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Bocher, Joan (d. 1550), religious radical, also known as Joan Knell and Joan of Kent, is of unknown origins, but Bocher and Knell families are found either side of the rim of Romney Marsh. Her religious history is also obscure. The earliest that is known for certain is that she was much in favour in reforming circles in ...

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Bowes [née Aske], Elizabeth (bap. 1505, d. in or before 1572), protestant exile, was baptized in August 1505 at Aske in Richmondshire, North Riding of Yorkshire, the daughter of Roger Aske (d. before 1510), son of William and Felicia Aske, and ...

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Channel, Elinor (fl. 1654), prophetess, of unknown parents, was an inhabitant of Cranleigh, near Guildford in Surrey. By the spring of 1654 she was married to 'a very poor man' and had at least four children, three of whom were very young (...

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Clibborn, Catherine Booth- [called La Maréchale] (1858–1955), evangelist, was born on 18 September 1858 at Gateshead, the third of eight children and the eldest daughter of the Revd William Booth (1829–1912), then a minister in the Methodist New Connexion, and his wife, ...

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Crofts, Elizabeth (b. c. 1535), impostor, is of unknown origins. Nothing is known of her before 1554, when she was involved in a cause célèbre that led to her being accused of attempting to undermine the church and the crown. The episode is reported in both Catholic and protestant sources, with no significant variation in detail. On 14 March that year, aged about eighteen, ...

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Davies [née Touchet; other married name Douglas], Lady Eleanor (1590–1652), prophetess, was the fifth daughter of George Touchet, eleventh Baron Audley (1550/51–1617), and his first wife, Lucy Mervyn (d. 1609/10), daughter of Sir James Mervyn of Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire. She had two younger brothers. Her father's barony was recalled in one of the variants of her name which she was to deploy in her writings: ...

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Dyer [née Barrett], Mary (d. 1660), Quaker martyr in America, of whom all that is known of her parentage is her maiden name, married William Dyer (bap. 1609), a milliner and member of the Fishmongers' Company, probably in St Martin-in-the-Fields, Middlesex...

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Fairfield, Zoë Barbara (1878–1936), secretary of the Student Christian Movement, was born at St George's Square, Pimlico, London, on 23 April 1878, the elder of two daughters of Arthur Rowan Fairfield (1840–1915), civil servant, and his wife, Sophie Louise, née Blew-Jones (1858–1936). She was a cousin of ...

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Gotherson [née Scott; other married name Hogben], Dorothea (bap. 1611), Quaker preacher and writer, was baptized on 22 September 1611 at Godmersham, Kent, the youngest of five children of Thomas Scott (c. 1566–1635), later MP for Canterbury, and his second wife, Mary Knatchbull (...

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Hampton, Elizabeth [Bess] (d. 1661), conventicle keeper and laundress, was perhaps of a family from Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire. She never married. She lived in Holywell Street, Oxford, round the corner from Wadham College, and on a direct route to Magdalen College, in a tenement leased from ...

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Hutchinson [née Marbury], Anne (bap. 1591, d. 1643), dissident prophet in America, was baptized on 20 July 1591 at Alford, Lincolnshire, the eldest child of the Revd Francis Marbury (c.1556–1611) and his wife, Bridget Dryden, both from gentry families. While her father was a militant presbyterian who none the less eventually conformed, ...

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Jinner, Sarah (fl. 1658–1664), compiler of almanacs and medical practitioner, has left no trace of her family or background and is known only through the pioneering series of almanacs she published from 1658 to 1664, aimed mainly at women. Her woodcut portrait depicts an elegantly dressed figure, and her style indicates that she was well educated and aiming at a respectable audience. The almanacs are distinctive for their spirited assertion of women's abilities, their frank treatment of female medical problems, and their combative observations on contemporary politics. Acknowledging in her first edition that readers 'may wonder to see one of our Sex in print, especially in the Celestial Sciences' (...

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Line [née Heigham], Anne [St Anne Line] (d. 1601), Roman Catholic martyr, was probably the eldest daughter of William Heigham, of Dunmow, Essex, a protestant landowner, and if so was originally named Alice. According to Henry Garnett she was educated at court. ...

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Loveday, Emily Mary (b. 1799), Roman Catholic convert, was born on 28 December 1799 and baptized at St Paul's, Hammersmith, Middlesex, on 24 February 1800, the eldest daughter of Douglas Charles Loveday (1786/7–1843) and his wife, Eliza, née Sharp (1775/6–1861). Her father was admitted at the ...

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Marsin [Mersin, Mercin], M. (fl. 1696–1701), theologian, is somebody about whose life absolutely nothing is known beyond the very scanty personal information contained in her published works. Internal evidence confirms that she was female, and that during the mid-1690s she travelled some hundred miles...

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Travers, Rebecca (c. 1609–1688), Quaker preacher and writer, was the daughter of a Baptist. She married William Travers, a tobacconist at the Three Feathers, Watling Street, London, who died in 1664. She had been 'a reader of the Scriptures from a child of six' (...

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Vernon, Margaret (d. in or after 1546), abbess of Malling and friend of Thomas Cromwell, had an administrative career unparalleled by that of any other English nun. Between 1509 and 1539 she was successively head of four Benedictine women's houses: Sopwell and St Mary de Pré...

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Weld, Jane Charlotte [known as Baroness Weld] (1806–1871), convert to Roman Catholicism and benefactor, was born at Purley, near Windsor, Berkshire, and baptized on 10 August 1806 at Sunninghill. She was the eldest of the six children born to Edward Lesmoir Gordon (...

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Welin [née Hedenström], Agnes Carolina Albertina (1844–1928), missionary to seafarers, was born on 15 March 1844 in Härad, Södermanland, south-west of Stockholm, Sweden. Her strong, Slavic features reflected her partly Russian paternal ancestry. Her father, Claes August Hedenström, a gamekeeper, died when she was seven. Her mother, ...