13 October 1269

Following Henry III's rebuilding of Westminster Abbey the body of Edward the Confessor was moved to an ornate new shrine at the heart of the abbey church.


13 October 1307

The Templars in France are arrested for heresy.

13 October 1321

Isabella, the wife of King Edward II, was refused entry to Leeds Castle by the wife of its custodian. Six of Isabella's men died in the ensuing scuffle. The king used the incident as an excuse to attack his baronial opponents.

13 October 1552

Ivan the Terrible captures Kazan, marking the end of the local khanate and its incorporation into the growing empire of Muscovy

13 October 1760

British sailor John Jervis was promoted post captain and placed in command of HMS Gosport. Jervis, who had joined the Royal Navy as an able seaman in 1749, went on to command the British fleet at the victory over the Spanish at Cape St Vincent in 1797.

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13 October 1812

An outnumbered force of British regulars, Canadian militia and Native Americans under Major-General Isaac Brock defeated a US attempt to invade Upper Canada at the battle of Queenston Heights. Brock was killed in the fighting.

13 October 1903

At the end of an epic eight-game baseball battle, the Boston Americans (later Red Sox) mount an extraordinary comeback to defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Though technically only an informal clash, it is remembered as the first ever World Series.

13 October 1908: Suffragettes try to storm House of Commons

‘Rush’ arranged by Pankhurst and WSPU results in 36 arrests

“Women’s Social and Political Union,” began the flyer. “VOTES FOR WOMEN. Men and women – help the suffragettes to rush the House of Commons on Tuesday evening, 13 October 1908, at 7:30.”

After years of escalating suffragette protests, the idea of a ‘rush’ on the Commons had been devised by WSPU leaders Emmeline Pankhurst, her daughter Christabel and their friend Flora Drummond. There was nothing secret about the plan: not only had Christabel shown the flyer to a policeman, but on Sunday 11 October, they addressed a rally in Trafalgar Square, urging their listeners to join them in storming the Commons chamber.

The next day, the three leaders were served with a court summons, demanding that they report to Bow Street police station. But they did not respond to the summons; when they returned to the WSPU offices at 6pm on the Tuesday, police arrested them.

The ‘rush’ itself was just as dramatic as its architects had hoped. “Riotous Scenes at Westminster,” gasped the next day’s Times. As the press reported, some 60,000 people had assembled in Parliament Square, with “determined bands of women” leading the charge against the police lines guarding the Palace of Westminster. Not all the crowd were militant suffragettes. One observer wrote that there were plenty of male hecklers too, as well as “curiosity-mongers who were fascinated by the fight although without interest for its cause”.


In the chaos, some 24 women and 12 men were arrested, while another 10 were taken to hospital. But the crowd never managed to break through into the Commons as the Pankhursts had hoped. Only one woman made it into the chamber: the Labour MP Keir Hardie’s secretary, Margaret Travers Symons. She shouted: “Leave off discussing the children’s question and give votes to women first!” before the attendants ushered her away. | Written by Dominic Sandbrook

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