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James Abercromby (1706–1781) by unknown artist © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Abercromby, James (1706–1781), army officer and politician, was born in Glassaugh, Banffshire, the son of Alexander Abercromby (1677–1728), laird of Glassaugh, politician and army officer, and his wife, Helen Meldrum. With his father's assistance he became commissioner of supply and justice of the peace in ...

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Abney, Sir Thomas (1639/40–1722), merchant and mayor of London, was born at Willesley, Derbyshire, the youngest of four sons of James Abney, landowner, and Jane Mainwaring (d. after 1640). The Abney family had owned land at Willesley for several centuries, and James Abney...

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Acton, Sir Robert (b. before 1497, d. 1558), saddler and member of parliament, was born into a family of Worcestershire gentry, the son of Richard Acton of Sutton and his wife, Margery Dore. How he obtained an entrée to the royal court is unknown, but by 22 October 1518 he was a groom of the chamber, subsequently becoming a page (1526) and a gentleman usher (1528). More important to his advancement, however, was his marriage, by May 1528, to ...

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Agnew, Patrick Alexander Vans (1822–1848), East India Company servant, was born at Raipur in Chhattisgarh in central India on 21 April 1822, the second son of Patrick Vans Agnew (1783–1842), lieutenant-colonel in the Madras army and afterwards a director of the East India Company...

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Ainslie, Sir Robert, first baronet (1729/30–1812), diplomatist and numismatist, was the third son of George Ainslie (d. 1773), merchant, and his wife, Jean, daughter of Sir Philip Anstruther of Anstrutherfield, Fife. He grew up with his two brothers and five sisters in ...

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Allen, Francis (c. 1583–1658), politician and regicide, was probably born in London, though nothing is as yet known of his early life or parentage. He first appears in the mid-1630s as a liveryman of the Goldsmiths' Company living on Fleet Street. He was one of those goldsmiths living in 'remote' places who opposed attempts to force them back into the ...

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Allen, Sir John (c. 1470–1544), mayor of London, was born in Thaxted, Essex, into an agrarian family of moderate means. His father, Richard Allen, apprenticed him to Roger Bourchier of the London Mercers' Company, to which he was admitted in 1497. Allen was elected a warden of the Mercers in 1509, making him eligible for ward office, and in 1515 he was nominated alderman from ...

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Alured, John (bap. 1607, d. 1651), army officer and regicide, was baptized in the parish of All Saints, Sculcoates, Hull, Yorkshire, on 4 April 1607, the eldest son of Henry Alured (c.1581–1628), gentleman landowner, and his wife, Frances (d. 1626)...

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Andrews, John Miller (1871–1956), prime minister of Northern Ireland, was born on 17 July 1871 at Ardara, Comber, co. Down, the eldest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Thomas Andrews DL, flax spinner, also of Ardara, and his wife, ...

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Annesley, Arthur, first earl of Anglesey (1614–1686), politician, was born on 10 July 1614 on Fishshamble Street, Dublin, the first son of Francis Annesley, first Baron Mountnorris and second Viscount Valentia (bap. 1586, d. 1660), a politician and substantial landowner in Ireland, and his first wife, ...

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Anslay, Brian (d. 1536), administrator and translator, about whose parentage and origins little is known, participated, as yeoman of the wine cellar, in Henry VII's funeral procession and in Henry VIII's coronation ceremonies in 1509. In 1521 his translation of Christine de Pisan's...

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Anstruther, Sir John, fourth baronet and first baronet (1753–1811), politician and judge, was born on 27 March 1753 at Elie House, Elie, Fife, the second son of Sir John Anstruther, second baronet (1718–1799), politician, and his wife, Janet Fall (1727–1802), daughter of James Fall...

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Arundell, Sir Thomas (c. 1502–1552), administrator and convicted conspirator, was the younger son of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, Cornwall (c.1474–1545), and his first wife, Eleanor (d. by December 1503), daughter of Thomas Grey, first marquess of Dorset (c. 1455–1501)...

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Ascham, Anthony (bap. 1614, d. 1650), diplomat and pamphleteer, was baptized on 6 March 1614 in Boston, Lincolnshire, the son of Thomas and Cicilly (d. 1634) Ascham or Ascombe. Little is known of his parents, though Allen states he was descended of the same family as ...

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See Ashe, John

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Ashe, John (1597–1659), clothier and parliamentarian activist, was born in Westcombe, Somerset, the eldest son of James Ashe (d. 1646), clothier, and his wife, Grace Pitt, daughter of Richard Pitt of Weymouth. He was baptized at Batcombe, in the same county, on 27 October 1597. He married ...

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Ashley, Sir Anthony, baronet (1551/2–1628), politician and translator of The Mariners Mirrour, was the eldest son of Sir Anthony Ashley of Damerham in Hampshire, a cadet of the long-established Ashleys of Wimborne St Giles (Dorset), and Dorothy, daughter of John Lyte of Lytes Cary (Somerset)...

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Aston, William George (1841–1911), diplomatist and Japanese and Korean scholar, was born on 9 April 1841 near Londonderry, one of the five children of George Robert Aston, minister of the Unitarian Church of Ireland and schoolmaster. He was educated at Saintfield national school...

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William George Aston (1841–1911) by Minnie Agnes Cohen, 1911 © National Portrait Gallery, London