This Day in April


Statue to philosopher David Hume, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
David Hume was born April 26, 1711.

Here is a snapshot of historical events which took place in the month of April, with links to pages with further information, where available on the Web.

April 1
"Hunt the Gowk" - Scottish equivalent of April Fool's Day (gowk is a cuckoo).

April 1 1295
Robert Bruce, "The Great Competitor" and grandfather of King Robert the Bruce, died.

April 1 1571
Dumbarton Castle, under siege since January 1570, captured by Captain Thomas Crawford scaling the walls.

April 2 1593
Marischal College, second University in Aberdeen, founded.

April 3 1401
Murder of Duke of Rothesay, heir of Robert III.

April 4 1373
Parliament held by King Robert II at Scone, resolved that his son, the Earl of Carrick should succeed his father as King (as Robert III although he was baptised John).

April 4 1384
John of Gaunt, son of Edward III attacks Scotland.

April 4 1406
King Robert III died and James I ascended the throne (but was not crowned until 1424 as he was a prisoner of the English).

April 4 1508
Production of the first printed book in Scotland with a definite date - a vernacular poem by John Lydgate 'The Complaint of the Black Knight'. The press was set up in Edinburgh by Walter Chepman, an Edinburgh merchant, and his business partner Androw Myllar, a bookseller, near what is now Cowgate.

April 4 1689
Scottish Parliament declared that James VII had forfeited the Scottish throne.

April 4 1617
John Napier, inventor of logarithms, died in Edinburgh.

April 5 1603
King James VI leaves Edinburgh to travel to London.

April 5 1830
Birth at Lesmahagow of composer Alexander Muir, creator of "Maple Leaf Forever".

April 5 1902
Disaster at English/Scottish football match at Ibrox Stadium when part of the flooring collapsed, killing 20, injuring 200.

April 6 1320
Declaration of Arbroath - "For we fight not for glory nor for riches nor for honour, but only and alone for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life".

April 6 1944
"Pay As You Earn" Income Tax introduced for the first time.

April 6 1998
Celebration of Tartan Day approved by the US Senate, in recognition of the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans.

April 7 1968
Jim Clark, Duns farmer, twice World Motor Racing Champion, killed in crash, Hockenheim.

April 9 1139
Second Treaty of Durham in which David I is recognised as King of an independent Scotland by King Stephen of England.

April 9 1747
Lord Lovat beheaded on Tower Hill for high treason. He was the last person in Britain to be beheaded.

April 9 1817
Architect Alexander "Greek Thomson" born in Balfron, Stirlingshire.

April 10 1512
King James V born.

April 10 1988
Sandy Lyle becomes the first Scottish (and British) golfer to win the US Masters tournament.

April 11 1700
Scottish settlement in Darien, Panama, abandoned.

April 11 1839
John Galt, author, traveller, founder of Guelph, Ontario, died.

April 11 1882
Battle of the Braes in which crofters in Skye fought 50 policemen during a dispute over land rights.

April 12 1606
Union flag adopted as the flag of England, Wales and Scotland.

April 12 1928
Madeleine Smith, found "not proven" for murder in 1857, died peacefully in New York.

April 12 1913
Flyweight boxing champion Benny Lynch born.

April 12 1945
The Scottish National Party gained their first electoral victory when they won the by-election in Motherwell and Wishaw by a majority of 617 votes.

April 13 1951
The Stone of Destiny, which had been removed from underneath the Coronation Chair by Scottish nationalists on 25 December 1950, was returned to Westminster Abbey after being found at Arbroath Abbey.

April 13 1996
George Mackay Brown, poet and novelist, died.

April 13 2001
Entertainer, actor and comedian Jimmy Logan died.

April 14 1582
University of Edinburgh founded.

April 14 1736
"Porteous Riots" in Edinburgh take place after the hanging of a smuggler by the City Guard led by Captain Porteous. The Guard killed several people in the ensuing riot.

April 14 1903
Aberdeen Football Club was founded.

April 15 1710
Birth of William Cullen. He held the first independent university lectureship in chemistry (as distinct from chemistry and medicine) in the British Isles at Glasgow University. He published the first modern Pharmacopia in 1776 and remained an important member of Edinburgh society during the Enlightenment period. Joseph Black, perhaps the greatest chemist of that age, was one of Cullen's pupils.

April 15 1799
Prof Joseph Black chemist, researcher, teacher, first to identify carbon dioxide, died.

April 15 1924
Actor and comedian Rikki Fulton born in Glasgow. He was best known for his double act with Jack Milroy as "Francie and Josie" and as the Rev I M Jolly in "Scotch and Wry".

April 15 1961
Scotland defeated 9-3 by England at Wembley, a record score for a football match between the two countries.

April 16 1746
Charles Edward Stewart defeated at Battle of Culloden.

April 16 1953
Royal yacht "Britannia" launched at John Brown's shipyard, Clydebank.

April 17 1341
Edinburgh Castle captured from the English.

April 17 1766
James Craig's winning entry for development of Edinburgh New Town was approved.

April 17 1847
The Educational Institute of Scotland was founded "to promote sound learning and advance the interests of education in Scotland".

April 17 1895
Scotland's first cremation at Glasgow's Western Necropolis.

April 17 1909
Riot by fans after replay of Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park.

April 17 1937
A British record attendance at a football match was set when 149,547 watched Scotland play England at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Until 1950, this was a world record.

April 17 1969
Everyone in Britain over the age of 18 was allowed to vote in parliamentary elections. The minimum age of 21 had been set in 1928.

April 18 1874
Remains of David Livingstone interred in Westminster Abbey.

April 18 1992
Final performance at the Grassmarket, Edinburgh premises of the Traverse Theatre company - 25 years after it was opened by Jenny Lee, Britain's first minister of the arts. The theatre re-opened at a custom-made building beside the Usher Hall.

April 19 1390
Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce, died at Dundonald Castle.

April 19 1689
Earl of Angus forms the Cameronians into a regiment.

April 19 1825
Robert Byron (later Lord Byron) died at Missolinghi, Greece.

April 19 1905
Aviator Jim Mollinson who married Amy Johnson, was born in Glasgow.

April 20 1809
James David Forbes, physicist who devised first form of seismograph, born.

April 20 1934
Scottish National Party founded with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party.

April 20 1994
Sir Walter Scott's home at Abbotsford was raided and priceless antiques stolen.

April 21 1703
Edinburgh Fire Brigade, one of the first in Scotland, formed.

April 21 1838
John Muir, pioneering conservationist and founder of Yosemite National Park, born in Dunbar.

April 21 1926
The future Queen Elizabeth II born. Her parents at that time were the Duke and Duchess of York.

April 22 1838
The 703-ton Sirius, built in Leith and carrying 90 passengers, reached New York, the first ship to cross the Atlantic entirely under steam. Shortage of fuel resulted in spars and furniture being burned towards the end of the 18-day voyage. Brunel's steamship, Great Western, arrived a day later.

April 22 1869
Rev Patrick Bell , inventor of mechanical reaper, died.

April 22 2005
Sculptor and artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi died. Born in Leith, he was a founder of the Independent Group, which is seen as a precursor to the '60s British pop art movement.

April 23 1124
King Alexander I died at Stirling Castle, succeeded by David I.

April 23 1661
Charles II crowned at Westminster Abbey.

April 23 1945
Blackout restrictions lifted as World War II heads to a conclusion.

April 23 1968
The new 5p and 10p decimal coins were introduced in anticipation of decimalisation (in 1971). They were used as one shilling and two shilling coins until then.

April 24 1558
Mary, Queen of Scots, married French Dauphin, Francis Valois (he was aged 14) at Notre Dame in Paris.

April 24 1567
First printed book ever published in Gaelic. It was "Forms of Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Catechism of the Christian Faith," translated from English by Bishop John Carsewell of the Isles.

April 24 1633
Warrant issued by the Privy Council to Sir John Hepburn to raise a regiment of 1,200 men to fight in the French service. The corps ultimately became the First Regiment of Foot, The Royal Scots.

April 24 1825
Novelist R M Ballantyne, who wrote 90 books, the best known of which was "The Coral Island," was born in Edinburgh.

April 24 1949
Chocolate and sweets were no longer rationed, a measure introduced at the start of World War 2. However, demand was so great that it had to be re-introduced.

April 25 1058
Malcolm III (Canmore) crowned.

April 25 2001
Motorola factory in Bathgate closes with the loss of 3,100 jobs.

April 26 1711
Philosopher David Hume born.

April 26 1826
Robert Adamson, who collaborated with D O Hill to produce early portrait photography, born.

April 26 1923
Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon married the Duke of York at Westminster Abbey, the first Royal wedding to take place there since 1383. The couple later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

April 27 1296
Scots defeated by Edward I at Battle of Dunbar.

April 27 1650
Battle of Carbisdale, Montrose's last battle.

April 27 1794
James Bruce, explorer and author of "Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile" died.

April 27 1931
First meeting of the National Trust for Scotland which was formally incorporated on the following 1 May.

April 28 1742
Henry Dundas, powerful politician, known as "Uncrowned King of Scotland, born.

April 28 1898
Poet William Soutar born in Perth.

April 28 1988
Glasgow Garden Festival opened by Prince Charles and the Princess of Wales.

April 29 1977
Scottish Aviation becomes part of British Aerospace.

April 29 1988
Actor Andrew Cruickshank, died.

April 29 1990
Stephen Hendry, aged 21, becomes the youngest world snooker champion by beating Jimmy White 18-12 in the final.

April 30 1728
Royal Bank invents first overdraft, Wm Hogg overdraws by 1,000 (66,000 at today's money).

April 30 1891
An Comunn Gaidhealach was formally instituted as a vehicle for the preservation and development of the Gaelic language.

April 30 1940
Free French Destroyer "Maillr Breze" explodes and sinks off Greenock.

April 30 1995
Stephen Hendry wins the World Snooker Championship for the fourth time in a row.

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