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Robert Andrews (1725–1806) by Thomas Gainsborough, c.1750 © National Gallery, London / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Andrews, Robert (1725–1806), landowner and subject of a painting by Thomas Gainsborough, was born at Bulmer, Essex, on 10 November 1725, the son of Robert Andrews (1661–1735) and his fourth wife, Martha (d. 1749), the daughter of James Brewster (d. 1725)...

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Atkinson, Sir Harry Albert (1831–1892), farmer and premier of New Zealand, was born on 1 November 1831 at Broxton, Cheshire, the fourth son and the seventh of the thirteen children of John Atkinson (1798–1856), an architect and stonemason, and his wife, Elizabeth Smith (...

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Sir Harry Albert Atkinson (1831–1892) by unknown photographer, c. 1880 Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa (F-23108-1/2)

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Robert Bakewell (1725–1795) by John Boultbee, c. 1788–91 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by G. E. Mingay

Bakewell, Robert (1725–1795), stock breeder and farmer, was born at Dishley Grange, Dishley (otherwise Dixley), near Loughborough, Leicestershire, on 23 May 1725. His father, also a farmer, had been born at the same place and rented a farm there of 440 acres. About 1755 ...

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Lady Evelyn Barbara Balfour (1898–1990) by Elliott & Fry, 1943 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Balfour, Lady Evelyn Barbara [Eve] (1898–1990), promoter of organic farming and a founder of the Soil Association, was born on 16 July 1898 in Dublin, the fourth child of Gerald William Balfour, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), and Lady Elizabeth Edith Balfour (1867–1942)...

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Baylis, George (1846–1936), farmer, was born on 7 January 1846, the son of George Baylis, a farmer, and his wife, Caroline (née Bomford), at Prospect House Farm, Bengeworth, near Evesham. The family moved to Woodley Farm, Reading, in 1849. Baylis was celebrated in the late nineteenth century—a period of general agricultural depression—for making money out of farming when so many others could barely make a living. His success derived from two key traits. First, he was an innovator with the ability to work from first principles and to institute a farming system suited to the prevailing economic conditions. Second, he was a businessman with the managerial flair necessary to make full use of the competitive advantage that his style of operation created. Such was the potency of this combination that, from a very ordinary beginning, ...

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Blackmore, Richard Doddridge (1825–1900), novelist and fruit farmer, was born on 7 June 1825, at the vicarage, Longworth, Berkshire, the third but second surviving son of the Revd John Blackmore (1794–1858) and his first wife, Anne Basset Knight (1794–1825). Anne was the eldest daughter of the ...

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Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825–1900) by Frederick Jenkins © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blamire, William (1790–1862), farmer and politician, was born on 13 April 1790 at The Oaks, near Dalston, Cumberland, the son of William Blamire (1740–1814), yeoman farmer and naval surgeon, and Jane Curwen (1739/40–1837). He came on both sides of his family from long-established ...

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Sir Michael Blundell (1907–1993) by Barker, 1962 © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Blundell, Sir Michael (1907–1993), farmer and politician in Kenya, was born on 7 April 1907 at 33 Campden House Court, Kensington, London, the third of four sons of Alfred Herbert Blundell, a London solicitor, and his wife, Amelia Woodward Richardson. His father's family came from ...

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See Tolpuddle Martyrs

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Clare, John (1793–1864), poet, farm labourer, and naturalist, was born on 13 July 1793 in West Street, Helpston, Northamptonshire, the son of Parker Clare (1765–1846), a thresher and local wrestler, known as 'the lame man of Helpstone', and his wife, Ann (1757–1835)...

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John Clare (1793–1864) by William Hilton, 1820 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Cobbett (1763–1835) by George Cooke?, c. 1831 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cobbett, William (1763–1835), political writer and farmer, was born on 9 March 1763 in Farnham, Surrey, the third of four children of George Cobbett, publican and farmer, and his wife, Anne Vincent.

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Coker, Frances [Fanny] (1767–1820), freed slave and domestic servant, was born on 26 August 1767 on Mountravers plantation, Nevis, in the West Indies, the first of five children of Black Polly (b. c.1752, d. in or after 1823). Her mother was probably enslaved in ...