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Archdale, Helen Elizabeth [Betty] (1907–2000), feminist, cricketer, and educationist, was born at 59 Oxford Terrace, Bayswater, London, on 21 August 1907, the only daughter of the Scottish feminist and journalist Helen Alexander Archdale, née Russel (1876–1949), and her husband, ...

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Bateman [née Harker], Mary (1768–1809), thief and poisoner, was born in Asenby, Yorkshire, the daughter of a small farmer named Harker. She evidently received a good education for one of her class, and could read and write proficiently. At the age of thirteen her father sent her into service in ...

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Bonny, Anne (1698–1782), pirate, was born near Cork in Ireland. Evidence from her descendants suggests that she was the illegitimate daughter of William Cormac, lawyer, and his maidservant. Cormac, who raised his daughter as a boy, found his legal practice so affected by his affair that he decided to go abroad. Taking ...

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Bracey [née Phillips], Joan (1656?–1685?), highwaywoman, was the daughter of John Phillips, a wealthy farmer in Northamptonshire. The principal source of evidence relating to Joan is Alexander Smith's A Complete History of the Lives and Robberies of the most Notorious Highwaymen...

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Cave [married name Altof], Bertha (1881–1951), campaigner for opening the legal profession to women, was born at Park Lodge, Sundridge, Kent, on 14 November 1881, the daughter and elder of two children of James Thomas Cave (b. 1845), a domestic servant and later butler to ...

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Clark, Margaret [Margret] (d. 1680), arsonist, was born in Croydon, Surrey, the daughter of 'honest but mean parentage' (Warning for Servants, 1). She became a servant and was employed by several masters. By the end of January 1680 she had been with ...

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Clay, Marcy [alias Jenny Fox] (d. 1665), highwaywoman and thief, is said to have been born in Dorset, the daughter of travelling pedlars. The anonymous pamphlet The High-Way Woman is the only extant biography of Marcy and no other evidence has yet come to light to corroborate its claims. It describes how, at the age of fifteen, ...

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Dagoe, Hannah (d. 1763), thief, was born in Ireland and went to London when very young. She began her working life as a milliner but was a basket-woman in Covent Garden at the time of her condemnation. She married a Spanish seaman named ...

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Duck, Ann (bap. 1717, d. 1744), criminal, was baptized on 22 July 1717 in Cheam, Surrey. Her father, John Duck, was a black man and her mother, Ann Brough, was white; they married on 12 August 1717 in St Clement Danes, Westminster. John Duck...

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Ferrers [married name Fanshawe], Catherine (1634–1660), alleged highwaywoman, was born on 4 May 1634, reputedly (although there is no evidence for this) at Markyate Cell in the parish of Caddington, near Dunstable, Hertfordshire, the only surviving daughter of Knighton Ferrers (bap...

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Mary Frith (1584x99–1659) by unknown artist © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Frith [married name Markham], Mary [known as Moll Cutpurse] (1584x9–1659), thief, is of uncertain origins. She was perhaps the daughter of William Frith who was baptized at St Martin Ludgate, London, on 19 April 1584. This is consistent neither with her reported age ('in her seventy-fourth year') at her death in July 1659 nor with the contradictory statement of her birth in 1589, both of which come from ...

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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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O'Malley, Gráinne [Grace] (fl. 1577–1597), chieftain's wife and pirate, was the daughter of Owen Dubhdara O'Malley, chief, lord of Umhall Uachtarach or Upper Owle in the barony of Murrisk, co. Mayo, and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Conchobhar Óg Mac Conchobhair O'Malley of ...

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Phillips [other married name Pope], Judith [alias Doll] (fl. 1595), confidence trickster and thief, was a celebrated rogue who preyed on the unwary in London and southern England in the late sixteenth century. Her parentage, place of birth, and death are not known. She was married to one ...

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Read, Mary (c. 1695–1721), pirate, was born in England, according to the account of her early life in Captain Charles Johnson's History of the … Pyrates. Her mother had married a sailor named Read and had a son, but the sailor disappeared, leaving her on her own. She had an affair and became pregnant again. To conceal her condition she left her husband's relatives and went to stay with friends in the country, where she gave birth to ...

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Voss, Jane [alias Jane Roberts] (d. 1684), highwaywoman and thief, reputedly was born in St Giles-in-the-Fields in London. The German Princess Revived, or, The London Jilt (1684), the only contemporary full-length biography of Jenny, as she was known, appears to be a highly sensationalized and romanticized account of her life and no evidence has emerged to support its claims for her early life before she reached ...

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Young, Mary (c. 1704–1741), pickpocket, was probably born in the north of Ireland, although she claimed to be an 'English woman' (The Ordinary of Newgate, 1.7). Nothing is known of her parents nor whether she had any siblings. She was also known as ...