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Praisegod Barbon (c. 1598–167980) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barbon [Barebone], Praisegod (c. 1598–1679/80), lay preacher and politician, first appears in 1623, when he was made free of the Company of Leathersellers in London; having served an eight- or nine-year apprenticeship, he was probably then aged about twenty-five. At an unknown date, but probably by 1632, ...

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Cormack, John (1894–1978), protestant agitator and local politician, was born on 7 July 1894 in Edinburgh, the eldest child of the four sons and three daughters of Donald Cormack (1865–1937), a clerk and former soldier, and his wife, Mary McPhail (c.1870–1951)...

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George Dawson (1821–1876) by Henry John Whitlock © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dawson, George (1821–1876), preacher and political activist, was born at 36 Hunter Street, London, on 24 February 1821, the son of a radical Baptist schoolmaster, Jonathan Dawson, and his wife, Rachel Biggs. He was educated, and later became a pupil teacher and then classics master, at his father's school, where for a time ...

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William Johnson Fox (1786–1864) by Eliza Florence Bridell, c. 1863 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fox, William Johnson (1786–1864), preacher and politician, was born on 1 March 1786 at Uggeshall Farm, Wrentham, Suffolk, the eldest child of six sons and three daughters of Paul Fox (1753?–1812) and his wife, Mary. Paul Fox farmed a small property for his widowed mother, though he had prudently absented himself for a two-year stay in ...

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Hickes, John (1633–1685), clergyman, ejected minister, and rebel, was born at Moorhouse Farm in Newsham, near Kirby Wiske, Yorkshire, the son of William Hickes of Stonegrave, Yorkshire, and his wife, Elizabeth Kay of Topcliffe, Yorkshire. After being educated at Thirsk he graduated BA from ...

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Legate, Bartholomew (d. 1612), radical separatist and convicted heretic, was the son of William Legate, a substantial householder of Hornchurch, Essex. The extended Legate clan was among the most ancient and successful families of the royal liberty of Havering. By the mid-sixteenth century members of the family, including ...

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Russell, Hastings William Sackville, twelfth duke of Bedford (1888–1953), evangelical Christian and pacifist, was born on 21 December 1888 at Cairnsmore House, Minnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, the only child of Lord Herbrand Arthur Russell, later eleventh duke of Bedford (1858–1940), and his wife, Mary Du Caurroy Russell (1865–1937)...

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Sherfield, Henry (bap. 1572, d. 1634), lawyer and iconoclast, was baptized on 13 September 1572 at Winterbourne Earls, near Salisbury, the third son and one of five children of Richard Sherfield or Shervill (c.1535–c.1620), corn dealer and small farmer, and his wife, ...

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Charles James Simmons (1893–1975) by Elliott & Fry, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Simmons, Charles James [Jim] (1893–1975), politician and evangelical preacher, was born at 30 Brighton Road, Moseley, Birmingham, on 9 April 1893, the eldest son of James Henry Simmons (1867–1941), journeyman and later master painter, and his wife, Mary Jane, née Russell (1872–1958), a schoolteacher. His parents were Primitive Methodists, temperance advocates, and Liberals. His maternal grandfather, ...

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Smith, William (1756–1835), politician and dissenter, was born on 22 September 1756 at Clapham, the only son of Samuel Smith (1727–1798) and his wife, Martha Adams (d. 1759). His father was a large wholesale grocer in Cannon Street, and his mother came from an old and wealthy ...

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William Smith (1756–1835) by Henry Thomson, exh. RA 1814 Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

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Stoughton, William (1631–1701), colonial official and preacher, was born on 30 September 1631, probably in England, the second son, and one of at least six children, of Israel Stoughton (bap. 1603, d. 1644), and Elizabeth Knight (c.1605–1681). The Stoughton family migrated to ...

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John Carvell Williams (1821–1907) by Frederick Sargent private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Williams, John Carvell (1821–1907), nonconformist political organizer, was born on 20 September 1821 at Trafalgar Square, Stepney, London, the eldest of the six children of John Allen Williams (d. 1835), port surveyor for HM customs and excise, and his wife, Mary (...