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Ashbridge [née Sampson], Elizabeth (1713–1755), Quaker minister and writer, was born in Middlewich, Cheshire, the daughter of Thomas Sampson, a ship's surgeon, and his wife, Mary. Few details are known about Elizabeth's early life, parents, and family; indeed, most of the information about her later life and career is taken from her spiritual autobiography (composed about 1745), which records her 'remarkable experiences' (the title of some versions of the narrative indicated) after she left home aged fourteen. About 1727 she eloped with, and married, a stocking weaver, who died within the year. ...

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Ayckbowm, Emily Harriet Elizabeth [known as Mother Emily] (1836–1900), Anglican nun, was born on 14 November 1836 in Heidelberg, Germany, the eldest surviving of the three children of the Revd Frederick (or Frederic) Ayckbowm (1793–1862) and his first wife, Mary Ann (or Anne) Hutchinson (1806–1842)...

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Aylward, Gladys May (1902–1970), missionary, was born on 24 February 1902 in Edmonton, Middlesex, the eldest of the three children of Thomas John Aylward, postman, and his wife, Rosina Florence Whiskin, daughter of a surgical boot maker. After receiving an elementary education, at the age of fourteen she became a shop-girl, then a children's nanny, settling finally to be a parlourmaid. She was efficient and pleasant, liked frequent moves, and served in several well-known households in the ...

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Ball, Hannah (1734–1792), follower of Wesleyan Methodism and diarist, was born on 13 March 1734, probably in Buckinghamshire. Nothing is known of her family other than that she was one of a family of twelve children and that her mother died in 1779, aged seventy-nine. At the age of nine she went to live with an uncle in ...

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Barber, Margaret Fairless [pseud. Michael Fairless] (1869–1901), religious writer, was born on 7 May 1869 at Castle Hill House, Rastrick, West Riding of Yorkshire, the youngest of three daughters of Fairless Barber (1835–1881), solicitor and archaeologist, and his wife, Maria Louisa, née...

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Mabel Barltrop (1866–1934) by unknown photographer, c.1930 The Panacea Charitable Trust

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Barltrop, Mabel [name in religion Octavia] (1866–1934), prophet and founder of the Panacea Society, was born at 1 Granville Terrace, Montpelier Road, Rye Lane, Peckham, Surrey, on 11 January 1866, the only daughter of Augustus Charles Andrews (1827/8–1875), banker's clerk, and his wife, ...

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Barnardiston [née Banks], Katherine, Lady Barnardiston (d. 1633), patron of puritanism, was born in the parish of St Michael-le-Querne, Paternoster Row, in the city of London, one of seven children of Thomas Banks (c.1538–c.1598), barber–surgeon, and his wife, ...

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Barrington [née Williams or Cromwell], Joan, Lady Barrington (c. 1558–1641), godly matriarch and patron of clergy, was one of the eleven children of Sir Henry Williams (later Cromwell; c.1537–1604) of Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdonshire, and his wife, Joan (d. 1584), daughter of ...

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See Bateman, Hezekiah Linthicum

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Bathurst, Catherine Anne [name in religion Mary Catherine Philip] (1825–1907), Roman Catholic nun, was born at Summerleaze, Wookey, Somerset, on 14 July 1825, the youngest of the three daughters and six sons of General Sir James Bathurst (1782–1850) and Lady Caroline Stuart (...

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Baxter [née Foster], Elizabeth [Lizzie] (1837–1926), evangelist, was born on 16 December 1837 at 81 High Street, Evesham, the third daughter of eight children born to Thomas Nelson Foster (1799–1858), a Quaker manufacturer of agricultural fertilizers, and his second wife, Elizabeth Gibbs...

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Baynard, Ann (1672/3–1697), exemplar of godly life, was born at Preston, Lancashire, the only child of Edward Baynard (1641?–1717), physician and poet, and his wife, who was probably Anne, daughter of Robert Rawlinson of Carke, Lancashire. At some point during the following decade the family moved to ...

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Benson, Margaret (1865–1916), Egyptologist and religious philosopher, was born on 16 June 1865 at Wellington College, Berkshire, the fourth of the six children of Edward White Benson (1829–1896), archbishop of Canterbury (1882–96), and his wife, Mary (1841–1918), daughter of the Revd William Sidgwick...

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Bertie [née Willoughby; other married name Brandon], Katherine, duchess of Suffolk (1519–1580), noblewoman and protestant patron, was the daughter of William Willoughby, eleventh Baron Willoughby de Eresby, a baron whose holdings ran to some thirty manors in Lincolnshire (and almost as many in ...

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Besant [née Wood], Annie (1847–1933), theosophist and politician in India, was born at 2 Fish Street Hill in the City of London on 1 October 1847, the only daughter of William Persse Wood (d. 1852), underwriter, and his wife, Emily Roche Morris (...

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Annie Besant (1847–1933) by Hayman Selig Mendelssohn © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Biddle, Hester (1629/30–1697), Quaker minister and writer, spent her childhood in Oxford. She twice refers to having been born an Anglican, but nothing else is known of her family origin. She wrote only under her married name, so her marriage to Thomas Biddle (...

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Bird, Mary Rebecca Stewart (1859–1914), missionary, was born on 23 June 1859 at Castle Eden rectory, co. Durham, the fifth of the six children of Charles Robinson Bird (d. 1886), rector of Castle Eden, and Harriet Oliver (d. 1911), née Watson...

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Bliss [née Moore], Kathleen Mary Amelia (1908–1989), religious administrator and university teacher, was born on 5 July 1908 in Fulham, London, the elder child and only daughter of Thomas Henry Moore, local government officer, and his wife, Ethel Steward. She was educated at ...