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DROPPED NAMES: Saul became Paul to mark his conversion on the road to Damascus; New Amsterdam, founded by the Dutch in 1625, became New York in 1664 when the British took over; in 1917 anti-German sentiment in Britain led George V to change the family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor while the Battenburgs became the Mountbattens; Eric Blair sought gravitas with the name George Orwell; many glamourously named celebrities started life mundanely (Cliff Richard was Harry Webb; Cary Grant was Archibald Leach); St Petersburg was Russified to Petrograd in 1914, revolutionised to Leningrad in 1924, and restored to its original name in 1991; to protect the portly, the Rev W D Awdry's Fat Controller will become Sir Topham Hat in American Thomas the Tank Engine books; Noddy's friend Big Ears has changed his name to Whitebeard so as not to offend large-eared Americans.

TODAY is the feast day of Saint Magnus of Orkney, 12th century Viking prince, adopted son of King Magnus Barefoot of Norway, but a disappointment to his bellicose fellows. While they went raping, looting and pillaging he stayed on board reading psalms. Later he left the Vikings to govern Orkney in an unhappy power-sharing deal with a cousin who plotted against him, finally tricking Magnus to an early death on the island of Egilsay where he had gone for a peace conference. Magnus is the patron saint of Norway and fishmongers

16 April 1889: Charlie Chaplin (above), Britain's celebrated actor/film- maker was born in London. Charles started his career on the streets at the age of about five, where he sang and danced for pennies. At the age of eight, he found steadier work with a troupe of child dancers - the Eight Lancashire Lads. In 1913 he was taken to America as a Keystone cop (he made 35 films that year) and soon developed the clown character that was to make his name and fortune. His four marriages and energetic private life scandalised many, as did his pacifism and perceived Communism. While out of the United States in the 1950s he was denied a re-entry visa and vowed never to return, settling in Switzerland with his fourth wife Oona O'Neill. He returned to the US in 1972 to accept an Academy Award, and to London in 1975 to be knighted two years before his death in 1977.