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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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Armstrong, Eliza (b. 1872), domestic servant and victim of abduction, was born at 9 Charles Street, Lisson Grove, in the Marylebone district of London on 18 April 1872 to Charles Armstrong, a chimney sweep, and Elizabeth, née Chivers, who were married in March 1874. The family later moved to ...

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Bebb [married name Thomson], Gwyneth Marjory (1889–1921), campaigner for women's admission to the legal profession, was born at Brasenose House, High Street, Oxford, on 27 October 1889, the second daughter and third of the seven children of Llewellyn John Montfort Bebb DD (1862–1915)...

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Gwyneth Marjory Bebb (1889–1921) by unknown photographer, 1920 by kind permission of Anne Tickell and Martin Tomlins

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Beddingfield [née Rowe, Row], Margery (bap. 1742, d. 1763), murderer, was the daughter of John Rowe or Row (c.1702–1778), a substantial Suffolk farmer, and his wife, Margery (c.1710–1756). The couple had two sons while living at Kelsale and moved to ...

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Mary Blandy (1718/19–1752), by Thomas Ryley, after F. Wilson, c. 1740s–50s

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Blandy, Mary (1718/19–1752), murderer, was born in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, the only child of Francis Blandy (c.1689–1751) and Mary Stevens (c.1700–1749), parents so 'excessively fond' of her that they could 'scarce bear her out of their sight...

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Bowerman, Elsie Edith (1889–1973), suffragette and lawyer, was born on 18 December 1889 at Barnsbury Lodge, Garden Road, Tunbridge Wells, the only child of William Bowerman (c.1825–1895) and his wife, Edith Martha Barber (1864–1953). She was educated at Wycombe Abbey School...

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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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Bryant [née Broad], Mary (b. 1765), convict, was born in April 1765 in the town of Fowey, Cornwall, the second of the four children of William Broad, a master mariner, and his wife, Grace. In 1785, for reasons that remain unclear, although it is on record that times were particularly hard, she became a highwaywoman, and in January 1786 she was captured after holding up a woman from whom she stole jewellery worth ...

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

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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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Elizabeth Canning (1734–1773) by Louis Philippe Boitard, pubd 1754 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Canning [married name Treat], Elizabeth (1734–1773), convicted perjurer, was born on 17 September 1734 in the City of London, the eldest of five surviving children of William Canning (d. 1751) and his wife, Elizabeth, who continued her husband's business of sawyer after his death. The family occupied two rooms in ...

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Margaret Catchpole (1762–1819) by Richard Cobbold, pubd 1845 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

M. G. Watkins

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Catchpole, Margaret (1762–1819), convict and author, was born on 14 March 1762, perhaps at Nacton, Suffolk, the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Catchpole and a farm labourer employed by a celebrated breeder of Suffolk carthorses. When Margaret was thirteen years of age the farmer's wife was suddenly seized with illness; ...

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Channing [née Brooks], Mary (1687–1706), murderer, was born in May 1687 at Dorchester in Dorset, to Baptist parents, Richard and Elizabeth Brooks. Mary was not baptized until 17 March 1706, four days before her execution. She had one younger brother and one elder, who worked as a silversmith. On 15 January 1705 she married ...

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Cholmondeley [née Holford], Mary, Lady Cholmondeley (bap. 1563, d. 1625), litigant, was baptized on 20 January 1563 at Nether Peover, Cheshire, the daughter of Christopher Holford (d. 1581) of Holford, Cheshire, and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Randle Manwaring...

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Elizabeth Chudleigh (c. 1720–1788) by Thomas Gainsborough Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)

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Chudleigh, Elizabeth [married namesElizabeth Hervey, countess of Bristol; Elizabeth Pierrepont, duchess of Kingston upon Hull] (c. 1720–1788), courtier and bigamist, was born probably at the family estate of Ashton, Devon. She was the younger daughter and youngest child of Colonel Thomas Chudleigh (...