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Andrew [St Andrew] (fl. 1st cent.), apostle and patron saint of Scotland, was a fisherman from Capernaum in Galilee.

In the synoptic gospels Andrew is merely mentioned as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, but in the gospel of St John he appears as a follower of ...

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Arthur (supp. fl. in or before 6th cent.), legendary warrior and supposed king of Britain, has an attested career that is entirely posthumous. From obscure beginnings in British legend, he became internationally known in the twelfth century, particularly through the success of Geoffrey of Monmouth's...

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Atkins, Thomas [Tommy] (d. 1794), soldier and epitomist of the British infantryman, remains an obscure figure but is thought, according to the most reliable accounts, to have been a private serving in the 33rd regiment of foot during the Netherlands campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars. On 15 September 1794 ...

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Beane, Sawney (fl. 15th–16th cent.), legendary murderer and cannibal, is first mentioned in print in broadsheets about 1700. Various versions of his life appeared: in some he is said to have been active during the reign of James I of Scotland (1424–36), while other accounts date his crimes to the reign of ...

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Brigit [St Brigit, Brigid] (439/452–524/526), patron saint of Kildare, is the only native Irish saint to enjoy a widespread cult in all the Celtic countries. About the events of her life little can be said, since the earliest sources come from more than a century after her supposed death, on 1 February in either 524 or 526, and were in any case interested in miracle stories rather than biographical detail. Her early cult is, however, among the most influential and the most interesting of any saint in ...

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Britannia (fl. 1st– cent.21st) by Jan Roettier, 1667 [reverse] © Copyright The British Museum

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Britannia (fl. 1st–21st cent.), allegory of a nation, emblem of empire, and patriotic icon, is by origin a child of Rome, representing an outpost of the Roman empire. Her earliest known appearances did not augur well for her future: rock reliefs at Aphrodisias...

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Joan Bull (supp. fl. 1928–1946) by David Low, 1928 Evening Standard; collection University of Kent at Canterbury

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Bull, Joan (supp. fl. 1928–1946), fictitious epitomist of enfranchised women, the analogue of John Bull, was created by the cartoonist David Low (1891–1963) to symbolize the women aged between twenty-one and thirty who obtained the vote in 1928 despite opposition from the 'diehard dimwits'—clear precursors of ...

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John Bull (supp. fl. 1712–) by Charles Williams, c. 1816 © Copyright The British Museum

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Bull, John (supp. fl. 1712–), fictitious epitomist of Englishness and British imperialism, first appeared in print in The History of John Bull, a political allegory—sometimes wrongly attributed to Jonathan Swift, but now accepted as the work of John Arbuthnot, Queen Anne's physician. The ...

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See Bull, John

Article

Carnegy, Elizabeth Patricia, Baroness Carnegy of Lour (1925–2010), Girl Guides official and educationist, was born at 71 Pont Street, Chelsea, London, on 28 April 1925, the eldest of three daughters of Lieutenant-Colonel (Ughtred) Elliott Carnegy Carnegy of Lour (1886–1973), a decorated soldier, and his wife, ...

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Coppin, Louisa (1845–1849), supposed ghost, was born on 7 September 1845 at Ivy House, 34 Strand Road, Londonderry, the third child of Dora (d. 1866) and William Coppin (1805–1895). William Coppin was born on 9 October 1805 and was a ...

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Crofts, Elizabeth (b. c. 1535), impostor, is of unknown origins. Nothing is known of her before 1554, when she was involved in a cause célèbre that led to her being accused of attempting to undermine the church and the crown. The episode is reported in both Catholic and protestant sources, with no significant variation in detail. On 14 March that year, aged about eighteen, ...

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David [St David, Dewi] (d. 589/601), patron saint of Wales and founder of St David's, is known from written sources dating from no earlier than the eighth century and an inscription which may be of the seventh.

By the ninth century David's cult was sufficiently well established for him to be one of three Welsh saints included in the early ninth-century Irish martyrology of ...

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George [St George] (d. c. 303?), patron saint of England, is a figure whose historicity cannot be established with certainty. However, an inscription at Shaqqa in the Hauran, in the south-west of present-day Syria, which commemorates 'the holy and triumphant martyrs, George and the saints who [suffered martyrdom] with him' (...

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See Mo Ling [St Mo Ling, Mo Ling Lúachra, Tairchell, Daircell]

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Benjamin Hall, Baron Llanover (1802–1867) by George Zobel (after T. Hurlstone) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hall, Benjamin, Baron Llanover (1802–1867), politician and eponymist of Big Ben, was the eldest son of Benjamin Hall (1778–1817), MP and ironmaster, of Hensol Castle, Glamorgan, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Richard Crawshay of Cyfarthfa, Glamorgan. He was born on 8 November 1802 in ...