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Abbot, Charles, first Baron Colchester (1757–1829), speaker of the House of Commons, was born on 14 October 1757 at Abingdon, Berkshire, the son of the Revd John Abbot (d. 1760), a fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and rector of All Saints, Colchester...

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Charles Abbot, first Baron Colchester (1757–1829) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1824 Palace of Westminster Collection

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Abercromby, James, first Baron Dunfermline (1776–1858), speaker of the House of Commons, the third son of General Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734–1801), and his wife, Mary Anne, née Menzies, was born on 7 November 1776. Sir John Abercromby and Alexander Abercromby, both army officers, were his brothers. ...

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Henry Addington, first Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844) by Sir William Beechey, in or before 1803 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Addington, Henry, first Viscount Sidmouth (1757–1844), prime minister, was born on 30 May 1757, the fourth child and eldest son of Anthony Addington (1713–1790), physician, and his wife, Mary (d. 1778), daughter and heir of the Revd Haviland John Hiley, headmaster of ...

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Bampfield, Thomas (1622/3–1693), speaker of the House of Commons, was a younger son of John Bampfield (d. c.1650) and Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Drake. The Bampfields were one of Devon's leading gentry families, seated at Poltimore near Exeter. After attending Exeter College, Oxford...

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Bell, Sir Robert (d. 1577), judge and speaker of the House of Commons, is of unknown parentage and origins, although he may have come from a Norfolk or Yorkshire family. He was possibly educated at Cambridge and certainly at the Middle Temple, where he was a bencher, autumn reader in 1565, and Lent reader in 1572. He was married three times: first, to ...

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Best, William Draper, first Baron Wynford (1767–1845), judge and deputy speaker, was born at Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset, on 13 December 1767, the third son of Thomas Best and his wife, Elizabeth Draper. He attended the grammar school at Crewkerne, and, being intended for the ...

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Henry Boyle, first earl of Shannon (1681x77–1764) by John Brooks, pubd 1742 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Boyle, Henry, first earl of Shannon (1681x7–1764), speaker of the Irish House of Commons, was born in Castlemartyr, co. Cork, Ireland, the second son of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Boyle (c.1650–1693) of Castlemartyr and Mary O'Brien, daughter of Murrough O'Brien, first earl of Inchiquin...

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Henry Bouverie William Brand, first Viscount Hampden (1814–1892) by Lombardi, 1860s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brand, Henry Bouverie William, first Viscount Hampden (1814–1892), politician and speaker of the House of Commons, born on 24 December 1814, was the second son of Henry Otway Brand, twenty-first Baron Dacre, and his wife, Pyne, second daughter of the Hon. and Very Revd Maurice Crosbie...

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Bromley, William (bap. 1663, d. 1732), speaker of the House of Commons, was descended from an old Staffordshire family whose ancestry extended back to King John's reign. He was the eldest son of Sir William Bromley (d. 1682), and was born at his father's seat at ...

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Brown, Douglas Clifton, Viscount Ruffside (1879–1958), speaker of the House of Commons, was born on 16 August 1879 at Holmbush, Horsham, Sussex, the fourth of five sons in the nine children of Colonel James Clifton Brown (1841–1917), Liberal member of parliament for Horsham...

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Burley, William (d. 1458), administrator and speaker of the House of Commons, was the eldest son of John Burley of Broncroft, Shropshire, and his wife, Juliana. John Burley had been six times member of parliament for Shropshire between 1399 and 1411. Apparently of age (and legally qualified) on ...

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Bussy, Sir John (d. 1399), speaker of the House of Commons and courtier, was the son and heir of Sir William Bussy of Hougham, Lincolnshire, and Thistleton, Rutland, and Isabel, daughter of John Paynell of Boothby. Bussy first appears in the records in 1378, when he served overseas under the command of ...

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Charlton, Sir Job, first baronet (c. 1614–1697), judge and politician, was born at Ludford, Herefordshire, the eldest surviving son of Robert Charlton (d. c.1670), a goldsmith of Mincing Lane in London, and Emma, daughter of Thomas Harby of Adstone, Northamptonshire. His father, who may have come from ...

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Chaucer, Thomas (c. 1367–1434), administrator and speaker of the House of Commons, of Ewelme, Oxfordshire, was the elder son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife, Philippa (d. 1387?), daughter and coheir of Sir Payn Roelt. Although a remarkable combination of qualities, including personal charisma, a talent for leadership, and outstanding powers of judgement, would alone have assured him a central place in English political life, there can be little doubt that ...

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Compton, Spencer, earl of Wilmington (c. 1674–1743), prime minister, was the sixth son of James Compton, third earl of Northampton (1622–1681), his third son with his second wife, Mary (d. 1719), the eldest daughter of Baptist Noel, third Viscount Campden. He was educated at ...

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Spencer Compton, earl of Wilmington (c. 1674–1743) by Sir Godfrey Kneller, c. 1708–1710 © National Portrait Gallery, London