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Sir Robert Ayton (1570–1638) by Francesco Fanelli © Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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Ayton, Sir Robert (1570–1638), poet and courtier, was born at the castle of Kinaldie, near St Andrews, Fife, the second of four sons, to Andrew Ayton (d. 1589), landowner, and his wife, Mariona London or Lundie, daughter of the laird of Balgonie...

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Clanvow, Sir John (c. 1341–1391), courtier and poet, was probably the son and heir of John Clanvow, a minor landowner in the Welsh borders. In his early years John the younger saw active service abroad. In 1364 he fought in Brittany, and he was with ...

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Sir John Denham (1614/1515–1669) by unknown artist, c. 1661 University of London Library, Sterling Library, Chesterfield Portraits

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Denham, Sir John (1614/15–1669), poet and courtier, was probably born in Dublin, the only son of Sir John Denham (1559–1639), judge, and his second wife, Eleanor (d. 1619), daughter of Gerald, or Garret, Moore, Baron Moore of Mellefont and first Viscount Drogheda...

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Dunbar, William (1460?–1513x30), poet and courtier, is of obscure origins.

The birth date of 1460 normally assigned to Dunbar by critics and editors itself derives from a hypothesis. Among the lists of students preserved in the acta of St Andrews University for the later 1470s the name ...

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Dyer, Sir Edward (1543–1607), courtier and poet, was born in October 1543 at Weston, Somerset, the eldest son of Sir Thomas Dyer (d. 1565) and his first wife, Frances (née Darcy), widow of William Thornburgh. Wood states that Edward studied at either ...

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Eglinton, Sir Hugh (d. 1376), courtier and poet, came from Ayrshire. Little is known of his early life and career, but he was probably one of five men knighted by David II in 1342, before an ill-fated raid into England, where all five were captured. He was certainly back in ...

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Ferrers, George (c. 1510–1579), courtier and poet, was born about 1510 in St Albans, the first son of Thomas Ferrers of St Albans and his wife, Alice, the daughter of John Cockworthy of Cockworthy, Devon. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 22 November 1534; he was a frequent litigant, and praised by ...

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Godolphin, Sidney (bap. 1610, d. 1643), poet and courtier, was baptized on 15 January 1610 at Breage, Cornwall, the second of the four children of Sir William Godolphin (d. 1613) of Godolphin, Cornwall, and his wife, Thomasine (d. 1611/12), daughter and heir of ...

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Hume, Sir Patrick, of Polwarth (c. 1550–1609), courtier and poet, was the eldest son and heir of Patrick Hume (d. 1599) of Polwarth and Redbraes, near Duns, 50 miles south-east of Edinburgh, and Agnes Hume of Manderston. He was one of seven sons and four daughters, all of whom apparently survived childhood. The ...

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Montgomerie, Alexander (early 1550s–1598), poet and courtier, was born at Hazlehead Castle, Ayrshire, the son of John Montgomerie (d. 1558), laird of Hazlehead or Hessilheid, and Margaret Fraser, daughter of John Fraser of Knok. His father belonged to a cadet branch of the influential ...

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Sir David Murray of Gorthy (1567–1629) by unknown artist, 1603 The Trustees of the National Museums of Scotland; photograph courtesy the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Murray, Sir David, of Gorthy (1567–1629), poet and courtier, was the second son of Robert Moray of Abercairney and Catherine, daughter of William Murray of Tullibardine. Little can be established about his early life until 1599, when he appears as gentleman of the prince's bedchamber, an appointment in ...

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Roos [Ros], Sir Richard (c. 1410–1482), courtier and poet, was the fifth son in the family of five sons and four daughters of William, seventh Baron Ros of Helmsley (c.1369–1414), and his wife, Margaret (d. 1438), daughter of Sir John Arundel (...

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Sheppard, Sir Fleetwood (1634–1698), courtier and poet, born on 1 January 1634 and baptized on 20 January at Great Rollright, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, was the second son of William Sheppard, esquire, of Great Rollright, and Maria (or Mary) Dormer, daughter of Sir Fleetwood Dormer...

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Sir Fleetwood Sheppard (1634–1698) attrib. Sir Godfrey Kneller, c. 1694 private collection. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Sidney, Robert, first earl of Leicester (1563–1626), courtier and poet, was born at Penshurst, Kent, on 19 November 1563, and baptized there nine days later, the second son of Sir Henry Sidney (1529–1586) and his wife, Mary Sidney (d. 1586), daughter of John Dudley, ...

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Robert Sidney, first earl of Leicester (1563–1626) by unknown artist, c.1588 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Siôn Tudur [John Tydder] (c. 1522–1602), courtier and Welsh-language poet, was born at the family home, Wigfair, St Asaph, Denbighshire, the son of Tudur ap Dafydd Llwyd and his wife, Margaret, daughter of Ieuan ap Hywel of Mostyn, Flintshire; both parents came of local gentry families and he himself was termed ...