Armory: A-F

Scope and Content

Armory A-F, probably in the the hand of William Cole, written before 1782, 98 folios. The volume comprises part of a list of families, with a summary description of their coats of arms, and in some cases the county to which they belong. The list is written upon leaves apparently torn from another book and pasted in. The first name is Alton, the last Feilding. From fo. 37 to the end of the volume is blank. On fo. 1 is the following note: 'Having compared this handwriting with that in certain MSS written by Wm Cole F.S.A. in the British Museum (especially with a copy made by him of an heraldic book of Wm Smith) I think it quite probable that this MS was written by him. Ralph Griffin 5 Aug. 1922'. Inside the front cover is the bookplate of Ralph Griffin, F.S.A., St John's College.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Cole (1714-1782), Cambridge antiquary, was born at Little Abington, near Baberham, on 3 August 1714. He attended private schools in Cambridge, Linton and Saffron Waldon, before spending five years at Eton. He entered Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1733, transferring to King's College in 1736 (B.A., 1736; M.A., 1740). Cole was rector of Hornsey, Middlesex, 1749-1751, although he chose not to reside there, then rector of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, 1753-1767. He moved to Waterbeach, near Cambridge, in 1767, and to Milton in 1770, before becoming non-resident vicar of Burnham, Buckinghamshire, 1774-1782. He was made a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1747. Cole died at Milton on 16 December 1782. He bequeathed his manuscript collection, which consisted of material relating to Cambridge and its university, Huntingdonshire and Buckinghamshire, to the British Museum.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Ralph Griffin, 1922.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Cole in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. IV (London, 1908), pp. 734-737.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.