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Adams, Fanny (1859–1867), murder victim and source of a colloquial expression, was born on 30 April 1859 in Tanhouse Lane, Alton, Hampshire, the fourth of seven children of George Adams (b. 1830), a labourer, later a bricklayer, and his wife, Harriet Mills (...

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See Aitken, William Maxwell, first Baron Beaverbrook

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Sidney Lee

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Allan, Peter (1799–1849), recluse, was born on 6 September 1799, the son of Peter Allan, shoemaker in Gladsmuir, and Jane Renny, daughter of Archibald Kenley of Tranent. In early life he was in domestic service as a valet to William Williamson. Afterwards he became gamekeeper to the ...

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See Henry Frederick, Prince, duke of Cumberland and Strathearn

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Annesley, Richard, sixth earl of Anglesey (bap. 1693, d. 1761), kidnapper and bigamist, was baptized on 26 November 1693 at St Peter's Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, the third son of Dr Richard Annesley (1654/5–1701), dean of Exeter, from c.1700 third Baron Altham, and his wife, ...

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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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Appulby, Simon [Symon the Anker of London Wall] (d. 1537), religious recluse and author, was the last anchorite to be attached to the church of All Hallows, London Wall. An ordained priest, Simon made his anchoritic profession at the nearby priory of the ...

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Elizabeth Bridget Armitstead (1750–1842) by unknown artist © reserved

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Armitstead [née Cane; married name Fox], Elizabeth Bridget (1750–1842), courtesan, was, according to an entry in her journal, born on 11 July 1750. Her parentage, place of birth, and reason for changing her maiden name to Armitstead are unknown, as are the circumstances surrounding her emergence as a prominent courtesan. About 1774 she became the mistress of ...

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See American Indians in England

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Arnold, Mary Anne (b. 1825), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Sheerness, Kent, and may have been the daughter of Lieutenant Arnold of the Royal Navy who served aboard the Ganges and Prince Regent men-of-war. According to a report in The Times following her detection in October 1839, an officer of the ...

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Astley, John (1720–1787), portrait painter and beau, was born at Wem in Shropshire on 24 June 1720, and baptized there on 6 April 1724, a younger son of Richard Astley, surgeon, and his wife, Margaret. After attending school in Shropshire, in the early 1740s he went to ...

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Astor [née Langhorne], Nancy Witcher, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964), society hostess and politician, was born at Danville, Virginia, on 19 May 1879, the eighth child in a family of eleven. Her father, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843–1919), a veteran of the American Civil War, had made his fortune in railway construction and bought an estate at ...

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Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964) by George Charles Beresford, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Attlee [née Millar], Violet Helen, Countess Attlee (1895–1965), charity fund-raiser and prime minister’s wife, was born at Heathdown, East Heath Road, Hampstead, on 20 November 1895, the youngest of eleven children of Henry Edward Millar (1856–1912), a commission merchant in import/export trade, and his wife, ...

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Baartman, Sara [performing name the Hottentot Venus] (1777x88–1815/16), celebrity and subject of scientific speculation, was born in the Cape of Good Hope and was a member of the Khoisan people, who were also called Hottentot. Altick claims she was a daughter of a drover who had been killed by Bushmen, though nothing more is known of her parents. Her original name is not known, but as a servant of the Dutch farmer ...

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Balfour [née Lytton], Elizabeth Edith [Betty], countess of Balfour (1867–1942), social hostess and biographer, was born on 12 June 1867 at Hyde Park Gate, London, the eldest of the five surviving children of Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, first earl of Lytton (1831–1891), viceroy, diplomat, and poet, and his wife, ...

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Balthere [St Balthere, Baldred, Balther] (d. 756), hermit, is often confused with an earlier saint of the same name. The later and better-known Balthere was described by his near contemporary Alcuin, in his poem on the bishops, kings, and saints of York. The so-called ...

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Barrett, John [Jacky] (1753/4–1821), classical scholar and eccentric, was born in Ballyroan, Queen's county, the son of Daniel Barrett (d. 1760), a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Rossamund Gofton (d. 1782). Although baptized John he was universally known as ...

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James Barry (c. 1799–1865) by unknown photographer, c. 1860 [left, with a servant] Trustees of the Army Medical Services Museum