This Day in History - 15th July
971According to the legend of St. Swithin, if it rains today, it will be the start of forty days of rain. St Swithin was bishop of Winchester Cathedral and asked to be buried outside it so that he would be exposed to ‘the feet of passers-by and the drops falling from above’.
1207England's King John expelled Canterbury monks for supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton. Langton was a central figure in the dispute between King John and Pope Innocent III, which was a contributing factor to the crisis which led to the issuing of Magna Carta in 1215.
1381John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of King Richard II. The revolt later came to be seen as a mark of the beginning of the end of serfdom in medieval England.
1573The birth of the architect Inigo Jones, He left his mark on London by designing the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Covent Garden square which became a model for future developments in the West End.
1685Charles II's illegitimate son (the Duke of Monmouth) was executed for rebelling against James II. His head was then put back on his shoulders so that his portrait could be painted.
1815French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to Captain Maitland aboard the English ship Bellerophon, at Rochefort, before being sent into exile on the island of St Helena.
1865The birth of Alfred (Charles William) Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe. Northcliffe introduced the first tabloid newspaper, the Daily Mail, followed later by the Daily Mirror. He also took over The Times in 1908, and improved its declining sales.
1912National Insurance payments began in Britain.
1948Alcoholics Anonymous, in existence in the USA since 1935, was founded in London.
1953Murderer John Christie, responsible for the deaths of at least six women in his home at 10, Rillington Place, London, was hanged.
1977The government announced a 10% pay restriction on wages to help curb inflation.
1996Prince Charles and Princess Diana were granted a decree nisi. Princess Diana could no longer be addressed as Her Royal Highness but was to be known as Diana, Princess of Wales.
2000Two men caught on camera for dangerous driving escaped prosecution in a landmark case, as it had violated their human rights.
2014Former Tory leader William Hague resigned, thus ending his political career which started at the aged of 16 when he took the 1977 Conservative Party conference by storm.