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Allen, William (d. 1686), religious writer and controversialist, went to London about 1630. Nothing is known of his earlier life. In 1640 or 1641 he joined the church ministered to by John Goodwin, vicar of St Stephen, Coleman Street, London. He continued as a member when in 1645 it adopted congregational principles, and subsequently he became an elder. ...

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Anderton, James [pseud. John Brereley] (1557–1613), religious controversialist, was the eldest son of the lawyer and magistrate Christopher Anderton, and his wife, Dorothy, née Anderton. On his father's death in 1592 James inherited his large estate at Lostock near Bolton in Lancashire...

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Annet, Peter (1693–1769), religious controversialist, was born in Liverpool but nothing further is known about his background and early life. He worked for a time as a schoolmaster and developed a widely used system of shorthand that received some recognition. Joseph Priestley learned it at school and corresponded with ...

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Ashton, Thomas (bap. 1715, d. 1775), Church of England clergyman and religious controversialist, son of the Revd Francis Ashton, usher of Lancaster grammar school, was baptized on 22 May 1715 at Bolton-le-Sands, Lancashire. Ashton was educated at Eton College from 1730. Intellectually precocious but socially withdrawn—he was taciturn as well as physically awkward, being both tall and ungainly—...

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Ashwardby, John (fl. c. 1380–c. 1400), theological controversialist, was admitted vicar of St Mary's, Oxford, on 26 November 1384, and had left it by July 1395; he was chancellor's commissary by 27 November 1391, by when he was doctor of theology; since the living of ...

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A. H. Bullen

revised by S. J. Skedd

Aspinwall, Edward (1678–1732), religious controversialist, was born on 1 January 1678 and baptized the same day at Aughton by Ormskirk, Lancashire, the son of Henry Aspinwall. Almost certainly born into a Roman Catholic family, he was educated at the English College at St Omer...

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Bagshaw, Edward (1629/30–1671), Independent minister and religious controversialist, was born at Broughton, Northamptonshire, the son of Edward Bagshaw (d. 1662). After education at Westminster School, on 1 May 1646 he was elected to a studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on 1 February 1647, aged seventeen. He graduated BA in 1649 and MA in 1651 (incorporated at ...

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Bainbrigg, Thomas (1636–1703), religious controversialist, was born in Cambridge on 26 June 1636, the son of Richard Bainbrigg and his wife, Rose (probably Rose Wilson, whom a Richard Bainbrigg married in 1631). Bainbrigg was admitted as a sizar to Trinity College, Cambridge, on 26 March 1651, was elected scholar in that year, and graduated BA in 1654–5 and became a fellow in 1656. He proceeded MA in 1661 by royal mandate. He was ordained deacon and priest in March 1664 and that year he became vicar of ...

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Bankin [Bankyn], John (fl. 1347–1387), prior of the Augustinian convent, London, and religious controversialist, is said by John Bale to have been born in London, where he entered and was educated at the Augustinian convent. By 1347 he had moved to the convent in ...

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Joseph Barker (1806–1875) by John Cochran, pubd 1880 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barker, Joseph (1806–1875), Methodist minister and politico-religious controversialist, was born on 11 May 1806 at Bramley, near Leeds. His ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled in this area for several generations as farmers and manufacturers. The identity of his parents has not been discovered, though it is known that his father was employed in woollen manufacture and served for some time in the militia, and that ...

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Barnes, John (c. 1581–1661), Benedictine monk and religious controversialist, was probably born in Norfolk 'of parents of humble condition', and studied at Cambridge (McCann and Connolly, 203). Having converted to Catholicism he entered the English College, Douai, on 18 November 1601 and was sent as a seminarian to ...

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John Bastwick (1595?–1654) by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1640s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bastwick, John (1595?–1654), religious controversialist and pamphleteer, was born probably in Writtle, near Chelmsford, Essex, fourth child and only son of John Bastwick (c.1540–1596), yeoman, and his second wife, Sara Lovet (c.1570–1625). His father seems to have been the first ...

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Batmanson, John (d. 1531), religious controversialist and prior of the London Charterhouse, has in the past been identified with the lawyer of that name who was sent to Scotland in 1509 to negotiate with James IV. However, the monastic historian David Knowles suggests that the lawyer and the prior were two different people, probably father and son. ...

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Bayly, Thomas (d. c. 1657), Church of England clergyman and Roman Catholic controversialist, was the fourth son of Dr Lewis Bayly (c. 1575–1631), bishop of Bangor, and his first wife, probably named Judith Appleton. His brother was John Bayly (1595/6–1633), scholar and clergyman. He was educated at ...

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Beckett, Edmund [formerly Edmund Beckett Denison], first Baron Grimthorpe (1816–1905), ecclesiastical controversialist, architect, and horologist, was born at Carlton Hall, near Newark, on 12 May 1816, the eldest son of Sir Edmund Beckett, fourth baronet (1787–1874), later MP for the West Riding...

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Edmund Beckett, first Baron Grimthorpe (1816–1905) by unknown photographer by courtesy of the British Horological Institute Limited; original on display at the Upton Hall Time Museum, Upton, Newark, Nottinghamshire; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Belson, John (c. 1625–1704), historian and religious controversialist, was born at Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, the eldest son of Augustin Belson (c.1606–1684) and Elizabeth Cursonn (b. c.1606). The Belsons were an ancient Roman Catholic family with estates in Brill and Aston Rowant...

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Bennet, Thomas (1673–1728), Church of England clergyman and religious controversialist, was born on 7 May 1673 in Salisbury, the son of Thomas Bennet, gentleman. He was educated at the free school in Salisbury from 1680 to 1688, when, at the age of fifteen, his prodigious learning earned him a place as sizar at ...