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John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902) by Eveleen Myers, 1890s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Acton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg, first Baron Acton (1834–1902), historian and moralist, was born at Naples on 10 January 1834, the only child of Sir Ferdinand Richard Edward Acton, seventh baronet (1801–1837), and Marie Louise Pelline de Dalberg (1812–1860), the French-bred heir of ...

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Allanson, Peter [name in religion Athanasius] (1804–1876), historian and abbot of Glastonbury, was born on 11 June 1804 in Castle Street, Holborn, London, the second son of William Walter Allanson and his wife, Mary Ann Barber, from Lambeth. The family was Roman Catholic and ...

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Bale, Robert (d. 1503), prior of Burnham Norton and historian, was born 3 miles from Walsingham, Norfolk, and joined the Carmelites at their house at Burnham Norton in the same county. He was a great lover of the liturgy and history of his order, which is reflected in his three known works. He composed a short chronicle of the Carmelites (...

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Barbour, John (c. 1330–1395), ecclesiastic and verse historian, was author of the Old or Middle Scots poem The Bruce. His birth is usually placed about 1325, as much to give him a toehold in Robert I's reign as for anything his career tells us, and a slightly later date seems likelier. The trade name he inherited suggests that his father was a barber, and ...

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Bede [St Bede, Bæda, known as the Venerable Bede] (673/4–735), monk, historian, and theologian, in his Historia ecclesiastica (731) outlines his own life. Born in northern Northumbria, his relations put him in the monastery of Wearmouth at the age of seven. He transferred to the nearby sister house of ...

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Belson, John (c. 1625–1704), historian and religious controversialist, was born at Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, the eldest son of Augustin Belson (c.1606–1684) and Elizabeth Cursonn (b. c.1606). The Belsons were an ancient Roman Catholic family with estates in Brill and Aston Rowant...

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Bever, John [John of London] (d. 1311?), Benedictine monk and historical writer, may have been a Londoner—in 1310 the archdeacon of Westminster was ordered to publish the excommunication for contumacy of 'Brother John of London, called Le Bevere' (Gransden, Continuations, 480, n. 40...

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Birchington, Stephen (d. 1407), Benedictine monk and historical writer, doubtless took his name from Birchington on the Isle of Thanet, Kent. He became a monk of the cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, in 1382. In the late 1390s he was one of the priory's two treasurers; in the opening years of the fifteenth century he held the senior post of warden of the priory's manors; and in around 1404–5 he served as the prior's chaplain. He died on 21 August 1407, presumably at ...

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Bower, Archibald (1686x8–1766), religious controversialist and historical writer, was born either on 17 January 1686 or on 17 January 1687 or in September 1688, at or near Dundee. His parents' names are unknown. According to his own account he was descended from an ancient family that had for several hundred years been possessed of an estate in ...

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Bower [Bowmaker], Walter (1385–1449), abbot of Inchcolm and historian, was born at Haddington. Nothing is known of his parentage, though he may have been related to a John Bowmaker who served as a bailie and custumar at Haddington in the late 1390s. In 1436 he was represented at the Roman court by a ...

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Bridgett, Thomas Edward (1829–1899), Roman Catholic priest and historian, was born at Derby on 20 January 1829, in a house attached to the mill owned by his father, a silk manufacturer. He was the third son of the seven children of Joseph Bridgett...

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Brockie, Donald Andrew [name in religion Marianus] (1687–1755), Benedictine monk and historian, was born at Edinburgh on 2 December 1687, the son of George Brockie, a protestant, and Isabel (née Farquharson), a Catholic. The family moved to Arbroath, where George, a lawyer, was notary public and clerk of regality, and became a Catholic before his death in 1708. ...

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Burke, Thomas (1709/10–1776), historian and Roman Catholic bishop of Ossory, was born in Dublin of gentry stock from near Loughrea, co. Galway. The names of his father and mother have not been preserved.

No account of Burke's early education has survived. In these years the penal code was rigorously enforced, although even then the Dominicans in ...

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Cantilupe [Cantelupe], Nicholas (d. 1441), Carmelite friar and historian, was born in Wales, the son of William Cantilupe and a descendant of the noble Cantilupe family. Having joined the Carmelite order in Bristol in his youth, he studied at Cambridge, where he completed a doctorate in theology ...

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Capgrave, John (1393–1464), prior of Bishop's Lynn, theologian, and historian, was born on 21 April 1393. Nothing is known of his family, unless an older John Capgrave, who took the degree of doctor of theology at Oxford in 1390, and was also an Augustinian friar, was his uncle. Some early biographers, notably ...

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Carew [Carve], Thomas (b. c. 1590, d. in or after 1672), Roman Catholic priest and historian, was born in Mobernan, co. Tipperary. His father's name is unknown, but his mother was a member of the Butlers of Ormond and he enjoyed the patronage of this powerful aristocratic clan. He spoke Irish, and regardless of his anxiety to stress his Anglo-Norman ancestry, he appears to have come from a Gaelicized background. He became a priest in the diocese of ...

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Carruthers, James (1759–1832), historian and Roman Catholic priest, was born at New Abbey, Kirkcudbrightshire, the son of Andrew Carruthers and Lucy Rigg. His brother was Andrew Carruthers, vicar apostolic of the eastern district. He was educated for six years at the Scots College...

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Cirencester, Richard (b. before 1340, d. 1400), historian and Benedictine monk, was a historical writer and monk of the abbey of St Peter at Westminster. His surname may have been a toponym, indicating his place of origin, which he assumed on entering the monastery in 1354–5, or the established name of his family which happened to be of this kind. ...

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Coggeshall, Ralph of (fl. 1207–1226), historian and abbot of Coggeshall, was a monk of the Cistercian abbey of Coggeshall, Essex. Abbot from 1207 until his resignation, because of illness, in 1218, he was the major contributor to, and may have been the sole author of, the ...