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Abbott, George (1604–1649), writer and politician, was born in 1604 and baptized on 13 March at St Mary Bishophill Junior, York, the son of George Abbott (d. 1607) of York and Joan, the daughter of Aleyn Penkeston. Both Abbott's father and grandfather ...

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Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.

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Douglas Noël Adams (1952–2001) by Brian Griffin, 1986 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adams, Francis William Lauderdale (1862–1893), writer, was born on 27 September 1862 at Valletta in Malta. The grandson of the Scottish classicist and medical scholar Francis Adams (1796–1861), he was the first of two sons born to Andrew Leith Adams (1827–1882), army surgeon and natural historian, and his wife, ...

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Addison, Joseph (1672–1719), writer and politician, was born on 1 May 1672 at the rectory, Milston, a hamlet north of Amesbury in Wiltshire, the son of Lancelot Addison (1632–1703) and his wife, Jane, née Gulston (c.1635?–1684). His father was at that time vicar of ...

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Ainger, Alfred [pseud. Doubleday] (1837–1904), writer and Church of England clergyman, born at 10 Doughty Street, London, on 9 February 1837, was the youngest of the four children of Alfred Ainger (1797–1859) and his first wife, Marianne Jagger (d. 1839) of ...

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Alfred Ainger (1837–1904) by George Du Maurier, c. 1881 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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T. F. Henderson

revised by Douglas Brown

Ainslie, Robert (1766–1838), writer, was born on 13 January 1766, at Berrywell, near Duns, Berwickshire, the son of Robert Ainslie (1734–1795), factor to Lord Douglas, and his wife, Catharine Whitelaw. His younger brother was Sir Whitelaw Ainslie (1767–1837). In 1787, while apprenticed to ...

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Albert, Harold [formerly Harold Albert Kemp; pseud. Helen Cathcart] (1909–1997), author and journalist, was born on 15 April 1909 at 48 Marsala Road, Lewisham, the son of Albert William Kemp, builder, and his wife, Mabel, the daughter of Frederick Read, dramatic reciter. He was educated at ...

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Charles Freer Andrews (1871–1940) by Howard Coster, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Andrews, Charles Freer (1871–1940), author and campaigner for Indian independence, was born at Newcastle upon Tyne on 12 February 1871, the second son of John Edwin Andrews, minister in the Catholic Apostolic (or Irvingite) church, and his second wife, Mary Charlotte Cartwright (1840–1914)...

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Andrews, William Eusebius (1773–1837), writer and publisher, was born at Norwich on 15 December 1773, the son of John (d. c.1796) and Helen Andrews (c.1729–1823), who were converts to Roman Catholicism. He began work as a printer's apprentice on the ...

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Angelus, Christopher [Christopheros Angelos] (d. 1638), writer, was born in the Peloponnese. He seems to have become a monk at an early age and, after touring Greece in search of teachers, went to study at the short-lived and recently founded academy in Athens...

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Peter Frederick Anson (1889–1975) by Howard Coster, 1933 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anson, Peter Frederick (1889–1975), monk, writer, and artist, was born Frederick Charles Anson on 22 August 1889 at 32 South Parade, Southsea, the son of Charles Eustace Anson (1858–1940), subsequently rear-admiral, and his wife, (Maria) Evelyn, née Ross (1863–1904). His father came from a family with strong connections to the ...

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(Leslie Thomas) John Arlott (1914–1991) by unknown photographer, 1955 © Empics

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Arlott, (Leslie Thomas) John (1914–1991), writer and broadcaster, was born at Cemetery Lodge, Chapel Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 25 February 1914, the only son of William John Arlott (1883–1959), cemetery registrar, and his wife, Ellen (Nellie) Jenvey-Clarke (c.1884–1975). He was educated at ...

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Arouet, François-Marie [known as Voltaire] (1694–1778), writer and philosopher, was born in Paris on 21 November 1694 according to the notice of baptism. He was the fifth of five surviving children born to François Arouet (1649–1722), lawyer and minor official, and his wife, ...

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Ascham, Roger (1514/15–1568), author and royal tutor, was born at Kirby Wiske, near Northallerton in the North Riding of Yorkshire, the third of the four sons of John Ascham (d. 1544), steward to Henry, seventh Lord Scrope of Bolton, and his wife, ...

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Asgill, John (bap. 1659, d. 1738), author, was baptized on 25 March 1659 at Hanley Castle, Worcestershire, the son of Edward and Hester Asgill. His parents provided him with a religious education, and as a young man he attended both Anglican and nonconformist services. In 1686 he entered the ...