TODAY is the feast day of Saint Wulfram, who lived among the heathens of Friesland in the seventh century, where he strove to stop them offering human sacrifices. Wulfram's prayers saved one son of a noble when the rope for hanging him broke. He made a bad mistake, however, after converting King Radbod to Christianity. As he was being baptised the king asked where his ancestors were. Wulfram told him they were in Hell, whereupon Radbon declared that he chose Hell with them rather than Heaven with Wulfram.
20 March, 1727: Sir Isaac Newton (above), England's great contribution to the 17th-century scientific revolution, died aged 84. He was not a sunny personality. As a boy he threatened to burn his parents 'and the house over them'. When Leibniz accused him of plagiarism he used his position as president of the Royal Society to appoint an 'impartial' committee, whose findings he wrote himself. His oft- quoted letter to Robert Hooke in 1676 (with whom he quarrelled bitterly) is uncharacteristically modest: 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants'. None the less his legacy is a body of scientific theory that still dominates our world view.
1851: Marble Arch unveiled.
1974: An attempt was made to kidnap Princess Anne in the Mall.
1980: Radio Caroline's ship ran aground after 16 years of illegal broadcasting.
BIRTHDAYS: Madan Lal, cricketer, 43; Dame Vera Lynn, singer, 77; Tim Yeo, MP, 49; Sviatoslav Richter, pianist, 79.
DEATHS: Jack Hargreaves, broadcaster, aged 82; Mai Zetterling, actress, aged 68.
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