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Bale, John (1495–1563), bishop of Ossory, evangelical polemicist, and historian, was born to parents of humble means at the village of Cove, near Dunwich in Suffolk, on 21 November 1495. In his Illustrium maioris Britanniae Bale names his parents as Henry and Margaret...

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Bell [alias Burton], Thomas (b. c. 1551, d. in or after 1610), Roman Catholic priest and protestant polemicist, was born at Raskelf, near Thirsk, in Yorkshire. His parents are unknown, but he had several sisters and brothers, one of whom was later a merchant at ...

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Care, Henry (1646/7–1688), writer and polemicist, was nicknamed Harry and known as Ingenious; he spelt his surname Care, rather than Carre, Carr, Carey, Cave, or Cane, as it sometimes appeared, but no evidence links him to others called Care of the era. Nothing is known of his parents, but an unidentified uncle was a friend of the whig printer ...

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Connelly, Pierce (1804–1883), apostate Episcopal priest and anti-Catholic pamphleteer, was born on 9 August 1804 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest of four sons of Henry Connelly, a cabinet-maker, and his second wife, Elizabeth Pierce. He married Cornelia Peacock [see Connelly, Cornelia (1809-1879)...

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Constable, Henry (1562–1613), polemicist and poet, was born in Newark-on-Trent, the only child of Sir Robert Constable (d. 1591) and Christiana, daughter of John Dabridgecourt of Langdon Hall, Warwickshire, and widow of Anthony Forster. His family was distinguished: his grandfather Robert Constable...

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Corbet, John (1603–1641), religious polemicist and Church of Scotland and Church of Ireland minister, was probably born in the Gorbals, Glasgow, the son of William Corbet, a portioner of the city. He graduated MA from Glasgow University in 1623, and as 'a Person of Good learning...

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Harvey, Richard (bap. 1560, d. 1630), astrologer and polemicist, was born in Saffron Walden, Essex, and baptized there on 15 April 1560, the second son of John Harvey (d. 1593), a prosperous master rope maker, and his wife, Ales (Alice; d. 1613)...

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Elinor James (1644/55–1719) by unknown artist, c. 1700 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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James [née Banckes], Elinor [Eleanor] (1644/5–1719), printer and polemicist, was the daughter of Mary Banckes; the name of her father is not known. By a marriage licence dated 27 October 1662, at the age of seventeen, she married Thomas James (c...

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Kethe, William (d. 1594), religious polemicist and translator, probably originated in The Mearns, Scotland. Very little is known about his early life; he may have lived in Exeter. What is certain is that by Edward VI's reign he had become a writer of militantly protestant broadside poems. ...

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M'Ghee, Robert James (1789–1872), Church of Ireland clergyman and anti-Catholic polemicist, was born in Ireland, probably in co. Carlow, about April 1789, the son of James M'Ghee, a clergyman. He was educated at Mr Pack's school and, from 1805 to 1810, at Trinity College, Dublin...

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Maker: William Faithorne the elder

John Milton (1608–1674) by William Faithorne the elder, 1670 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Milton, John (1608–1674), poet and polemicist, was born at 6.30 a.m. on Friday 9 December 1608 in the house at the sign of the Spread Eagle, Bread Street, London, and baptized in nearby All Hallows Church on 20 December, the third child of ...

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Powell, Gabriel (bap. 1576, d. 1611), Church of England clergyman and polemicist, was born at Ruabon, Denbighshire, and baptized on 13 January 1576, the son of David Powell (1549×52–1598) [see Powel, David], vicar of Meifod, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of ...

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Punt, William (fl. 1548–1563), polemicist and book smuggler, emerged from obscurity in 1548 as the author of A New Dialoge called the Endightment agaynste Mother Messe. This work proved to be popular (three editions were published in two months), perhaps because it skilfully drew on the work of major evangelical writers such as ...

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W. P. Courtney

revised by David Huddleston

Seymour, Michael Hobart (1800–1874), anti-Catholic polemicist, was born on 29 September 1800 at Limerick, the sixth son of John Crossley Seymour (d. 1831), vicar of Caherelly, and his wife Catherine, eldest daughter and coheir of the Revd Edward Wight, rector of Meelick...

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Sheldon, Richard (1570?–1651?), Church of England convert and polemicist, was born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, and was raised a Roman Catholic. He became a student at the English College for training secular priests at Rheims, France, in January 1589, and was sent on to the ...

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Webster, John (1611–1682), schoolmaster and polemicist, was born on 3 February 1611 at Thornton on the Hill in the parish of Coxwold, Yorkshire, the son of Edward Webster. Claims that he was a student at Cambridge appear to be without foundation. In the early 1630s he studied chemistry under the Hungarian ...

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John White (1570–1615) by unknown engraver, pubd 1624 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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White, John (1570–1615), Church of England clergyman and polemicist, was born at Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire, the son of Peter White, vicar of St Neots, Huntingdonshire, and the neighbouring parish of Eaton Socon, and younger brother of Francis White (1563/4–1638), later successively bishop of ...