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Ablett, Noah (1883–1935), miners' leader and adult educator, was born on 4 October 1883 in Ynys-hir, near Porth, Rhondda, Glamorgan, the tenth of eleven children of John Ablett, miner, and his wife, Jane, née Williams. Educated at Ferndale higher grade school, he was a boy preacher. He followed his father and elder brothers and started work in the ...

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Abney, Sir Thomas (1639/40–1722), merchant and mayor of London, was born at Willesley, Derbyshire, the youngest of four sons of James Abney, landowner, and Jane Mainwaring (d. after 1640). The Abney family had owned land at Willesley for several centuries, and James Abney...

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Acton, Sir Robert (b. before 1497, d. 1558), saddler and member of parliament, was born into a family of Worcestershire gentry, the son of Richard Acton of Sutton and his wife, Margery Dore. How he obtained an entrée to the royal court is unknown, but by 22 October 1518 he was a groom of the chamber, subsequently becoming a page (1526) and a gentleman usher (1528). More important to his advancement, however, was his marriage, by May 1528, to ...

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Aggas, Edward (b. in or before 1549, d. 1625?), bookseller and publisher, was the son of Robert Aggas (d. in or before 1564), of Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk, and probably related to Radulph Agas, who was a native of the same place. He was apprenticed to the ...

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Agnew, Patrick Alexander Vans (1822–1848), East India Company servant, was born at Raipur in Chhattisgarh in central India on 21 April 1822, the second son of Patrick Vans Agnew (1783–1842), lieutenant-colonel in the Madras army and afterwards a director of the East India Company...

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Allde, John (b. in or before 1531, d. 1584), printer and bookseller, took up his freedom of the Stationers' Company in January 1555. He had been apprenticed to the bookseller Richard Kele until Kele's death in 1552, and was left 'fyve pounds...

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Allen [née Howse; other married name Chapman], Hannah (fl. 1632–1664), bookseller, was probably the daughter of Robert Howes, bookseller and bookbinder, and his wife, Anne, who baptized a daughter, Anne, on 26 December 1619 in St Botolph, Aldgate, London. She married the bookseller ...

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Alsop, Benjamin (b. c. 1658, d. in or before 1703), bookseller, was the only son of Vincent Alsop (bap. 1630, d. 1703), presbyterian minister, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Benjamin King of Oakham, Rutland. His father, who was married on 1 May 1657, lived and preached at ...

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Ames, Jeremiah (1706–1776), banker and merchant, was born on 20 July 1706 at Evercreech, near Shepton Mallet, Somerset, one of eight children of Levi Ames (d. 1726), grocer, and his first wife, Hannah (d. 1711), daughter of John Watts of Doulting, Somerset...

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See Ames, Jeremiah

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Sir Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1789–90 private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792), inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer, was born on 23 December 1732 at Preston, Lancashire, the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Arkwright (1691–1753), a tailor, and his wife, Ellen Hodgkinson (1693–1778). The family was rooted in ...

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See Ashe, John

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Ashe, John (1597–1659), clothier and parliamentarian activist, was born in Westcombe, Somerset, the eldest son of James Ashe (d. 1646), clothier, and his wife, Grace Pitt, daughter of Richard Pitt of Weymouth. He was baptized at Batcombe, in the same county, on 27 October 1597. He married ...

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Aspinwall, William (d. in or after 1662), merchant and separatist leader in America, possibly came from the north-west of England. Nothing is definitely known of his birth or early life, though his later activities give evidence of his having been well educated. His work in ...

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Atkinson, Richard (1739–1785), merchant and director of the East India Company, was born on 10 March 1739 at Temple Sowerby, Westmorland, and baptized there on 5 April at St James's Church. He was the fifth child and third son of Matthew Atkinson, tanner, of ...

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A. M. Clerke

revised by Anita McConnell

Aubert, Alexander (bap. 1730, d. 1805), merchant and astronomer, was born at Austin Friars, London, and baptized on 11 May 1730 at St Peter-le-Poer, Old Broad Street, London, the second of seven children and eldest of the four sons of Claude Aubert (1692–1774)...

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Aufrère, George René (1715–1801), merchant, was born on 7 November 1715 in Suffolk Street, near Charing Cross, London, the youngest of the five children of the Revd Israel Antoine Aufrère (1667–1758), the minister of the Savoy church, and Sarah Amsincq, the daughter of a wealthy ...

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Bader, Ernest (1890–1982), chemical manufacturer and industrial reformer, was born in Regensdorf, Switzerland, on 24 November 1890, the youngest of thirteen children of a protestant farmer, Gottlieb Bader, and his wife, Barbara Meier. He was expelled from school at the age of twelve and went to work as a menial in a ...

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Balfour, Alexander (1824–1886), merchant, was born on 2 September 1824 at Levenbank, Leven, Fife, Scotland, the eldest son of Henry Balfour, a foundry owner, and his wife, Agnes, née Bisset. The family had a business background. Alexander was educated locally at Leven parish school...