The social rung below the nobility, but including those who were landed and entitled to a coat of arms, and who could sit in the House of Commons. It typically included the locally powerful, such as knights and other important people in towns and the counties.
Fact of the Day
The eighteenth-century evangelical preacher George Whitefield considered it a badge of honour that, along with rotten fruit, he might be pelted by 'pieces of dead cats'.
Quote of the Day
"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business. "
~ Henry Ford
On This Day
1559 King Henri II of France was injured in a jousting accident when a lance shattered on his shoulder, sending splinters into his eye. He died 10 days later, leaving the throne of France to his son Francis II, husband of Mary Queen of Scots.
1688 The Immortal Seven - a group of seven politicians, religious leaders and nobles who were upset with the rule of James II - sent a letter to William of Orange, stadholder of the Netherlands, inviting him to invade England. The invitation provided William - later William III - with the cover of legitimacy he needed to effect the 'Glorious Revolution'.
1837 Punishment by pillory was finally abolished in Britain.
1882 Charles Guiteau, an American writer and lawyer, was executed by hanging almost exactly a year after he shot President James A. Garfield, who died of his wounds two months later.
1934 Hitler's political opponents and the leadership of the SA were either murdered or imprisoned in the Night of the Long Knives.
1937 The world's first emergency telephone number "999" was introduced in London.
1940 German military forces began their occupation of the Channel Islands, the only British territory to be occupied by the Nazis in Europe. They remained in control of the four islands - Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark - until May 1945.