TODAY is the feast of St Martinian, hermit of Palestine, who had a morbid fear of being seduced. One night he gave shelter to a poor woman who, towards morning, threw off her rags, and declared herself to be a rich heiress called Zoe. Almost seduced by her charms, he lit a fire and intentionally burnt his feet, explaining to her that if he couldn't stand this temporary pain he clearly would not be able to endure hell. After seven months, when his legs had healed, he again felt in danger and fled to an island, where twice a year a boatman brought biscuits and drinking water. One day a ship was wrecked nearby, the sole survivor being a young woman. Uncertain that he could withstand her charms, Martinian left her on the island and swam to the mainland.
13 February, 1689: Accession of William III and Mary II, Britain's only joint monarchs, after the ''Glorious Revolution' which toppled the Catholic James II. Mary, James's daughter, had been brought up a Protestant. Offered the crown in her own right, she insisted on sharing it with her husband, the Prince of Orange and effective monarch of the Netherlands. They were a devoted couple, but Mary died of smallpox five years later. William ruled on until 1702.
1692: The Glencoe massacre (of the Macdonalds by the Campbells).
1917: Britain allowed women to become taxi-drivers.
1958: Christabel Pankhurst (above), campaigner for women's suffrage, died.
1971: Spiro Agnew, then vice-president, hit three spectators with his first two shots in a golf tournament.
DEATHS: Witold Lutoslawski, composer, aged 81; Gwen Watford, actress, aged 66; Joseph Cotten, actor, aged 88.
(Photograph omitted)Reuse content