Click to follow
TODAY is the feast day of St Herculanus, bishop of Perugia c. AD 547. King Totila of the Goths ordered that he should be flayed and beheaded but the executioner was relatively humane and first beheaded him. Christians hastily buried him with his severed head. When he was disinterred 40 days later the head was found to be attached to the body.

1783: last public hanging in England at Tyburn.

1867: Marie Curie (above), nee Manya Slodowska, born in Warsaw. Married French chemist Pierre Curie and worked with him on magnetism and radioactivity (a term she invented in 1898). Awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903. In 1910 isolated pure radium and was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1911.

1872: The Mary Celeste set sail from New York on her ill-fated journey.

1910: Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, died of a chill at Astapovo railway station

1917: The Bolsheviks overthrew Prime Minister Kerensky's government.

1990: Mary Robinson became Ireland's first woman president.