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Alexander [née Humphreys], Cecil Frances [Fanny] (1818–1895), hymn writer and poet, was born at 25 Eccles Street, Dublin. She was the second daughter of John Humphreys, a second lieutenant in the Royal Marines and later brigade major in the Tyrone yeomanry, and his wife, ...

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Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895) by Charles Napier Kennedy, 1894 photograph © Ulster Museum. Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Trustees of the National Museums & Galleries of Northern Ireland

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Jonathan Hall and Magnus Williamson

Banastre [Banaster], Gilbert (d. 1487), composer and poet, is of obscure origins, but was possibly related to (or even the son of) Henry Banaster (d. 1456) of Southwark, a yeoman of Henry VI's household. His mother, Alice, was still alive when he made his will. A birth date not later than ...

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Barnard [née Pye], Charlotte Alington [pseud. Claribel] (1830–1869), balladeer and poet, only child of Henry Alington Pye (1799–1883), a lawyer and speculator, and his wife, Charlotte Mary Yerburgh (d. 1847), was born at The Cedars, St Mary's Lane, Louth, Lincolnshire...

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Bolan, Marc [real name Mark Feld] (1947–1977), musician and poet, was born on 30 September 1947 in Hackney, London, the second child of Simeon Feld, cosmetics salesman (1920–1991), and his wife, Phyllis Winifred, née Atkins (1927–1991). The energy of 1950s rock'n'roll captivated the young ...

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Marc Bolan (1947–1977) by Keith Morris, 1972 © Keith Morris; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cameron, William [nicknamed Hawkie] (c. 1787–1851), pedlar and beggar, was probably born at St Ninians, Stirlingshire, the son of Dugald Cameron of Braemar, a mashman, and his wife, Janet Paterson. As members of the Burgher Secession church the family barely feature in parochial registers, so details of ...

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Campion, Thomas (1567–1620), poet and musician, was born in London on 12 February 1567 and baptized on the following day at St Andrew's, Holborn, the second child of John Campion (d. 1576) and Lucy, née Searle (d. 1580), widow of Roger Trigg...

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Carey, Henry (1687–1743), poet and songwriter, was born on or about 26 August 1687. The Gentleman's Magazine for July 1795 claimed he was the illegitimate son of George Savile, marquess of Halifax (1633–1695). Circumstantial evidence supports a Savile connection: three of Carey's sons were named ...

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Carter, Sydney Bertram (1915–2004), songwriter and journalist, was born on 6 May 1915 at 36 St Paul's Road, Canonbury, London, the son of Bertram Rust Carter, a jeweller's sundryman's salesman, and his wife, Ada, née Jenner. He attended Montem Street school in Islington...

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Clidro, Robin (fl. 1547), Welsh-language poet and minstrel, lived near Ruthin, Denbighshire. Although his surname suggests that he was of English extraction, persons bearing the name Cliderowe had lived in the area from the early part of the fourteenth century.

Although little is known of ...

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J. C. Hadden

revised by Bonnie Shannon McMullen

Cousin [née Cundell], Anne Ross (1824–1906), poet and hymn writer, only child of David Ross Cundell, an assistant surgeon of the 33rd regiment at Waterloo, and his wife, Ann, was born in Hull on 27 April 1824. Her family moved soon after to ...

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C. W. Sutton

revised by Clare Cotugno

Crewdson [née Fox], Jane (1808–1863), poet and hymn writer, was born at Perran-ar-worthal, Cornwall, on 22 October 1808, the second of three daughters of George Fox, manager of a local iron foundry; his cousin was the scientific writer Charles Fox (1797–1878). In 1825 the family moved to ...

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Cunningham, Allan [pseud. Hidallan] (1784–1842), poet and songwriter, was born in a cottage near Blackwood House in the parish of Keir, Dumfriesshire, on 7 December 1784. His father, John Cunningham (1743–1800), was descended from an Ayrshire family, and in 1784 was factor to a ...

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T. W. Bayne

revised by Douglas Brown

Dougall, Neil (1776–1862), poet and hymn writer, was born on 9 December 1776 at Greenock, the son of Neil Dougald and his wife, Jean Moir. His father was a joiner and sailor, who was pressed into the naval service and died in Ceylon...

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Elderton, William (d. in or before 1592), ballad writer, is of unknown origins. Although he and his ballads were well known in Elizabethan England—Elderton's name appears in the records of the privy council, as well as in the writings of numerous contemporary poets and dramatists—very little is known of his life, save for the fact that, as ...

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Elliott, Charlotte (1789–1871), poet and hymn writer, was the third daughter of Charles Elliott (1751–1832), a Bond Street silk merchant, and his second wife, Eling (1758–1843), daughter of the evangelical cleric Henry Venn, author of the Complete Duty of Man. She was born on 18 March 1789 at ...

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Fethy [Futhie], John (d. 1568x70), musician and Roman Catholic priest, was the author of two notable lyrics (nos. 288 and 309) in the Bannatyne collection (1568)—for no. 309 at least there is evidence that he also composed music—and of words and music for ...

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Freeth, John [pseud. John Free] (1731–1808), innkeeper and political ballad writer, was born at the Bell tavern, Philip Street, Birmingham, the son of Charles Freeth, landlord of the Bell, and his wife, Mary. Nothing is known of Freeth's education or of his early years, although it seems that he was once an itinerant street ballad singer. Where and when ...

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Gilfillan, Robert (1798–1850), poet and songwriter, was born on 7 July 1798 in Dunfermline, Fife, the son of Robert Gilfillan (d. 1834), a master weaver, and Marion Law (1770–1844), daughter of a small manufacturer in Dunfermline. They had three sons, James, Robert...