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Sidney Lee

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Allan, Peter (1799–1849), recluse, was born on 6 September 1799, the son of Peter Allan, shoemaker in Gladsmuir, and Jane Renny, daughter of Archibald Kenley of Tranent. In early life he was in domestic service as a valet to William Williamson. Afterwards he became gamekeeper to the ...

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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, ...

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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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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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Astley, John (1720–1787), portrait painter and beau, was born at Wem in Shropshire on 24 June 1720, and baptized there on 6 April 1724, a younger son of Richard Astley, surgeon, and his wife, Margaret. After attending school in Shropshire, in the early 1740s he went to ...

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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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Barrett, John [Jacky] (1753/4–1821), classical scholar and eccentric, was born in Ballyroan, Queen's county, the son of Daniel Barrett (d. 1760), a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Rossamund Gofton (d. 1782). Although baptized John he was universally known as ...

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Barry, Richard, seventh earl of Barrymore (1769–1793), rake and actor, was born on 14 August 1769, probably in London, the second child and eldest of three sons of Richard Barry, sixth earl of Barrymore (1745–1773), and Lady Emily Stanhope (1749–1780), daughter of William Stanhope, ...

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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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Baume, Pierre Henri Joseph (1797–1875), radical activist and eccentric, was born at Marseilles on 17 October 1797, the son of Henri Joseph Baume (1770–1831) and Marie Claire Antoinette Merlat (1780–1837). His parents ran a wig-making shop and were inclined both to anti-clericalism and adultery. When he was still young his father moved to ...

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(William) John Cavendish-Scott- Bentinck [Lord John Bentinck], fifth duke of Portland (1800–1879) by Richard Dighton unknown collection; photograph Sotheby's Picture Library, London / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentinck, (William) John Cavendish-Scott- [formerly Lord John Bentinck], fifth duke of Portland (1800–1879), recluse, son of William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, fourth duke (1768–1854), who in 1795 assumed the additional surname of Scott by royal licence, and Henrietta (d. 1844), eldest daughter and coheir of ...

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Bentley, Nathaniel [nicknamed Dirty Dick] (1735?–1809), eccentric, was the son of a successful City of London merchant and shopkeeper who received an education 'equal to his situation as a gentleman' (History of the Extraordinary Dirty warehouse, 6). After the death of ...

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Beresford, Henry de la Poer, third marquess of Waterford (1811–1859), reprobate and landowner, was born on 26 April 1811 at 5 Mansfield Street, Marylebone, Middlesex, the second son of Henry de la Poer Beresford, second marquess of Waterford (1772–1826), and his wife, Lady Susanna Hussey Carpenter (1784–1827)...

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Biggs, Ronald Arthur [Ronnie] (1929–2013), criminal and fugitive, was born on 8 August 1929 at 37 Dalyell Road, Stockwell, south London, the youngest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Henry Jack Biggs (1888–1965), a railway dining car steward, and his wife, ...

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Biggs, Ronald Arthur [Ronnie] (1929–2013)

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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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Maker: Elliott & Fry

Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) by Elliott & Fry, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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