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Aske, Robert (1619–1689), silk merchant and benefactor, was born on 24 February 1619, the son of Robert Aske of the parish of St Mary Woolchurch, London, and his second wife, Margery Middleton, the widowed daughter of John Hill of Wendover, whom he married in 1611. The two ...

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Barnham, Benedict (bap. 1559, d. 1598), merchant and benefactor, was baptized on 2 June 1559 at St Mildred Poultry, London, the fourth and youngest son of Alice Barnham, silkwoman and benefactor, and her husband, Francis Barnham [see under Barnham, Alice], draper and local politician. From 1559 the family lived at ...

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Collier [Collyer], Richard (1480x85?–1533), mercer and benefactor, was born at Horsham, Sussex. The identity of his parents is unknown. He was closely related to the Caryll family of the neighbouring parish of Warnham, but the precise nature of that kinship remains unclear....

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Cooke, John (d. 1528), mercer and benefactor, was born in Minsterworth, a few miles west of Gloucester, the son of Thomas and Alice Cooke. The loss of Gloucester's early civic records means that little can be said of his career there, except that he prospered greatly in the town. He served as sheriff—the equivalent of bailiff—in 1494 and 1498, and became an alderman in 1501, the year in which he was first chosen to be mayor; he was elected again in 1507, 1512, and 1519. In June of 1513 he was involved, as mayor, in a dispute over common rights with the abbot of ...

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Dauntsey, William (c. 1480–1543), merchant and benefactor, was the fourth and youngest known son of John Dauntsey, esquire, of West Lavington, Wiltshire, where his family could trace its ancestry back to the mid-twelfth century, and his wife, Margery. He is to be distinguished from a contemporary namesake (...

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Dick, James (bap. 1743, d. 1828), merchant and benefactor, was baptized on 6 February 1743 at Forres, Moray, the son of Alexander Dick (d. 1783), shoemaker and town councillor, and his wife, Elizabeth. The house they occupied in Forres High Street still bears their initials on the lintel. As a boy ...

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Dowe, Robert (c. 1523–1612), merchant and benefactor, was the second son of Henry Dove of Stradbroke, Suffolk, and Alice Nowell. He was apprenticed to Nicholas Wilford, a prominent member of the Merchant Taylors' Company of London, of which he became free in 1550. It was probably soon after this that he married ...

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Ellis, Thomas (d. 1562), merchant and benefactor, appears to have been a Yorkshireman by birth. His origins were assiduously investigated by several nineteenth-century genealogists, but with limited success, and the most that can be said is that the arms granted him in 1549 suggest kinship with the ...

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Henry Summerson and M. C. Curthoys

Mico, Sir Samuel (d. 1666), merchant and benefactor, was the son of Richard Mico and his wife, surnamed Allen. He had a younger brother, John, and a sister, Hester. His family claimed to have originated in the Île-de-France, with the name Micault, and to have settled in ...

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Reckitt, Albert Leopold (1877–1947), chemical manufacturer and benefactor, was born at Dulwich Wood Park, Upper Norwood, London, on 24 May 1877, the son of George Reckitt (1825–1900), manager of the London office of Reckitt & Sons Ltd, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Jackson (1836–1923)...

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Roysse, John (1500/01–1571), mercer and benefactor, was born in either 1500 or 1501, possibly on 31 January, and brought up in Abingdon, Berkshire. Nothing is known for certain about his father and mother, but the family name is recorded in sixteenth-century sources in ...

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Smith, Erasmus (bap. 1611, d. 1691), merchant and educational benefactor, was the son of Sir Roger Smith (1570/71–1655) of Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, and his second wife, Anna (1585/6–1652), daughter of Thomas Goodman of London. He was baptized on 8 April 1611 at Husbands Bosworth...

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Symonds, Peter (c. 1528–1586/7), mercer and benefactor, was born into an important Winchester family that dated back to before 1466. He was the eldest son of John Symonds (d. 1542), who as a city bailiff in 1439–40 held one of its major offices, and his wife, ...

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Wyggeston [Wigston], William (c. 1467–1536), merchant and benefactor, belonged to a family originating at Wigston, just outside Leicester, whose members were by the fifteenth century established as wealthy wool merchants in Coventry and in Leicester itself. The family name is variously spelt: in ...

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Maker: Enoch Seeman the younger

Elihu Yale (1649–1721) by Enoch Seeman the younger, 1717 © Yale University Art Gallery

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Yale, Elihu (1649–1721), merchant and administrator in India and benefactor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 5 April 1649, the second son of David Yale (1614–1690) of Denbighshire, merchant, and Ursula Yale (b. c.1624). In 1652 Elihu's family returned to Britain...