English Armorial by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald

  • Reference
      GB 133 Eng MS 6
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      Extent of unit of description: 150 x 200 mm.  1 volume (70 folios); Medium: vellum.

Scope and Content

The manuscript contains 67 coats emblazoned one on each page. The name and title of the holder is written on the opposite (left hand) page. Consists of English nobility current in 1582 with Queen Elizabeth I's coat of arms at the beginning.

Administrative / Biographical History

The manuscript was created in 1582 as a gift by Robert Glover (1544-1588), then Somerset Herald, to the King of Denmark and Norway, Frederick II. Glover was at the time part of a diplomatic mission to Frederick II seeking to open up the Baltic to English trading interests, taking advantage of the decline of Hanseatic League. As well as the gift of the manuscript, Frederick was also inducted by Glover and the head of the delegation Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby and Garter King-in-Arms, into the Order of the Garter. As a Lutheran, Frederick II (1534-1588) was courted by fellow Protestant Elizabeth in her attempts to find allies and restrict the growing European dominance of the Catholic Hapsburgs. His connections to Britain eventually saw his daughter Anne, marrying in 1589 the then James VI of Scotland, and becoming Queen of England when her husband succeeded Elizabeth in 1603 as James I.

Glover, well-known during his lifetime for his skill as a herald and a genealogist, was one of the most accomplished and prolific heralds in the history of the English College of Arms. Although no work of his was printed in his lifetime, he left an enormous quantity of manuscripts, mainly on heraldic or genealogical subject matter. Many of these works have later been used by subsequent writers, often with scanty or no acknowledgment. Some of Glover's collections were purchased by his friend the lord-treasurer Burghley, who deposited them in the College of Arms, but the vast majority have, over the centuries, been scattered into private collections.

Source: Nigel Ramsay, 'Glover, Robert (1543/4-1588)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press - http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/10833.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands, on behalf of the John Rylands Library, in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, with reference to:

  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Robert Glover;
  • Online New Encyclopedia Britannica, for information on Frederick II of Denmark and Norway;
  • The Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website at http://www.ccel.org/s/schaff/encyc/encyc07/htm/ii.iii.ii.htm for information on Johann Michael von Loen (Last modified on 10/03/2003, last viewed 26/04/2004).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 6).

Custodial History

Formerly part of the Bibliotheca Lindesiana, the Library of the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, from Haigh Hall, Wigan, Lancashire.

The name of Ulrich D. Obrecht (1646-1701), a professor of law at Strasburg, appears at the top of the inside cover with the note that the manuscript was bought in London in 1726 for £135. In 1727[?] it made its way to the Bibliotheca Loeniana of Johann Michael von Loen (1694-1776), a German statesman and Enlightenment author with a historical, aesthetic, literary, political, ethical, and religious subject range. He was appointed a privy councillor and administrative president of the County of Lingen and Tecklenburg by Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia in 1753. The final autograph on the inside cover of the manuscript is that of Professor Friederich Everhard, Freiherr (or Baron) von Mering, of Cologne (1799-1861).

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford, purchased English MSS 5 and 6 for £75 each from the Berlin bookseller Albert Cohn in February 1876. Cohn stated that they belonged to a 'Berlin gentleman'. Source: National Library of Scotland, Acc 9769, Crawford Muniments, Library Letters, 1876, ff. 15 and 58.

Related Material

The JRUL also holds a similiar armorial done by John Philipot, Glover's nephew-in-law and successor (GB 133 Eng MS 5).