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Aylesbury, Sir Thomas, baronet (1579/80–1658), patron of mathematics, was born probably in early 1580, possibly in London, where some of his siblings were later baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn. He was the second son among at least eight children of William Aylesbury (...

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Blount, Charles, fifth Baron Mountjoy (1516–1544), courtier and patron of learning, was the eldest son of William Blount, fourth Baron Mountjoy (c. 1478–1534), and his third wife, Alice Brown, née Kebel (or Keble; d. 1521). Charles was born on 28 June 1516 in ...

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Bodley, Sir Thomas (1545–1613), scholar, diplomat, and founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, was born on 2 March 1545 in a house on the corner of High Street and Gandy Street, Exeter, the eldest son of John Bodley (c. 1520–1591), religious radical and publisher, of ...

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Boswell, Sir William (d. 1650), diplomat and patron of learning, was born in Suffolk. He matriculated from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1600, graduating BA in 1604, becoming a fellow in 1606, and proceeding MA in 1607; he was incorporated at Oxford in 1608. In December 1614 he was granted a pass to travel abroad for three years but he remained absent from ...

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Cranston, Andrew (d. 1708), creator of a public library, was born in the late 1650s in Scotland to unknown parents. He was perhaps connected to the lords Cranstoun, for the descendants of his only known brother, James, assumed the same coat of arms. There is a volume in his library inscribed to him from ...

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Gordon Goodwin

revised by David Boyd Haycock

Edwards, Arthur (d. 1743), benefactor, was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 17 November 1725. Nothing is known of his parentage and upbringing, though his will refers to 'my brothers and sisters'. Little is known about his life, other than that he reached the rank of first major of the second troop of ...

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Egerton, Francis Henry, eighth earl of Bridgewater (1756–1829), collector of manuscripts and patron of learning, was born on 11 November 1756, probably in London, the youngest of the three surviving children of John Egerton (1721–1787), bishop of Durham, and his first wife, Lady Anna Sophia de Grey (...

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Falcke, Isaac (1819–1909), art collector and benefactor, was born in Great Yarmouth, one of some twenty children of Jacob Falcke. His father moved to London soon after Isaac's birth and started a business as an art dealer in Oxford Street; in due course he was joined by his sons ...

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Richard Fitzwilliam, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1764 Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK; photograph Bridgeman Art Library

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Fitzwilliam, Richard, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816), benefactor and musical antiquary, was born on 1 August 1745 at Richmond, Surrey, the eldest son of Richard Fitzwilliam, sixth Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (d. 1776), and Catherine (c.1710–1786), eldest daughter and coheir of the Dutch-born merchant and political economist ...

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Heywood, James (1810–1897), politician, university reformer, and philanthropist, was born in Everton, Liverpool, on 28 May 1810, the fifth son of Nathaniel Heywood, a partner in the Manchester bank of Benjamin Heywood & Sons, and his wife, Ann, daughter of Thomas Percival, MD FRS...

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Holdingham [Haldingham], Richard of (d. 1278?), cartographic patron and supposed map maker, probably also named as Richard de Bello, is known for certain only as the author or at least the patron of the large and very detailed late thirteenth-century world map which is now preserved at ...

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Hope, Henry Thomas (1808–1862), patron of the arts and politician, was born in London, probably in Duchess Street, on 30 April 1808, eldest of the three sons of Thomas Hope (1769–1831), of the Amsterdam banking family, and his wife, Louisa (d. 1851)...

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Kirkwood, James (b. c. 1650, d. in or after 1709), clergyman and advocate of parochial libraries, was born in or near Dunbar. His schooling took place there, and from 1666 he studied at Edinburgh University, where he graduated MA in 1670. Scott's Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae...

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Marsh, John Fitchett (1818–1880), promoter of municipal libraries and antiquary, was the son of a solicitor of Wigan, Lancashire, John Marsh, and his wife, Ann. He was born at Wigan on 24 October 1818, and was educated at Warrington grammar school under the ...

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Mudie, Charles Edward (1818–1890), founder of a circulating library, was born on 18 October 1818 at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, the youngest son of Thomas Mudie, a Scottish newspaper agent, bookseller, stationer, and lending librarian. Details of Charles Mudie's education are not known, although he is reported as describing it as 'properly cared for' (...

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Norwich, Isaac of (c. 1170–1235/6), moneylender and patron of rabbinic scholarship, was the only known son of Eliab (or Jurnet) of Norwich (c.1130–1197) and his wife, Muriel. His father, also a moneylender and scholarly patron, was the dominant figure in the twelfth-century Jewish community of ...

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Matthew Parker (1504–1575) by Remigius Hogenberg, 1572 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Parker, Matthew (1504–1575), archbishop of Canterbury and patron of scholarship, was born, according to his own account, in the parish of St Saviour, close to the heart of Norwich, on 6 August 1504. One of six children, he was born into armigerous families on both sides. His father, ...

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Prior, Thomas (1681–1751), author and a founder of the Dublin Society, was born at Garriston, near Rathdowney, Queen's county, the second son of Colonel Thomas Prior (d. 1700) and grandson of Captain Thomas Prior of Ely, who settled in Ireland with his regiment in 1636. He was educated at the public school at ...