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Adomnán [St Adomnán] (627/8?–704), abbot of Iona and writer, who became known to history as the ninth abbot of Iona and the outstanding Irish churchman of his day, was born of the royal line of Cenél Conaill, a dynasty which formed part of the over-kingdom of the northern ...

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Francis Espinasse

revised by Douglas Brown

Anderson, Robert (1749–1830), literary scholar and biographer, was born on 7 January 1749 at Carnwath in Lanarkshire, the son of William Anderson (1718/19–1759), a feuar, or copyholder, and his wife, Margaret Melrose (1720/21–1797). On the death of his father the family was left in straitened circumstances, but ...

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(Anthony) Evelyn Melbourne Ashley (1836–1907) by Spy (Sir Leslie Ward), pubd 1883 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ashley, (Anthony) Evelyn Melbourne (1836–1907), politician and biographer, born in London on 24 July 1836, was the fourth son of Anthony Ashley Cooper, seventh earl of Shaftesbury (1801–1885), politician and social reformer, and his wife, Emily (1810–1872), daughter of Peter Leopold Cowper, fifth Earl Cowper...

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Baggerley, Humphrey (fl. 1648–1654), army officer and supposed biographer, was among the troops who on 9 October 1648 surrendered at Appleby, Westmorland, to superior parliamentarian forces under Colonel Assheton. The royalist soldiers were granted very generous terms and, having been allowed his freedom, ...

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Barnard, John (bap. 1628, d. 1683), biographer, was baptized on 10 November 1628 at Caistor, Lincolnshire, one of ten children of John Barnard (d. 1663), JP and attorney, and his wife, Isabell (bap. 1605, d. in or after 1670), daughter of ...

Article

Thompson Cooper

revised by Rebecca Mills

Bingham, Peregrine (1754–1826), biographer and poet, was the second son of George Bingham (1715–1800), rector for fifty-two years of Pimperne, Dorset, and Sarah Beale (d. 1756). He was educated at Winchester College, before matriculating at New College, Oxford on 15 March 1771. He was admitted as a scholar there on 31 August 1772, and he proceeded BCL on 7 July 1780. He was a fellow of ...

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Birch, Thomas (1705–1766), compiler of histories and biographer, was born on 23 November 1705 at Clerkenwell, the eighth of ten children of Joseph Birch (c.1667–1730) and his wife, Rebecca (d. 1746). In 1700 his parents had moved from Birmingham to ...

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Blacman [Blakman], John (1407/8–1485?), biographer of Henry VI, was born in the diocese of Bath and Wells, and was admitted about 1437 to Merton College, Oxford; he graduated MA, and became a fellow of that college, some two years later. In 1443 he resigned his fellowship, to become a fellow of ...

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Blair, John (supp. fl. c. 1300), supposed biographer and priest, was the creation of Hary, the late fifteenth-century author of a life of Sir William Wallace (d. 1305). To give authority to his own tendentious and unreliable verse account of his hero's exploits, ...

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Blomberg, William Nicolas (1702/3–1750), biographer and Church of England clergyman, was the son of Charles John, Baron Blomberg, a nobleman of the duchy of Courland resident in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of the physician Edmund Dickinson...

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Boaden, James (1762–1839), biographer and playwright, was born on 23 May 1762 in Whitehaven, Cumberland, the only son of William Boaden (1735?–1790) and his wife, Elizabeth. His father (originally from Penryn, Cornwall), a merchant in the Russian trade, took the family to ...

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Bosham, Herbert of (d. c. 1194), biographer, was the son of a clerk (later a priest), who may have been one of the ministers of the royal chapel of Bosham in Sussex, at that time an outlier of the diocese of Exeter. Nothing more is known about his parentage and early education; but both must have been good, for he became an excellent Latin scholar and rhetorician, skilled in the arts of letter-writing and diplomacy, and he went on to study theology at ...

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Boyle, John, fifth earl of Cork and fifth earl of Orrery (1707–1762), biographer, was born in Glasshouse Street, London, on 2 January 1707. He was the only son of Charles Boyle, fourth earl of Orrery (1674–1731), and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Cecil (...

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Brakelond, Jocelin of (fl. 1173–c. 1215), Benedictine monk and biographer, probably came from Brakelond Street in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. He professed at Bury in 1173 and Samson, the future abbot, was his novice master. He became the prior's chaplain, but within four months of ...

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Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) by George Frederic Watts, 1868 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carlyle, Thomas (1795–1881), author, biographer, and historian, was born on 4 December 1795 in the Arched House, Ecclefechan, Annandale, Dumfriesshire. He was the eldest son of James Carlyle (1757–1832), a hard-working stonemason whose father, Thomas (1722–1806), the husband of Mary Gillespie (1727–1797), had been a carpenter and tenant farmer; beyond that, the ...

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Humphrey William Bouverie Carpenter (1946–2005) by Mark Gerson, 2003 © Mark Gerson / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carpenter, Humphrey William Bouverie (1946–2005), author, broadcaster, and musician, was born on 29 April 1946 at the Radcliffe Maternity Home, Oxford, the only child of Harry James Carpenter (1901–1993), warden of Keble College and later bishop of Oxford, and his wife, Urith Monica, ...

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Cassan, Stephen Hyde (1789–1841), ecclesiastical biographer, son of Stephen Cassan, barrister, and his wife, Sarah, daughter of Captain Charles Mears, was born at Calcutta, where his father was sheriff. He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, from May 1811 and took his BA degree on 14 January 1815. He received deacon's orders on 26 March 1816, and was ordained priest in 1817. While curate of ...