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Acland, Sir John (c. 1552–1620), politician and benefactor, was the younger son of John Acland (d. 1553) of Acland Barton in the parish of Landkey, north Devon, and Margaret, daughter and coheir of Hugh Radcliff of Stepney and the Middle Temple. He was born into an established gentry family which already bore heraldic arms and owned lands in five other ...

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Edward Alleyn (1566–1626) by unknown artist by permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery

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Alleyn, Edward (1566–1626), actor, theatre entrepreneur, and founder of Dulwich College, was born on 1 September 1566 in the London parish of St Botolph without Bishopsgate, 'near Devonshire House, where now is the sign of the Pye'. He was baptized the following day in the parish church, the son of ...

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Armitt, Mary Louisa (1851–1911), author and founder of the Armitt Library, Ambleside, was born at 19 Melbourne Terrace, Salford, Lancashire, on 24 September 1851. She was the youngest of three daughters of William Armitt (1815–1867), an impecunious assistant overseer who valued learning, and his wife, ...

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Mary Louisa Armitt (1851–1911) by Sophia Armitt The Armitt Trust Collection

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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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Aylesbury, Sir Thomas, baronet (1579/80–1658), patron of mathematics, was born probably in early 1580, possibly in London, where some of his siblings were later baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn. He was the second son among at least eight children of William Aylesbury (...

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Bampton, John (1689–1751), benefactor, was born in 1689; details of his place of birth, parentage, and upbringing are unknown. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated BA (1709) and MA (1712). Having taken orders he was installed as a prebendary at ...

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Bancroft, Francis (1667–1728), financial agent and benefactor, was born in Spitalfields, London, on 26 October 1667, the second son of John Bancroft (bap. 1614, d. 1705), a City financier who became serjeant-carver to the lord mayor, and his second wife, Rebecka Cole (...

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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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Bevan [née Vaughan], Bridget [known as Madam Bevan] (bap. 1698, d. 1779), educational benefactor, baptized on 30 October 1698 at Merthyr church in Llannewydd, Carmarthenshire, was the youngest daughter of John Vaughan (1663–1722) and his wife, Elizabeth Thomas (d. 1721)...

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

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Blundell, Peter (c. 1520–1601), clothier and philanthropist, was born in Tiverton, Devon, of humble parentage. As a boy he saw the little community freed from the dominance of the Courtenay earls of Devon, and he lived to see it, untrammelled by either civic or industrial regulation, and somewhat encouraged by the protestant ethic, enter a period of considerable growth and prosperity based on the manufacture of kerseys, the woollen cloths in which the town and its immediate hinterland specialized. Whether the young ...

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Bodley, Sir Thomas (1545–1613), scholar, diplomat, and founder of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, was born on 2 March 1545 in a house on the corner of High Street and Gandy Street, Exeter, the eldest son of John Bodley (c. 1520–1591), religious radical and publisher, of ...

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Borlase, Sir William (c. 1562–1629), politician and benefactor, was the only son of John Borlase (d. 1593) and his wife, Anne (d. 1622), daughter of Sir Robert Lytton of Knebworth, Hertfordshire. Although the family of Borlase or Burlace was Cornish in origin ...

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Boswell, Sir William (d. 1650), diplomat and patron of learning, was born in Suffolk. He matriculated from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1600, graduating BA in 1604, becoming a fellow in 1606, and proceeding MA in 1607; he was incorporated at Oxford in 1608. In December 1614 he was granted a pass to travel abroad for three years but he remained absent from ...

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Box, Henry (1585–1662), educational benefactor, was born on 25 July 1585, the second son of Thomas Box (bap. 1552), fuller and farmer of Witney, Oxfordshire, and his wife, Elizabeth Rankell; he had at least two brothers and two sisters. The Box family had been settled in ...

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See Box, Henry

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Brown, Ann Dudin (1822–1917), benefactor, was born on 2 January 1822, the only child of John Dudin Brown (1795–1855), Thames wharfinger, and his wife, Ann, née Round (1798–1855). She spent her childhood and early adult years in the affluent surroundings of her parents' house in ...