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Blount, Martha (1690–1763), Roman Catholic gentlewoman, was born on 15 June 1690 at the family estate of Mapledurham, Berkshire, the third child (but second eldest surviving) of six born to Lister Blount (1654–1710) and his wife, Martha (d. 1743), daughter of Anthony Englefield...

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Martha Blount (1690–1763) by Charles Jervas, 1716 [Blount sisters [left to right]: and Teresa Blount (1688–1759)] reproduced by permission of the Mapledurham Trust. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Brooksby [née Vaux], Eleanor (c. 1560–1625), recusant and priest harbourer, was the eldest daughter and second of four children of William Vaux, third Baron Vaux of Harrowden (1535–1595), and his first wife, Elizabeth (d. 1562), daughter of Sir John Beaumont of ...

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Carvajal y Mendoza, Antonia Luisa de (1566–1614), Catholic missionary, was born in Jaraicejo, Extremadura, Spain, on 2 January 1566, the sixth child of Francisco de Carvajal y Vargas (d. 1572), a nobleman commissioned by the king to high regional posts, and María de Mendoza y Pacheco (...

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Clitherow [née Middleton], Margaret [St Margaret Clitherow] (1552/3–1586), Roman Catholic martyr, was born in York, the youngest of the four children of Thomas Middleton (d. 1567), wax chandler and freeman of York, and his wife, Jane (c.1515–1585), daughter of ...

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Dympna [St Dympna] (fl. late 6th–early 7th cent.), martyr, is the patron saint of the town of Geel in Belgium, where she is invoked against insanity. Dympna and her counsellor, the priest Gerebern, are both supposed to have been buried in Geel. Fragments of their presumed sarcophagi still exist in the church of ...

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Fenwick [née Benison], Ann (1724–1777), Roman Catholic litigant and heir, was the only child of Thomas Benison (1696–1735), a Lancaster attorney, and his wife, Ann Dowbiggin (1694–1762), widow of a Mr Winder. The Benisons had been landowners in Hornby and Roeburndale, a few miles west of ...

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Helen Jane Gladstone (1814–1880) by P. Slater, 1850 private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gladstone, Helen Jane (1814–1880), Roman Catholic convert, was born on 28 June 1814 at 62 Rodney Street, Liverpool. She was the second daughter, and youngest of the six children, of Sir John Gladstone, first baronet (1764–1851), and his second wife, Anne, née Robertson (1771/2–1835)...

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Hastings [née Daunais], Hazel Mary (1897–1993), teacher and Roman Catholic laywoman, was born on 8 November 1897 on a farm at Eagle Hills, near Battleford, Saskatchewan, Canada, the daughter of Charles Michel Daunais (d. 1901), a farmer, and his wife, Mabel Grant Hutchison (1873–1961)...

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Herbert, (Mary) Elizabeth, Lady Herbert of Lea (1822–1911), Roman Catholic convert and philanthropist, was born on 21 July 1822, the only daughter of General Charles Ashe À Court Repington (1785–1861), sometime MP for Heytesbury, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Gibbs (d. 1878)...

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(Mary) Elizabeth Herbert, Lady Herbert of Lea (1822–1911) by Richard James Lane, 1850 (after James Rannie Swinton, 1850) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Higginson, Teresa Helena (1844–1905), Roman Catholic schoolteacher and mystic, was born at Holywell in north Wales on 27 May 1844, the third child of the family of five daughters and three sons of Robert Francis Higginson (1816–1877) and his wife, Mary, née Bowness (...

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Anne Howard, countess of Arundel (1557–1630) by Wenceslaus Hollar (after Lucas Vorsterman, c. 1626) © Copyright The British Museum

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Howard [née Dacre], Anne, countess of Arundel (1557–1630), noblewoman and priest harbourer, was born in Carlisle on 1 March 1557, the eldest daughter of Thomas Dacre, fourth Lord Dacre of Gilsland (1526?–1566), and his second wife, Elizabeth (d. 1567), daughter of ...

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Julian of Norwich (1342–c. 1416), anchoress and mystic, may have taken her name from the parish church of St Julian at Conisford in Norwich, where she had her cell; however, the name Julian (also spelt Ielyan or Latinized to Juliana) was not uncommon at the time and might have been hers from birth. No other information concerning her identity or origins has come to light, although the partly northern dialect of one manuscript of her work, combined with an affectionate reference to ...

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Kentigerna [St Kentigerna, Caintigern] (d. 734), anchorite, was an Irish noblewoman who ended her days as an anchorite on a Scottish island. She owes her fame to her reputation for holiness and to the holiness and status of her male kin: she was the daughter of ...

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Kerr, Cecil Chetwynd [née Lady Cecil Chetwynd Chetwynd-Talbot], marchioness of Lothian (1808–1877), Roman Catholic convert, was born on 17 April 1808 at Ingestre Hall, Staffordshire, the daughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, second Earl Talbot of Hensol (1777–1849), and his wife, Frances Thomasine (1782–1819)...

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Kirkby, Margaret (d. 1391x4), anchoress, of Richmondshire, was a disciple of the hermit Richard Rolle (d. 1349). Information about her comes from a biographical office of Rolle written between 1381 and 1383, when Margaret returned to the nunnery at Hampole some thirty-four years after ...

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Lawson [née Constable], Dorothy (1580–1632), recusant and priest harbourer, was born at Wing, Buckinghamshire, the second daughter of Sir Henry Constable (d. 1607) of Burton Constable, Holderness, Yorkshire, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Sir Robert Dormer of Wing, Buckinghamshire. She was raised as a pious Roman Catholic by her mother, who had spent time in prison for her recusancy. In 1597, aged seventeen, ...