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W. P. Courtney

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Allen, John (1771–1843), political and historical writer, was born at Redford, in the parish of Colinton, near Edinburgh, on 3 February 1771. His father, James Allen, a writer to the signet and the owner of the small estate of Redford, became bankrupt, but after his death the son, through the aid of his mother's family and the liberality of her second husband, was educated privately. He was apprenticed to an ...

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Antonius, George Habib (1891–1942), colonial official, historian, and political activist, was born on 19 October 1891 in Dair al-Qamar, a small town in the Lebanese mountains, the third of five sons of Habib Antonius (d. 1931), a merchant, and his wife, Émilie Hobeika (...

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Arnot, Robert Page [Robin] (1890–1986), political activist and historian, was born at 8 South Street, Greenock, Renfrewshire, on 15 December 1890, the son of John Arnot, a newspaper sub-editor who had begun work as a child in an iron foundry but became editor of the ...

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Baines, Edward (1774–1848), newspaper proprietor, politician, and historian, was born at Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, Lancashire, on 5 February 1774, the second son of Richard Baines (d. 1811) and his wife, Jane (née Chew). Richard Baines, who was born near Ripon and came from a farming family, had moved to ...

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Edward Baines (1774–1848) by John Cochran, pubd 1834 (after Thomas Hargreaves) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bateson, Mary (1865–1906), historian and suffragist, was born on 12 September 1865 at Ings House, Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire, the daughter of William Henry Bateson (1812–1881), master of St John's College, Cambridge, and his wife, Anna Aikin (1829–1918), a promoter of women's rights and liberal causes in ...

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Bellings, Richard (c. 1603–1677), politician and historian, was the eldest son of Sir Henry Bellings, landowner, of Kilessin, and his wife, Maud. The Bellings were an established Old English family with extensive landholdings, estimated in the 1660s to amount to almost 5000 acres...

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Belsham, William (1752–1827), political writer and historian, was born in Bedford, the fourth son of the Revd James Belsham (d. 1770), dissenting minister, and Ann(e) Woodward (d. 1780), daughter of Thomas Woodward, a Bedford brewer. His eldest brother, Thomas Belsham, later became a prominent Unitarian minister. Keenly interested in politics, ...

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Bennett, Sir John Wheeler Wheeler- (1902–1975), historian and expert on international affairs, was born on 13 October 1902, at Keston, in Kent, the youngest in the family of three sons (the first of whom died in childhood) and one daughter of John Wheeler Wheeler-Bennett (1840–1926)...

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Browne, Kathleen Anne (1876–1943), politician and historian, was born at Bridgetown, co. Wexford, on 31 October 1876, the eldest daughter of Michael Browne, landowner and farmer, and his wife, Mary Eleanor Stafford, of Rathronan Castle, Wexford. She was educated at the Bridgetown national school...

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James Bryce, Viscount Bryce (1838–1922) by George Charles Beresford, 1902 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bryce, James, Viscount Bryce (1838–1922), jurist, historian, and politician, was born in Arthur Street, Belfast, on 10 May 1838, the eldest son of James Bryce (1806–1877), schoolteacher and geologist.

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George Buchanan (1506–1582) after Arnold Bronckorst, 1581 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Buchanan, George (1506–1582), poet, historian, and administrator, was born about 1 February 1506 at a farm called The Moss in Killearn parish, Stirlingshire, the fifth of eight children of Thomas Buchanan (d. c.1512) and Agnes Heriot, traditionally said to be of the ...

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Burton, John Hill (1809–1881), historian and political economist, was born in the Gallowgate, Aberdeen, on 22 August 1809, the second of six children of William Kinninmont Burton (d. 1819), a lieutenant in the army, and of Elizabeth (d. 1848), daughter of ...

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Butler, Sir (George) Geoffrey Gilbert (1887–1929), historian and politician, was born at 55 Harrington Gardens, Kensington, London, on 15 August 1887, the ninth son of Spencer Perceval Butler, conveyancing counsel of Lincoln's Inn, and his wife, Mary Kendall. He belonged to a distinguished academic family: he was a nephew of ...

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Butler, Rohan D'Olier (1917–1996), historian and civil servant, was born on 21 January 1917 at 74 Boundary Road, Hampstead, London, the younger son of Sir Harold Beresford Butler (1883–1951), civil servant, and his wife, Olive Augusta Newenham, daughter of Samuel Abraham Walker Waters...

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Carlyle, Sir Robert Warrand (1859–1934), administrator in India and writer on medieval subjects, was born at Brechin on 11 July 1859, the elder son of James Edward Carlyle (1821–1893), minister of the Free church at Brechin, and his wife, Jessie Margaret, daughter of ...

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Edward Hallett Carr (1892–1982) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carr, Edward Hallett (1892–1982), historian and diplomatist, was born at 62 Gladsmuir Road, Upper Holloway, London, on 28 June 1892, the first of three children, to Francis Parker Carr (d. 1945), who worked in the family business of Carr's Inks, and Elizabeth Jessie, ...