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Sir John Denham (1614/1515–1669) by unknown artist, c. 1661 University of London Library, Sterling Library, Chesterfield Portraits

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Denham, Sir John (1614/15–1669), poet and courtier, was probably born in Dublin, the only son of Sir John Denham (1559–1639), judge, and his second wife, Eleanor (d. 1619), daughter of Gerald, or Garret, Moore, Baron Moore of Mellefont and first Viscount Drogheda...

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Dwnn, Lewys [Lewys ap Rhys ab Owain] (b. c. 1545, d. in or after 1616), Welsh-language poet and herald, was the son of Rhys ab Owain; he took the surname Dwnn from his mother, Katherine, daughter of Rhys Goch Dwnn of Gwestydd, Llanllwchaearn, Montgomeryshire...

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Dyer, Sir Edward (1543–1607), courtier and poet, was born in October 1543 at Weston, Somerset, the eldest son of Sir Thomas Dyer (d. 1565) and his first wife, Frances (née Darcy), widow of William Thornburgh. Wood states that Edward studied at either ...

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Ferrers, George (c. 1510–1579), courtier and poet, was born about 1510 in St Albans, the first son of Thomas Ferrers of St Albans and his wife, Alice, the daughter of John Cockworthy of Cockworthy, Devon. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 22 November 1534; he was a frequent litigant, and praised by ...

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Godolphin, Sidney (bap. 1610, d. 1643), poet and courtier, was baptized on 15 January 1610 at Breage, Cornwall, the second of the four children of Sir William Godolphin (d. 1613) of Godolphin, Cornwall, and his wife, Thomasine (d. 1611/12), daughter and heir of ...

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North, Dudley, third Baron North (bap. 1582, d. 1666), nobleman and poet, was born in London and baptized on 18 September 1582 at St Gregory by Paul, London. His parents were Sir John North (c. 1550–1597), eldest son of Roger North, second Baron North...

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Rhys Cain (c. 1540–1614), poet and herald, was the son of Rheinallt ap Siôn Wyn ap Siôn ab Ieuan Fychan and his wife, Gwen, daughter of Robert ap Siancyn Fychan. He took his bardic name from the River Cain in recognition of his family's association with the parish of ...

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Sheppard, Sir Fleetwood (1634–1698), courtier and poet, born on 1 January 1634 and baptized on 20 January at Great Rollright, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was the second son of William Sheppard, esquire, of Great Rollright, and Maria (or Mary) Dormer, daughter of Sir Fleetwood Dormer...

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Sir Fleetwood Sheppard (1634–1698) attrib. Sir Godfrey Kneller, c. 1694 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Sidney, Robert, first earl of Leicester (1563–1626), courtier and poet, was born at Penshurst, Kent, on 19 November 1563, and baptized there nine days later, the second son of Sir Henry Sidney (1529–1586) and his wife, Mary Sidney (d. 1586), daughter of John Dudley, ...

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Robert Sidney, first earl of Leicester (1563–1626) by unknown artist, c.1588 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Siôn Tudur [John Tydder] (c. 1522–1602), courtier and Welsh-language poet, was born at the family home, Wigfair, St Asaph, Denbighshire, the son of Tudur ap Dafydd Llwyd and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Ieuan ap Hywel of Mostyn, Flintshire; both parents came of local gentry families and he himself was termed ...

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Vere, Edward de, seventeenth earl of Oxford (1550–1604), courtier and poet, was born on 12 April 1550, probably at Castle Hedingham, Essex, the only son of John de Vere, sixteenth earl of Oxford (1516–1562), and his second wife, Margery, daughter of Sir John Golding...

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Edward de Vere, seventeenth earl of Oxford (1550–1604) by unknown artist, 17th cent. [original, 1575] private collection; on loan to the National Portrait Gallery, London

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John Wilmot, second earl of Rochester (1647–1680) attrib. Jacob Huysmans, c. 1665–70 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Wilmot, John, second earl of Rochester (1647–1680), poet and courtier, was born on 10 April 1647, probably at Ditchley, Oxfordshire, the second but only surviving son of Henry Wilmot, first earl of Rochester (bap. 1613, d. 1658), royalist army officer, and his second wife, ...