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Alexander, Alexander (b. 1781/2), soldier and writer, was born in Dundonald, Ayrshire, the illegitimate son of a wealthy Scottish merchant. Almost everything known about him comes from his remarkable autobiography, published in Edinburgh in 1830. After what he recalled as an unhappy childhood marred by physical violence, at the age of eighteen he was sent to work as an overseer on slave plantations in ...

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Bertie, Peregrine, thirteenth Baron Willoughby of Willoughby, Beck, and Eresby (1555–1601), nobleman and soldier, was born on 12 October 1555 in Wesel, Cleves, the only son of Richard Bertie (1517–1582), landowner and religious evangelical, and his wife, Katherine [see Bertie, Katherine, duchess of Suffolk (1519–1580)...

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Bingham, Sir Richard (1527/8–1599), soldier and president of Connacht, was the third son of Robert Bingham of Melcombe-Bingham, Dorset, and his wife, Alice, daughter of Thomas Coker of Mappowder in the same county. His elder brothers were Robert and Christopher; he also had two sisters and five younger brothers, ...

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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Blount, Charles, eighth Baron Mountjoy and earl of Devonshire (1563–1606), soldier and administrator, was the second son of James Blount, sixth Baron Mountjoy (1532/3–1581), nobleman [see under Blount, Charles, fifth Baron Mountjoy], and his wife, Catherine (d. 1576), daughter of ...

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Bourchier, John, second Baron Berners (c. 1467–1533), soldier, diplomat, and translator, was the son of Sir Humphrey Bourchier (d. 1471) and Elizabeth (d. 1497), daughter and sole heir of Frederick Tilney of Boston, Lincolnshire. His father, a Yorkist, was killed at the battle of ...

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Brandon, Charles, first duke of Suffolk (c. 1484–1545), magnate, courtier, and soldier, was the second but only surviving son of Sir William Brandon (d. 1485) and his wife, Elizabeth Bruyn (d. 1494) of South Ockendon. The manner of Sir William's death, killed at ...

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Bréauté, Sir Falkes de (d. 1226), soldier and royal favourite, was of obscure Norman parentage. One reasonably reliable source, which described him as 'small in stature but very valiant', stated that he was the son of a Norman knight by a concubine (...

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Brooke, George, ninth Baron Cobham (c. 1497–1558), soldier and landowner, was the eldest surviving son of Thomas Brooke, eighth Baron Cobham (d. 1529), and his first wife, Dorothy Heydon. He accompanied his father in attending Mary Tudor to her marriage with Louis XII of France...

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Camoys, Thomas, Baron Camoys (c. 1350–1420/21), administrator and soldier, was the son of John Camoys and heir of his uncle Thomas, Lord Camoys. The uncle died on 11 April 1372, and his lands were given to the heir on 12 October. Camoys served with the retinue of his kinsman ...

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Capel, Arthur, first Baron Capel of Hadham (1604–1649), royalist army officer and politician, was born on 20 February 1604 at Hadham Hall, Hertfordshire, the only son of Sir Henry Capel (d. 1622) of Hadham Parva and Theodosia, daughter of Sir Edward Montagu...

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Carew, George, earl of Totnes (1555–1629), soldier and administrator, was born on 29 May 1555, the second son of George Carew (1497/8–1583), Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Anne (d. 1605), daughter of Sir Nicholas Harvey and his second wife, Bridget...

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Carew, Sir Peter (1514?–1575), soldier and conspirator, was the third son of Sir William Carew (c.1483–1536) of Mohun's Ottery, Devon, and his wife, Joan (d. 1554), daughter of Sir William Courtenay of Powderham and his second wife, Mary. The eldest son, ...

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Cecil, Thomas, first earl of Exeter (1542–1623), courtier and soldier, was born in Cambridge on 5 May 1542, the eldest son of William Cecil, first Baron Burghley (1520/21–1598), and his first wife, Mary (c.1520–1544), sister of John Cheke. His mother died when he was less than two years old and he never seems to have aroused any affection in his puritanical stepmother, ...

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Coltman, William Harold (1891–1974), soldier and gardener, was born at The Common, Tatenhill, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, on 17 November 1891, the fourth son of Charles Coltman (1851/2–1903), gardener's labourer, and his wife, Annie, née Gopsill. He left school aged thirteen, and helped his mother to support the family after his father's death, working as a journeyman market gardener. On 8 January 1913 he married, at Burton upon Trent record office, ...

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Coningsby, Sir Thomas (1550–1625), soldier, was born on 9 October 1550, the second son of Humphrey Coningsby (1516–1559) of Hampton Court, Herefordshire, and Anne Englefield. His father's death was quickly followed in 1561 by that of his elder brother, Edward, leaving Thomas heir to substantial estates in ...

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Crichton, James [called the Admirable Crichton] (1560–1582), rhetorician and soldier, was born on 19 August 1560, probably at Eliock near Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, the son of Robert Crichton (d. 1582), lawyer.

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Cromwell, Henry (1628–1674), soldier, politician, and lord lieutenant of Ireland, was born on 20 January 1628 at Huntingdon and baptized there at All Saints' Church on 29 January, the fifth of nine children and fourth among the five sons of Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658)...

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Daubeney, Giles, first Baron Daubeney (1451/2–1508), administrator, soldier, and diplomat, was the elder son and heir of Sir William Daubeney (1424–1461) [see under Daubeney family] of South Petherton, Somerset, and his wife, Alice (b. 1432), third daughter and coheir of ...

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Devereux, Robert, second earl of Essex (1565–1601), soldier and politician, was born on 10 November 1565. He was the elder son and heir of Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex (1539–1576). Through his mother, Lettice (1543–1634), he was a member of Elizabeth I's...