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Ashburnham, John (1602/3–1671), courtier and politician, was the eldest son of Sir John Ashburnham (1570/71–1620) and Elizabeth (1577–1651), daughter of Sir Thomas Beaumont. William Ashburnham, army officer and politician, was his younger brother. He was educated at Gray's Inn and Peterhouse, Cambridge. His father died in 1620, having wasted his estate and leaving his family in penury. But within two years his heir had so far repaired their broken fortune, that (says the epitaph in ...

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Ashton, John (c. 1653–1691), official in the royal household and Jacobite conspirator, was the son of Andrew Ashton (d. 1679), of Liverpool, and his wife, Alice. His father was apparently a parliamentarian army officer, though from the royalist family of Ashton of ...

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Baring, Rowland Thomas, second earl of Cromer (1877–1953), courtier, was born on 29 November 1877 at Cairo. He was the elder son of Evelyn Baring, later first earl of Cromer (1841–1917), diplomat, and his first wife, Ethel Stanley (d. 1898), second daughter of ...

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Beaumont, John, first Viscount Beaumont (1409?–1460), magnate and courtier, was the elder son and heir of Henry, fifth Baron Beaumont of Folkingham, Lincolnshire (1379/80–1413) and Elizabeth (d. 1427), daughter of William, fifth Baron Willoughby of Eresby. He was one of the most powerful lords in ...

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Bernstorff, Andreas Gottlieb von, Baron Bernstorff in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1649–1726), politician and diplomat, was born on 2 March 1649 ns in Ratzeburg, then in the duchy of Saxe-Lauenburg, in northern Germany, the second son of Andreas von Bernstorff (1604–1655)...

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Bigod, Roger, fourth earl of Norfolk (c. 1212–1270), magnate and courtier, was the eldest son of Hugh (II) Bigod, earl of Norfolk, and his wife, Matilda Marshal (d. 1248). Hugh (III) Bigod was his brother. Roger was a minor when his father died in 1225; his wardship went first to ...

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Blount, Mountjoy, first earl of Newport (c. 1597–1666), courtier and politician, was the eldest of three illegitimate sons of Charles Blount, earl of Devonshire (1563–1606), and Lady Penelope Rich (1563–1607), daughter of Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex; his parents were eventually to marry, contrary to canon law, in 1605. He was the half-brother of ...

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Mountjoy Blount, first earl of Newport (c. 1597–1666) by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, c. 1637–8 Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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Boleyn, George, Viscount Rochford (c. 1504–1536), courtier and diplomat, was the only son of Thomas Boleyn, earl of Wiltshire (1476/7–1539), and Elizabeth Howard (d. 1538), eldest daughter of Thomas Howard, earl of Surrey and later second duke of Norfolk (1443–1524). He first appears in the public record participating in the Christmas revels of 1514, and he signalled his father's success when he became a royal page in 1516. His earliest recorded grants resulted from his father's service to the crown and his sister ...

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Boscawen, Hugh, first Viscount Falmouth (c. 1680–1734), politician and courtier, was the eldest surviving son of Edward Boscawen (1628–1685), a wealthy Turkey merchant and MP, and his wife, Jael (d. 1730), the daughter of Sir Francis Godolphin. Both parents were of prominent Cornish landed families, and their connections at the very heart of politics ensured the future path of ...

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Bothmer, Hans Kaspar [Johann] von, Count Bothmer in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1656–1732), courtier and diplomat, was born on 10 April 1656 ns in Lauenbrück, in the Celle portion of the duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, northern Germany, the eldest son of ...

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Brandon, Charles, first duke of Suffolk (c. 1484–1545), magnate, courtier, and soldier, was the second but only surviving son of Sir William Brandon (d. 1485) and his wife, Elizabeth Bruyn (d. 1494) of South Ockendon. The manner of Sir William's death, killed at ...

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Charles Brandon, first duke of Suffolk (c. 1484–1545) by unknown artist, c. 1540–45 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brandon, Sir Thomas (d. 1510), courtier and diplomat, was the third son of Sir William Brandon of Southwark (d. 1491) and his wife, Elizabeth Wingfield (d. 1497). With his eldest brother, William, who had been attainted for his part in the rebellion against ...

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Brereton, William (c. 1487x90–1536), courtier and administrator, was the sixth of the nine sons of Sir Randolph Brereton (d. 1530) of Malpas, chamberlain of the county palatine of Cheshire, and Eleanor, daughter of Piers Dutton of Halton. Sir Randolph's family must be distinguished from that of his distant relative ...

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Reginald Baliol Brett, second Viscount Esher (1852–1930) by Glyn Philpot, 1922 © Estate of Glyn Philpot

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Brett, Reginald Baliol, second Viscount Esher (1852–1930), courtier, was born on 30 June 1852 at 19 Prince's Terrace, Kensington, London, the eldest of three children of William Baliol Brett, first Viscount Esher (1815–1899), barrister and later master of the rolls, and his wife, ...

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Brugge, Lodewijk van [Louis de Bruges; Lodewijk van Gruuthuse], earl of Winchester (c. 1427–1492), courtier and diplomat, was the only son of Jan van Brugge and Margaretha van Steenhuyse. The name Gruuthuse, by which he is commonly known, refers to his family's property in and around ...

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Burley, Sir Simon (1336?–1388), soldier and courtier, was the second of at least three sons of a minor Herefordshire landowner, perhaps Roger Burley (fl. 1322–1331); Simon's nephew was also named Roger. Simon's elder brother Sir John Burley, and John's son Sir Richard...

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Bussy, Sir John (d. 1399), speaker of the House of Commons and courtier, was the son and heir of Sir William Bussy of Hougham, Lincolnshire, and Thistleton, Rutland, and Isabel, daughter of John Paynell of Boothby. Bussy first appears in the records in 1378, when he served overseas under the command of ...