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Adamson, Henry (bap. 1581, d. 1637), poet and historian, was baptized in Perth on 11 November 1581, the son of the merchant James Adamson (d. after 1617), who served as dean of guild in 1600 and provost between 1609 and 1612, and ...

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André [Andreas], Bernard (c. 1450–1522), poet and historian, was a Frenchman by birth, being a native of Toulouse, but came to England together with, or shortly before, Henry VII, whose panegyrist and historiographer he became. He is described by a contemporary as of distinguished birth, and he had entered the ...

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Barbour, John (c. 1330–1395), ecclesiastic and verse historian, was author of the Old or Middle Scots poem The Bruce. His birth is usually placed about 1325, as much to give him a toehold in Robert I's reign as for anything his career tells us, and a slightly later date seems likelier. The trade name he inherited suggests that his father was a barber, and ...

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George Buchanan (1506–1582) after Arnold Bronckorst, 1581 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Buchanan, George (1506–1582), poet, historian, and administrator, was born about 1 February 1506 at a farm called The Moss in Killearn parish, Stirlingshire, the fifth of eight children of Thomas Buchanan (d. c.1512) and Agnes Heriot, traditionally said to be of the ...

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Clapham, John (1566–1619), historian and poet, the son of Luke Clapham, who had left his home parish of Firby, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, for Cambridge in 1559, was born in London. Clapham does not appear to have attended either university, but entered the service of ...

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Creton, Jean (fl. 1386–1420), historian and poet, was probably a native of the Île-de-France. Nothing is known of his family, his early life, or the place and date of his birth and death. By 1386 he had entered the service of Philip, duke of Burgundy...

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Samuel Daniel (1562/33–1619) by Thomas Cockson, pubd 1609 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Daniel, Samuel (1562/3–1619), poet and historian, was born either in north Somerset, somewhere between Bath and Frome, or further to the east on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The little that is known about his family and origins suggests a connection with the Daniels...

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Dowriche [née Edgcumbe], Anne (d. in or after 1613), poet and historian, was the daughter of Sir Richard Edgcumbe (d. 1562) and Elizabeth Tregian. Her actual birth date is unknown, but her father's will of 1560 provided for the education of both her and her sister, suggesting she was still very young. Her father was reputedly a learned man and poet. His explicit provision for ...

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Eochaid ua Flannucáin [Eochaid ua Flainn] (c. 936–1004), poet and historian, was guestmaster in the monastery of Armagh, and superior of the church of Clonfeacle, near Dungannon. He was born about 936 and his father, Cellach, belonged to the Clann Shínaich, a branch of the ...

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Flann Mainistrech (d. 1056), poet and historian, was lector (fer léigind) in the monastery of Monasterboice (Louth), Ireland: his epithet, meaning ‘of Mainistir’, is itself a reference to Monasterboice or Mainistir Buite. His father, Echthigern mac Óengusso, apparently held the same office, for in one of his earlier poems ...

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Jean Froissart (1337?–c. 1404) manuscript illumination [kneeling, with book] The British Library

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Froissart, Jean (1337?c. 1404), historian and poet, was born at Valenciennes in the county of Hainault, at a date now generally assumed to be late 1337. Details on his family and education are problematic; his father may have been a herald–painter, but it is more likely that he had an industrial or bourgeois background. Allusions in ...

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Garneau, François-Xavier (1809–1866), poet and historian of Canada, was born on 15 June 1809 at Quebec, Lower Canada, the eldest of the four children of François-Xavier Garneau (1781–1831), successively a saddler, carter, captain of a merchant schooner, and innkeeper, and Gertrude Amiot-Villeneuve (1781–1835)...

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Henry [Henry of Huntingdon] (c. 1088–c. 1157), historian and poet, was the son of an unnamed Englishwoman and a Norman clerk, Nicholas, who was archdeacon of Huntingdon and canon of Lincoln from the late 1070s to his death in 1110. Although Henry...

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W. P. Courtney

revised by Eveline Cruickshanks

Higgons, Bevil (1670–1736), historian and poet, was, according to Venn, born at a place called Kezo, the third son of Sir Thomas Higgons (1623/4–1691), a politician, of Greywell, Hampshire, and his second wife, Bridget Leach, née Granville (d. 1692), daughter of Sir Bevil Granville...

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Thomas Babington Macaulay, Baron Macaulay (1800–1859) by Maull & Polyblank, 1856 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Macaulay, Thomas Babington, Baron Macaulay (1800–1859), historian, essayist, and poet, was born on 25 October 1800, the son of Zachary Macaulay (1768–1838) and Selina Mills (d. 1831). Zachary Macaulay was the son of John Macaulay, minister of Cardross in Dunbartonshire. After apprenticeship to a merchant in ...

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Máel Muru Othna [Maelmura] (d. 887), poet and historian, was evidently connected with the monastery of Fahan (Donegal): his epithet ‘Othna’ means ‘of Fahan’ and his name (‘devotee of Muru’) alludes to that community's founder saint. Accounts of Mael Muru's...