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Patrick Bell (1799–1869) by unknown engraver, pubd 1868 (after E. Strachan) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...

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Blackadder, Adam (b. 1659, d. in or after 1696), merchant and writer on covenanting, was probably born in the parish of Troqueer, near Dumfries, the second son of John Blackadder (1615/1623?–1686), the minister there, and his wife, Janet Haining (d. 1688). Among his brothers were ...

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Matheson, Hugh Mackay (1821–1898), overseas trader and Presbyterian lay supporter, was born on 23 April 1821 in Edinburgh, son of Duncan Matheson (1784–1838), advocate and afterwards presiding magistrate of Edinburgh, and his wife, Annabella (1796×9–1829), daughter of Thomas Farquharson of Howden. He had an elder brother and two sisters. He was educated in ...

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Roberts, Evan John (1878–1951), preacher and miner, was born on 8 June 1878 in Island House, Bwlchymynydd, near Loughor, Glamorgan, Wales, the ninth child of fourteen children born to Henry Roberts (b. 1844), a collier, and his wife, Hannah Edwards (b...

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Russell, William (1740–1818), merchant and reformer, was born in Birmingham on 11 November 1740, the eldest son of Thomas Russell (1696–1760), ironmaster and merchant, and his wife, Frances (1713–1767), daughter of Thomas Pougher of Leicester. He was educated for a mercantile life. There were several ...

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Shaw, Christian (b. c. 1685, d. in or after 1737), witch accuser and thread manufacturer, was the daughter of the laird of Bargarran, Renfrewshire, whose first name is unrecorded. According to a contemporary account (A True Narrative), when she was eleven years old she began to experience alarming symptoms, not only suffering mysterious fits, during which her body became as stiff as a board, her belly swelled, and her eyes rolled back into her head, but also vomiting balls of hair, pins, and hot embers. She had hallucinations too. The devil himself reportedly appeared before her and to the amazement of all beholders she engaged in complicated theological arguments with him, citing biblical texts with surprising accuracy. She also had lengthy discussions with a series of invisible tormentors whom she described as witches. They nipped and bit her, she said, pointing to the marks they had left. Questioned as to their identity, she named various local men and women, and this was to have catastrophic consequences....