TODAY is the feast day of Saint Fina, who lived in the Tuscan hill village of San Geminiano in the 13th century. Her claim to sainthood lay in the resignation with which she accepted suffering. As a child she would keep half her food to give to the poor but from the age of six was bedridden with painful diseases. When her parents died, friends and neighbours shrunk from her unsightly sores and miserable condition, but at her death, the board on which she had lain sprouted white violets. These still bear the name Santa Fina and bloom at this time of year.
12 March, 1832: Charles Cunningham Boycott (above), soldier, estate manager and eponym, was born at Burgh St Peter, Norfolk. Retiring from the army in 1873, Captain Boycott was appointed agent for the Third Earl of Erne's estates in County Mayo. In 1879, following a series of bad harvests, the Land League was formed in Ireland, against the expectation of a famine. In 1880, the League told Boycott to reduce rents on the Earl's estates by a quarter. He refused, and attempted to evict his tenants. Charles Stewart Parnell, the nationalist leader, persuaded the tenants to eschew violence but instead avoid all communications with Boycott. Boycott retaliated by employing workers from Ulster guarded by soldiers to harvest the Earl's crops. The term "boycott", meaning to shut out from commercial and social intercourse, became common currency almost immediately. Boycott died in Suffolk in 1897.Reuse content