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Abraham Esau (1864–1901) by unknown photographer © reserved / Cambridge University Press

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Esau, Abraham (1864–1901), blacksmith and hero, was born on 12 September 1864 in the northern Kenhardt district of Cape Colony, the eldest son of several children of Adam Esau, semi-skilled general labourer, and his only wife, Martha April, domestic farm servant. Nothing is known of his parents, other than that they led an itinerant working existence for many years on farms and in villages in the northern and ...

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Henry John Patch (1898–2009) by Peter Macdiarmid, 2008 [with Henry Allingham (left) and William Stone (right), Armistice Day service, 2008] © Getty Images

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Patch, Henry John [Harry] (1898–2009), soldier and plumber, and longest surviving British veteran of the First World War, was born on 17 June 1898 at Fonthill Cottage, Combe Down, Somerset, the youngest of three sons (there were no daughters) of William John Patch (1863–1945)...

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Poole, Thomas (1766–1837), tanner and friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, was born on 14 November 1766 in Nether Stowey, Somerset, and baptized there on 12 December, the second child of Thomas Poole (d. 1795) and Elizabeth Buller (d. 1801). Of six children born to his parents, only ...

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Todd, Sweeney [called the Demon Barber of Fleet Street] (supp. fl. 1784), legendary murderer and barber, may have his source in a murder reported in the London Chronicle of 2 December 1784. It related that a 'Journeyman Barber that lives near Hyde Park...