20th of January

St Fabian, pope, 250. St Sebastian, 288. St Euthymius, 473. St Fechin, abbot in Ireland, 664.

Born. – Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1707, Hanover.
Died. – Rodolph II., emperor, 1612; Charles VII., emperor, 1745; Sir James Fergusson, 1759; John Howard, 1790.



Most performers belong to skating clubs, – fraternities constituted for the cultivation of the art as an art, and to enforce proper regulations. In Edinburgh, there is one such society of old standing, whose favourite ground is Duddingston Loch, under the august shadow of Arthur’s Seat. The writer recalls with pleasure skating exhibitions which he saw there in the hard winters early in the present century, when Henry Cockburn and the philanthropist James Simpson were conspicuous amongst the most accomplished of the club for their handsome figures and great skill in the art. The scene of that loch ‘in full bearing,’ on a clear winter day, with its busy stirring multitude of sliders, skaters, and curlers, the snowy hills around glistening in the sun, the ring of the ice, the shouts of the careering youth, the rattle of the curling  stones and the shouts of the players, once seen and heard, could never be forgotten.

On this Day in Other Sources.

The west front of the church is an elevation of much dignity, composed of a central and two lateral compartments, separated and flanked by buttresses, three of which are terminated by recently erected cones, a similar one of which is on the east end of the nave. These cones are by no means ornamental. The aisles are lighted by pointed windows, in the decorated style. On the north wall towards its west end, is a porch, above which is erected the present vestry. Through this porch is an entrance in a style of architecture somewhat similar to that of the western. On the left wall of the portico is a Latin inscription, which tells that John de Lithgow, abbot of the monastery, chose this for his place of sepulture, on the 20th day of January, 1433.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, Paisley, pp.477-487.


The 20th of January [1449] the King calls a parliament at Edinburgh. In this parliament, Alexander Seton, Lord  Gordon, was creat[ed] Earl of Huntly, and George, Lord Leslie or Lewin, was creat[ed] Earl of Rothes.

– Historical  Works, pp.166-189.

Jan. 20. [1564] – ‘God from heaven, and upon the face of the earth, gave declaration that he was offended at the  iniquity that was committed within this realm; for, upon the 20th day of January, there fell weet in great abundance,  whilk in the falling freezit so vehemently, that the earth was but ane sheet of ice. The fowls both great and small  freezit, and micht not flie: mony died, and some were taken and laid beside the fire, that their feathers might resolve.  And in that same month, the sea stood still, as was clearly observed, and neither ebbed nor flowed the space of  twenty-four hours.’ – Knox.

– Domestic Annals, pp.13-29.


Alister MacGregor, Laird of Glenstrae, who had escaped [John Campbell] the Laird of Ardkinlas’ hands, was taken by  Archibald [Campbell], Earl of Argyll, who (before he would yield) had promised to him to convoy him safe out of  Scottish ground; to perform which promise, he caused some servants [to] convey him to Berwick, and be south [of] it  some miles, and bring him back again to Edinburgh, where he was hanged, with many of his kindred, [on] the 20th  day of January, in the following year, 1604.

– Historical Works, pp.340-416.


The offenders are afterwards ordained to make repentance. And on a subsequent occasion the presbytery “ordaines  James broun in Ruglen allegit gysor in womens cloathes to be summoned.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.189-215.

1  20th January, 1608.


Jan. [1674] – At this time commenced a stormy period, which was long memorable in Scotland. It opened with a  tempest of east wind, which strewed the coasts of Northumberland and Berwickshire with wrecks. During February,  the rough weather continued; and at length, on the 20th of the month, a heavy fall of snow, accompanied by vehement  frost, set in, which lasted for thirteen days. This was afterwards remembered by the name of the Thirteen Drifty Days.  There was no decided improvement of the weather till the 29th of March. ‘All fresh waters was frozen as if in the midst  of winter; all ploughing and delving of the ground was marred till the aforesaid day; much loss of sheep by the snow,  and of whole families in the moor country and highlands; much loss of cows everywhere, also of wild beasts, as doe  and roe.’ – Law. This storm seems to have fallen with greatest severity upon the Southern Highlands. It is stated in the  council books of Peebles that ‘the most part of the country lost the most part of their sheep and many of their nolt, and  many all their sheep. It was universal, and many people were almost starved for want of fuel for fire.’

– Domestic  Annals, pp.322-337.


2635. Original Warrant by the Privy Council to the Earl of Linlithgow for the quartering of the “Highland Host” in  Glasgow and neighbourhood. 20th January, 1678.

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.


“January 20 Mr. Pitt of Bethnall Green to Mrs. Cox widow, worth £5000. She is about 80 and Mr. Pitt is her 5th  husband. He is about 70 and she his third wife. Their acquaintance commenced since new-year’s-day.”1

– Old Glasgow, pp.299-307.

1  Gentleman’s Magazine, 1735.


On the 20th January, 1773, at four A.M., there was a tempest, says a print of the time, “and a stack of chimneys on  an old house at the foot of Gosford’s Close, possessed by Hugh Mossman, writer, was blown down, and breaking  through the roof in that part of the house where he and his spouse lay, they both perished in the ruins… In the storey  below, Miss Mally Rigg, sister to Rigg of Morton, also perished.”

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.118-123.