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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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D'Éon de Beaumont, Charles Geneviève Louis Auguste André Timothée, Chevalier D'Éon in the French nobility (1728–1810), diplomatist and transvestite, was born at the Hotel d'Uzès, Tonnerre, Burgundy, on 5 October 1728. He came of an old noble family, possibly of Breton origin, though, like much else about this extraordinary personage, his genealogical pretensions later gave rise to judicial proceedings. His father, ...

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Gédéon Gaspard Alfred de Grimaud D'Orsay, styled Count D'Orsay (1801–1852) by Sir George Hayter, 1839 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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D'Orsay, Gédéon Gaspard Alfred de Grimaud [Alfred Guillaume Gabriel], styled Count D'Orsay (1801–1852), artist and dandy, was born in Paris on 4 September 1801, second son of Albert, Count D'Orsay, a general in Napoleon's grand armée, and Eleanore de Franquemont, an illegitimate daughter of the ...

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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

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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...

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García, Manuel Patricio Rodriguez (1805–1906), singer and singing teacher, was born in Zafra, Spain, on 17 March 1805 into a prominent family of Spanish musicians. His father, Manuel del Popolo Vicente Rodriguez García (1775–1832), made a reputation as a singer, impresario, composer, and teacher of singing. His mother, ...

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Healy, James (1824–1894), Roman Catholic priest and wit, one of twenty-three children of John Healy, a provision dealer, and his first wife, Mary Meyler, was born in Francis Street, Dublin, on 15 December 1824. From 1834 he was educated at the Vincentian School...

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Jeffery Hudson (1619–1682) by Daniel Mytens, c. 1630 The Royal Collection © 2004 HM Queen Elizabeth II