A marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the passage of the husband's titles and privileges to the wife and any children born of the marriage.
Fact of the Day
Henry II famously beat a Cistercian abbot in a drinking (‘toasting’) contest.
Quote of the Day
"A French bastard arriving with armed banditti and establishing himself the King of England against the consent of the natives is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original and certainly has no divinity in it. "
~ Thomas Paine, 1776
On This Day
1154 King Stephen, who had wrested control of England from his cousin, Empress Matilda - and broken his oath in the process - died of a stomach disorder. Thanks to the Treaty of Winchester, Matilda's own son, Henry, became king instead of Stephen's eldest surviving son, William.
1400 One of the greatest poets of the English language, Geoffrey Chaucer, died of unknown causes (according to the engraving on his tomb) but possibly on the orders of the enemies of the recently-deposed Richard II. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and his remains are now interred in Poets' Corner.
1415 The outnumbered English, led by Henry V, won a decisive victory against the French - helped massively by their use of the longbow - at the Battle of Agincourt.
1760 George II died when his heart ruptured following an incipient aortic aneurysm, and his grandson, George III, acceded to the throne.
1822 The First Siege of Missolonghi begins as part of the Greek War of Independence.
1854 'Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell Rode the six hundred': British light cavalry charged in a frontal assault against well-defended and well-sited Russian guns in the Crimean War. The Charge of the Light Brigade has become a prime example of bravery in the face of futile death.
1917 (Julian calendar). Lenin's Bolsheviks seize power by capturing the Winter Palace in Petrograd.