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Alleyne, Sir John Gay, first baronet (1724–1801), planter and politician, was born in the parish of St James, Barbados, on 28 April 1724, the second (but only surviving) son of John Alleyne (1695–1730), of Four Hills, Barbados, and his wife, Mary (d...

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Robert Andrews (1725–1806) by Thomas Gainsborough, c.1750 © National Gallery, London / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Andrews, Robert (1725–1806), landowner and subject of a painting by Thomas Gainsborough, was born at Bulmer, Essex, on 10 November 1725, the son of Robert Andrews (1661–1735) and his fourth wife, Martha (d. 1749), the daughter of James Brewster (d. 1725)...

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Joseph Ashby (1859–1919) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Ashby, Joseph (1859–1919), farmer and social reformer, was born in Tysoe in Warwickshire on 13 June 1859, the son of an unmarried servant, Elizabeth Ashby. His father was the husband of Elizabeth's mistress, yet, common as such births were, Ashby's was in some ways different. His father provided for him but his mother, a fiercely independent woman, refused to use the money. More importantly his mother's branch of the ...

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Atkinson, Sir Harry Albert (1831–1892), farmer and premier of New Zealand, was born on 1 November 1831 at Broxton, Cheshire, the fourth son and the seventh of the thirteen children of John Atkinson (1798–1856), an architect and stonemason, and his wife, Elizabeth Smith (...

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Sir Harry Albert Atkinson (1831–1892) by unknown photographer, c. 1880 Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa (F-23108-1/2)

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Robert Bakewell (1725–1795) by John Boultbee, c. 1788–91 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by G. E. Mingay

Bakewell, Robert (1725–1795), stock breeder and farmer, was born at Dishley Grange, Dishley (otherwise Dixley), near Loughborough, Leicestershire, on 23 May 1725. His father, also a farmer, had been born at the same place and rented a farm there of 440 acres. About 1755 ...

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Banneker, Benjamin (1731–1806), astronomer and farmer in America, was born on 9 November 1731 in Baltimore county, Maryland, in what later became the community of Oella, the first of four children of Robert (d. 1759), a former slave from Guinea who had been given his freedom, and his mixed-race wife, ...

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Batchelor, Thomas (1775–1838), farmer and writer on language, was born on 25 September 1775 at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, the fifth child of Joseph Batchelor (1741–1804) and Ann Brandon (d. 1792), farmers. He was baptized in 1785 at Ampthill where, from the age of ten to thirteen, he went to school. At this time, spelling book fables were the only texts he could read with any real sense of enjoyment, his particular favourite being ...

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Ernest Clarke

revised by Anne Pimlott Baker

Bates, Thomas (1775–1849), stockbreeder, was born on 21 June 1775 at Matfen, Northumberland, the younger of the two sons of George Bates of Aydon Castle, near Corbridge, Northumberland, and his wife, Diana (d. 1822), daughter of Thomas Moore of Bishop's Castle, Shropshire...

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Baylis, George (1846–1936), farmer, was born on 7 January 1846, the son of George Baylis, a farmer, and his wife, Caroline (née Bomford), at Prospect House Farm, Bengeworth, near Evesham. The family moved to Woodley Farm, Reading, in 1849. Baylis was celebrated in the late nineteenth century—a period of general agricultural depression—for making money out of farming when so many others could barely make a living. His success derived from two key traits. First, he was an innovator with the ability to work from first principles and to institute a farming system suited to the prevailing economic conditions. Second, he was a businessman with the managerial flair necessary to make full use of the competitive advantage that his style of operation created. Such was the potency of this combination that, from a very ordinary beginning, ...

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Beckford, Peter (1672/3–1735), planter and politician in Jamaica, was the son of Peter Beckford (bap. 1643, d. 1710) and his second wife, Anne Ballard. Beckford was elected to the assembly (like his father, who was a member of the house of assembly before he was elevated to ...

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Beckford, Peter (bap. 1643, d. 1710), planter in Jamaica and politician, was baptized on 19 November 1643 at St James, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, the son of Peter Beckford, 'a shadowy and humble figure' whose dates of birth and death are unknown (Alexander, 29...

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William Beckford (bap. 1709, d. 1770) by unknown engraver, c. 1769 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Beckford (1744–1799) by unknown engraver, pubd 1799 (after John? Miers) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beckford, William (bap. 1709, d. 1770), planter and politician, was baptized on 19 December 1709, in Jamaica, the son of Peter Beckford (1672/3–1735), sugar planter, speaker of the Jamaica house of assembly, and comptroller of customs, and Bathshua, daughter and coheir of Julines Hering...

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Beckford, William (1744–1799), sugar planter and historian, was born in Jamaica in 1744, the son and heir of Richard Beckford (d. 1756) and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Hay. His uncle was William Beckford, lord mayor of London, and his first cousin was ...

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Bell, Benjamin (1749–1806), surgeon and farmer, eldest son of the fifteen children of George Bell (1722–1813), farmer, and Anne, née Corrie, of Speddoch, was born at Dumfries in April 1749. He was descended from landed proprietors of long standing in Dumfriesshire. Subsequently the family moved to ...