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Horatio William Bottomley (1860–1933) by Bassano, 1918 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bottomley, Horatio William (1860–1933), journalist and swindler, was the only son of William King Bottomley (1827–1863), a tailor's cutter, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Holyoake. He was born on 23 March 1860 at 16 St Peter's Street, Bethnal Green, London. Orphaned by the age of four, ...

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Broun, Sir Richard, eighth baronet (1801–1858), pamphleteer and fraudster, was born at Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, on 22 April 1801, eldest of the four sons and one daughter of Sir James Broun (1768–1844) of Coalston Park, Lochmaben, and his first wife, Marian, née Henderson (...

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Dignan, David Brown (b. 1754/5, d. in or after 1780), author and fraudster, was the second son of an Irish physician who served in the Austrian army and rose to the rank of colonel before retiring to an estate in co. Clare. Dignan...

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William Dodd (1729–1777) by John Russell, 1769 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dodd, William [nicknamed the Macaroni Parson] (1729–1777), Church of England clergyman and forger, was born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, the eldest of the six children of the Revd William Dodd (1703?–1757), vicar of Bourne. He was probably born on 29 May 1729 (...

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(Ian) Robert Maxwell (1923–1991) by Ida Kar, c. 1960 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Maxwell, (Ian) Robert (1923–1991), publisher and swindler, was born on 10 June 1923 in Synagogue Street, Slatinske Doly (Szlatina), a village in Czechoslovakia on a disputed frontier with Romania. He was one of seven children of Mehel Hoch (1887–1942?), agricultural labourer, and Chanca (...

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J. G. Alger

revised by Heather Shore

Semple, James George (1759–1815), adventurer, who also passed under the names Semple-Lisle, Maxwell, Harrod, and Grant, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire. He was the son of James Semple, formerly an exciseman, who eventually laid claim to the extinct title of Viscount Lisle. In 1776 he was serving in ...

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Sprot [Sprott], George (d. 1608), conspirator and forger, was a notary of Eyemouth, Berwickshire, who by no later than 1600 had become intimate in the affairs of Robert Logan, seventh laird of Restalrig, and a regular guest at his house at Gunsgreen. Logan...