, 1914; Gabrielle D'Annunzio led an unofficial Italian army and seized Fiume from Yugoslavia, 1919; in Berlin, the Reichstag was dissolved, 1932; the Lascaux Caves, France, containing examples of Cro-Magnon man's art, were discovered, 1940; Benito Mussolini, imprisoned by the Allies, was rescued by the Germans, 1943; an armistice was signed between the Allies and Romania, 1944; Nikita Khrushchev became first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR, 1953; a military coup deposed the Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia, 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Ailbhe, St Eanswida and St Guy of Anderlecht.


Births: William Cecil, First Baron Burghley, statesman, 1520; Oliver Evans, inventor, 1755; William Henry West Betty, the Young Roscius, actor, 1791; Jean-Ignace- Isidore Gerard, caricaturist, 1803; Clara Josephine Schumann (Wieck), pianist, 1819; Dr Walter Reed, bacteriologist, 1851; Ernst Gillet, cellist and composer, 1856; Milton Snavely Hershey, chocolate company founder, 1857; Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor), clergyman and novelist, 1860; John Joseph Pershing, expeditionary force commander during WW1, 1860; Arthur Henderson, politician and Nobel Prize-winner, 1863; Arnold Schoenberg, composer, 1874; Sherwood Anderson, playwright, 1876; John Boynton Priestley, author, 1894.

Deaths: Andrea Mantegna, painter, 1506; Sir John Cheke, classical scholar, 1557; Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, essayist, 1592; Philip II, King of Spain, 1598; Ciro Ferri, painter, 1689; General James Wolfe, British soldier, killed in action 1759; Charles James Fox, statesman, 1806; Alexis-Emmanuel Chabrier, composer, 1894; Arthur George Walker, sculptor, 1939; William Heath Robinson, artist and illustrator, 1944; Schack August Steenberg Krogh, physiologist, 1949; Leopold Antoni Stanislaw Boleslawowicz Stokowski, conductor, 1977.

On this day: the Battle of Marignano between the French and Swiss started, 1515; Montrose was defeated by the Covenanters at Philiphaugh, 1645; John Bunyan was released from Bedford jail after 12 years, 1672; the Battle of Quebec was fought, when the British defeated the French, 1759; New York became the capital of the new United States of America, 1788; the British fleet began an unsuccessful bombardment of Fort McHenry near Baltimore, 1814; Wolseley was victorious at the Battle of Tel el Kebir, Egypt, 1882; the Battle of the Aisne began, 1914; the German attack on Stalingrad began, 1942.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Amatus or Ame, abbot, St Amatus or Ame, bishop, St Eulogius of Alexandria, St John Chrysostom and St Maurilius of Angers.