TODAY is the feast day of the Blessed John Colombini, a rich merchant born in Pisa in 1304. For most of his life he was avaricious, ambitious and bad- tempered but experienced a sudden conversion following a row with his wife, Bagia, about his dinner being late. His wife threw a book of saints at him which he, in turn, threw to the ground. The next day, ashamed, he started to read it. He was filled with remorse for past sins and sold his rich clothes and furniture, which made his wife angrier. He reminded her that she had prayed for his conversion and she replied 'I prayed for rain, but this is a flood'. When other rich families followed his example, he was banished from Siena.
31 July, 1485: William Caxton published Le Morte D'Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory.
1556: Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, died.
1908: Robert Baden-Powell (above) launched the Boy Scout Movement. He was already a national hero after his 217-day defence of Mafeking during the Boer war (1899-1902). Returning to England in 1903 he learnt that his book Aids to Scouting was being used to train boys in woodcraft and conceived the idea of a youth scouting movement. His first camp was held on Brownsea Island, off Poole, in 1907. The following year he published Scouting for Boys and officially launched the movement. The Girl Guides followed in 1910 and the Wolf Cubs in 1916. He was proclaimed chief scout of the world in 1920.
1910: Dr Crippen was arrested on board SS Montrose for the murder of his wife.
BIRTHDAYS: Evonne Cawley, tennis player, 43; Geraldine Chaplin, actress, 50; Jonathan Dimbleby, television presenter, 50; Milton Friedman, monetarist economist, 82.Reuse content