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Abell, Adam (1475x80?–1537?), Franciscan friar and chronicler, was born in Salt Preston, Haddingtonshire, but the names and occupations of his parents are not recorded and details of his early life are scant. What little is known is derived largely from his chronicle, ...

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Abingdon, Henry (d. 1437), ecclesiastic and college head, probably came from Abingdon in Berkshire. He was first elected a fellow of Merton in 1390 and spent most of his later career either there or fulfilling his residential duties as a canon of Wells...

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Adgar [William] (fl. 1150x1200), Anglo-Norman translator, was baptized Adgar but reveals that he was more commonly known as William; Trouvère (roughly meaning ‘poet’) is a later and inauthentic epithet. As the author of the first vernacular rendering of the miracles of the Virgin Mary...

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Ælfric of Eynsham [Ælfric Grammaticus, Ælfric the Homilist] (c. 950–c. 1010), Benedictine abbot of Eynsham and scholar, is of unknown origins, though his language suggests he came from Wessex. He was educated under Æthelwold in the monastic school at Winchester, and after becoming a monk and priest was sent about 987 to the abbey of ...

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Æthelweard [Ethelwerd] (d. 998?), chronicler and magnate, was ealdorman of south-western England. He styled himself 'Patricius Consul Fabius Quaestor', a latinization of 'Æthel-/ealdorman/Fabius/-weard'. He was the father of Æthelmær, grandfather of one Æthelweard and grandfather-in-law of another: all also ealdormen, and two of the same south-western ealdormanry as ...

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C. F. Keary

revised by Marios Costambeys

Aio (supp. fl. 950x75), supposed historian, is said to have been a monk in the abbey of Crowland, Lincolnshire, and is mentioned only in the forged Historia Croylandensis attributed to Ingulf, a genuine eleventh-century abbot of the same monastery. This work was probably written in the mid-fifteenth century and professed to make use of material collected by two monks of ...

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Alban [St Albans], Roger (d. after 1461), genealogist, copyist, and Carmelite friar, was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and joined his order in London. He was ordained acolyte on 17 December 1401 and deacon on 19 December 1405. His name occurs as the copyist on three manuscripts, BL, Harley MS 3138 (dated 1424), Harley MS 211, and Stowe MS 8, and it has also been claimed that he copied BL, Stowe MS 38 and, in 1439, the anti-...

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Alcock, Simon (d. 1459), scholastic author, was educated at Oxford, where he had proceeded MA by 1422 and DD by 1427, at which date he composed the De arte dictaminis, now MS 184.4 of the library of St John's College, Oxford. He may also have composed the ...

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Aldhelm [St Aldhelm] (d. 709/10), abbot of Malmesbury, bishop of Sherborne, and scholar, was a prolific Latin author whose idiosyncratic style of composition in the media of prose and verse, both metrical and rhythmical, was profoundly influential both in England and on the continent up to the Norman conquest. His life is moderately well documented: ...

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Aldhelm [St Aldhelm] (d. 70910) drawing The British Library

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Alfonsi, Petrus (fl. 1106–1126), scholar and translator of scientific works, was born in northern Spain, to Jewish parents. He was baptized a Christian on 29 June 1106 in Huesca, Aragon, with the names of the apostle on whose feast day the baptism took place and of his godfather, ...

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Alnwick, Martin (d. 1336), Franciscan friar, theologian, and philosopher, doubtless came from Northumberland. Possibly the Martinus occasionally recorded as participating in Oxford disputations in the last years of the thirteenth century, he was certainly at Oxford by 1300, when he was among the friars presented to the bishop of ...

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Ambroise (fl. 1188–1195), crusader and historian, was a Norman, possibly from the region of Évreux. His Estoire de la guerre sainte is a unique vernacular eyewitness account of the third crusade, and perhaps 'the best source for the crusade of Richard' (...

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Ammonius, Andreas [Andrea della Rena] (bap. 1476, d. 1517), humanist scholar and poet, was the son of Elisabetta Vanni and her husband, Francesco della Rena (dell' Arena). Of a family long established as silk weavers at Lucca, he was baptized in the cathedral there on 13 October 1476. In preparation for an ecclesiastical career, he studied with ...

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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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Anwykyll, John (d. 1487), schoolmaster and grammarian, owned a surname, spelt in several ways, which is probably a variant of the place name Aldwincle in Northamptonshire. Anwykyll is first recorded as a student of grammar at Cambridge University in 1473–4, where he gained permission to graduate as a master of grammar in 1474–5. He next appears at Michaelmas 1483 as master of ...

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Argentine, John (c. 1443–1508), physician and college head, was the most eminent of the first generation of Italian-trained doctors to return to a medical and academic career in England. He was born at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire, into a well-connected family; he entered Eton College...

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Arnold, Richard (d. c. 1521), merchant and chronicler, was a citizen of London, resident in the parish of St Magnus the Martyr, who seems to have made his living primarily by trading with Flanders. Nothing is known of his parentage. In 1473 he was an executor of the will of ...

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Ashton, Hugh (d. 1522), Catholic ecclesiastic and university benefactor, apparently never himself had a formal university education, his main expertise lying in administration and estate management. He probably first encountered Lady Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond and Derby, in Lancashire, his native county, and rose to prominence through this association. On 7 January 1496 he was admitted to the rectory of ...

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Hugh Ashton (d. 1522) by unknown sculptor © Crown copyright. NMR