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William Bedloe (1650–1680) by Robert White, pubd 1681 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bedloe, William (1650–1680), informer and adventurer, was the second son of Isaac Bedloe (d. 1656). William Bedloe was born in Chepstow on 20 May 1650 and spent his early life both there and in Bristol. Much of his early life was deliberately clouded in obscurity. His own published account of his parentage and ancestry remains dubious. He claimed that his father had been a gentleman soldier who had served the king in the civil wars and whose own father was ...

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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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Bond, Martin (1558?–1643), merchant, was the third or fourth son of William Bond (d. 1576), an alderman of London and merchant adventurer, who was sheriff in 1567. It is unclear whether he was the Martin Bond who, in 1572, was admitted to ...

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J. T. Gilbert

Reviser S. J. Skedd

Bradstreet, Dudley (1711–1763), adventurer and spy, was born in Tipperary, where his father had obtained considerable land under the Cromwellian grants. His father's wealth was much reduced by debts, and Dudley, who was the youngest son, was looked after by a foster father in ...

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Browne, Maurice (1555/6–1583), adventurer and courtier, was the fourth son of John Browne, merchant, of London, and his third wife, Christian, daughter of William Carkett of London. He was thirteen at the time of the visitation of London in 1568. John Browne died in September 1570, leaving ...

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Champion de Crespigny, Sir Claude, fourth baronet (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman, was born in Chelsea on 20 April 1847, the eldest son of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, third baronet (1818–1868), of Wivenhoe Hall, Essex, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of ...

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Coxe, Daniel (1640–1730), physician, natural philosopher, and colonial adventurer, was the son of Daniel Coxe (d. 1686), gentleman, of Stoke Newington, Middlesex. He matriculated at Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1659, becoming a scholar in 1661. Coxe first came to the fore in the mid-1660s as an associate of ...

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Dartasso, Janico (d. 1426), adventurer, was born in Navarre, of Basque descent; he is first mentioned in 1367–8, while serving in the garrison of Cherbourg, then in the possession of Charles d'Évreux, king of Navarre. It seems likely that he remained at Cherbourg...

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Devereux, Walter, first earl of Essex (1539–1576), nobleman and adventurer, was born on 16 September 1539 at Chartley, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of George Hastings, first earl of Huntingdon. Sir Richard, who was created a knight of the Order of the Garter on 20 February 1548, died the same year, in the lifetime of his father, ...

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Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex (1539–1576) by unknown artist, 1575? [after original, 1572] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dillon, Peter (1788–1847), adventurer in the south seas, was born on 15 June 1788 on Martinique, the son of an Irishman, Peter Dillon, probably a soldier stationed on the island. About 1806 Dillon appears to have sailed for Calcutta and he later traded sandalwood between the ...

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Elliot, Hugh (1752–1830), diplomat and adventurer, was born on 6 April 1752, the second son of Sir Gilbert Elliot, third baronet (1722–1777), MP, and Agnes Dalrymple-Murray-Kynynmound (d. 1778). Born into a family of staunch but minor government supporters, he was one of a number of Scotsmen who carved out a career in second- and third-level posts in the British diplomatic service. On several occasions his bold personality and sharp tongue carried him further than discretion would have advised, though these episodes also provided the highlights of a career lacking in substantial achievements. Unusually tall and thin, ...

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E. I. Carlyle

Reviser S. Searight

Elton, John (d. 1751), merchant and adventurer, is of unknown origins. He arrived in Russia in 1732 to present to the Russian government a memorandum for finding a northern sea passage to Japan. In 1735 the Russian government sent him with an official expedition, with ...

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Gage, Joseph Edward (c. 1687–1766), adventurer, the younger son of Joseph Gage (1652–1700) and his wife, Elizabeth Penruddock (d. 1693), was born about 1687. His father, the third son of Sir Thomas Gage, of Firle, Sussex, inherited Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, about 1682 on the death of his aunt ...

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Gresham, Sir Richard (c. 1485–1549), mercer, merchant adventurer, and mayor of London, was born at Holt, Norfolk, about 1485, probably the third of the four surviving sons—William, Thomas, Richard, and Gresham, Sir John (c. 1495–1556)—of John Gresham and his wife, ...

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Sir Thomas Gresham (c. 1518–1579) by unknown artist, 1544 by courtesy of the Mercers' Company

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Gresham, Sir Thomas (c. 1518–1579), mercer, merchant adventurer, and founder of the Royal Exchange and Gresham College, the second of the two sons and two daughters of Sir Richard Gresham (c. 1485–1549) and his first wife, Audrey (d. 1522), the daughter of ...

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Harcourt, Robert (1574/5–1631), colonial adventurer and author, was born at Ellenhall, Staffordshire, the eldest of the five children of Walter (later Sir Walter) Harcourt (c.1553–1639) of Ellenhall and of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, and his wife and stepsister, Dorothy, daughter of William Robinson...