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Coppin, Richard (fl. c. 1645–1659), nonconformist preacher and writer, about whom little is known except what he recounts in Truths Testimony (1655), was probably from Kent, and grew up to be an unexceptional pious believer within the established church. He was probably a student at ...

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Douglas, Niel [pseud. Britannicus] (1750–1823), poet and minister of the Relief church, was educated at the University of Glasgow, and married Mary Anne Isabella Millar on 26 August 1787. As minister of the Relief church at Cupar, Fife, he published Sermons on Important Subjects, with some Essays in Poetry...

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Fraser, John (1794–1879), Chartist and publisher, was born in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, the younger of two sons of Thomas Fraser and Isabella McIntosh, both of whom came originally from Inverness-shire. His father, who had been pressed into the navy and had been a prisoner for a time during the American War of Independence, acquired some medical knowledge and started business as a druggist in ...

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Harris, Thomas Lake (1823–1906), millenarian and mystic, was born on 15 May 1823 at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, the only son of Thomas Harris, an auctioneer, and his wife, Annie (née Lake), who died when her son was only nine. In 1828 the family emigrated to ...

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Horne, Sir William Cornelius Van (1843–1915), railway builder and financier in Canada, was born on 3 February 1843 at Chelsea, Will county, Illinois, USA, the eldest son of Cornelius Covenhoven Van Horne, lawyer, and his second wife, Mary Minier Richards. His father's ancestors had emigrated from the ...

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Purves, James (1734–1795), Universalist preacher, was born on 23 September 1734 at Blackadder, Identown (Edington), Berwickshire, the son of a shepherd who died in 1754. After only a quarter of a year at school he was taught writing and arithmetic by his parents. In 1756 he apprenticed himself to his uncle, a wheelwright at ...

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Relly, James (1721/2–1778), Universalist preacher, was born at Jeffreyston, near Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, of unknown parentage. He was educated at Pembroke grammar school and apprenticed as a cow farrier.

The preponderance of English speakers in Pembrokeshire drew George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Moravian preachers to the area. According to surviving accounts ...

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Alexander Gordon

revised by Andrew M. Hill

Scarlett, Nathaniel (1753–1802), bookseller and translator, was born on 28 September 1753, the son of Bartholomew Scarlett and his wife, Elizabeth. He was educated at Kingswood School, Wiltshire, and from 1767 at Merchant Taylors' School, London. Originally apprenticed as a shipwright, he was afterwards an accountant and projected the ...

Article

Alexander Gordon

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Thompson, Samuel (1766–1837), a founder of the Freethinking Christians, born in Aldgate, London, on 7 June 1766, was the son of Samuel King Thompson, victualler, of the Bell, Church Row, Houndsditch, and his wife, Catherine. He was educated at Christ's Hospital (1774–80), after which he was apprenticed to a watchmaker in ...

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Vidler, William (1758–1816), Universalist minister and Unitarian preacher, was born on 4 May 1758 at Battle, Sussex, the tenth and last child of John Vidler (d. 1780) and Elizabeth Bowling. He was apprenticed to his father, a stonemason, a trade for which, as an asthmatic, he was hardly suited. When ...