William Camden: Historical armorial of England

Scope and Content

A collection, probably autograph, of five hundred and ten coats of arms in colour. The entries are arranged chronologically, starting with William I and ending with James I. Genealogical notes and other particulars have been added in most instances. The majority of the book was compiled around 1598, but there are two coats of arms of James I that probably date from the year of his succession (1603). There is catalogue entry describing the collection on the inside cover.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Camden (1551-1623), antiquary and historian, was born at the Old Bailey, London, on 2 May 1551. He was educated at Christ's Hospital, St Paul's School and Oxford University. After a period travelling the country collecting archaeological material, Camden became usher of Westminster School in 1575, and headmaster in 1593. He continued his antiquarian tours during the school vacations. Although he was a layman, Camden was prebendary of Salisbury, 1589-1623. He was also Clarenceux king of arms, 1597-1623. His major work, Britannia, was first published in 1586. Camden died at Chislehurst, near London, on 9 November 1623.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

Purchased from the executors of G.M. Macfarlane-Grieve, 1975.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on William Camden in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, vol. III (London, 1908), pp. 729-737.

Other Finding Aids


Custodial History

The volume was formerly the property of William A. Macfarlane-Grieve Esq., whose bookplate is on the inside cover.