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Allestree, Richard (b. before 1582, d. c. 1643), almanac maker and mathematician, was a younger son of William Allestree (b. before 1520, d. 1581) and his wife, Ellen. The family lived at Alvaston and Derby. Richard was an uncle of the famous royalist divine ...

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Andrews, Henry (1744–1820), astronomer and astrologer, was born on 4 February 1744 in Frieston, Lincolnshire. His background was humble, and he received little or no formal education. A passion for astronomy was evident from a very early age, and by the time he was ten he had acquired a telescope, which he used to set on a table on ...

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Andrews, William (1634/5–1712/13), astrologer and teacher of mathematics, was a well-known compiler of almanacs. He spent his adult life in Essex, at Ashdown (1656), Saffron Walden (by 1660), and nearby Radwinter (from 1668), but it is not known whether he married. He studied astrology from about 1652 and composed his first almanac, for 1655, at the age of nineteen; a new edition followed every year until his death. Though he included political prophecies, he avoided controversy by taking a firmly patriotic line, predicting disasters for ...

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Armstrong, Edward Allworthy (1900–1978), ornithologist and Church of England clergyman, was born at Corlea, Lowwood, Belfast, on 8 October 1900, the younger child and only son of Hamilton Armstrong, manufacturer's agent, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Susan, daughter of Dr Samuel W. Allworthy...

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Askham [Ascham], Anthony (c. 1517–1559), writer on astronomy and almanac maker, was born at Kirby Wiske, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, the third son of John Ascham (d. 1544) of Kirby Wiske, who was a yeoman farmer and steward to Lord Scrope of Bolton...

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Ayton, William Alexander (1816–1909), Church of England clergyman and alchemist, was born on 28 April 1816 in the Bloomsbury district of London, the son of William Capon Ayton (1786-1843), solicitor, and his wife Mary Anne née Nicolson (1791-1921). He was educated at the ...

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Barclay, Oliver Rainsford (1919–2013), zoologist and evangelical society administrator, was born in Kobe, Japan, on 22 February 1919, the son of Joseph Gurney Barclay (1879–1976) and his second wife, Gwendoline Rose, née Watney (1885–1976). His family connections included prominent Quakers and Anglicans employed in banking and evangelical missions, notably the ...

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Barlow, William (1544–1625), Church of England clergyman and natural philosopher, was one of two sons and five daughters born to William Barlow (d. 1568), then bishop of St David's, and his wife, Agatha Wellesbourne (d. 1593), a former nun. His father's elder brother ...

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Isaac Barrow (1630–1677) by David Loggan, 1676 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barrow, Isaac (1630–1677), mathematician and theologian, was born in London in October 1630, the son of Thomas Barrow, from a Cambridgeshire family, and his wife, Anne Buggin. Following the death of his mother in 1634 Isaac was sent to his grandfather's house where he remained until his father, already becoming a successful linen draper, married ...

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Beale, John (bap. 1608, d. 1683), Church of England clergyman and writer on agriculture and natural philosophy, was baptized at Yarkhill, Herefordshire, on 17 April 1608, the sixth and youngest son of Thomas Beale (1575–1620), a lawyer and prominent gentleman farmer, and his wife, ...

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Beckett, Edmund [formerly Edmund Beckett Denison], first Baron Grimthorpe (1816–1905), ecclesiastical controversialist, architect, and horologist, was born at Carlton Hall, near Newark, on 12 May 1816, the eldest son of Sir Edmund Beckett, fourth baronet (1787–1874), later MP for the West Riding...

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Edmund Beckett, first Baron Grimthorpe (1816–1905) by unknown photographer by courtesy of the British Horological Institute Limited; original on display at the Upton Hall Time Museum, Upton, Newark, Nottinghamshire; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bennet, Abraham (bap. 1749, d. 1799), Church of England clergyman and natural philosopher, was baptized in Taxal, Cheshire, on 20 December 1749, the son of Abraham Bennet, schoolmaster, of Whaley Lane, Cheshire, and his wife, Ann Fallowes of Cheadle. He appears to have been the eldest child, with at least one brother, ...

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Bentham, Edward (1707–1776), university professor, fifth son of the Revd Samuel Bentham (c.1681–1733), a minor canon of Ely, and his wife, Philippa Willen (c.1681–1747), was born in the college at Ely on 23 July 1707, and baptized in the cathedral on 21 August 1707. After singing as a chorister at ...

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Berkeley, Miles Joseph (1803–1889), Church of England clergyman and naturalist, was born at Biggin Hall, near Oundle, Northamptonshire, on 1 April 1803, the second son of Charles Berkeley of Biggin Hall and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of James Munn of Blackheath and sister of the watercolour artist ...

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Berthon, Edward Lyon (1813–1899), inventor of nautical aids and Church of England clergyman, was born in Finsbury Square, London, on 20 February 1813, the tenth child of Peter Berthon, an army contractor, who was reduced to comparative poverty by the wreck of a number of his ships and the end of the war in 1814. In 1828 ...

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Bingley, William (1774–1823), naturalist and Church of England clergyman, was born at Doncaster, Yorkshire, early in January 1774 and baptized there on the 7th. He was orphaned while still very young. He was educated at a school in Doncaster, where his friends urged him to pursue a career in law, but his own inclinations were for a more tranquil life in the church. With this end in mind he matriculated at ...

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Blomfild [Blomefield], William (fl. 1529–1574), alchemist and priest, was born in Bury St Edmunds. He was a Benedictine monk and priest at Bury in his youth. In 1529 he was questioned at London regarding certain protestant tenets (which he abjured) although he seems later in life to have gravitated towards Calvinism. In 1543, at which time he was living in ...

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Britten, James (1846–1924), botanist and Roman Catholic propagandist, was born on 3 May 1846 at 18 Shawfield Street, Chelsea, London, the son of James Alexander Britten, bookseller, and his wife, Mary Ann (née Shepard). His father was a prominent active member of the local community, and ...