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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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Barrett, John [Jacky] (1753/4–1821), classical scholar and eccentric, was born in Ballyroan, Queen's county, the son of Daniel Barrett (d. 1760), a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Rossamund Gofton (d. 1782). Although baptized John he was universally known as ...

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Cooke, Thomas (1722–1783), Church of England clergyman and eccentric, born in Hexham, Northumberland, on 23 October 1722, was the son of John Cooke, a shoemaker at Hexham. He received his education as king's scholar at Durham School, and afterwards entered Queen's College, Oxford...

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Alexander Cruden (1699–1770) by Thomas Trotter, pubd 1785 (after Thomas Frye) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cruden, Alexander (1699–1770), biblical scholar and eccentric, was born in Aberdeen on 31 May 1699, the second of eleven children of William Cruden (d. 1739), a prominent merchant and bailie in the city, and his wife, Isabel Pyper (d. 1740). He was educated in ...

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Dineley [formerly Dineley-Goodere], Sir John, fifth baronet (c. 1729–1809), eccentric, was born at Burhope, Herefordshire, the younger of twin sons of Samuel Goodere (1687–1741), landowner and naval officer, of Burhope, and his second wife, a widow, Elizabeth, née Watts (d. 1742)...

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Sir John Dineley, fifth baronet (c. 1729–1809) by W. Hopkins, 1809 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alexander Gordon

revised by Anita McConnell

Elwes [formerly Meggott], John (1714–1789), landowner and eccentric, was born on 7 April 1714 in the parish of St James, Westminster, the son of Robert Meggott (d. 1718), landowner and brewer, and his wife, Amee (Amy; d. 1754), daughter of Gervase Elwes...

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John Elwes (1714–1789) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London / Country Life Picture Library

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Fuller, John (1757–1834), politician and eccentric, was born on 20 February 1757 at North Stoneham, Southampton, Hampshire, the only son of Revd Henry Fuller (1713–1761), rector of North Stoneham, and his wife, Frances (1725/6–1778), his cousin, and daughter of Thomas Fuller of Catsfield, Sussex...

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Hartley, Henry Robinson (1777–1850), eccentric and philanthropist, was born on 12 November 1777 in Southampton, second and only surviving child of Henry Hartley (1731–1800) and his wife, Susanna, née Lavender (1742–1821). His father inherited a prosperous wine business from a childless uncle, George Robinson...

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Henry Hastings (bap. 1562, d. 1650) by unknown artist private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Hastings, Henry (bap. 1562, d. 1650), landowner and eccentric, was the second son of George Hastings (d. 1604), who in 1595 became fourth earl of Huntingdon, and his wife, Dorothy Port (d. 1607). His epitaph states that he died on 5 October 1650, aged ninety-nine, so indicating that he was born in 1550 or 1551, but this exaggerates his age. His parents were married in 1557, his elder brother was born in 1560, and ...

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Henderson, John (1757–1788), student and eccentric, was born on 27 March 1757 at Ballygarran, near Limerick, the only child of Richard Henderson (1736/7–1792), an Irishman, and his wife, Charlotte (d. 1775). The family came to England about 1762, and Richard became one of ...

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Henley, John [known as Orator Henley] (1692–1756), dissenting minister and eccentric, was born on 3 August 1692, probably at St Mary's vicarage, Melton Mowbray, coming from a line of eminently respectable clerical forebears. His father, the Revd Simon Henley (1665–1731), vicar of ...

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Hill, George (c. 1716–1808), lawyer and eccentric, was born at Waddington, Lincolnshire, the eldest son of Nathaniel Hill MA (d. 1732), rector of Waddington and lord of the manor of Rothwell, Northamptonshire. As well as his father, his brother and two uncles were clergymen. ...

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Howe, John, fourth Baron Chedworth (1754–1804), eccentric, was born on 22 August 1754, the second and only surviving child of the Revd Thomas Howe (1716–1776), rector of Great Wishford and Kingston Deverill, Wiltshire, and his wife, Frances (1722–1778), daughter of Thomas White of ...

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Margrie, William (1877–1960), philosopher and eccentric, was born at 202 St George's Road, Camberwell, south London, on 7 April 1877, the youngest of five children of William Leslie Margrie, a carpenter and joiner who later had a builder's and house decorator's firm in ...

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William Martin (1772–1851) by George Patten, c. 1821 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Seccombe

revised by Anita McConnell

Martin, William (1772–1851), eccentric and self-proclaimed philosopher, was born on 21 June 1772 at the Twohouse, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, the eldest of four sons of (William) Fenwick Martin (d. 1813) and his wife, Isabella (d. 1813), daughter of Richard Thompson, a farmer. The second son, ...