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Armitt, Mary Louisa (1851–1911), author and founder of the Armitt Library, Ambleside, was born at 19 Melbourne Terrace, Salford, Lancashire, on 24 September 1851. She was the youngest of three daughters of William Armitt (1815–1867), an impecunious assistant overseer who valued learning, and his wife, ...

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Mary Louisa Armitt (1851–1911) by Sophia Armitt The Armitt Trust Collection

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Aylesbury, Sir Thomas, baronet (1579/80–1658), patron of mathematics, was born probably in early 1580, possibly in London, where some of his siblings were later baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn. He was the second son among at least eight children of William Aylesbury (...

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Blount, Charles, fifth Baron Mountjoy (1516–1544), courtier and patron of learning, was the eldest son of William Blount, fourth Baron Mountjoy (c. 1478–1534), and his third wife, Alice Brown, née Kebel (or Keble; d. 1521). Charles was born on 28 June 1516 in ...

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Bodley, Sir Thomas (1545–1613), scholar, diplomat, and founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, was born on 2 March 1545 in a house on the corner of High Street and Gandy Street, Exeter, the eldest son of John Bodley (c. 1520–1591), religious radical and publisher, of ...

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Boswell, Sir William (d. 1650), diplomat and patron of learning, was born in Suffolk. He matriculated from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1600, graduating BA in 1604, becoming a fellow in 1606, and proceeding MA in 1607; he was incorporated at Oxford in 1608. In December 1614 he was granted a pass to travel abroad for three years but he remained absent from ...

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Cavendish [née Hervey; other married name Foster], Elizabeth Christiana, duchess of Devonshire (1757–1824), society hostess and patron of the arts, was the middle daughter of Frederick Augustus Hervey, fourth earl of Bristol (1730–1803), and his wife, Elizabeth Davers (1730–1800), and was known for most her life as ...

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Elizabeth Christiana Cavendish, duchess of Devonshire (1757–1824) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1787 Chatsworth House. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Cranston, Andrew (d. 1708), creator of a public library, was born in the late 1650s in Scotland to unknown parents. He was perhaps connected to the lords Cranstoun, for the descendants of his only known brother, James, assumed the same coat of arms. There is a volume in his library inscribed to him from ...

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Gordon Goodwin

revised by David Boyd Haycock

Edwards, Arthur (d. 1743), benefactor, was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 17 November 1725. Nothing is known of his parentage and upbringing, though his will refers to 'my brothers and sisters'. Little is known about his life, other than that he reached the rank of first major of the second troop of ...