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TODAY: Births: Robert Herrick, poet, baptised 1591; George Stubbs, animal and portrait painter, 1724; William Wilberforce, philanthropist, 1759; Sir Max (Henry Maximilian) Beerbohm, author and caricaturist, 1872; Jean Rhys, novelist, 1894; Graham Vivian Sutherland, artist, 1903. Deaths: Pliny the Elder, Roman naturalist and writer, 79; Alaric I, King of the Visigoths, 410; Colonel Thomas Blood, adventurer, 1680; Thomas Chatterton, poet, committed suicide, 1770. On this day: the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried under volcanic ash after the eruption of Vesuvius, 79; England achieved her first naval victory in the Battle of the Key, when Hubert de Burgh defeated the French fleet under Eustace the Monk, 1217; the Massacre of St Bartholomew occurred in France when thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris, 1572; Calcutta was founded by Job Charnock at Sutanati, 1686; Washington DC was captured by British troops, who burned down the White House, 1814; Matthew Webb was the first man to swim the English Channel, 1875; the Manchester Guardian was renamed the Guardian, 1959. Today is the Feast Day of St Audenoeus or Ouen, St Bartholomew and the Martyrs of Utica.

TOMORROW: Births: Ivan IV ("The Terrible"), Tsar of Russia, 1530; Allan Pinkerton, founder of Pinkerton's detective agency, 1819; Clara Bow, actress, 1905; Ruby Ethel Keeler, actress and dancer, 1909; Leonard Bernstein, conductor and composer, 1918. Deaths: St Louis IX, King of France, a victim of the plague, 1270; Jan van der Meer (Jan Vermeer van Haarlem), painter, buried 1691; James Watt, engineer and inventor, 1819; Michael Faraday, chemist and physicist, 1867; Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher, 1900; Alfred Charles Kinsey, sex investigator and author, 1956; Truman Capote, author, 1984. On this day: the independence of Uruguay (the Banda Oriental) was declared, 1825; a revolution against the Netherlands union erupted in Brussels, 1830; the first daily scheduled airline flights started between London and Paris, 1919; Paris was liberated by the Allies, 1944. Today is the Feast Day of St Ebba, St Genesius of Arles, St Genesius the Comedian, St Gregory of Utrecht, St Joan Antide-Thouret, St Joseph Calasanctius, St Louis IX, King of France, St Mennas of Constantinople and St Patricia.