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Abercromby, James (1706–1781), army officer and politician, was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, the son of Alexander Abercromby (1677–1728), laird of Glassaugh, politician and army officer, and his wife, Helen Meldrum. With his father's assistance he became commissioner of supply and justice of the peace in ...

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Achilli, (Giovanni) Giacinto (b. c. 1803), Dominican priest, anti-Catholic polemicist, and seducer, was born in the village of Celleno, 18 miles from Viterbo, then in the Papal States. He joined the Dominican order in 1819, studied at the convent of the Minerva in ...

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Adam, Robert (1728–1792), architect, was born at Kirkcaldy in Fife on 3 July 1728, the second son of William Adam (bap. 1689, d. 1748), architect, and his wife, Mary Robertson (1699–1761), the daughter of William Robertson of Gladney. He was educated at the high school of ...

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Adams, Sarah Flower (1805–1848), poet, was born on 22 February 1805 at Great Harlow, Essex, the daughter of Benjamin Flower (1755–1829), nonconformist editor of the radical Cambridge Intelligencer, and Eliza Gould (1770–1810), a Devon schoolteacher. Her father was famous for going to prison in defence of his right to freedom of expression in 1799, while her mother had been forced out of her school for refusing on principle to cancel her subscription to his ...

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Aikman, William, of Cairnie (1682–1731), portrait painter, was born on 24 October 1682 at Cairnie, Forfarshire, the second son and fifth child of William Aikman (1646–1699), laird of Cairnie and advocate, and his wife, Margaret Clerk (d. after 1729), daughter of John Clerk...

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Akenside, Mark (1721–1770), poet and physician, was born on 9 November 1721 in Butcher Bank, St Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne, the sixth of seven children of Mark Akenside (b. 1676), butcher, and his wife, Mary (1685–1760), daughter of William Lumsden. He was baptized on 30 November in the nonconformist meeting-house which his parents attended in ...

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Aldridge, Ira Frederick (1807?–1867), actor, was probably born on 24 July 1807 in New York city, the son of Daniel Aldridge, a lay preacher. Little is known of his mother, Lurona, who died when he was a youth. He was the first major African-American actor, although virtually all of his appearances were in ...

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Richard Garnett

revised by Troy O. Bickham

André, John (1750–1780), army officer and spy, was born in London on 2 May 1750, the eldest son of Anthony André (1717–1769), a Genevese merchant settled in the city, and Marie Louise Girardot (1721?–1813). He had at least one brother and sister. He was educated at home and possibly at ...

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Anne [Anne of Cleves] (1515–1557), queen of England, fourth consort of Henry VIII, was the daughter of Johann (III), duke of Juliers-Cleves (1490–1539), and Maria (1491–1543), heir of Juliers (or Jülich). From 1511 Johann ruled Juliers in his wife's right and in 1521 inherited ...

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Anne [Anne Boleyn] (c. 1500–1536), queen of England, second consort of Henry VIII, was the daughter of Thomas Boleyn, earl of Ormond and of Wiltshire (1476/7–1539), and Elizabeth (d. 1538), daughter of Thomas Howard, second duke of Norfolk (1443–1524), and his first wife, ...

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Annesley, Samuel (bap. 1620, d. 1696), clergyman and ejected minister, was born at Haseley, Warwickshire, and baptized there on 26 March 1620, the son of John (d. in or after 1629) and Judith Annesley (variously also Aneley, Anneley, and Annesly) of that parish. He went to school there and at ...

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Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792), inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer, was born on 23 December 1732 at Preston, Lancashire, the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Arkwright (1691–1753), a tailor, and his wife, Ellen Hodgkinson (1693–1778). The family was rooted in ...

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Armstrong, Archibald [Archy] (d. 1672), court fool, was born of Scottish parents, perhaps at Arthuret in Cumberland or Langholm, Roxburghshire; his father was also named Archibald Armstrong. Young Archy's early life and the means by which he first entered the service of King James VI and I...

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Armstrong, John (1674–1742), military engineer, was born on 31 March 1674 the eldest son of Robert Armstrong (c.1651–1716) of Ballyan, King's county (co. Offaly), Ireland and Lydia (c.1649–1715), daughter of Michael Howard of Ballyard, King's county. Armstrong entered young into a military life, serving as a volunteer in the Williamite army in ...

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Ashbee, Henry Spencer [pseud. Pisanus Fraxi] (1834–1900), book collector and bibliographer, was born on 21 April 1834 at 24 Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London, the only child of Robert Ashbee (1804–1867), manager of the Curtis and Harvey gunpowder mills, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth, ...

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Aston, William George (1841–1911), diplomatist and Japanese and Korean scholar, was born on 9 April 1841 near Londonderry, one of the five children of George Robert Aston, minister of the Unitarian Church of Ireland and schoolmaster. He was educated at Saintfield national school...

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Backwell, Edward (c. 1619–1683), goldsmith and banker, the son of Barnaby Backwell of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, a yeoman, was apprenticed in 1635 to Thomas Vyner, a leading goldsmith. He became free of the Goldsmiths' Company in 1651, of which he was to be prime warden in 1660....

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Bailey, John (1644–1697), nonconformist minister, was born on 24 February 1644, probably at Altham, near Blackburn, Lancashire, the son of Thomas Bailey (d. 1673). His father was notorious for his drunkenness and profligacy but the young Bailey acquired both his mother's piety and her strength of character. An Independent congregation led by the ...

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Baillie, Thomas (c. 1725–1802), naval officer, probably from Dublin, entered the navy about 1740, and became a lieutenant on 29 March 1745, in which rank he served in the Mars, Gloucester, Scorpion, Culloden, and, from 3 June 1752, the Deptford (50 guns), in which he was present at ...

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Baines, Edward (1774–1848), newspaper proprietor, politician, and historian, was born at Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, Lancashire, on 5 February 1774, the second son of Richard Baines (d. 1811) and his wife, Jane (née Chew). Richard Baines, who was born near Ripon and came from a farming family, had moved to ...