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Article

Percy Hoskins

revised by Michael Bevan

Adams, John Bodkin (1899–1983), general practitioner and forger, was born on 20 January 1899 in Randalstown, co. Antrim, the elder son of Samuel Adams, watchmaker, and his wife, Ellen Bodkin (d. 1943), formerly of Desertmartin, co. Tyrone. The younger son was born in 1903 and died of pneumonia in 1916. Shortly after ...

Article

Thompson Cooper

revised by J. Gilliland

Ady, Joseph (1775/6–1852), fraudster, was the son of John Ady (1743/4–1812), a recording clerk for the Society of Friends. He was a hatter, hosier, and accountant at various times, in premises at 11 The Circus, Minories, London, and 6 Charlotte Street, Wapping. Failing in business, he devised a means of extracting money from the credulous. He would look up the lists of unclaimed inheritances, dividends, and bequests, and then write, without stamping his letters, to any people of those names that he could find, offering to produce '...

Article

Annesley, Richard, sixth earl of Anglesey (bap. 1693, d. 1761), kidnapper and bigamist, was baptized on 26 November 1693 at St Peter's Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, the third son of Dr Richard Annesley (1654/5–1701), dean of Exeter, from c.1700 third Baron Altham, and his wife, ...

Article

Backhouse, Sir Edmund Trelawny, second baronet (1873–1944), Sinologist and fraudster, eldest of the four surviving sons of Jonathan Edmund Backhouse, first baronet (1849–1918), a banker, and Florence (1845–1902), youngest daughter of Sir John Salusbury Salusbury-Trelawny, was born on 20 October 1873 at The Rookery, Middleton Tyas, Yorkshire...

Article

Steven C. Bullock

Bell, Thomas (b. 1713), fraudster, was born on 18 February 1713 in Boston, Massachusetts, the first of three recorded children of Thomas Bell (d. 1729), sea captain and shipwright, and his wife, Johanna Adams. The younger Thomas, who became known as Tom Bell...

Article

Bolland, James (c. 1727–1772), sheriff's officer and forger, was probably born in the parish of St Olave, Southwark, reputedly the son of a butcher, who, according to A True and Genuine Account of the Life (1772), died while Bolland was a child; his mother, who survived her husband, supported herself and ...

Article

Broun, Sir Richard, eighth baronet (1801–1858), pamphleteer and fraudster, was born at Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire, on 22 April 1801, eldest of the four sons and one daughter of Sir James Broun (1768–1844) of Coalston Park, Lochmaben, and his first wife, Marian, née Henderson (...

Article

Carter, Henry [Harry] (1749–1829), smuggler and Methodist preacher, was born early in 1749 at Pengersick, Germoe parish, near Breage, Cornwall, the seventh of ten children of Francis Carter (bap. 1712, d. 1774), smallholder and miner, and Annice Williams (1714–1784). Henry (always known as ...

Article

Paul Hopkins and Stuart Handley

Chaloner, William (d. 1699), coiner and sham plotter, was born in Warwickshire, the son of a weaver; he had at least one brother and one sister involved in coining.

Chaloner's father found him difficult to control and apprenticed him to a nailer in ...

Article

H. R. Tedder

revised by Philip Carter

Denton, Thomas (d. 1789), coiner, was born in the North Riding of Yorkshire and originally made a living as a tinman. He kept a bookseller's shop in York for about ten years and moved to London about 1780. There he is said to have made a copy of a '...

Article

Dignan, David Brown (b. 1754/5, d. in or after 1780), author and fraudster, was the second son of an Irish physician who served in the Austrian army and rose to the rank of colonel before retiring to an estate in co. Clare. Dignan...

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William Dodd (1729–1777) by John Russell, 1769 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Dodd, William [nicknamed the Macaroni Parson] (1729–1777), Church of England clergyman and forger, was born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, the eldest of the six children of the Revd William Dodd (1703?–1757), vicar of Bourne. He was probably born on 29 May 1729 (...

Article

Fauntleroy, Henry (1784–1824), banker and forger, was born on 12 October 1784, probably in London, the third but eldest surviving son (of five sons and two daughters) of William Fauntleroy (1749–1807), and his wife, Elizabeth (1758–1826), daughter of Revel Kerie, planter, of St Kitts, West Indies...

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Robert Feilding (1650/5151–1712) by Jan van der Vaart, c.1678-79 (after Sir Peter Lely) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Feilding, Robert (1650/51–1712), rake and bigamist, was born at Solihull, Warwickshire, the son of George Feilding, landowner, a kinsman of the earl of Denbigh. Nothing is known about his mother. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1673, but upon inheriting £600...

Article

Sidney Lee

revised by M. J. Mercer

Gahagan, Usher (d. 1749), classical scholar and coiner, came from a family in co. Westmeath, Ireland, but nothing more is known about his background or early life. He attended Trinity College, Dublin, with the intention of entering the law but his conversion to Catholicism while a student prevented him from being called to the bar. He left without taking a degree and was disowned by his parents. He married a wealthy heiress, whom he treated cruelly, and they soon separated. His conduct alienated his remaining friends, and with mounting debts he moved to ...

Article

Hartley, David (c. 1731–1770), coiner, was born in the parish of Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the eldest of the three sons of William Hartley (c.1704–1789), a weaver and hill farmer of Erringden, Halifax. Both his mother's identity and the details of his early upbringing remain obscure, but he appears to have left his native ...

Article

Hatfield, John (c. 1758–1803), impostor and forger, was born at Mottram in Longdendale, Cheshire, one of the many children of a poor estate woodsman. His mother, the daughter of a schoolteacher, taught him to read and write but he received no formal education. After the imprisonment of his father and the death of his mother he was apprenticed to a ...

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George Hudson [the Railway King] (1800–1871) by Sir Francis Grant, 1846 York City Art Gallery