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Blood, Thomas (1617/18–1680), adventurer and spy, was born at Sarney, co. Meath. His early life is obscure, but it was later claimed that his father (who was possibly Neptune Blood) was a blacksmith and ironworker, 'serious, honest and of no inferior credit' (...

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Thomas Blood (1617/1818–1680) by unknown artist The Pepys Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge

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Cadogan, William (1601–1661), soldier and settler in Ireland, was born in Cardiff on 5 February 1601, the eldest son of Henry Cadogan of Llanbedr Felffre, Pembrokeshire, and Catherine, daughter of Thomas Stradling of St Donats Castle and Merthyr Mawr, Glamorgan. Although a Welshman by birth and upbringing, ...

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Cavendish, Henry (1550–1616), soldier and traveller, was the eldest son of Sir William Cavendish (1508–1557) of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, administrator, and his third wife, Elizabeth [see Talbot, Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury (1527–1608)], noblewoman, known as Bess of Hardwick, daughter of John Hardwick...

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Champion de Crespigny, Sir Claude, fourth baronet (1847–1935), military adventurer and sportsman, was born in Chelsea on 20 April 1847, the eldest son of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, third baronet (1818–1868), of Wivenhoe Hall, Essex, and his wife, Mary, second daughter of ...

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Dartasso, Janico (d. 1426), adventurer, was born in Navarre, of Basque descent; he is first mentioned in 1367–8, while serving in the garrison of Cherbourg, then in the possession of Charles d'évreux, king of Navarre. It seems likely that he remained at Cherbourg...

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Devereux, Walter, first earl of Essex (1539–1576), nobleman and adventurer, was born on 16 September 1539 at Chartley, Staffordshire, the eldest son of Sir Richard Devereux and his wife, Dorothy, daughter of George Hastings, first earl of Huntingdon. Sir Richard, who was created a knight of the Order of the Garter on 20 February 1548, died the same year, in the lifetime of his father, ...

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Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex (1539–1576) by unknown artist, 1575? [after original, 1572] ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fawcett, Percy Harrison (b. 1867, d. in or after 1925), soldier and explorer, was born on 31 August 1867 at Devonia, Torquay, Devon, the son of Edward Boyd Fawcett (1839–1884), of independent means, a noted amateur cricketer who had played for Cambridge University...

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Fenton, Edward (d. 1603), soldier and sea captain, was the son of Henry Fenton of Stretton-le-Steeple, Nottinghamshire, and Cicely Beaumont of Coleorton, Leicestershire; the poet Sir Geoffrey Fenton was his brother. At an unknown date between 1578 and 1582 he married Thomasina, daughter of ...

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Gilbert, Sir Humphrey (1537–1583), explorer and soldier, was born in Greenway, near Dartmouth, Devon between January and May 1537, the second son of Otho Gilbert of Compton, Devon (d. 1547), landowner, and Katherine, daughter of Sir Philip Champernoun of Modbury, Devon. Following ...

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Lane, Sir Ralph (d. 1603), soldier and colonist, was of unknown parentage and education. He ranked in that restless corps of Tudor wanderers who schemed the advance of English interests in Ireland and America even as they chased fortunes for themselves. Nineteenth-century scholars presumed that he came from ...

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Gregor MacGregor (1786–1845) by Samuel William Reynolds senior (after Simon Jacques Rochard) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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MacGregor, Gregor (1786–1845), soldier and adventurer, was the grandson of Gregor MacGregor Drummond who had enlisted in the forerunner of the Black Watch (then Sempill's Highlanders), served abroad with distinction, and been instrumental in obtaining the repeal of legislation which had outlawed the clan ...

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Mercadier (d. 1200), adventurer and mercenary, rose from obscure Proven?al origins to become a general and intimate of Richard I. He receives his first mention in October 1183 fighting for Richard against rebellious lords in Aquitaine following the death of Henry, the Young King...

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Michelborne, Sir Edward (c. 1562–1609), soldier and adventurer, was the eldest son of Edward Michelborne (d. 1587), landowner, of Clayton, Sussex, and his first wife, Jane, daughter of Thomas Farnfold (or Parsons) of Steyning, Sussex. He is not to be confused with his kinsman, the Latin poet ...

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Montmorency [Mount Maurice], Hervey de (fl. c. 1135–c. 1189), adventurer, became involved in Ireland through his association with his nephew, Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare (c. 1130–1176), earl of Pembroke and lord of Striguil (Strongbow). Their relationship stemmed from the marriage of ...

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Morgan [Morgan Wolff], Walter (b. c. 1550, d. in or after 1604), soldier and map maker, probably originated from Monmouthshire, where a Morgan Wollph is recorded as the earl of Pembroke's tenant in 1583. His parentage and education are unknown. He supplied some autobiographical details in a letter to ...

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North, Sir John (c. 1550–1597), soldier and traveller, was the eldest son of Roger North, second Baron North (1531–1600), of Kirtling, Cambridgeshire, and Winifred (d. 1578), daughter of Richard Rich, first Baron Rich, and widow of Sir Henry Dudley. The second Lord North...

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Palmer, Henry Spencer (1838–1893), soldier and surveyor, third and youngest son of Colonel John Freke Palmer of the Madras staff corps of the East India Company's army, and his wife, Jane (d. 1838), daughter of John James of Truro and sister of ...