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Barret, William (d. 1584), commercial agent and consul, is of obscure origins. The earliest mention of Barret concerns his assisting the merchant John Keele to load the Turkey Company's ship Bark Reynolds at Tripoli, Syria, with a cargo of galls, cottons, spices, and silk for its return journey to ...

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Bowes, Sir Jerome (d. 1616), diplomat and glass maker, was the son of Sir John Bowes, landowner, of Elford, Staffordshire, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Richard Huddleston of Lancashire. For a man of his prominence and considerable notoriety, Bowes is rather an elusive person. He had a sister, ...

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Sir Jerome Bowes (d. 1616) by unknown artist © English Heritage Photo Library

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Bradshaw, Richard (bap. 1610, d. 1685), merchant and diplomat, was baptized at Pennington, Aspull, Lancashire, on 25 August 1610; his parents are unknown. A merchant of Chester, he was elected to the common council of the city on 14 July 1637, replacing Randle Finchett...

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Caxton, William (1415x24–1492), printer, merchant, and diplomat, was the first Englishman to print books, bringing the printing press to England in 1475 or 1476.

Nothing is known of Caxton's family or his place of birth. He was born in the weald of Kent...

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Chapman, Charles (1752–1809), East India Company servant and emissary to Vietnam, was born on 23 November 1752, son of Charles Chapman (d. c.1796), army officer. After the obligatory attendance at a commercial academy, in his case at Hoxton, Chapman was appointed a writer in the ...

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Crosby, Sir John (d. 1476), merchant and diplomat, inherited from his father the manor of Hanworth, which had also been held by his grandfather. He was apprenticed to the prominent London grocer John Young, and became a freeman in 1454. By that date ...

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Davidson, Alan Eaton (1924–2003), diplomatist and food historian, was born on 30 March 1924 at Garden City, Londonderry, Northern Ireland, the only son and elder child of William John Davidson (1899–1959), inspector of taxes, and his wife, Constance, née Eaton (1889–1974). His father was Scottish, which ...

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Erskine, Thomas, ninth earl of Kellie (1745/6–1828), merchant and diplomat, was probably born at Cambo House, near Kingsbarns, Fife, the third son of David Erskine (c.1697–1769), Rothesay herald and later Lyon clerk, and his second wife, Anne Young (b. c...

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Fawkener, Sir Everard (1694–1758), merchant and diplomatist, was born on 23 February 1694 in the City of London and baptized on the same day at St Michael Bassishaw. The Fawkener family were long-established country gentry, with a seat at Uppingham Manor, Rutland. They had been engaged in trade, especially in the ...

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Guidotti, Sir Antonio (1492–1555), merchant and diplomat, was born on 27 May 1492 in Florence, the son of Andrea di Zanobi Guidotti (1457–1520) and Lucretia d'Antonio Gondi. The evidence suggests he received legal training in Italy before he arrived in Southampton in the 1510s to join his brother ...

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Harborne, William (c. 1542–1617), merchant and diplomat, was probably born at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the second son of William Harborne (d. 1588), administrator, of Great Yarmouth, and his wife, Joan Piers, or Pearce (fl. 1520–1590). Harborne senior, originally from Shrewsbury, Shropshire...

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Harvel, Edmund (d. in or before 1550), merchant and diplomat, was probably the gentleman of that name of Besford and Cowley, Worcestershire, who appears on the pardon roll at the accession of Henry VIII and in a genealogical table in a Worcestershire heralds' visitation of 1564. Little else is sure about his family and early life, except that he had a brother, a ...

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Hebdon, Sir John (1612–1670), merchant and diplomat, was probably born in London or Oxfordshire, the elder son and eldest of three children of John Hebden (b. c.1583), merchant tailor of London, whose family came from Yorkshire, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of ...

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Hussey, Sir William (b. in or after 1640, d. 1691), merchant and diplomat, was the second surviving son of Thomas Hussey (b. c.1613, d. in or before 1641) of Honnington, Lincolnshire, and his wife, Rhoda (c.1617–1686), daughter of Thomas Chapman...

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Manesty, Samuel (1758–1812), merchant and diplomat, was born on 26 May 1758 and baptized at St Peter's, Liverpool, Lancashire, on 23 June 1758, the eighth son of Joseph Manesty (d. 1771/2), a Liverpool merchant and slave trader who owned at least five ...

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Meyrick, Sir John (c. 1559–1638/9), diplomat and merchant, was the second son of William Meyrick of London. William Meyrick was an original member of the Muscovy Company, acting as its London agent from 1560 to 1563, later serving as the chief agent in ...

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Morier, Isaac (1750–1817), merchant and diplomatist, was born at Vevey, in Switzerland, on 11 August 1750, the son of François Isaac Augustin Morier (1715–1764), a master carpenter, and Jeanne Barby. He was descended from a Huguenot family which, on the revocation of the edict of Nantes, had migrated to ...

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Napier, William John, ninth Lord Napier of Merchistoun (1786–1834), naval officer and trade envoy, the eldest son of Francis Napier, eighth Lord Napier of Merchistoun (1758–1823), and his wife, Maria Margaret, née Clavering (1756?–1821), was born at Kinsale in Ireland on 13 October 1786. He entered the ...

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Oswald, Richard (1705?–1784), merchant and diplomat, was born, probably in 1705, in Dunnet, Caithness, Scotland, the second of the four children of George Oswald (1664–1726), the Presbyterian minister of Dunnet, and his wife, Margaret (d. 1747), of Pennyland, Caithness, the daughter of ...