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Balsham, Hugh of (d. 1286), bishop of Ely and benefactor, took his name from Balsham, Cambridgeshire, one of Ely Priory's manors. Nothing is known of his background, except that during the controversy aroused by his election as bishop it was alleged that he was of servile origins. He became a monk at ...

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Bateman [Norwich], William (c. 1298–1355), diplomat, founder of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and bishop of Norwich, was probably born in Norwich (from which he was sometimes named), the third son of William and Margery Bateman. His father was many times bailiff of the city, and in 1326–7 its member of ...

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Bingham [Byngham], William (d. 1451), ecclesiastic and founder of Christ's College, Cambridge, may have been the William Byngham who was presented to the vicarages of Hutton, near Beverley, Yorkshire, and Alverstoke, Hampshire, by Henry IV in 1401–2. More probably, the future founder of ...

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Blair, James (1655/6–1743), Church of England clergyman and founder of the College of William and Mary, was the son of Peter Blair (d. 1673), Church of Scotland minister of St Cuthbert's parish, Edinburgh, and his wife, Mary Hamilton (d. in or after 1696)...

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James Blair (1655/66–1743) by Charles Bridges Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary

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Brown, Dame Edith Mary (1864–1956), medical missionary and founder of the North India School of Medicine for Christian Women, was born on 24 March 1864 at Bank Buildings, 10A Coats Lane, Whitehaven, Cumberland. One of six children, she was the second of three daughters born to ...

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Chaloner, Robert (1547/8–1621), Church of England clergyman and educational benefactor, was born in Goldsborough, near Knaresborough, West Riding of Yorkshire, the second son of Robert and Ann Chaloner of Llanfyllin (possibly Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire). He was elected to a studentship at Christ Church, Oxford...

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Colet, John (1467–1519), dean of St Paul's and founder of St Paul's School, was born in January 1467, as attested by a contemporary document; Erasmus, always vague as to chronology, believed him to have been about thirty, two or three months younger than himself, when they first met in 1499. ...

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Crombie, James (1730–1790), non-subscribing Presbyterian minister and founder of the Belfast Academy, was born on 4 December 1730 at Perth, the eldest son of James Crambie, mason, and his wife, May Johnstoun. In 1748 he matriculated at St Andrews, and he graduated MA in 1752. He studied for a short time at ...

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Durham, William of (d. 1249), theologian and university benefactor, may have been born at Sedgefield, co. Durham. Nothing otherwise is known of his origins or early life, until he is recorded as a regent master in theology at Paris, at a date between 1220 and 1223. To ...

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Maker: unknown artist

William Elphinstone (1431–1514) by unknown artist, c.1505 University of Aberdeen

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Elphinstone, William (1431–1514), administrator, bishop of Aberdeen, and founder of the University of Aberdeen, was probably born in Glasgow. His father, also named William, was a younger son of Sir William Elphinstone of Pittendreich, Stirlingshire, but by 1430 had embarked upon an ecclesiastical career and had thereby committed his son to the illegitimate state. The ...

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Fox [Foxe], Richard (1447/8–1528), administrator, bishop of Winchester, and founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was born at Pullocks Manor, Ropsley, near Grantham, Lincolnshire. He gave his age as seventy-nine in April 1527, indicating that he was born in 1447 or 1448.

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William Fox (1736–1826) by Samuel Freeman, pubd 1827 © reserved

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Fox, William (1736–1826), founder of the Sunday School Society, was born at Clapton, Gloucestershire, on 14 February 1736, the youngest of the eight children of James Fox (d. 1738/9), tenant farmer on Clapton Manor estate. Left fatherless, the eldest son took over the farm, while ...

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Gonville [Gonvile], Edmund (d. 1351), ecclesiastic and founder of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, came from a rising gentry family of French extraction, in the late thirteenth century recently settled in Norfolk. His brother, Nicholas Gonville, married the heir of the manor of ...

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Johnson, Robert (1540/41–1625), Church of England clergyman and school founder, was second and youngest son of Maurice Johnson, dyer, of Stamford and Jane, daughter of Henry Lacy. Johnson senior and Lacy were among the town's leading citizens, both several times serving as alderman (chief magistrate) and MP. In the 1523 ...

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Jones, Samuel (1628–1697), nonconformist minister and founder of a nonconformist academy, was born near Chirk Castle, Denbighshire, the son of John Roberts of Corwen, Merioneth. According to Welsh custom he adopted his father's forename for his surname. Nothing further is known with certainty of his immediate family, and there is no record of his early education. He matriculated at ...

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Menzies, John, of Pitfodels (1756–1843), benefactor, was born on 15 August 1756, the last member of a Roman Catholic family long resident at Pitfodels, Aberdeenshire. His father had died earlier in 1756, and Menzies was raised by his mother, a member of the house of ...

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Walter of Merton (c. 1205–1277) seal The British Library