Births: Elias Ashmole, antiquarian, 1617; Carolus Linnaeus, botanist, 1707; William Hunter, obstetrician and medical writer, 1718; Giovanni Battista Viotti, violinist and composer, 1753; Andrea Appiani, fresco painter, 1754; Sir Charles Barry, architect, 1795; Thomas Hood, poet and humorist, 1799; Manuel John Johnson, astronomer, 1805; Leo Baeck, rabbi and theologian, 1873; Douglas Fairbanks, actor, 1883; Herbert Marshall, actor, 1890; Dr Edmund Rubbra, composer, 1901; John Bardeen, physicist, an inventor of the transistor, 1908.

Deaths: Girolamo Savonarola, priest and reformer, strangled and burnt at the stake, 1498; Luis de Gngora y Argote, poet and writer, 1627; Louis de Nain, painter, 1648; Captain William Kidd, naval officer, pirate and murderer, hanged in London 1701; John Wood, architect and town planner, 1754; William Woollett, engraver, 1785; Kit Carson, frontiersman, 1881; Henrik Johan Ibsen, playwright, 1906; Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, outlaws, killed in ambush 1934; John Davison Rockefeller, industrialist and philanthropist, 1937; Lord Austin (Herbert Austin), motor manufacturer, 1941; Heinrich Himmler, Nazi leader, committed suicide1945; David Smith, sculptor, 1965.

On this day: Joan of Arc was taken prisoner by the English, 1430; King Henry VIII was divorced from Catherine, 1533; Marlborough defeated the French at the Battle of Ramillies, 1706; in Canada, the North West Mounted Police was established, 1873; the Associated Press News Service was founded in New York, 1900; Whipsnade Zoo was opened, 1931; the British Parliament agreed a plan for the independence of Palestine, but was denounced by both Arabs and Jews, 1939; the decoration of the George Cross was inaugurated, 1939; Israel announced the capture of Adolf Eichmann, former Nazi chief, 1960.

Today is the Feast Day of St Aldhelm, St Desiderius of Vienne, St Euphrosyne of Polotsk, St Guibert, St Ivo of Chartres, St John Baptist dei Rossi, St Leontius of Rostov and St William of Rochester.