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Addy, William (bap. 1618?, d. 1695?), stenographer and writing-master, has been plausibly, although on entirely circumstantial evidence, identified as the William Addy who was baptized in Wath upon Dearne, West Riding of Yorkshire, on 13 September 1618, the third son of John Addy (...

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Ayres, John (d. 1704x9), writing-master, according to early accounts began life in a humble way as a footman in the house of Sir William Ashurst, to whom he owed his education. His original teacher of writing was Thomas Topham, to whom he dedicated ...

Article

Bales, Peter (bap. 1547, d. 1610?), writing-master and calligrapher, was baptized at St Michael Cornhill, London, on 15 June 1547. Parish records show that he was the eldest child of Thomas Bales of Birchin Lane, a draper and a citizen of London, and his wife, ...

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Beauclerc, Marie Bethell (1845–1897), shorthand reporter and teacher of shorthand, was born Maria Bethell at 24 Crescent Street, Somers Town, London, on 10 October 1845, the daughter of Richard Bethell, merchant, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Sayer (1809–1885). As an infant, and in the absence of her parents who had been compelled to go abroad, she was left in the care of a nurse. Later in life, in an account of her childhood, she recollected being taken at the age of four from ...

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Marie Bethell Beauclerc (1845–1897) by A. Marlow reproduced with the permission of Birmingham Libraries & Archives

Article

Bickham, George (1683/4–1758), engraver and writing-master, was born in London; he was said to have been seventy-four when he died in 1758. The son of John Bickham, whose wife was probably named Bridget, he occasionally used the initials G. J. and G. J. B....

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George Bickham (1683/44–1758) by George Bickham, pubd 1741 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Article

Billingsley, Martin (1591–1622), writing master, was born in London, the eldest son of Martin Billingsley, a freeman of the Company of Haberdashers, and his wife, Elizabeth. He was baptized on 18 July 1591 at St Antholin's, Budge Row, in the parish where his parents lived. Nothing is known of his youth or education, although one biographer declares he was entirely self-taught. We can also assume that he came from an educated and perhaps comfortable family, as his great-uncle ...

Article

Bland, John (1702–1749), writing master and accountant, was born in Crutched Friars, London, on 17 August 1702, the son of a clerk in the custom house. He spent four years at Westminster School, where, according to William Massey, 'he principally formed his hand' (...

Article

Gordon Goodwin

revised by J. A. Marchand

Bowack, John (fl. 1705–1737), writing master and topographer, was for many years a writing master at Westminster School. In 1705, when living in Church Lane, Chelsea, he began to publish, in folio numbers, The Antiquities of Middlesex, which contained a description of the church monuments in the county with a historical account of each church and parish, and the seats, villages, and names of the most eminent inhabitants. Two parts of this work appeared in 1705–6, comprising the parishes of ...

Article

John Westby-Gibson

revised by Lucy Peltz

Brooks, Gabriel (c. 1704–1741), writing-master, was the son of Gabriel Brooks and his wife, Elizabeth. His father was probably a writing-master working in London between 1670 and 1699. There is little information regarding Gabriel Brooks's life or training except that he was apprenticed to the writing-master ...

Article

John Westby-Gibson

revised by Lucy Peltz

Browne, David (fl. 1622–1638), writing-master and author, published some of the earliest English copybooks. Though little is known of his life it is likely that he was born in Scotland and his pride in this fact is evident in one surviving manuscript where he signed himself ...

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Champion, Joseph (b. 1709, d. in or before 1768), writing-master and accountant, was born in Chatham, Kent, the son of a wealthy Kent family who had been freeholders until they lost their property during the stock market crisis of 1720. Little is known of his early life except that he attended both ...

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Clark, John (1683–1736), writing master, was born in Rotherhithe, the son of John and Joan Clark. His father was part owner and commander of a ship which traded with the Guinea coast and which sank off Goodwin Sands, leaving the family's finances in ruins. ...

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John Davies (1564/55–1618) by unknown engraver, pubd 1633 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Davies, John (1564/5–1618), poet and writing-master, was born at Hereford (his birthplace was always noted on his title-pages—'John Davies of Hereford'—apparently to distinguish him from the prominent contemporary poet Sir John Davies). He was probably born a Roman Catholic and was certainly identified as one in 1611 (...

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Dove, Nathaniel (1711–1754), writing master, trained in London under Philip Pickering, a writing master in Paternoster Row. Almost nothing is known of his life, except that he described himself as 'Master of the Academy at Hoxton' (Heal, 46) and was one of the schoolmasters recommended in ...

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Gething, Richard (1585?–1652?), writing-master, was born in Herefordshire and moved to London some time before 1616. No details are known of his early life, except that, while still in Hereford, he studied under the noted poet and writing-master John Davies (1565?–1618). According to ...

Article

Hopkins, William (fl. 1674), stenographer and writing master, wrote The flying pen-man, or, The art of short-writing by a more easie, exact, compendious, and speedy way (1674), using a system related to those of Thomas Shelton, Jeremiah Rich, and especially Theophilus Metcalfe. Beautifully engraved with ornamental borders and a frontispiece portrait of ...

Article

Johnson, Humphrey (fl. 1710–1713), writing-master and mathematician, is known to have been apprenticed to the celebrated writing-master George Shelley but nothing else is recorded regarding his early life or training. At the time of the first edition of his New Treatise of Practical Arithmetic...