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Abell, Adam (1475x80?–1537?), Franciscan friar and chronicler, was born in Salt Preston, Haddingtonshire, but the names and occupations of his parents are not recorded and details of his early life are scant. What little is known is derived largely from his chronicle, ...

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Abingdon, Henry (d. 1437), ecclesiastic and college head, probably came from Abingdon in Berkshire. He was first elected a fellow of Merton in 1390 and spent most of his later career either there or fulfilling his residential duties as a canon of Wells...

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Ælfric of Eynsham [Ælfric Grammaticus, Ælfric the Homilist] (c. 950–c. 1010), Benedictine abbot of Eynsham and scholar, is of unknown origins, though his language suggests he came from Wessex. He was educated under Æthelwold in the monastic school at Winchester, and after becoming a monk and priest was sent about 987 to the abbey of ...

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Alban [St Albans], Roger (d. after 1461), genealogist, copyist, and Carmelite friar, was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and joined his order in London. He was ordained acolyte on 17 December 1401 and deacon on 19 December 1405. His name occurs as the copyist on three manuscripts, BL, Harley MS 3138 (dated 1424), Harley MS 211, and Stowe MS 8, and it has also been claimed that he copied BL, Stowe MS 38 and, in 1439, the anti-...

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Aldhelm [St Aldhelm] (d. 709/10), abbot of Malmesbury, bishop of Sherborne, and scholar, was a prolific Latin author whose idiosyncratic style of composition in the media of prose and verse, both metrical and rhythmical, was profoundly influential both in England and on the continent up to the Norman conquest. His life is moderately well documented: ...

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Aldhelm [St Aldhelm] (d. 70910) drawing The British Library

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Alnwick, Martin (d. 1336), Franciscan friar, theologian, and philosopher, doubtless came from Northumberland. Possibly the Martinus occasionally recorded as participating in Oxford disputations in the last years of the thirteenth century, he was certainly at Oxford by 1300, when he was among the friars presented to the bishop of ...

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Ashton, Hugh (d. 1522), Catholic ecclesiastic and university benefactor, apparently never himself had a formal university education, his main expertise lying in administration and estate management. He probably first encountered Lady Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby, in Lancashire, his native county, and rose to prominence through this association. On 7 January 1496 he was admitted to the rectory of ...

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Hugh Ashton (d. 1522) by unknown sculptor © Crown copyright. NMR

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Bacon [Bakun], Roger (c. 1214–1292?), philosopher and Franciscan friar, is by inference from his later career usually assigned a birth date about 1214, and from early traditions it seems that he came from the south-west of England, perhaps near Ilchester in Somerset.

Bacon...

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Baily, Thomas (c. 1527–1591), Roman Catholic priest and college head, was born in Yorkshire. On 3 June 1543, in his sixteenth year, he entered Clare College, Cambridge, as a scholar. He graduated BA in 1546. Wardale's Clare College says that the master and fellows of ...

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Bale, Robert (d. 1503), prior of Burnham Norton and historian, was born 3 miles from Walsingham, Norfolk, and joined the Carmelites at their house at Burnham Norton in the same county. He was a great lover of the liturgy and history of his order, which is reflected in his three known works. He composed a short chronicle of the Carmelites (...

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Balsham, Hugh of (d. 1286), bishop of Ely and benefactor, took his name from Balsham, Cambridgeshire, one of Ely Priory's manors. Nothing is known of his background, except that during the controversy aroused by his election as bishop it was alleged that he was of servile origins. He became a monk at ...

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Barbour, John (c. 1330–1395), ecclesiastic and verse historian, was author of the Old or Middle Scots poem The Bruce. His birth is usually placed about 1325, as much to give him a toehold in Robert I's reign as for anything his career tells us, and a slightly later date seems likelier. The trade name he inherited suggests that his father was a barber, and ...

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Bartholomaeus Anglicus (b. before 1203, d. 1272), Franciscan friar and encyclopaedist, is of unknown parentage, and there is no information about his early years. His association with the Suffolk Glanvilles, reported by John Leland, who identifies Bartholomaeus as Bartholomew de Glanville, depends upon a late fourteenth-century colophon in Cambridge, Peterhouse, MS 67. ...

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Bartholomaeus Anglicus (b. before 1203, d. 1272) illuminated initial © The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

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Barton [Berton], William (d. after 1382), theologian and university principal, originated in the diocese of Canterbury, and must have read the arts course at Oxford in the early 1350s. First recorded in 1356 as a fellow of Merton College, he vacated his fellowship in 1361, although he acted as a feoffee for the college as late as 1380. He was bachelor of theology by 1376 and doctor by 1380. He was admitted rector of ...

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Basingstoke, John of [John Basing] (d. 1252), scholar and ecclesiastic, takes his name from the town of Basingstoke in Hampshire. Two contemporary sources speak of him: the chronicler Matthew Paris, and Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln (d. 1253). Basingstoke was closely associated with ...

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Bate, John (d. 1430), logician and theologian, was, according to Leland, born west of the Severn (perhaps in the Welsh marches), but educated at the Carmelite convent in York. As a Carmelite friar he was a member of the London convent when he was ordained deacon by ...

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Bateman [Norwich], William (c. 1298–1355), diplomat, founder of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and bishop of Norwich, was probably born in Norwich (from which he was sometimes named), the third son of William and Margery Bateman. His father was many times bailiff of the city, and in 1326–7 its member of ...