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Crab, John (c. 1280–c. 1352), pirate and merchant, was probably born in Muiden in Flanders. Active as a pirate from at least 1306, he was the most notorious of the Flemish privateers who preyed on English shipping during the Scottish War of Independence. His nephew ...

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John Hawley the elder (c. 1350–1408) memorial brass by kind permission of Becky Wright Photos; St Saviour's Church, Dartmouth

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Hawley, John, the elder (c. 1350–1408), pirate, merchant, and administrator, of Dartmouth, Devon, was the younger son of the first John Hawley who settled in Dartmouth some time before 1340. Hawley was elected mayor for the first time in 1374—the beginning of a career which would make him the richest and most important man in ...

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Helliker [Hilliker], Thomas [called the Trowbridge Martyr] (1783–1803), woollen-cloth worker and machine breaker, was the sixth child of Thomas Hilliker (1745–1819) and Elizabeth Ebsworth (1749–1831); he was born at Horningsham, Wiltshire, and baptized there on 17 May 1783. Like his elder brothers ...

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Lyon, Elizabeth [nicknamed Edgware Bess] (fl. 1722–1726), prostitute and thief, was born at Edgware, Middlesex, from which her alias was derived. Nothing is known of her parentage or early life, not even whether Lyon was a maiden or married name. She may, however, have been the ...

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Penlez, Bosavern (1726–1749), wigmaker and convicted rioter, was born near Exeter. His father was a native of Jersey, and was purportedly educated at Oxford University, although details of his time there have not been found. After Oxford, Penlez's father took holy orders and secured a small preferment near ...

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Towle, James (1780–1816), stocking knitter and machine breaker, was a native of Basford, Nottingham. Almost nothing is known about his private life except that he had a wife and four children. Luddism—attacking machines in the name of ‘King Ludd’—had broken out in the cloth-finishing trade of the ...