14th of October

St Calixtus or Calistus, pope and martyr, 222. St Donatian, confessor, bishop of Rheims and patron of Bruges, 389. St Dominic, surnamed Loricatus, confessor, 1060.

Born. – James [VII. of Scotland & II. of England & Ireland], 1633. 
Died. – Pierre Gassendi, mathematician and philosopher, 1655, Paris; Paul Scarron, humorous writer, 1660, Paris; James, Marshal Keith, killed at Hochkirchen, 1758; Prince Gregory Alexander Potemkin, favourite of Empress Catherine, 1791, Cherson.


Among the eight generals of Frederick the Great, who, on foot, surround Rauch’s magnificent equestrian statue of the monarch in Berlin, one is a Briton. He was descended of a Scotch family, once as great in wealth and station as any of the Hamiltons or the Douglases, but which went out in the last century like a quenched light, in consequence of taking a wrong line in politics. James Edward Keith, and his brother the Earl Marischal, when very young men, were engaged in the rebellion of 1715-16, and lost all but their lives. Abroad, they rose by their talents into positions historically more distinguished than those which their youthful imprudence had forfeited. 

The younger brother, James, first served the czar in his wars against Poland and Turkey; but, becoming discontented with the favouritism that prevailed in the Russian army, and conceiving himself treated with injustice, he gave in his resignation in 1747, and was admitted into the Prussian service as field-marshal. Frederick the Great made him his favourite companion, and, together, they travelled incognito through Germany, Poland, and Hungary. Keith also invented a game, in imitation of chess, which delighted the king so much, that he had some thousands of armed men cast in metal, by which he could arrange battles and sieges. On the 29th of August 1756, he entered  with the king into Dresden, where he had the archives opened to carry away the documents that particularly interested the Prussian court: he also managed the admirable retreat of the army from Olmutz in the presence of a superior force, without the loss of a single gun; and took part in all the great battles of the period. He was killed in that of Hochkirchen, 14th of October 1758. His correspondence with Frederick, written in French, possesses much historical interest. He was of middle height, dark complexion, strongly-marked features, and an expression of determination, softened by a degree of sweetness, marked his face. His presence of mind was very remarkable; and his knowledge, deep and varied in character; whilst his military talents and lively sense of honour made him take rank among the first commanders of the day. His brother, the lord-marshal of Scotland, thus wrote of him to Madame de Geoffrin: ‘My brother has left me a noble heritage; after having overrun Bohemia at the head of a large army, I have only found seventy dollars in his purse.’ Frederick honoured his memory by erecting a monument to him in the Wilhelmsplatz, at Berlin, by the side of his other generals.

On this Day in Other Sources.

William, Duke of Normandy, having overcome Harold in the battle of Hastings, on the fourteenth day of October, one thousand and sixty-six; Edgar Ætheling saw no hopes of obtaining the crown and took his departure from England along with his mother and sisters for Hungary: but they were driven by adverse winds into the Frith of Forth, and took refuge in a small port, which was afterwards named the Queen’s ferry, in memory of Queen Margaret. Malcolm on hearing of the distress of the illustrious strangers, left his royal palace at Dunfermline to meet them, and invited them to Dunfermline, where they were hospitably entertained. Margaret, one of Edgar’s sisters, was a princess of great virtues and accomplishments; and she at once won the heart of Malcolm. 

The offer of his hand was accepted, and their nuptials were celebrated with great solemnity and splendour. This Queen was a blessing to the king, and to the nation, and appears to have well merited the appellation of Saint. There are few females in history who can be compared with Queen Margaret. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.79-95.

We find Edward the 1st of England, at Dunipace, upon the 14th October, 1301, when he signed a warrant to his plenipotentiaries, who were at that time in France, authorizing them to consent to a truce with the Scots, as a necessary preliminary towards a peace with their ally, the French king, between whom and Edward an obstinate war had long raged. At the chapel of this place, too, Robert Bruce and William Wallace are said to have had a second conference, the morning after the battle of Falkirk, which effectually opened the eyes of the former, to a just view of his own true interest, and that of his country.

– Gazetteer of Scotland, p.397.

The 14th of October this year [1318], was fought the battle of Dundalk, in Ireland, wherein the Lord Edward [Bruce], elect King of Ireland, was killed. 

– Historical Works, pp.88-104.

Oct. 14 [1574]. – ‘The pest came to Leith by ane passenger wha came out of England, and sundry died thereof before it was known.’ On the 24th, it entered Edinburgh, ‘brought in by ane dochter of Malvis Curll out of Kirkcaldy.’ The Court of Session abstained from sitting in consequence. ‘My Lord Regent’s grace skalit his house and men of weir, and was but six in household; I know not whether for fear of the pest or for sparing of expenses.’ – D. O. 

– Domestic Annal, pp.56-80.

In 1569 the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland raised an insurrection in her favour, which was suppressed. Three years later, the Duke of Norfolk was beheaded for taking part in a conspiracy to place Mary, whom he hope to marry, on the throne of England. But the most formidable plot, and the one that proved fatal to Mary, was headed by Antony Babington, a rich young Catholic of Derbyshire. The object of Babington’s conspiracy was to murder Elizabeth and set Mary free. The plot was discovered, and Babington and thirteen other conspirators were tried and executed in September, 1586. It was alleged that Mary was privy to the conspiracy, and that she had received letter regarding it and returned answers to them through a chink in her prison wall. Though Mary denied that the letters, produced to prove her guilt, were written by her or with her knowledge, she was brought to trial on the 14th October, 1586, at Fotheringay.1

– A History of Scotland, Chapter XV.

1  Mary was too closely kept a prisoner to have been able to participate in plots; 
“This secretary, however, had the merit of discovering the whole plot of Babington, and his complotters. They were taken, and examined; they were convicted and punished, as traitors deserved. Yet, all this while, were the Scotish Queen, and her servants, kept so closely, by Paulet, that she was quite ignorant of those events, though they were known, in every part of England. But, as soon as those conspirators were arrested, Sir Thomas Gorges was sent, to give her a brief relation of the whole; which he, purposely, communicated, just as she had taken horse, to ride out: Neither was she permitted to return, from her ride, to the castle; but, was led about, under the pretence of doing her honour, from one gentleman’s house to another, in that neighbourhood. Meantime, certain commissioners, under Elizabeth’s special authority, committed Naue, and Curl, the Scotish Queen’s secretaries, to several keepers; that they might have no communication with each other, or their mistress. They also broke into the closet of the unfortunate queen, and seized her cabinet, and papers, which were sealed up, and sent to court. Paulet, as he was commanded, took possession of her money; lest she should use it, for corruption. Her cabinets being searched, in the presence of Elizabeth, there were found many letters, from persons, beyond the sea, as also copies of letters written, in answer, and about sixty indexes, or tables of private cyphers, and characters: There were, moreover, discovered letters, from some English noblemen to her, full of expressions of respect, and attachment to her, which Elizabeth read in silence, according to her motto, video et taceo; I see, and am silent. But, those nobles, hearing that the Scotish Queen’s papers had been perused by Elizabeth, from that time, acted as mortal enemies to Mary; in order to conceal their own shame, and to blunt Elizabeth’s anger.” – From Mary’s Removal to to Tutbury, till her Removal to Fotheringay



The xiiij day of October 1591, being Fuiresday in Lithe.

   Item for braid to your hors the morning 

xl d.  

– Sketches, Appendix VIII.

At the time Montrose entered Angus, a committee of the estates, consisting of the Earl Marshall and other barons, was sitting in Aberdeen, who, on hearing of his approach, issued, on the tenth of October, a printed order, to which the Earl Marshall’s name was attached, ordaining all persons of whatever age, sex, or condition, having horses of the value of forty pounds Scots or upwards, to send them to the bridge of Dee, which was appointed as the place of rendezvous, on the fourteenth of October [1644], by ten o’clock, A. M., with riders fully equipped and armed; with certification, in case of failure, that each landed proprietor should be fined in the sum of one thousand pounds: every gentleman not a landed proprietor, in five hundred pounds Scots, and each husbandman in one hundred merks, besides confiscation of their horses. Copies of this proclamation were sent to the moderators of the adjoining Presbyteries, who were directed to instruct the ministers of the parishes to notify the same to every man within their parishes, and to read it from their pulpits upon Sunday. With the exception of the Lord Gordon, who brought three troops of horse, and Captain Alexander Keith, brother of the Earl Marshall, who appeared with one troop at the appointed place, no attention was paid to the order of the committee by the people, who had not yet recovered from their fears, and their recent sufferings were still too fresh in their minds to induce them again to expose themselves to the vengeance of Montrose and his Irish troops. “Many men and women,” says Spalding, “with their young children, carried on women’s backs, fled the town of Aberdeen, (there having fallen, the same Sunday, a storm of snow,) howling, lamenting, and crying, not knowing where to go for safety of their lives, which was pitiful to behold; but their fear was more nor needed, for they all returned back to their houses shortly, for that Montrose came not to Aberdeen.”1 Disappointed and chagrined at the disobedience of the country people, Ramsay, who had been appointed by the committee major-general of these expected horse, destroyed the grain crops of the farmers. 

– History of the Highlands, pp.342-364.

1  Troubles, vol. ii. p. 277. 


Born at Kirktonhill, 14th Oct., 1687; died, 1st Oct., 1768. 

Professor of Mathematics in the University of Glasgow. He was the eldest son of John Simson, of Kirktonhill, and educated at Glasgow University, where, his mathematical capacity being recognised, he was appointed professor in 1711. He occupied the chair for fifty years, and acquired great reputation both as mathematician and as teacher. He is now best known by his edition of Euclid, of which all modern editions are little more than reprints. Among his pupils were Colin Maclaurin, James Stirling, Mathew Stewart, and Professor Robison of Edinburgh. 

– Memorial Catalogue, Gallery 1.


That of the marker on the right reads: 









Glasgow’s Cathedral & City Necropolis.

Glasgow Evening Citizen, Monday 14th October 1889, p.2. 



   On Saturday information of a mysterious death was forwarded to Mr. Langham, the City of London coroner. The deceased has been identified as Mr. G. B. Phillips, aged forty, a jute merchant of Dundee. At half-past six o’clock he arrived at Cannon-street Railway Station by the tidal train. He had been to Paris to visit the Exhibition. Whilst en route from Boulogne to Folkestone he made the acquaintance of a young woman, and from inquiries that have been made it is evident that he travelled in her company to London. On the arrival of the train at Cannon-street Station the deceased got out, and immediately afterwards sank to the platform as if dead. He was carried to the Cannon-street Hotel, where he expired about two hours afterwards. It is understood that the identity of the deceased was ascertained through certain papers found in his pockets, but whether the young woman referred to had been detained is not known. The inquest will probably be held on Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Curious and Interesting Deaths.

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