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Aikenhead, Mary Frances (1787–1858), Roman Catholic nun  

Margaret Mac Curtain

Aikenhead, Mary Frances (1787–1858), Roman Catholic nun, was born on 19 January 1787, in the house adjoining the Aikenhead and Dupont apothecary premises on the corner of Grand Parade and Castle Street in Cork. She was the eldest of four children of Dr David Aikenhead...

Article

Alabaster, William (1568–1640), Church of England clergyman and writer  

Francis J. Bremer

Alabaster, William (1568–1640), Church of England clergyman and writer, was born in Hadleigh, Suffolk, on 27 February 1568, the son of Roger Alabaster (c.1539–1618), a merchant; his mother was Bridget Winthrop (1543–1614), whose father had been master of the Clothworkers and lord of ...

Article

Anderson, Sir Edmund (1530?–1605), judge  

David Ibbetson

Anderson, Sir Edmund (1530?–1605), judge, was born at Flixborough, Lincolnshire, the third son of Edward Anderson, landowner, and his wife, Joan Clayton. He was descended from Northumberland gentry but the family migrated to Lincolnshire before he was born. Anderson is said to have spent a brief period at ...

Article

Anne [née Anne Hyde], duchess of York (1637–1671), first wife of James II  

John Miller

Anne [née Anne Hyde], duchess of York (1637–1671), first wife of James II, was born on 12 March 1637 at Cranbourne Lodge, Windsor Park, the eldest daughter of Sir Edward Hyde (1609–1674), created earl of Clarendon in 1661, and Frances, daughter of ...

Article

Anson, Peter Frederick (1889–1975), monk, writer, and artist  

Michael Yelton

Anson, Peter Frederick (1889–1975), monk, writer, and artist, was born Frederick Charles Anson on 22 August 1889 at 32 South Parade, Southsea, the son of Charles Eustace Anson (1858–1940), subsequently rear-admiral, and his wife, (Maria) Evelyn, née Ross (1863–1904). His father came from a family with strong connections to the ...

Article

Arnold, Thomas (1823–1900), literary scholar and teacher  

Bernard Bergonzi

Arnold, Thomas (1823–1900), literary scholar and teacher, was born on 30 November 1823 at Laleham, Middlesex, the third of the nine surviving children of Dr Thomas Arnold (1795–1842), schoolmaster and clergyman, and his wife, Mary, née Penrose (1791–1873), youngest daughter of the Revd John Penrose...

Article

Baker, David [name in religion Augustine] (1575–1641), Benedictine monk and mystical writer  

David Daniel Rees

Baker, David [name in religion Augustine] (1575–1641), Benedictine monk and mystical writer, was born in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, on 9 December 1575, the thirteenth and youngest child of William Baker (d. 1606), receiver-general of the barony of Abergavenny and recorder of the borough—two positions which at this time were virtually hereditary in the ...

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Baker [née von Sass], Florence Barbara Maria, Lady Baker (1841–1916), traveller in Africa  

Dorothy Middleton

Baker [née von Sass], Florence Barbara Maria, Lady Baker (1841–1916), traveller in Africa, was born on 6 August 1841, probably in a German-speaking region of Hungary. She was the sole survivor of an attack on her home in which the rest of her family died during the disturbances of 1848. Nothing more is known of her antecedents or early life. She is next recorded in January 1859 in the Turkish town of ...

Article

Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921), actress and theatre manager  

George Taylor

Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921), actress and theatre manager, was born on 12 January 1839, probably in Doncaster, the eldest of the six daughters of Robert Pleydell Wilton (1800–1873), a provincial actor, and his wife, Georgina Jane (1818–1866), the daughter of ...

Article

Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite  

Sydney Brandon

Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite, was probably born Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Bulkley or Bulkeley, the sister of the artist James Barry; her paternity is in doubt. From the age of ten she dressed and presented herself as a man, but the woman who laid out her corpse declared that she was female: '...

Article

Baxter, James Keir (1926–1972), poet and publicist  

W. H. Oliver

Baxter, James Keir (1926–1972), poet and publicist, was born on 29 June 1926 at 97 Elm Row, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, the son of Archibald McColl Learmond Baxter (1881–1970), a small farmer descended from immigrant Scottish highlanders, and his wife, Millicent Amiel Macmillan Brown (1888–1984)...

Article

Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent (1872–1898), illustrator  

Alan Crawford

Beardsley, Aubrey Vincent (1872–1898), illustrator, was born on 21 August 1872 at 12 Buckingham Road, Brighton, Sussex, the son of Vincent Paul Beardsley (c.1840–1909), and his wife, Ellen Agnus (1846–1932), the daughter of Surgeon-Major William Pitt and his wife, Susan.

Article

Benlowes, Edward (1602–1676), poet  

P. G. Stanwood

Benlowes, Edward (1602–1676), poet, was born on 12 July 1602, the son of Andrew Bendlowes (c.1582–1612) and Philippa Gage (b. c.1576), who came from a well-known Catholic family of Framfield in Sussex. Edward was the first of their family of five sons and two daughters. The ...

Article

Bennet, Henry, first earl of Arlington (bap. 1618, d. 1685), politician  

Alan Marshall

Bennet, Henry, first earl of Arlington (bap. 1618, d. 1685), politician, was baptized at Little Saxham, Suffolk, on 6 September 1618, the second son of Sir John Bennet (1589–1658), landowner, of Dawley, Harlington, Middlesex, and Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Crofts of Little Saxham...

Article

Bennett, Jack Arthur Walter (1911–1981), literary scholar  

Emrys Jones

revised

Bennett, Jack Arthur Walter (1911–1981), literary scholar, was born on 28 February 1911 at Auckland, New Zealand, the eldest son of Ernest Bennett, foreman shoemaker, and his wife, Alexandra Corrall. Both parents were born in Leicester in the 1880s: Ernest worked in shoe manufacturing, and emigrated to ...

Article

Benson, Robert Hugh (1871–1914), Roman Catholic priest and writer  

C. C. Martindale

revised by Robert Brown

Benson, Robert Hugh (1871–1914), Roman Catholic priest and writer, was the fourth son and youngest child of Edward White Benson (1829–1896) and his wife, Mary Sidgwick (1841–1918), a second cousin. He was born on 18 November 1871 at Wellington College, of which his father was the first headmaster. In 1872 ...

Article

Bentley, John Francis (1839–1902), architect  

Paul Waterhouse

revised by Peter Howell

Bentley, John Francis (1839–1902), architect, was born at Doncaster on 30 January 1839, the third surviving son of Charles Bentley, wine merchant, and his wife, Ann, daughter of John Bacchus of that town. He received his education partly at home and partly at a private school in ...

Article

Bishop, William (c. 1554–1624), Roman Catholic bishop  

Peter Holmes

Bishop, William (c. 1554–1624), Roman Catholic bishop, was born at Brailes, Warwickshire, the eldest son of John Bishop (c.1509–1601) and Helen Onsley (d. 1588). His family was armigerous and came originally from Yorkshire; they remained on the same estate at ...

Article

Blunt [née King], Anne Isabella Noel, suo jure Baroness Wentworth (1837–1917), traveller and breeder of Arab horses  

Rosemary Archer

Blunt [née King], Anne Isabella Noel, suo jure Baroness Wentworth (1837–1917), traveller and breeder of Arab horses, was born on 22 September 1837 in London, the second of the three children, and the only daughter, of William King, first earl of Lovelace...

Article

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen (1840–1922), hedonist, poet, and breeder of Arab horses  

Elizabeth Longford

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, ...