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Aitken [Atkine], James (1612/13–1687), bishop of Galloway, was born in Kirkwall, Orkney, the third son of Henry Aitken, commissary and sheriff of Orkney and Shetland, and Elizabeth Buchanan. He attended Kirkwall grammar school before moving on to the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated MA on 23 July 1636. During the next two turbulent years of the covenanting revolution he completed his formal education at ...

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John Arbuthnot (bap. 1667, d. 1735) by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1723 © Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

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Arbuthnot [Arbuthnott], John (bap. 1667, d. 1735), physician and satirist, was baptized on 29 April 1667 at Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire, on the north-east Scottish coast, near Stonehaven, the eldest son of Alexander Arbuthnott (c.1636–1691), minister of Arbuthnott, and Margaret, daughter of John Lammie (or Lamy)...

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Balcanquhall, Walter (c. 1586–1645), dean of Rochester, was born in Edinburgh, one of three sons of Walter Balcanquhall (1548/9–1616), Church of Scotland minister, and his wife, Margaret Marjoribanks. He was educated at Edinburgh University, graduating MA on 27 July 1609. Admitted to Pembroke College, Cambridge...

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Arthur James Balfour, first earl of Balfour (1848–1930) by John Singer Sargent, 1908 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Balfour, Arthur James, first earl of Balfour (1848–1930), prime minister and philosopher, was born on 25 July 1848 at Whittingehame House, East Lothian, the third of eight children and eldest son of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856), landowner (and MP, 1841–7), and his wife, ...

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Balfour, Gerald William, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), politician and psychical researcher, was born on 9 April 1853, in Edinburgh, the seventh of eight children of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856), MP, sportsman, and country gentleman, and his wife, Lady Blanche Mary Harriet Gascoyne-Cecil (1825–1872)...

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Balfour, Sir William (d. 1660), parliamentarian army officer, was the son of Colonel Henry Balfour (d. 1580), a member of the Balfour family of Pitcullo, Fife, and his wife, Christian Cant.

William Balfour followed his father's example by serving the Dutch in the ...

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Beatson, Alexander (1759–1830), army officer in the East India Company and colonial governor, was born on 24 October 1759 at Dundee. He was the second son of the three sons and one daughter of Robert Beatson (b. 1730), of Kilrie, Fife, and his wife, ...

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A. B. Grosart

revised by Alan R. MacDonald

Bellenden, Adam (c. 1572–1648), bishop of Dunblane and of Aberdeen, was the son of Sir John Bellenden (d. 1576) of Auchnoul, lord justice clerk 1547–72, and his third wife, Janet Seton, and the half-brother of Sir Lewis Bellenden, also lord justice clerk. He studied at the ...

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Bennett, John Hughes (1812–1875), physician and physiologist, was born on 31 August 1812 at Exeter, Devon, the only son of John Stokes Bennett (1773–1829), Exeter freeman, actor, and musician, and his wife, Julia Hughes (1783–1854), an actress, daughter of Richard Hughes (d...

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James Blair (1655/66–1743) by Charles Bridges Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary

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Blair, James (1655/6–1743), Church of England clergyman and founder of the College of William and Mary, was the son of Peter Blair (d. 1673), Church of Scotland minister of St Cuthbert's parish, Edinburgh, and his wife, Mary Hamilton (d. in or after 1696)...

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Blair, John (d. 1782), Church of England clergyman and chronologist, was descended from the Blairs of Balthayock, Perthshire, although precise information about his parents, date of birth, and early years is lacking. He was born and educated in Edinburgh, where he trained for a career in the ...

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Brown, George Francis Graham (1891–1942), bishop in Jerusalem, was born at Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province in China, on 27 January 1891, the second son of George Graham Brown (1862–1945) and his wife, Eliza Catherine, née Fenton (1863–1928). His parents were pioneer missionaries with the ...

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Bruce, Edward, first Lord Kinloss and first Baron Bruce of Kinloss (1548/9–1611), lawyer and administrator, was the second son of Sir Edward Bruce of Blairhall, Clackmannanshire (1505–1565), and his wife, Alison, daughter of William Reid of Aitkenhead, Clackmannanshire; he was thus a nephew of ...

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Claudius Buchanan (1766–1815) by Frederick Christian Lewis senior, pubd 1815 (after J. Slater, 1814) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Buchanan, Claudius (1766–1815), East India Company chaplain, was born on 12 March 1766 at Cambuslang, a village near Glasgow, the second son of Alexander Buchanan (d. 1788), schoolmaster at Inveraray, Argyll, and his wife, the daughter of Claudius Somers. He commenced his education at ...

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Bunney, Herrick Cyril William (1915–1997), organist and conductor, was born on 12 May 1915 at 17 Elm Grove Road, Barnes, Surrey, the son of Cyril Herbert Herrick Bunney (1881–1969), electrical engineer and civil servant, and his wife, Ethel Letitia, née Ardley (1877?–1958). Educated at ...

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Gilbert Burnet (1643–1715) by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1693 Wimpole Hall, The Bambridge Collection (The National Trust). Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London