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Alleyne, Sir John Gay, first baronet (1724–1801), planter and politician, was born in the parish of St James, Barbados, on 28 April 1724, the second (but only surviving) son of John Alleyne (1695–1730), of Four Hills, Barbados, and his wife, Mary (d...

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Robert Andrews (1725–1806) by Thomas Gainsborough, c.1750 © National Gallery, London / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Andrews, Robert (1725–1806), landowner and subject of a painting by Thomas Gainsborough, was born at Bulmer, Essex, on 10 November 1725, the son of Robert Andrews (1661–1735) and his fourth wife, Martha (d. 1749), the daughter of James Brewster (d. 1725)...

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Sir Harry Albert Atkinson (1831–1892) by unknown photographer, c. 1880 Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa (F-23108-1/2)

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Atkinson, Sir Harry Albert (1831–1892), farmer and premier of New Zealand, was born on 1 November 1831 at Broxton, Cheshire, the fourth son and the seventh of the thirteen children of John Atkinson (1798–1856), an architect and stonemason, and his wife, Elizabeth Smith (...

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Robert Bakewell (1725–1795) by John Boultbee, c. 1788–91 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by G. E. Mingay

Bakewell, Robert (1725–1795), stock breeder and farmer, was born at Dishley Grange, Dishley (otherwise Dixley), near Loughborough, Leicestershire, on 23 May 1725. His father, also a farmer, had been born at the same place and rented a farm there of 440 acres. About 1755 ...

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Lady Evelyn Barbara Balfour (1898–1990) by Elliott & Fry, 1943 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Balfour, Lady Evelyn Barbara [Eve] (1898–1990), promoter of organic farming and a founder of the Soil Association, was born on 16 July 1898 in Dublin, the fourth child of Gerald William Balfour, second earl of Balfour (1853–1945), and Lady Elizabeth Edith Balfour (1867–1942)...

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Baylis, George (1846–1936), farmer, was born on 7 January 1846, the son of George Baylis, a farmer, and his wife, Caroline (née Bomford), at Prospect House Farm, Bengeworth, near Evesham. The family moved to Woodley Farm, Reading, in 1849. Baylis was celebrated in the late nineteenth century—a period of general agricultural depression—for making money out of farming when so many others could barely make a living. His success derived from two key traits. First, he was an innovator with the ability to work from first principles and to institute a farming system suited to the prevailing economic conditions. Second, he was a businessman with the managerial flair necessary to make full use of the competitive advantage that his style of operation created. Such was the potency of this combination that, from a very ordinary beginning, ...

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Beckford, Peter (1672/3–1735), planter and politician in Jamaica, was the son of Peter Beckford (bap. 1643, d. 1710) and his second wife, Anne Ballard. Beckford was elected to the assembly (like his father, who was a member of the house of assembly before he was elevated to ...

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Beckford, Peter (bap. 1643, d. 1710), planter in Jamaica and politician, was baptized on 19 November 1643 at St James, Clerkenwell, Middlesex, the son of Peter Beckford, 'a shadowy and humble figure' whose dates of birth and death are unknown (...

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William Beckford (1744–1799) by unknown engraver, pubd 1799 (after John? Miers) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Beckford (bap. 1709, d. 1770) by unknown engraver, c. 1769 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beckford, William (bap. 1709, d. 1770), planter and politician, was baptized on 19 December 1709, in Jamaica, the son of Peter Beckford (1672/3–1735), sugar planter, speaker of the Jamaica house of assembly, and comptroller of customs, and Bathshua, daughter and coheir of Julines Hering...

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Beckford, William (1744–1799), sugar planter and historian, was born in Jamaica in 1744, the son and heir of Richard Beckford (d. 1756) and his common-law wife, Elizabeth Hay. His uncle was William Beckford, lord mayor of London, and his first cousin was ...

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Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825–1900) by Frederick Jenkins © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blackmore, Richard Doddridge (1825–1900), novelist and fruit farmer, was born on 7 June 1825, at the vicarage, Longworth, Berkshire, the third but second surviving son of the Revd John Blackmore (1794–1858) and his first wife, Anne Basset Knight (1794–1825). Anne was the eldest daughter of the ...

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Blamire, William (1790–1862), farmer and politician, was born on 13 April 1790 at The Oaks, near Dalston, Cumberland, the son of William Blamire (1740–1814), yeoman farmer and naval surgeon, and Jane Curwen (1739/40–1837). He came on both sides of his family from long-established ...

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Sir Michael Blundell (1907–1993) by Barker, 1962 © News International Newspapers Ltd