19 January 1511

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk to give thanks for the birth of a son. The king presented a ruby collar to be hung around the neck of the shrine's statue of the Virgin Mary. A few weeks later, however, the royal child died. In 1538, during Henry's dissolution of the monasteries, such shrines were destroyed and the statue of the Virgin was taken to Chelsea to be publicly burned alongside other religious images.


19 January 1809

Birth in Boston, Massachusetts of poet, critic and writer Edgar Allan Poe. His only completed novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, will be published in 1838, but he is best known for his macabre short stories.

19 January 1812

After a ten-day siege, Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army captured the key border fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo from the French, opening up the northern invasion corridor from Portugal into Spain.

19 January 1813

Birth near Hitchin in Hertfordshire of English inventor Henry Bessemer. He is chiefly known for developing the Bessemer process for the manufacture of steel.


19 January 1888

Heinrich Anton de Bary, who is acknowledged as the founder of modern mycology, dies in Strassburg. In 1879 he had coined the term "symbiosis" to describe the close association, normally for mutual benefit, of two different organisms.

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Dominic SandbrookHistorian and presenter

Dominic Sandbrook is historian and presenter, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine