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Abbot, John (1587/8–c. 1650), Roman Catholic priest and poet, is of unknown parentage and is variously recorded as 'of London' and 'of Leicester'. He was born a protestant, and was reputedly a nephew of George Abbot, who became archbishop of ...

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Thompson Cooper

revised by Michael Bevan

Abbott, Lemuel (d. 1776), Church of England clergyman and poet, whose family background is obscure, became curate of Ansty, Leicestershire, in 1756, and vicar of Thornton, in the same county, in 1773. He published Poems on Various Subjects, whereto is Prefixed a Short Essay on the Structure of English Verse...

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Thompson Cooper

revised by Megan A. Stephan

Abbott, Thomas Eastoe (1786/7–1854), poet, was born at East Dereham, Norfolk. He was descended from a Suffolk family, and resided for many years at Darlington. For his services in connection with the Royal Free Grammar School, he was presented with a valuable testimonial by the inhabitants of that town. ...

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Abdy [née Smith], Maria (c. 1800–1867), poet, was the daughter of Richard Smith, a solicitor, and his wife, Maria, née Smith (1773–1828/9), who was the daughter of a solicitor and sister of James Smith (1775–1839) and Horatio (Horace) Smith (1779–1849), joint authors of the famous poetic parodies ...

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Ackland, Mary Kathleen Macrory- [pseud. Valentine Ackland] (1906–1969), poet, was born on 20 May 1906 at 54 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, the younger daughter of Robert Craig Ackland (1865–1923), a West End dental surgeon, and his wife, Ruth Kathleen, née Macrory (1876/7–1961)...

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Acton, Eliza (1799–1859), writer on cookery and poet, was born at Battle, Sussex, on 17 April 1799, the eldest of the five children of John Acton and his wife, Elizabeth, née Mercer. The Actons were a Suffolk family, and returned there soon after ...

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Adam [Adams], Jean (1704–1765), poet, was born on 28 April 1704 in Cartsdyke, near Greenock, Renfrewshire, one of five children of John Adam, a mariner, and his wife, Jean Eddie, reportedly a woman of little common sense. Jean Adam's scanty education comprised reading, writing, and sewing, but after her father's death when she was still young she entered domestic service with the minister of ...

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Adams, Richard (bap. 1620, d. 1661), poet, was baptized at St Leonard Eastcheap in London on 8 January 1620, the second son of Sir Thomas Adams, first baronet (bap. 1586, d. 1668), and his wife, Ann (1592–1642), daughter of Humphrey Maptide (d...

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Sarah Flower Adams (1805–1848) after Margaret Gillies © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adams, Sarah Flower (1805–1848), poet, was born on 22 February 1805 at Great Harlow, Essex, the daughter of Benjamin Flower (1755–1829), nonconformist editor of the radical Cambridge Intelligencer, and Eliza Gould (1770–1810), a Devon schoolteacher. Her father was famous for going to prison in defence of his right to freedom of expression in 1799, while her mother had been forced out of her school for refusing on principle to cancel her subscription to his ...

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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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T. W. Bayne

revised by Douglas Brown

Ainslie, Hew (1792–1878), brewer and poet, was born on 5 April 1792 at Bargeny Mains in the parish of Dailly, Ayrshire, only son of the three children of George Ainslie, a butler on the estate of Sir Hew Dalrymple Hamilton. His mother's name is unknown, but ...

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Airbertach mac Cosse Dobráin (d. 1016), poet, was lector or fer légind (head of the school) and later superior of Ros Ailithir (Ross Carbery, in the south-west of what is now co. Cork). He belonged to the tradition of learned poetry that flourished in ...

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Sidney Lee

revised by David Finkelstein

Aird, Thomas (1802–1876), poet, was born on 28 August 1802 at Bowden, Roxburghshire, the second son of James Aird, builder, and his wife, Isabella Paisley. He was educated at the parish school of Bowden, where he combined an enthusiasm for literature and sports. In 1816 he began undergraduate studies at the ...

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Akenside, Mark (1721–1770), poet and physician, was born on 9 November 1721 in Butcher Bank, St Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne, the sixth of seven children of Mark Akenside (b. 1676), butcher, and his wife, Mary (1685–1760), daughter of William Lumsden. He was baptized on 30 November in the nonconformist meeting-house which his parents attended in ...

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Mark Akenside (1721–1770) by Edward Fisher, 1772 (after Arthur Pond, 1754) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alexander [née Humphreys], Cecil Frances [Fanny] (1818–1895), hymn writer and poet, was born at 25 Eccles Street, Dublin. She was the second daughter of John Humphreys, a second lieutenant in the Royal Marines and later brigade major in the Tyrone yeomanry, and his wife, ...

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Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895) by Charles Napier Kennedy, 1894 photograph © Ulster Museum. Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Trustees of the National Museums & Galleries of Northern Ireland

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Alexander, William, first earl of Stirling (1577–1640), poet and politician, was born probably at Menstrie Castle in Clackmannanshire, the only son (there were four daughters) of Alexander Alexander (d. 1581) and Marion, daughter of Gilbert Graham of Gartavertane. His descent has been traced from the lords of the ...

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William Alexander, first earl of Stirling (1577–1640) by unknown artist Scottish National Portrait Gallery