29th of March

Saints Jonas, Barachisius, and their companions, martyrs, 327. St Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, in Syria, 4th century. Saints Armogastes, Archinimus, and Satur, martyrs, 457. St Gundleus, a Welsh King, 5th century. St Eustasius (or Eustachius), abbot of Luxen, 625.

Born. – Sanzio Raffaelle, painter, 1483, Urbino;1 Joseph Ignace Guillotin, physician, originator of the guillotine in France, 1738, Xaintes; Marshal Jean de Dieu Soult, Duke of Dalmatia, 1769, St Amand-du-Tarn.
Died. – Pope Stephen X., 1058, Florence; Raymond Lully, ‘the enlightened doctor,’ 1315, Majorca; Theophilus Bonet, eminent Genevese physician, 1689; Emanuel Swedenborg, 1772, Coldbath Fields London; Gustavus III of Sweden, 1792, Stockholm; Sir William Drummond, learned historian, 1828.
1  Sometimes the 28th of March is given as the date of the birth of the illustrious Raphael. The original statement on the subject is that Raphael was born on Good Friday (he died also on Good Friday). A French work, entitled Ephémérides, 1812, affirms that Good Friday of 1483 was the 29th of March, and this authority we follow.

On this Day in Other Sources.

On the death of David Bruce, in February, 1371, he was succeeded by his nephew, Robert, the Lord-high-steward, afterwards King Robert II., from whom the noble family of Bute is lineally descended. Robert III., son to the former, fixed his residence in the castle of Rothesay during the latter part of his life, and died there on the 29th of March, 1406.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, pp.177-178.

On the morrow, she set out on a short tour, through the neighbouring countries; and returned to St. Andrews, on the 29th of March, where she remained till the 3d of April, when she returned to Falkland. 

– Life of Mary, pp.78-98.

March 29 and 30 [1606.] – The equinoctial gale of this year is described by a contemporary chronicler as of extreme violence. He says, with regard to the two days above noted: ‘The wind was so extraordinary tempestuous and violent, that it caused great shipwreck in Scotland, England, France, and the Netherlands. It blew trees by the roots, ruined whole villages, and caused the sea and many rivers so to overflow their wonted limits and bounds, that many people and chattels were drowned and perished.’ – Bal

– Domestic Annals, pp.177-227.

The year at which we are now arrived is the epoch of the establishment of a regular letter-post in Scotland. There was previously a system of posts, in the proper sense of the word – namely, establishments at certain intervals where horses could be had for travelling, and which had the occasional duty of forwarding packets of letters regarding public affairs. As illustrative of this system of posts, which was probably limited to the road between Edinburgh and Berwick (as part of the great line of communication with London), with possibly one or two other roads – On the 29th of March 1631, the Lords of the Privy Council dealt with the fault of – Forres, postmaster of Haddington, respecting a packet of his majesty’s letters which had been lost by his carelessness. It appears that Forres was bound to have fresh horses always ready for the forwarding of such packets; but on one late occasion he had sent a packet by a foot-boy, who had lost it by the way, and he had never taken any further trouble regarding it. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.228-256.

Mar. 29 [1652.] – Being Monday, a celebrated eclipse of the sun took place between eight and eleven in the morning, with a perfectly clear sky. ‘The whole body of the sun did appear to us as if it had been covered with the moon; only there was a circle about the sun that appeared somewhat clear without any light [the corona?]. At that time there did a star appear in the firmament, near to the place of the eclipse.’ ‘There was ane manifest darkness for the space of some moments.’ – Lam. ‘The time of the eclipse it was exceedingly fearful and dark, to the terror of many.’ – Nic. Another account says the darkness continued about eight minutes, and the people began to pray to God.1 ‘The like, as thought by astrologers, was not since the darkness at our Lord’s passion. The country people, tilling, loosed their ploughs, and thought it had been the latter day… The birds clapped to the ground.’ – Law. The day of this eclipse was long remembered, under the name of MIRK MONONDAY. 

– Domestic Annals, pp.278-301.

1  Burgh Record of Peebles.

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 [1674.] ‘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.

Mrs. Henry Siddons’ twenty-one years of the patent ended in 1830; but her completion of twenty-one annual payments of £2,000 to the representatives of Mr. John Jackson made her sole proprietor of the house; and on the 29th of March she took farewell of the Edinburgh stage, in the character of Lady Townley in the Provoked Husband, and retired into private life, carrying with her, as we are told, “the good wishes of all in Edinburgh, for they had recognised in her not merely the accomplished actress, but the good mother, the refined lady, and the irreproachable member of society.” 

– Old and New Edinburgh, pp.348-352.

Associated Words from Jamieson’s Scottish Dictionary.

BORROWING DAYS, The last three days of March, Old Style, S. Complaynt S. – These days being generally stormy, our forefathers have endeavoured to account for this circumstance, by pretending that March borrowed them from April, that he might extend his power so much longer. Those who are much addicted to superstition will neither borrow nor lend on any of these days, lest the articles borrowed should be employed for the purposes of witchcraft against the lenders. Some of the vulgar imagine, that these days received their designation from the conduct of the Israelites in borrowing the property of the Egyptians.

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