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Clifford, George, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605), courtier and privateer, was born on 8 August 1558 in Brougham Castle, Westmorland, the eldest son of Henry Clifford, second earl of Cumberland (1517–1570), and his second wife, Anne (c.1538–1581), daughter of William, third Baron Dacre...

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George Clifford, third earl of Cumberland (1558–1605) by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1590 © National Maritime Museum, London

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Dudley, Sir Robert (1574–1649), mariner and landowner, was born at Sheen House, Richmond, Surrey, on 7 August 1574, the son of Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588), and Douglas Sheffield (née Howard), Lady Sheffield (1542/3–1608). The status of his birth, which was to become the leading obsession of his life, is still debated, as are the circumstances of his early life, due in part to his own deliberate exaggerations and falsifications. Despite his mother's later claim that she refused to surrender him to ...

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Sir Robert Dudley (1574–1649) by Nicholas Hilliard, c. 1591–3 National Museum of Fine Arts, Sweden

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Knyvet, Sir Thomas (c. 1485–1512), courtier and sea captain, was the eldest son of Edmund Knyvet of Hilborough, Norfolk (d. 1503/4), himself the eldest son of Sir William Knyvet of Buckenham, Norfolk (c.1448–1515). Thomas's mother was Edmund's wife, Eleanor (...