26 May 1650

Birth at Ashe House in Devon of John Churchill, future first Duke of Marlborough and victor at the battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.


26 May 1651

Jeanne Gardiner was executed for witchcraft at St George, Bermuda. During her trial she was subjected to ordeal by water, being twice thrown into the sea. According to a contemporary account "she did swyme like a corke and could not sinke".

26 May 1868

The 27-year-old Fenian Michael Barrett becomes the last man to be publicly hanged in Britain as he is executed outside Newgate Prison for his alleged part in the Clerkenwell bombing which left 13 dead and 50 injured.

26 May 1907

Marion Morrison, better known as the actor John Wayne, is born in Winterset, Iowa.

26 May 1909

Matt Busby is born in the Scottish mining village of Orbiston. An ex-Manchester City and Liverpool player, he becomes manager of Man United. After surviving the 1958 Munich air crash, he leads United to victory in the 1968 European Cup Final.


26 May 1942

British foreign secretary Anthony Eden and Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov signed the Anglo-Soviet Treaty, a mutual assistance agreement between the two countries.

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