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Abell, Adam (1475x80?–1537?), Franciscan friar and chronicler, was born in Salt Preston, Haddingtonshire, but the names and occupations of his parents are not recorded and details of his early life are scant. What little is known is derived largely from his chronicle, ...

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Abrahams, Israel (1858–1925), Jewish scholar and historian, was born on 26 November 1858 at 10 Finsbury Square, London, the second son in the family of four sons and two daughters of Barnett Abrahams (1831–1863) and his wife, Jane, née Brandon (1834–1895). His father was principal of ...

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Israel Abrahams (1858–1925) by Isaac Cohen Liberal Jewish Synagogue

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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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Adair, Patrick (1624?–1693/4), Presbyterian minister and historian, was the son of John Adair of Genoch in Galloway. His family were prominently involved in the Scottish migration to Ulster in the seventeenth century, and he was the nephew of Sir Robert Adair, a major Scots colonizer in ...

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Alban [St Albans], Roger (d. after 1461), genealogist, copyist, and Carmelite friar, was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and joined his order in London. He was ordained acolyte on 17 December 1401 and deacon on 19 December 1405. His name occurs as the copyist on three manuscripts, BL, Harley MS 3138 (dated 1424), Harley MS 211, and Stowe MS 8, and it has also been claimed that he copied BL, Stowe MS 38 and, in 1439, the anti-...

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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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Anderson, James (bap. 1679, d. 1739), Church of Scotland minister and historical writer, was born in Aberdeen and baptized on 19 January 1679 at St Nicholas's Church, Aberdeen, one of at least two sons of James Anderson and Jean Campbell. His brother was ...

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Anderson, Walter (d. 1800), historian and Church of Scotland minister, was educated at the University of Edinburgh where he graduated MA on 18 March 1742. Licensed by the presbytery of Duns on 5 December 1744, he was ordained on 13 May 1756 at ...

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Backhouse, Edward (1808–1879), Quaker minister and historical writer, was born at Darlington on 8 May 1808, the son of Edward and Mary Backhouse. He lived from his youth at Sunderland, where he was partner in the collieries and the bank with which his family had been connected for many years, although he took no active part in the business. He was fond of travel, a good amateur painter, and a student of natural history. He devoted himself chiefly to the promotion of philanthropic and religious causes. He was a generous supporter of various institutions in ...

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Backus, Isaac (1724–1806), Baptist minister and historian in America, was born on 9 January 1724 at Norwich, Connecticut, the fourth of eleven children of Samuel Backus (1694–1740), farmer and ironworks owner, and Elizabeth (1698–1769), daughter of John Tracy and Elizabeth Leffingwell. Both of ...

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Baker, Sir Richard (c. 1568–1645), religious writer and historian, was born at Sissinghurst, Kent, the elder son of John Baker (b. in or before 1531, d. 1604×6), MP in 1554–5 and lawyer, and Catherine, daughter of Reginald Scott, of Scots Hall, Ashford, Kent...

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Bale, John (1495–1563), bishop of Ossory, evangelical polemicist, and historian, was born to parents of humble means at the village of Cove, near Dunwich in Suffolk, on 21 November 1495.

Throughout his life, despite wide travels, Bale continually proclaimed his identity as a ...

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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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Alexander Gordon

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Barclay, Robert (1833–1876), Quaker and ecclesiastical historian, was born on 4 August 1833 at Croydon. He was the younger son of John Barclay (1797–1838), a descendant of the Quaker apologist Robert Barclay, and himself an expert on the early literature of the Society of Friends...

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G. F. Nuttall

revised by Elaine Kaye

Bartlet, James Vernon (1863–1940), ecclesiastical historian, was born on 15 August 1863 in Scarborough, the only son of George Donald Bartlet (1823–1906), an English Presbyterian minister who was also a schoolmaster in Scarborough and in London, and his wife, Susan Robe McNellan, formerly of ...

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Bede [St Bede, B?da, 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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Bedford, Thomas (1707–1773), nonjuring Church of England clergyman and historian, was the second son of Hilkiah Bedford (1663–1724), nonjuring Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Alice (1667–1728), daughter of William Cooper. He was born in Westminster, where his father kept a boarding-house for the scholars of ...