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Adams, Fanny (1859–1867), murder victim and source of a colloquial expression, was born on 30 April 1859 in Tanhouse Lane, Alton, Hampshire, the fourth of seven children of George Adams (b. 1830), a labourer, later a bricklayer, and his wife, Harriet Mills (...

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Annesley, Richard, sixth earl of Anglesey (bap. 1693, d. 1761), kidnapper and bigamist, was baptized on 26 November 1693 at St Peter's Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, the third son of Dr Richard Annesley (1654/5–1701), dean of Exeter, from c.1700 third Baron Altham, and his wife, ...

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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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Biggs, Ronald Arthur [Ronnie] (1929–2013), criminal and fugitive, was born on 8 August 1929 at 37 Dalyell Road, Stockwell, south London, the youngest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Henry Jack Biggs (1888–1965), a railway dining car steward, and his wife, ...

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Bowes, Mary Eleanor, countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1749–1800), heiress and victim of kidnapping, was born on 24 February 1749, the only child of George Bowes MP (1701–1760), of Streatlam Castle and Gibside, co. Durham, and his second wife, Mary (d. 1781)...

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Bulger, James Patrick (1990–1993), murder victim, was born in Liverpool on 16 March 1990, the first child of Ralph S. Bulger (b. 1964) and his wife, Denise Matthews (b. 1965). A younger brother was born after his death, and his parents separated in 1994. The family lived in ...

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Campbell, Sybil (1889–1977), barrister and first woman stipendiary magistrate, was born on 9 October 1889 in Ceylon, the eldest of the three daughters and a son of Neill Graeme Campbell (1859–1940) of Auchendarroch, tea company agent, and his wife, Maude Georgiana (d...

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Sybil Campbell (1889–1977) by unknown photographer, c. 1940 The Mistress and Fellows, Girton College, Cambridge

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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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Chester, Charles (c. 1554–1604), informer and wit, probably born in Bristol, was one of ten children of Dominic Chester (d. 1575), merchant and MP, and his wife, Mary (d. 1572), the daughter of Roger Barlow, merchant and explorer, and his wife, ...

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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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Denning, Alfred Thompson [Tom], Baron Denning (1899–1999), judge, was born on 23 January 1899 in Newbury Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire. He was the fourth of five sons and the fifth among the six children of Charles Denning (1859–1941), draper, and his wife, Clara (1865–1947)...

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Robert Feilding (1650/5151–1712) by Jan van der Vaart, c.1678-79 (after Sir Peter Lely) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Feilding, Robert (1650/51–1712), rake and bigamist, was born at Solihull, Warwickshire, the son of George Feilding, landowner, a kinsman of the earl of Denbigh. Nothing is known about his mother. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1673, but upon inheriting £600...

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Field [née Lowinsky], Xenia Noelle (1894–1998), prison reformer and horticulturist, was born in Secunderabad, India, on 25 December 1894, the daughter of Thomas Hermann Lowinsky (d. 1932), general manager of the Hyderabad–Deccan mines, and his wife. Xenia's unusual Christian names reflected the fact that her mother liked the sound of Russian words and that she was born on Christmas day. A year later the family returned to ...

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Forster [Foster], Agnes (d. 1484), wealthy widow and prison reformer, came from Kent and was married for about twenty years to the London shipowner, merchant, and MP Stephen Forster, who was mayor in 1454–5. He came from Somerset and maintained close links with the ...

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See Herbert, Philip, first earl of Montgomery and fourth earl of Pembroke

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Hill, George (c. 1716–1808), lawyer and eccentric, was born at Waddington, Lincolnshire, the eldest son of Nathaniel Hill MA (d. 1732), rector of Waddington and lord of the manor of Rothwell, Northamptonshire. As well as his father, his brother and two uncles were clergymen. ...

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Hood, Robin (supp. fl. late 12th–13th cent.), legendary outlaw hero, is wellnigh impossible to identify, first because of the sparsity and peculiar nature of the evidence, and second because Robin quickly became a composite figure of an archetypal criminal, and then an outlaw hero....

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Hugh of Lincoln [St Hugh of Lincoln, Little St Hugh] (c. 1246–1255), supposed victim of crucifixion, was the son of Beatrice of Lincoln. He is known as Little St Hugh to distinguish him from St Hugh, bishop of Lincoln (1140?–1200). His death, in all probability accidental, and most likely on 27 August 1255, was the catalyst for the accusation of ritual murder aimed at the Jewish community of ...