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Robert Andrews (1725–1806) by Thomas Gainsborough, c.1750 © National Gallery, London / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Andrews, Robert (1725–1806), landowner and subject of a painting by Thomas Gainsborough, was born at Bulmer, Essex, on 10 November 1725, the son of Robert Andrews (1661–1735) and his fourth wife, Martha (d. 1749), the daughter of James Brewster (d. 1725)...

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Joseph Ashby (1859–1919) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Ashby, Joseph (1859–1919), farmer and social reformer, was born in Tysoe in Warwickshire on 13 June 1859, the son of an unmarried servant, Elizabeth Ashby. His father was the husband of Elizabeth's mistress, yet, common as such births were, Ashby's was in some ways different. His father provided for him but his mother, a fiercely independent woman, refused to use the money. More importantly his mother's branch of the ...

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Atkinson, Sir Harry Albert (1831–1892), farmer and premier of New Zealand, was born on 1 November 1831 at Broxton, Cheshire, the fourth son and the seventh of the thirteen children of John Atkinson (1798–1856), an architect and stonemason, and his wife, Elizabeth Smith (...

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Sir Harry Albert Atkinson (1831–1892) by unknown photographer, c. 1880 Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa (F-23108-1/2)

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Robert Bakewell (1725–1795) by John Boultbee, c. 1788–91 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by G. E. Mingay

Bakewell, Robert (1725–1795), stock breeder and farmer, was born at Dishley Grange, Dishley (otherwise Dixley), near Loughborough, Leicestershire, on 23 May 1725. His father, also a farmer, had been born at the same place and rented a farm there of 440 acres. About 1755 ...

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Lady Evelyn Barbara Balfour (1898–1990) by Elliott & Fry, 1943 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Balfour, Lady Evelyn Barbara [Eve] (1898–1990), promoter of organic farming and a founder of the Soil Association, was born on 16 July 1898 in Dublin, the fourth child of Gerald William Balfour, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), and Lady Elizabeth Edith Balfour (1867–1942)...

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Banneker, Benjamin (1731–1806), astronomer and farmer in America, was born on 9 November 1731 in Baltimore county, Maryland, in what later became the community of Oella, the first of four children of Robert (d. 1759), a former slave from Guinea who had been given his freedom, and his mixed-race wife, ...

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Batchelor, Thomas (1775–1838), farmer and writer on language, was born on 25 September 1775 at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, the fifth child of Joseph Batchelor (1741–1804) and Ann Brandon (d. 1792), farmers. He was baptized in 1785 at Ampthill where, from the age of ten to thirteen, he went to school. At this time, spelling book fables were the only texts he could read with any real sense of enjoyment, his particular favourite being ...

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Baylis, George (1846–1936), farmer, was born on 7 January 1846, the son of George Baylis, a farmer, and his wife, Caroline (née Bomford), at Prospect House Farm, Bengeworth, near Evesham. The family moved to Woodley Farm, Reading, in 1849. Baylis was celebrated in the late nineteenth century—a period of general agricultural depression—for making money out of farming when so many others could barely make a living. His success derived from two key traits. First, he was an innovator with the ability to work from first principles and to institute a farming system suited to the prevailing economic conditions. Second, he was a businessman with the managerial flair necessary to make full use of the competitive advantage that his style of operation created. Such was the potency of this combination that, from a very ordinary beginning, ...

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Bell, Benjamin (1749–1806), surgeon and farmer, eldest son of the fifteen children of George Bell (1722–1813), farmer, and Anne, née Corrie, of Speddoch, was born at Dumfries in April 1749. He was descended from landed proprietors of long standing in Dumfriesshire. Subsequently the family moved to ...

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Best, Henry (c. 1592–1645), landowner and farmer, was probably born in Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire, the second of the five sons and one daughter of James Best (d. 1617), yeoman of Hutton Cranswick (later gentleman of Elmswell, Yorkshire), and his wife, Dorothy (...

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Morris Birkbeck (1764–1825) by unknown engraver, pubd 1825 Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois

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Birkbeck, Morris (1764–1825), farmer and writer, was born on 23 January 1764 in Settle, Yorkshire, the only child of Morris Birkbeck (1734–1816), Quaker minister, and his wife, Hannah, née Bradford, of Lancaster, who died a few days after his birth. On 23 April in 1794 he married ...

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Blackmore, Richard Doddridge (1825–1900), novelist and fruit farmer, was born on 7 June 1825, at the vicarage, Longworth, Berkshire, the third but second surviving son of the Revd John Blackmore (1794–1858) and his first wife, Anne Basset Knight (1794–1825). Anne was the eldest daughter of the ...

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Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825–1900) by Frederick Jenkins © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blamire, William (1790–1862), farmer and politician, was born on 13 April 1790 at The Oaks, near Dalston, Cumberland, the son of William Blamire (1740–1814), yeoman farmer and naval surgeon, and Jane Curwen (1739/40–1837). He came on both sides of his family from long-established ...