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Appulby, Simon [Symon the Anker of London Wall] (d. 1537), religious recluse and author, was the last anchorite to be attached to the church of All Hallows, London Wall. An ordained priest, Simon made his anchoritic profession at the nearby priory of the ...

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Arthur (supp. fl. in or before 6th cent.), legendary warrior and supposed king of Britain, has an attested career that is entirely posthumous. From obscure beginnings in British legend, he became internationally known in the twelfth century, particularly through the success of Geoffrey of Monmouth's...

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Balthere [St Balthere, Baldred, Balther] (d. 756), hermit, is often confused with an earlier saint of the same name. The later and better-known Balthere was described by his near contemporary Alcuin, in his poem on the bishops, kings, and saints of York. The so-called ...

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Barry, Thomas Bernardine (1897–1980), Irish revolutionary and folk hero, was born on 1 July 1897 in Killorglin, co. Kerry, the eldest son and second of eleven children of Thomas Barry, a policeman, and his wife, Margaret Donovan, both of co. Cork. After Tom...

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Bartholomew of Farne [St Bartholomew of Farne] (d. 1193), hermit, stands second in reputation only to Godric of Finchale among the hermits of northern England in the twelfth century. Just as Godric's fame depends on the life written by Reginald, a monk of ...

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Bertorelli, Joe [Giuseppe Domenico] (1893–1994), restaurateur, was born on 10 June 1893 at Bergazzi di Bardi, Piacenza, Liguria, Italy, the youngest of the four sons of Lazzaro and Marianna Bertorelli. By the time of his birth his father and three elder brothers were already living and working in ...

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Billfrith [St Billfrith] (d. 750x800?), anchorite, is mentioned in the Old English colophon which the scribe Aldred added to the Lindisfarne gospels (BL, Cotton MS Nero D.iv) at some time between 950 and about 970, when they were at Chester-le-Street. After naming ...

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Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840–1922) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen (1840–1922), hedonist, poet, and breeder of Arab horses, was born at Petworth House, Sussex, on 17 August 1840, the second son of the three children of Francis Scawen Blunt (1790–1842) of Crabbet Park, Poundhill, and Newbuildings Place, Southwater, Sussex, and his wife, ...

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Borstale, Thomas (supp. fl. 1290), supposed Augustinian hermit, is said by Bale to have come from Norfolk and to have studied in England, and taught theology at the University of Paris c.1290. Bale adds that Borstale died at the Augustinian convent in ...

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Boruwlaski, Joseph [formerly Józef Boruslawski], styled Count Boruwlaski (1739–1837), travelling performer and memoirist, was born in November 1739 near Halicz, Galicia, Poland, the third son of a lower gentry family. The principal source for his life is his own memoirs, published in several editions between 1788 and 1820. When he was nine his father died, leaving a widow with five sons and one daughter. Three sons were very tall, but three children suffered from achondroplasia, an inherited condition in which the cartilage in the bones fails to grow. ...

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Bulger, James Patrick (1990–1993), murder victim, was born in Liverpool on 16 March 1990, the first child of Ralph S. Bulger (b. 1964) and his wife, Denise Matthews (b. 1965). A younger brother was born after his death, and his parents separated in 1994. The family lived in ...

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Caradog (1060x75–1124), hermit and monk, was the son of noble parents from Brycheiniog (Brecon). The principal source for his life is an account in Capgrave's Nova legenda Angliae which probably derives from a life, now lost, written by Gerald of Wales...

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Caryll, John, Jacobite second Baron Caryll of Durford (1667–1736), friend of Alexander Pope, was the son of Richard Caryll (1635–1701), of West Grinstead, Sussex, and Frances (c.1644–1704), daughter of Sir Henry Bedingfield, and nephew and heir of John Caryll, Jacobite first Baron Caryll...

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Chester, Charles (c. 1554–1604), informer and wit, probably born in Bristol, was one of ten children of Dominic Chester (d. 1575), merchant and MP, and his wife, Mary (d. 1572), the daughter of Roger Barlow, merchant and explorer, and his wife, ...

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Clare, Bogo de (1248–1294), ecclesiastic and figure of scandal, was born on 21 July 1248, the third son of Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester and Hertford (1222–1262), and his second wife, Maud (d. 1288/9), daughter of John de Lacy, earl of Lincoln...

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Patrick Cotter (1760/6161–1806) by John Kay, 1803 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cotter, Patrick [performing name Patrick O'Brien] (1760/61–1806), giant, was born at Kinsale, co. Cork. He grew to be more than 8 feet tall (accounts vary from 8 feet 3½ inches to 8 feet 7 inches), and from his late teens was exhibited in ...

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Deicolus [St Deicolus, Deicola] (d. c. 625), Benedictine monk and hermit, was allegedly a companion of St Columbanus of Luxeuil and Bobbio (d. 615), and a half-brother of Gall of St Gallen. His feast day is 18 January.

According to his life, written about 965, sickness prevented ...

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Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée D'Éon de Beaumont, Chevalier D'Éon in the French nobility (1728–1810) by George Dance, 1793 © Copyright The British Museum