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Aitken, James [alias John the Painter] (1752–1777), radical and arsonist, was born in Edinburgh on 28 September 1752 to George Aitken, a blacksmith, and his wife, Magdalen. The eighth of twelve children, James qualified for admission as an impoverished student to Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh...

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James Aitken (1752–1777) by unknown engraver, pubd 1777 (after W. Cave) ? Copyright The British Museum

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Brodie, William [known as Deacon Brodie] (1746–1788), local politician and thief, was probably born at Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, the eldest of eleven children of Francis Brodie (d. c.1787), a prominent and prosperous local cabinet-maker or wright, whose family had been members of the ...

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Simon Fraser, eleventh Lord Lovat (1667/88–1747) by William Hogarth, pubd 1746 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fraser, Simon, eleventh Lord Lovat (1667/8–1747), Jacobite conspirator, army officer, and outlaw, was the second but first surviving son of Thomas Fraser (1631–1699), sometimes styled 'of Beaufort' (the third son of Hugh Fraser, seventh Lord Lovat), and Sybilla Macleod (d...

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John Hawley the elder (c. 1350–1408) memorial brass by kind permission of Becky Wright Photos; St Saviour's Church, Dartmouth

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Hawley, John, the elder (c. 1350–1408), pirate, merchant, and administrator, of Dartmouth, Devon, was the younger son of the first John Hawley who settled in Dartmouth some time before 1340. Hawley was elected mayor for the first time in 1374—the beginning of a career which would make him the richest and most important man in ...

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Helliker [Hilliker], Thomas [called the Trowbridge Martyr] (1783–1803), woollen-cloth worker and machine breaker, was the sixth child of Thomas Hilliker (1745–1819) and Elizabeth Ebsworth (1749–1831); he was born at Horningsham, Wiltshire, and baptized there on 17 May 1783. Like his elder brothers ...

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Ludd, Ned (fl. 1811–1816), mythical machine-breaker, was the name signed by the authors of letters threatening the destruction of knitting frames. Luddism emerged initially in the small villages of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire (the address affixed to some of the letters was Sherwood Forest...

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Mellor, George (c. 1790–1813), machine breaker and assassin, lived at Longroyd Bridge, Huddersfield, where he was employed by his stepfather, John Wood. His parentage is unknown as are the exact date and place of his birth, but he is presumed to have been born in ...

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Towle, James (1780–1816), stocking knitter and machine breaker, was a native of Basford, Nottingham. Almost nothing is known about his private life except that he had a wife and four children. Luddism—attacking machines in the name of ‘King Ludd’—had broken out in the cloth-finishing trade of the ...

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White, Samuel [called Siamese White] (c. 1650–1689), official in the Siamese service and pirate, was probably born in the west of England and was probably a member of a Bristol merchant family. He was the younger brother of George White (fl....