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William Bedloe (1650–1680) by Robert White, pubd 1681 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bedloe, William (1650–1680), informer and adventurer, was the second son of Isaac Bedloe (d. 1656). William Bedloe was born in Chepstow on 20 May 1650 and spent his early life both there and in Bristol. Much of his early life was deliberately clouded in obscurity. His own published account of his parentage and ancestry remains dubious. He claimed that his father had been a gentleman soldier who had served the king in the civil wars and whose own father was ...

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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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J. T. Gilbert

revised by S. J. Skedd

Bradstreet, Dudley (1711–1763), adventurer and spy, was born in Tipperary, where his father had obtained considerable land under the Cromwellian grants. His father's wealth was much reduced by debts, and Dudley, who was the youngest son, was looked after by a foster father in ...

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Champion de Crespigny, Sir Claude, fourth baronet (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman, was born in Chelsea on 20 April 1847, the eldest son of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, third baronet (1818–1868), of Wivenhoe Hall, Essex, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of ...

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Dartasso, Janico (d. 1426), adventurer, was born in Navarre, of Basque descent; he is first mentioned in 1367–8, while serving in the garrison of Cherbourg, then in the possession of Charles d'Évreux, king of Navarre. It seems likely that he remained at Cherbourg...

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Devereux, Walter, first earl of Essex (1539–1576), nobleman and adventurer, was born on 16 September 1539 at Chartley, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of George Hastings, first earl of Huntingdon. Sir Richard, who was created a knight of the Order of the Garter on 20 February 1548, died the same year, in the lifetime of his father, ...

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Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex (1539–1576) by unknown artist, 1575? [after original, 1572] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Holditch, Abraham (bap. 1639, d. 1678), naval officer and merchant adventurer, was baptized on 12 May 1639 at Totnes, Devon. He was probably the son of William Holditch (d. 1646?) and his wife, Agnes (bap. 1617), formerly Jakes. He married at ...

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Gregor MacGregor (1786–1845) by Samuel William Reynolds senior (after Simon Jacques Rochard) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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MacGregor, Gregor (1786–1845), soldier and adventurer, was the grandson of Gregor MacGregor Drummond who had enlisted in the forerunner of the Black Watch (then Sempill's Highlanders), served abroad with distinction, and been instrumental in obtaining the repeal of legislation which had outlawed the clan ...

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Mercadier (d. 1200), adventurer and mercenary, rose from obscure Provençal origins to become a general and intimate of Richard I. He receives his first mention in October 1183 fighting for Richard against rebellious lords in Aquitaine following the death of Henry, the Young King...

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Michelborne, Sir Edward (c. 1562–1609), soldier and adventurer, was the eldest son of Edward Michelborne (d. 1587), landowner, of Clayton, Sussex, and his first wife, Jane, daughter of Thomas Farnfold (or Parsons) of Steyning, Sussex. He is not to be confused with his kinsman, the Latin poet ...

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Montmorency [Mount Maurice], Hervey de (fl. c. 1135–c. 1189), adventurer, became involved in Ireland through his association with his nephew, Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare (c. 1130–1176), earl of Pembroke and lord of Striguil (Strongbow). Their relationship stemmed from the marriage of ...

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Ogilvy, John [known as Pourie Ogilvy] (fl. 1587–1601), adventurer, was the son of Gilbert Ogilvy of Pourie (d. 1601). His sister, Anne Ogilvy, married on 30 November 1587 Sir Thomas Erskine, a gentleman of the bedchamber of James VI and later ...

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Phips [Phipps], Sir William (1651–1695), adventurer, army officer, and colonial governor, was born on 2 February 1651 at Phips plantation, Jeremisquam Neck, Nequasett, Maine. He was the son of James Phips (c.1609–1651×5) of Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, and Mary, whose origins are unknown. ...

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Pike [Peeke], Richard (fl. 1620–1658), soldier and adventurer, was probably the son of Richard Pike, an attorney practising in Tavistock, Devon, in 1597; unfortunately the Tavistock parish registers do not begin until 1620. In that year Pike served as a common soldier in the attack on the ...

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Pocock, (Henry) Roger Ashwell (1865–1941), adventurer and writer, was born on 9 November 1865 at 4 Belle Vue, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, the son of Captain Charles Ashwell Botelar Pocock (1829–1899), naval officer and later Anglican deacon, and his wife, Sarah Margaret (d. c...

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Price, Thomas [Tomos Prys] (c. 1564–1634), adventurer and Welsh-language poet, was the eldest son of Dr Ellis Price (c. 1505–1594), the notorious Red Doctor, and Ellyw Poole. He could trace his lineage to Marchweithan, the head of one of Gwynedd's fifteen tribes. His great-grandfather was ...