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Balguy, John (1686–1748), Church of England clergyman and moral philosopher, was born on 12 August 1686 at Sheffield, son of Thomas Balguy (c.1643–1696), master of the Sheffield Free School for over 30 years, and his wife, Sara Hathornwhite, whom he had married on 8 June 1682. He studied under his father, his father's successor (...

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Butler, Joseph (1692–1752), moral philosopher and theologian, was born on 18 May 1692 in Wantage, Berkshire. He was the youngest among the eight children of Thomas Butler (d. 1731), variously described as a prominent cloth merchant or linen draper in the town and as 'gentleman' in the records of ...

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Joseph Butler (1692–1752) by Mr Taylor of Durham, 1750–52 by kind permission of the Lord Bishop of Durham and the Church Commissioners of England. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Colbatch, John (1665–1748), Church of England clergyman and university teacher, was the son of John Colbatch of Ludlow, Shropshire. He was educated at Westminster School, where he was made scholar in 1680, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner in 1683. He graduated BA (1687), MA (1690), BD (1701), and DD (1706). He became a fellow of his college in 1689 and was ordained priest in 1691. In 1693 he was appointed chaplain to the British factory at ...

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Copleston, Edward (1776–1849), bishop of Llandaff and moral philosopher, was born on 2 February 1776 at Offwell in Devon, where his father, John Bradford Copleston, was rector. He was educated at home until the age of fifteen when, in 1791, he won a scholarship to ...

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Edward Copleston (1776–1849) by Thomas Phillips, 1820 courtesy of the Provost and Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford; photograph © Studio Edmark

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Hare, Richard Mervyn (1919–2002), philosopher, was born on 21 March 1919 at Backwell Down, Backwell, Somerset (six miles to the west of Bristol), the fifth surviving child of Charles Francis Aubone (John) Hare, businessman, and his wife, Louise Kathleen, née Simonds...

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Richard Mervyn Hare (1919–2002) by Steve Pyke, 1990 © Steve Pyke; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Johnson, Thomas (1702/3–1737), classical scholar and moral philosopher, was born at Debenham, Suffolk, the son of Thomas Johnson (b. 1674/5), Church of England clergyman of that parish. He was educated at Monk Soham School, Suffolk, and Magdalene College, Cambridge, which he entered aged eighteen on 3 June 1721. He graduated BA in 1724 and MA in 1728. He was ordained deacon on 19 December 1725 and priest on 11 June 1727. He was senior university taxor at ...

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Newman, Francis William (1805–1897), classical scholar and moral philosopher, was born at 17 Southampton Street, Bloomsbury Square, London, on 27 June 1805. His father, John Newman (1767–1824), a banker, was of Dutch descent and his mother, Jemima (1772–1836), of Huguenot extraction, was a sister of the paper manufacturer ...

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Francis William Newman (1805–1897) by Herbert Watkins, 1858 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hastings Rashdall (1858–1924) by Walter Stoneman, 1918 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Rashdall, Hastings (1858–1924), moral philosopher, theologian, and historian, was born at 34 St George's Road, Kensington, London, on 24 June 1858, the eldest child of the Revd John Rashdall (d. 1869?), incumbent of Eaton Chapel, Eaton Square, London, and afterwards (1864–9) of ...

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Rutherforth, Thomas (1712–1771), moral philosopher, was born at Papworth, St Agnes, Cambridgeshire, on 13 October 1712, the son of Thomas Rutherforth (b. 1674/5), Church of England clergyman. He was educated at school at Huntingdon and at St John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a sizar on 6 April 1726. He graduated BA in 1730, and proceeded MA in 1733, BD in 1740, and DD in 1745. He was also elected a fellow in 1733, a position he held until 1752, and was ordained priest by the bishop of ...

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Whichcote, Benjamin (1609–1683), theologian and moral philosopher, was born in Stoke, Shropshire, in March 1609, the sixth son of at least seven children of Christopher Whichcote of Whichcote Hall and his wife, Elizabeth (née Fox). In 1626 he entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge...

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Benjamin Whichcote (1609–1683) by Mary Beale, 1682 by permission of the Master, Fellows, and Scholars of Emmanuel College in the University of Cambridge

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Wollaston, William (1659–1724), moral philosopher, born on 26 March 1659 at Coton Clanford, Staffordshire, was the second son of William Wollaston (1634–1691) and Elizabeth Downes (1628–1707), the daughter of a local country gentleman. The Wollastons were an old Staffordshire family, but they also owned estates in ...

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William Wollaston (1659–1724) by John Faber junior © National Portrait Gallery, London