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Arthur (supp. fl. in or before 6th cent.), legendary warrior and supposed king of Britain, has an attested career that is entirely posthumous. From obscure beginnings in British legend, he became internationally known in the twelfth century, particularly through the success of Geoffrey of Monmouth's...

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Atkins, Thomas [Tommy] (d. 1794), soldier and epitomist of the British infantryman, remains an obscure figure but is thought, according to the most reliable accounts, to have been a private serving in the 33rd regiment of foot during the Netherlands campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. On 15 September 1794 ...

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John Bull (supp. fl. 1712–) by Charles Williams, c. 1816 © Copyright The British Museum

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Bull, John (supp. fl. 1712–), fictitious epitomist of Englishness and British imperialism, first appeared in print in The History of John Bull, a political allegory—sometimes wrongly attributed to Jonathan Swift, but now accepted as the work of John Arbuthnot, Queen Anne's physician. The ...

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Benjamin Hall, Baron Llanover (1802–1867) by George Zobel (after T. Hurlstone) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hall, Benjamin, Baron Llanover (1802–1867), politician and eponymist of Big Ben, was the eldest son of Benjamin Hall (1778–1817), MP and ironmaster, of Hensol Castle, Glamorgan, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Richard Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, Glamorgan. He was born on 8 November 1802 in ...

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Hood, Robin (supp. fl. late 12th–13th cent.), legendary outlaw hero, is wellnigh impossible to identify, first because of the sparsity and peculiar nature of the evidence, and second because Robin quickly became a composite figure of an archetypal criminal, and then an outlaw hero....

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Ludd, Ned (fl. 1811–1816), mythical machine-breaker, was the name signed by the authors of letters threatening the destruction of knitting frames. Luddism emerged initially in the small villages of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire (the address affixed to some of the letters was Sherwood Forest...

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Merlin [Myrddin] (supp. fl. 6th cent.), poet and seer, is a figure whose historicity is not proven. He is known in Welsh sources as Myrddin and from the twelfth century also as Merlinus or Merlin. No definite conclusion can be drawn from Myrddin's...

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Railton, David (1884–1955), Church of England clergyman and originator of the idea of the tomb of the unknown warrior, was born on 13 November 1884 at 48 Altham Road, Hackney, London, the son of George Scott Railton (bap. 1849, d. 1913), ...