1381 – Wat Tyler murdered. A leader of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt, he marched a group of protesters from Canterbury to the capital to oppose the institution of a poll tax.
While the brief rebellion enjoyed early success, Tyler was killed by officers of King Richard II during negotiations at Smithfield in London.
1785 – Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and Pierre Romain became the first-ever known casualties of an air crash when their hot air balloon exploded during their attempt to cross the English Channel.
After making some progress, a change of wind direction pushed them back to land some 5 km from their starting point.
The balloon suddenly deflated (without the envelope catching fire) and crashed near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais, from an estimated height of 1,500 feet.
A commemorative obelisk was later erected at the site of the crash.
1878 – Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer, took a series of photographs to prove that all four feet of a horse leave the ground when it runs; the study became the basis of motion pictures.
St. Swithin’s Day
A bishop of Winchester who died in 862. According to popular belief, he was at his own request buried in the churchyard, so that his grave could be watered by the rain and trodden on by passers-by.
On 15th July 971 his remains were moved to a shrine inside the cathedral, an operation that was alledgedly disrupted by heavy rain, which continued for 40 days.
This gave rise to the meteorological belief that whatever the weather does on this day, it’ll remain so for the next 40 days. As predictions go, its regularly proved wrong.
1381 – John Ball, an English Lollard priest and a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt, was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of King Richard II, and his head subsequently stuck on a pike on London Bridge.
Ball, who was called by Froissart “the mad priest of Kent,” seems to have possessed the gift of rhyme. He voiced the feelings of a section of the discontented lower orders of society at that time, who chafed at villeinage and the lords’ rights of unpaid labour, or corvée.
At the time that the uprising began, Ball was imprisoned at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone, Kent and was released by the Kentish rebels. He preached to them at Blackheath (the insurgents’ gathering place near Greenwich) in an open-air sermon that included the following:
- “When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman?From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.“
- 1799 – The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.
- 1944 – Millie Jackson, American singer, born. The inimitiable Millie Jackson….
- 1951 – Gregory Isaacs, Jamaican reggae singer, born.
- 1952 – Johnny Thunders, American guitarist, singer and songwriter (New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers) born.
- Mr. Frankenstein