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Agnew, Sir Andrew, seventh baronet (1793–1849), promoter of Sabbatarian legislation, was born at Kinsale, Ireland, on 21 March 1793, into an ancient and distinguished family in Wigtownshire. He was a posthumous son, his father, Andrew Agnew, an army officer, having died on 11 September 1792. His mother, ...

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Brewster, Patrick (1788–1859), Church of Scotland minister and political activist, was born at Jedburgh on 20 December 1788, the youngest of the four sons of James Brewster (c.1735–1815), rector of Jedburgh grammar school, and his wife, Margaret Key (1753–1790). He was the younger brother of ...

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Cargill, Donald [Daniel] (c. 1627–1681), field preacher and insurgent, was born at the farmhouse of Nether Cloquhat, Perthshire, the son of Lawrence Cargill (d. 1657), smallholder of Nether Cloquhat, and later notary at Rattray, and his wife, Marjory Blair. Initially destined for a career in the law ...

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Chilembwe, John (c. 1870–1915), Baptist minister and anti-colonial rebel, was probably born at Sangano, Chiradzulu, in modern Malawi, of a Yao father (reportedly called Kaundama), and a Mang'anja or Cewa slave mother (reportedly called Nyangu). Very little is known of his early life. He acquired a basic knowledge of English from one of the earliest outposts of Scottish Presbyterian missionaries. In 1892 he became ‘cook boy’ to the recently arrived independent English missionary ...

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John Chilembwe (c. 1870–1915) by unknown photographer [with members of his family] © reserved / London Library

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George Dawson (1821–1876) by Henry John Whitlock © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dawson, George (1821–1876), preacher and political activist, was born at 36 Hunter Street, London, on 24 February 1821, the son of a radical Baptist schoolmaster, Jonathan Dawson, and his wife, Rachel Biggs. He was educated, and later became a pupil teacher and then classics master, at his father's school, where for a time ...

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Lord George Gordon (1751–1793) by R. Bran, pubd 1780 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gordon, Lord George (1751–1793), political and religious agitator, was born on 26 December 1751 in Upper Grosvenor Street, London, the third son of Cosmo George Gordon, third duke of Gordon (1720/21–1752), a landowner, and his wife, Lady Catherine Gordon (1718–1779), the daughter of ...

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MacFadden, James (1842–1917), Roman Catholic priest and tenant leader, was born near Carrigart, co. Donegal, the fourth of five children. His father, John, was a comfortable Catholic farmer in a region where members of the minority Church of Ireland dominated that class. Related to several influential figures in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, including ...

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Mitchell, James (d. 1678), presbyterian preacher and insurgent, was born and raised in Edinburghshire. He studied at Edinburgh University under the theologian David Dickson and graduated on 9 July 1656. During the 1650s he adhered to the militant wing of the Scottish covenanters, the remonstrants, but his clerical career was less than distinguished, perhaps because he was 'a weak scholar' (...

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Murch, Jerom (1807–1895), Unitarian minister and municipal activist, was born on 29 October 1807 in Honiton, Devon, the fourth of the seven children of William Murch (1767–1853), tinsmith and ironmonger, and his second wife, Ann, née Burnard (1775–1856), of Colyton. He had five other siblings from his father's first marriage....

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Murphy, John (1753–1798), Roman Catholic priest and insurgent leader, was the youngest of four sons and one daughter born to Thomas Murphy and Johanna Whitty of Tincurry, near Ballycarney, co. Wexford. The family were tenant farmers and used their 70 acres of good land to produce grain and cured bacon for the thriving ...

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Read, James (1777–1852), missionary in Cape Colony and political activist, was born on 3 December 1777, in Abridge, Essex, the son of Joseph and Susannah Read. A carpenter of little education, by early manhood he was a member of the Hackney church of the Anglican evangelical ...

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Rede, John (1614/1615–1710), Leveller and Baptist leader, was the son of Edward Rede (d. 1635), of Porton, near Idmiston, Wiltshire; details of his mother are unknown. He had three brothers, Edward, Robert, and Charles, and a sister, Jane. Rede's early life is obscure, but he was well educated, for he was subsequently described as 'a man of learning for those times particularly in the Hebrew language' (...