13th of July

St Analectus, martyr, 2d century. St Eugenius, bishop of Cartage, and his companions, martyrs, 505. St Turiaf, Turiave or Thivisiau, bishop of Dol, in Brittany, about 749.


Born. – Regnier de Graaf, 1641, Schoenhaven, in Holland
Died. – Pope John III., 573; Emperor Henry II., 1024; Du Guesclin, constable of France, illustrious warrior, 1380, Châteauneuf-Randon; Jean Paul Marat, French Revolutionary leader and writer, 1793, Paris.



If a grave is open on Sunday, there will be another dug in the week. 

This I believe to be a very narrowly limited superstition, as Sunday is generally a favourite day for funerals among the poor. I have, however, met with it in one parish, where Sunday funerals are the exception, and I recollect one instance in particular. A woman coming down from church, and observing an open grave, remarked: ‘Ah, there will be somebody else wanting a grave before the week is out!’ Strangely enough (the population of the place was then under a thousand), her words came true, and the grave was dug for her

If a corpse does not stiffen after death, or if the rigor mortis disappears before burial, it is a sign that there will be a death in the family before the end of the year. 

In the case if a child of my own, every joint of the corpse was as flexible as in life. I was perplexed at this, thinking that perhaps the little fellow might, after all, be in a trance. While I was considering the matter, I perceived a bystander looking very grave, and evidently having something on her mind. On asking her what she wished to say, I received for answer that, though she did not put any faith in it herself, yet people did say that such a thing was the sign of another death in the family within the twelvemonth. 

If every remnant of Christmas decoration is not cleared out of church before Candlemas-day (the Purification, February 2), there will be a death that year in the family occupying the pew where a leaf or berry is left. 

An old lady (now dead) whom I knew, was so persuaded of the truth of this superstition, that she would not be contented to leave the clearing of her pew to the constituted authorities, but used to send her servant on Candlemas-eve to see that her own seat at anyrate was thoroughly freed from danger. 

Fires and candles also afford presages of death. Coffins flying out of the former, and winding-sheets guttering down from the latter. A winding-sheet is produced from a candle, if, after it has guttered, the strip, which has run down, instead of being absorbed into the general tallow, remains unmelted: if, under these circumstances, it curls over away from the flame, it is a presage of death to the person in whose direction it points. 

Coffins out of the fire are hollow oblong cinders spirted from it, and are a sign of a coming death in the family. I have seen cinders, which have flown out of the fire, picked up and examined to see what they presaged; for coffins are not the only things that are thus produced. If the cinder, instead of being oblong, is oval, it is a cradle, and predicts the advent of a baby; while, if it is round, it is a purse, and means prosperity. 

The howling of a dog at night under the window of a sick-room, is looked upon as a warning of death’s being near. 

Perhaps there may be some truth in this notion. Everybody knows the peculiar odour which frequently precedes death, and it is possible that the acute nose of the dog may perceive this, and that it may render him uneasy: but the same can hardly be alleged in favour of this notion, that the screech of an owl flying past signifies the same, for, if the owl did scent death, and was in hopes of prey, it is not unlikely that it would screech, and so give notice of its presence. 

   Suffolk.                                                                                                                                   C. W. J. 


On this Day in Other Sources.


THE [13th] of July, in this same year, 1249, was King Alexander III solemnly crowned at Scone. 

Historical Works, pp.57-77.


The church judicatory, whose duty it is, to promote peace on earth, dispersed letters to the principal nobles, and appointed commissioners, to enforce the request of the assembly, for joining the secret council, whose object was to promote true religion, by abolishing papistry; “seeing that God, at this present, has begun to tread down Satan [the Queen] under foot.” And, in order to bring enthusiasm to their aid, the assembly appointed a public fast, to be held, in Edinburgh; beginning on Sunday, the 13th of July [1567], and ending, on Sunday the 20th of the same month. Yet, few, or none of the nobles paid any attention to this call; and only some of the freeholders, who were heated, by fanaticism, came, in any numbers, to Edinburgh; to fast, with Buchanan, the calumniator, and to pray, with Morton, the murderer.  

Life of Mary, pp.155-184.


July 13 [1608]. – We hear at this time of one of the last attempts to settle a dispute by regular combat; and it is the more remarkable, as several persons were concerned on each side. On the one part stood ‘the Lord Sinclair, David Seton of Parbroth, and John Sinclair elder and John Sinclair younger, sons to the said Lord Sinclair;’ on the other were George Martin of Cardone and his three sons. A mutual challenge had passed between the parties, ‘with special designation of time, place, form, and manner of the combat,’ and the rencontre would have, to all appearance, taken place, had not some neighbours interfered to prevent it. The parties were summoned before the Privy Council, to answer for their conduct. 

Domestic Annals, pp.177.227.


In July, 1650, Wemyss Castle was visited by Charles II. who spent a day in it; and on the 13th of July, 1657, he again slept a night at the castle. 

Scotland Illustrated, pp.82-84.


July 13 [1697]. – James Hamilton, keeper of the Canongate Tolbooth, gave in a humble petition to the Privy Council, setting forth that ‘for a long while bygone’ he has ‘kept and maintained a great many persons provided for recruiting the army in Flanders.’ In this last spring, ‘the prisoners became so tumultuous and rebellious, that they combined together and assassinat the petitioner’s servants, and wounded them, and took the keys from them, and destroyed the bread, ale, and brandy that was in the cellar, to the value of eight pounds sterling.’ ‘Seeing the petitioner’s due as formerly is two shillings Scots per night for himself, and twelve pennies Scots for the servants for each person,’ in respect whereof he was ‘liable for ane aliment of twenty merks monthly to the poor, besides the expense of a great many servants,’ payment was ordered to him of £837, 17s. for house-dues for the recruits, during a certain term, and £107, 8s. for damages done by the mutiny. 

Domestic Annals, pp.355-378.


Scotsman Articles Relating to WALLACE‘S SWORD transcribed directly: 

Wednesday 13 July 1825, p. 5.  

“A patriotic correspondent, indignant at the idea of the sword of Wallace being removed to London, asks if it be not the property of the people of Scotland as much as the regalia; and if the public officers are not culpable in allowing it to be removed out of the kingdom?” 

Scots Lore, pp.280-282.


Glasgow Evening Post, Saturday 13th July 1867, p.4. 


   A STRANGE DEATH. – A strange death is recorded this week of a young clerk, apparently poisoned by the bad atmosphere of a small telegraph -office room, ill-ventilated, and with four gas-burners, of which “all the clerks had complained.” This is only a rapid and compressed view of a tragedy constantly being worked out more slowly in work-rooms and offices, and approximately imitated by the poisoning and illness due to the bad ventilation of our gaslit theatres, churches, and ball-rooms. – British Medical Journal. 

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

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