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Britannia, Ralph Brooke, and the Representation of Privilege in Elizabethan England [*].

The fourth edition of Britannia (1594) contained a marked increase in the representation of the propertied classes. The names of landowners, new families as well as old, were increased by approximately three hundred over the third edition of 1590. The fourth edition also contained a new index -- "Barones et Illustriores Familiae" -- which, together with the new names, registered first Camden's awareness of the changing character of Elizabethan society and second his qualifications as heraldic historian. The significance of this is not entirely clear until it is seen that the changes in Britannia came at a time of controversy and declining esteem in the College of Arms. Camden's authority in heraldry of which the 1594 Britannia provided convincing evidence, together with his association with the advocates of armorial reform (Fulke Greville, Sir Edward Hoby, and Baron Burghley as well as the queen) made him a logical choice, over Ralph Brooke, for elevation to Clarenceux King of Arms in October 1597. Brooke's q uarrel with Camden was part and parcel of the College's troubles and was seen at the time as an instance of the jealous animosity for which Brooke was notorious. One of the ironies of Brooke's attack is that it was symptomatic of the conditions -- rivalries and jurisdictional disputes among the heralds, for instance -- that advocates of reform were attempting to remedy.

The main elements of theme and structure in Britannia were established in the first edition of 1586 and remained unchanged in the five subsequent editions published in Camden's lifetime. [1] Britannia grew by incremental additions in each of its three main divisions from the octavos, duodecimos, and quartos of the early editions to the sumptuous folio of the sixth, which, with its superb maps by Saxton and Norden, was one of the supreme achievements of Elizabethan historical writing. However, the texture and substance of Britannia, if not its structure, were dramatically altered in the third edition of 1590 by the addition of the names of some 250 of the leading families among the propertied classes and by the addition of another 300 or so in the fourth edition of 1594. The representation of the propertied classes increased in each new edition of Britannia, but the increases in the third and fourth came in remarkably greater numbers than those in earlier or later editions. [2] These additions seem notable eno ugh to suggest that Camden had revised his assessment of the place and importance of the leading county families in English society, and they signal, as well, an altered conception of the relative proportions of Britannnids constituent elements.

Camden had seen that the representation of Elizabethan society could not be entirely comprehensive unless it encompassed the phenomenon of an unprecedentedly expanded sphere of privilege. He was aware that he was witnessing widespread and rapid social change, and, like others, he sought to gauge its dimensions, although it was impossible for anyone to guess with any exactness how the framework of society's degrees was being rebuilt or under what pressures the concept of privilege was being transformed. Although he saw that privilege was a dynamic feature of contemporary society as well as a historical phenomenon, Camden sought to dissect and describe it by using a frame of reference that was in essential respects feudal and thus quickly becoming outmoded owing to the pressures of new names and new money. [3]

An index under the heading "Barones et Illustriores familiae" was another new feature of the fourth edition. It contained 300 illustrious names, and its effect was to formalize Britannids newly enlarged representation of leading families. The new index served the purpose of accrediting one of Britannids hitherto unacknowledged elemental features. It was not only a guide to the leading families; it was Camden's way of asserting his authority in representing their descents, their coats of arms, and the tenure and conveyance of their properties. By so accenting Britannia's representation of the privileged, Camden two things: he brought Britannia into alignment with the changing character of the Elizabethan polity, as he saw it, and he turned it into an instrument of social appraisal. Britannia was thus made to reflect social change and to register the ensuing adjustments in the assessment of relative social standing. The 1594 Britannia, the one with the new index, was also the edition that got Camden entangled in social politics, owing to Ralph Brooke's decision to publicly censure it, and it therefore raises important questions relating to Camden's professional connections and aspirations. Brooke (York Herald 1593-1624) was already notorious as an instigator of conflict among the heralds, and the attack he launched against Camden was seen by contemporaries, most notably Augustine Vincent, as of a piece with feuds he had started with others, including Robert Cooke, William Segar, and the Dethicks. His dispute with Camden, to which I shall turn in a moment, is an episode in what amounts to a narrative of continuous controversy in the Tudor College of Arms, exacerbated in the 1590's by a dramatic increase in grants of coats of arms and the heightened rivalries the armorial explosion generated. Brooke was incensed by the fact that Camden, an outsider, having displayed extraordinary qualifications as a historian of privilege, won appointment as Clarenceux, to which Brooke himself aspired. [4]

One of several questions raised by the 1594 Britannia is whether Camden already -- that is, prior to 1594 -- had reason to think a place in the College of Arms was something he might contemplate with some realistic degree of expectation. Was he, in fact, seeking to advance himself professionally, as Brooke supposed he was doing, by displaying his qualifications for heraldic office in the 1594 Britannia? Was he already cultivating the connections that eventually led to his elevation to Richmond Herald and then Clarenceux King of Arms? Camden had had influential sponsors since his Oxford years, and the first edition of Britannia (1586) had brought its author extraordinary renown in England and abroad, particularly as one whose scholarship was a tribute to his country. [5] By the spring of 1594, his talents had attracted the notice of Queen Elizabeth, who instructed Dean Goodman to see to his admission to the Dean and Prebends' table in Westminster. [6] His fortunes were dramatically on the rise. Moreover, Camd en had to have known that the conspicuous display of illustrious names, including many of those of his contemporaries, in the 1594 Britannia would invite comparison with works by members of the College of Arms -- Segar, for instance, and Glover, whose records and papers were still in manuscript -- to say nothing of the scrutiny this would invite from the emulous among the gentry and nobility. With few exceptions, authors of books on arms and honor in England had been heralds; until the second half of the sixteenth century, which saw the beginnings of county surveys and perambulations, assessment of the social structure was almost exclusively the domain of the College of Arms. This makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that Camden was displaying credentials that would have to be appraised in the light of standards that governed the contents of heraldic documents. If so, then he was seeking to be acknowledged as one proficient in heraldry at a time when the College of Arms was held in extraordinarily low esteem and at a time, moreover, when the queen and Burghley wanted it known that great importance was being attached to the strict maintenance of social degrees. [7]

On the face of it, Camden's coronation as Clarenceux seems, therefore, altogether likely. It also invites further speculation, particularly on the bearing Britannia may have had on Camden's appointment to one of the three highest offices in the College of Arms. Assuming that Britannia was instrumental in Camden's advancement, as it almost certainly had to have been, the question of his portrayal of the privileged classes becomes a matter of considerably pressing interest. How, exactly, are privilege and social distinction handled in Britannia? And for what aspects of their representation might Greville, among others, have been led to assist in Camden's rise? Did the heraldic dimension of Britannia bear upon Queen Elizabeth's decision to give Camden the honor of Clarenceux? These questions are worth raising because their answers will help to clarify implications of Brooke's quarrel with Camden and, at least in part, to shed light on Camden's early relations with the College of Arms. They touch upon other matt ers too: the evolution of Britannids formal character, for instance, as one edition followed another, and, finally, the conceptual dimension of privilege and the somewhat controversial question of its representation in Elizabethan England. [8] The representation of privilege in Britannia and the representation of England's topography are intricately related in ways that are not wholly legible in the 1594 Britannia because it lacked the county maps that were added in 1607. By illustrating the geographical spread of manorial properties, the maps graphically bring into focus the vestiges of feudal customs in Elizabethan England and therefore provide an illuminating commentary on the social structure portrayed in the edtion of 1594. [9] The principal topographical fact embodied in Britannia is that the foundation of authority -- in centralized London as in the lordship, for instance, of Alnwick or that of Glamorgan or Chartley -- is territorial.

Britannia was meant from the beginning to be a mirror of the governing classes as well as a territorial descriptio and a survey of ancient cities. The editions of 1586 and 1587 contained a fair representation of the most distinguished of the leading dynasties (the likes of Percy, Neville, and Stafford, for instance), as well as samplings of the most notable among the county families of name (Godolphin and Arundel of Cornwall, Shirley of Sussex, Norris of Oxfordshire, and Zouch, Beaumont, and Grey of Leicestershire, among many others). Moreover, in all editions of Britannia, each county's perambulation closes with an abbreviated baronage illustrating the creation of peerages and tracing their descents. Histories of dynasties are pieced together in these compendious abridgments. Extraordinary nobles are singled out, and in some cases their privileges and honors are listed. Camden corrected and enlarged these as Britannia evolved from earlier editions to later, and as he did so he assembled not only a catalogue of titles but what amounted to a comprehensive history in some fifty parts -- one for all but a few of the counties -- of the uppermost degrees of England's ruling classes. Since rule presupposed landed acquisitions, Britannia illustrated at the same time the geographical distribution of England's landed wealth and the shaping influence of manorial property in England's social and political history.

What Camden had grasped is that, between the Norman Conquest and the closing years of Elizabeth's reign, England was ruled by a hierarchy of dynastic entities that were both interconnected and distinguished by orders of precedence. [10] Rule and precedence were closely related, and these powers were bound to the landed estate by conventions whose histories, as Camden saw, antedated the Norman Conquest. Camden grasped two important features of the history and structure of English society: first, that by dividing English lands among his leading generals, William the Conqueror transformed the manorial estate into a system of rule in which power and authority were fragmented along territorial as well as tenurial lines; and, second, that the estates of Norman magnates -- dismantled and reassembled through attainder, the failure of male heirs, marriage, and buying and selling -- endured in greater and lesser parcels in Elizabeth's England. Honor flowed from the Normans; to be vetusta and praeclarissima -- high mar ks of distinction -- ordinarily meant being able to prove Norman connections. Cecil, Sydney, Howard, Seymour, and Russell, as heirs of estates that had Norman origins, were products of the history of property, and their holdings were symptomatic of the continuity of English society. These simple truths are present in the baronages that conclude the county tours in all editions of Britannia, and in the descents of manors that Camden traces in his perambulations. Camden had grasped the historical logic in representing privilege on a topographical framework. Moreover, by tracing the distribution of landed wealth inside England's national boundaries, in effect enlarging the sphere of history by encompassing the estates of leading families, Camden appropriated England's institutional past. Feudal tenures, obligations, honors, and liberties are portrayed in Britannia as elements of the social constitution. The representation of privilege is nationalized.

The Conqueror's generals, as Camden found in Domesday Book, became tenants in chief of estates in which they ruled under a system of varying degrees of authority and sovereignty, and these estates served as foundations and building blocks of dynasties that rose in later eras. A principal objective, in other words, of Camden's portrayal of privilege is to establish firmly the Norman foundation of social distinction. Moving in his narrative perambulations from Cornwall and Devonshire into Wessex, the Home Counties, the Midlands, Wales, and the North, Camden therefore named tenants who held under William I and described their holdings: in the southern regions, the Conqueror's half brother Robert Earl of Moriton (who held Pevensey Castle, among other properties), the Conqueror's brother Odo (Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent), William Fitz-Osborne, and Walter de Euereux; in the Midlands, Ferrers, Stafford, Grantmaisnil, and d'Abtot; in the Welsh Marches, Roger de Montgomery, Hugh Lupus, and Robert Fitz-Hamon; an d, in the North, Ranulph de Mechines and his brother Galfridus. Camden noted that Montgomery was granted more lands than any of the others and built castles at Montgomery, Ludlow, and Shrewsbury, [11] and that Hugh Lupus was given the county palatine and earldom of Chester to rule as freely by his sword as the Conqueror by his crown (Hh 4v). The country of Monmouthshire, grievously wasted at the first coming in of the Normans, was ruled by Hamelin Balun, Hugh Lacy, Walter and Gilbert de Clare, and Brien of Wallingford, lords to whom the Conqueror granted possession of all the lands they could acquire in these parts (Ii 7v). The Conqueror gave Berkhamsted to the Earl of Moriton, and he gave Buckenham, a manor on the river Waveney in Norfolk, to William d'Aubigny, who built a castle there (Aa 5v); Robert Fitz-Hamon held Bristol in fealty (M 8v); Gilbert Maminot received Deptford (Q 8r); Robert de Todeney received the town and barony of Flamsted (X 3v); William de Breose, from whom lords of Gower and Brecknock w ere descended, acquired Brember Castle in Sussex (Q 3v); and to his nephew Alan Earl of Bretagne in Armorica the Conqueror gave all the lands of Earl Eadwin in Yorkshire. A second tier of Norman luminaries arose in the period following the Conquest. William Rufus gave William de Warren the governorship and the earldom of Surrey, and Isabella, daughter of Gilbert Strongbow, brought the title Earl of Pembroke to her husband William Marshal, so-called because his ancestors were hereditary marshals (Kk 5v).

These, in Camden's view, were society's territorial and dynastic antecedents. The structures that thence arose were built of landed holdings descending in lines determined by inheritance laws. Camden constructed not a genealogy but a topography of privilege in Britannia by identifying manorial properties among England's towns and villages and linking them with owners through whose hands they passed as estates were formed and combined with or subsumed by others. In effect, he fashioned a heraldic gloss on England's placenames. Furthermore, because most placenames, then as now, were names of manorial properties or parcels thereof, they served as a framework for interconnected family histories. Camden therefore named past as well as present owners, in many instances listing their principal seats and burial places, distinguishing branches of families (Scrope of Bolton and Scrope of Masham, for instance, as well as the several branches of Carew and Cary), and sorting out marital connections that had helped to enh ance or diminish estates or to improve social standing.

Camden's Britain is therefore a region of manorial properties that can be read as a narrative of the rise and decline of families of greater and lesser standing. Its social structure is inscribed, as it were, in its topography. The ways of Cornwall and Devonshire, for instance, led to possessions of Arundel, Godolphin, Edgcumb, Carew, and Courtenay, and those of the Midlands to the houses of Ferrers, Stafford, Beaumont, Hastings, Manners, Hatton, Stanley, and Zouch. The names of Scrope, Dacre, Darcy, Clifford, and Heron, as well as Percy, were linked to the towns, castles, and baronies of the north, and Corbet, Breose, and Mortimer, as well as Herbert, to those of the Welsh Marches. Camden's procedure is notably well illustrated by the entry for Byndon in Dorsetshire. Standing on the river Frome near Woodford, formerly a Stafford possession, Byndon came into possession of Thomas Howard when he married an heir to the estates of de Novoburgo, who derived their pedigree from a younger son of Henry, the first ea rl of Warwick of the Norman line. This Thomas Howard (created Viscount Howard of Byndon by Queen Elizabeth) was the second son of the second duke of Norfolk, and the heiress whom he married was a daughter of Baron Marney, whose estates encompassed, among others, the manors of Winfrott and Owres, gifts of King Henry I (L 3r). Effingham in Surrey was another Howard possession. Its owner, William, the eldest son of the second Duke of Norfolk, was created Baron Howard of Effingham by Queen Mary and later, under Elizabeth, rose to be Lord High Admiral, Chamberlain, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Earl of Nottingham. Tracing the course of the river Waveney in Norfolk, Camden identifies Kenninghall as the principal seat of the Howards, and in the baronage at the close of the tour of Surrey he notes that the Howards, descended from Mowbray, were won over to Richard III when he created, on the same day, John Howard Duke of Norfolk and his son Thomas Earl of Surrey (Aa 5v; Q v).

The estates of leading families are faithfully portrayed in Britannia because they are described not as territorially unified entities but as fragments lying scattered about the hills, rivers, and villages. This is in one sense an obvious consequence of Britannia's narrative mode of topographical description, but, in another, of Camden's fidelity to historical reality. The great estates, as a matter of fact, were territorially fragmented. [12] Howard possessions therefore appear in manorial profiles in the tours of Dorsetshire, Surrey, and Norfolk; other notable estates were built of properties similarly widespread. The estates of the Norman dynasty of Clare, as well as those of families who improved themselves by marital connections therewith (Marshal, Fitzwalter, Ratcliff), lay in pieces in Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Monmouthshire, Surrey, Kent, and Gloucestershire. These estates had their origin in the Norman Gilbert, whose heirs took the name of a Suffolk village on the river Stour, a village that commands Camden's notice as he approaches its demolished castle standing a short distance from the fen known as Stourmeer. This place has honored a noble family with its name, and, in turn, it has been honored by its connection with royalty:

To the south, I saw the river Stour soon after its rise form the great lake known as Stourmere; it quickly gathers itself within its banks and runs first by the noble village of Clare, which, in addition to a ruined castle, gave its name to the most honorable family of the Clares, descended from the Norman Gilbert, and imparted the title of duke to Lionel the son of King Edward III, who, marrying a wife from this family, was given the title duke of Clarence by his father. [13]

It is, of course, imperative to bear in mind that Britannia is a comprehensive descriptio -- a book of placenames grouped inside political boundaries and linked in a series of perambulations -- and that Camden's aim was to shape a collection of documentary and archaeological evidences into a speculum or theatrum that would portray Britain's territorial character. Britannia is best described as an annotated itinerary, which is what Tudor and Stuart perambulations almost always were. [14] Thus, inevitably, Camden portrayed important men and women and their possessions and offspring not for intrinsic reasons but because these items bore decisively on the matter of England's customs and institutions. Following in Camden's footsteps, one retraces not only the formation of estates and the rise and fall of families, elements of the social fabric that may be reconstructed in varying degrees of accuracy and completeness from Britannid's topographical glosses and local profiles, but also the pervasive influence of a s ystem of land tenure that was instituted to promote cohesiveness among widespread' properties known as manors. Individual property owners and dynastic families ought, therefore, to be regarded not as primary but as secondary entities; the primary entities -- the rubrics -- in Camden's narrative perambulations are the names of manorial properties.

Arriving, for instance, at a place in Dorsetshire near the hills of Hameldon and Hodde, both fortified with triple rampires, Camden describes the village of Okeford as the chief barony of Robert Fitz-Payne, to whom it was given by Edward III. Having married a daughter of Guido de Brient, Fitz-Payne died without male heirs, leaving his barony and titles to descend to the baronial family of Poynings, and at last, again owing to a failure of male heirs, to end up as a holding of the earls of Northumberland in the reign of Henry VI (L 5v). The nearby village of Kingston-Lacy, in an analogous series of transactions, ended up as a parcel of the house of Lancaster, having been granted by Henry I to the Norman earls of Leicester (L 5r). Salisbury was part of the Conqueror's grant to Walter d'Euereux, whose son Edward, first earl of Salisbury, took possession of it and then was killed after returning from a pilgrimage to S. James of Compostella, his lands and earldom descending to Lacy and Montacute and at last becom ing a parcel of the estate of the Earl of Warwick (N 4r).

The unit of valuation known as the manor, in other words, lay at the center of provincial societies. Camden found it an indispensable implement for uncovering the continuity of the nation's social history because, as an enduring medium of exchange linking past and present, it enabled the historian to follow shifting centers of power and influence. Newbury, for instance, standing on the river Kenet in Berkshire, was held by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and his successors, marshals of England, until Roger Bigod lost the honor of earl marshal together with his possessions and then won them back (P v). Hertford, a property of the Norman Clares and then of the Fitz-Walters, was granted by Edward III to John of Gaunt, so that it, too, ultimately formed a part of the Lancastrian estates (V 8v). Near Badesley in Warwickshire on a lake formed by several little streams stood Robert Dudley's Kennilworth, constructed by Geoffrey de Clinton, Chamberlain to King Henry I, a possession subsequently of Simon de Montfor t, and then of the crown and the house of Lancaster (Ff2r). Pomfret was given to Hildebert Lacy and then lost by a desdendant in the rebellion against Henry I; it became the possession, at last, of Richard Fitz-Eustach, Constable of Chester, whose posterity took the name of Lacy and were honored with the earldom of Lincoln (Mm 4v).

Notes on the origins, principal seats, and marital connections of the Montacutes, earls of Salisbury, are found in the entry for Monacute; of the Mohuns, in the entry for Dunstor Castle; of the Ferrerses, in entries for Higham-Ferrers, Chartley, and Tutbury; of the Mowbrays, in the entry for Newburrough; of the Nevills, in the entries for Raby and Middleham; and of the Stanleys, earls of Derby, in the entry for Ormeskirk.

The representation of new money and new names in the 1594 Britannia was not, therefore, an extraordinary phenomenon in view of Britannia's evolving character; provincial luminaries and their families had been an integral feature from the beginning. Their fortunes rose and fell, and the descent of the manorial properties with which their names were linked amounted to a narrative of all the outlying centers of local social status and authority. New names, however, were conspicuous in their abundance in the 1594 Britannia. Camden had seen that the shape of society was being altered, and he altered the shape of Britannia accordingly. Moreover, he took particular pains to see that leading figures of his own age were notably represented: Thomas Audley and Edward Seymour, for instance, both of whom were honored by Henry VIII, as well as Edmund created Baron Sheffield and William created Baron Paget by King Edward VI. Illustrious Elizabethans, together in some instances with their new houses, are present in generous numbers as well: Henry Lord Compton of Castle Ashby; Christopher Hatton of Holdenby; Sir Francis Carew of Beddington; and Camden's patron Sir Fulke Greville of Beauchamp Court. Two edifices of particular note were Sir Francis Willoughby's Wollaton Hall and Sir John Thynne's Longleat, the former constructed with consummate art (summo artzficio & summa arte nuper constructam) and the latter elegant and refined in spite of having been consumed twice by flames (omni elegantia, & nitore perpolitae, licet seine!, atque iterum deflagrarint). [15]

A name of particular significanceis that of Burghley's nephew Sir Edward Hoby, whose heraldic interests led to his appointment to a commission for hearing grievances in the College of Arms, and who was deputized in February of 1596 to preside at a conference held at Derby House to review and reform procedures for granting coats of arms. [16] Hoby stood high in Camden's esteem as one who was exceptionally learned, and for several reasons, including marriage to a daughter of Elizabeth's cousin Henry Carey Lord Hunsdon, may well have been in a position to assist in Camden's advancement. Camden had dedicated the Irish section in the 1587 Britannia to Hoby (Clarissimo, et omnibus verae nobilitatis ornamentis generosissimo viro), and in the entry for Bisbam singled him out as one to whom, for reasons unspecified, he was particularly indebted (& mihi inprimis obseruandi, cuius magna in me beneficia cogitatiofrequens ita exercebit). To this must be added Camden's words of esteem for Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, whos e assistance was decisive in Camden's coronation as Clarenceux: ita verae virtuti, &germanae nobilitati se consecrauit, Vt animi nobilitate genus longe exuperet (Ff 4v). There was no uncertainty regarding Greville's assistance in Camden's elevation to Clarenceux; among the provisions in his will, Camden bequeathed him a valuable piece of plate with the remark that Greville "preferred me gratis to my office." [17]

Camden's inquiry into the society of England's landed families and its institutional framework directly encroached on matters under the authority of the Elizabethan College of Arms. Camden had to have known, first, that it was not possible to represent the origins and descents of privileged families on so massive a scale as he had in the 1594 Britannia without inviting exceedingly critical scrutiny, and, second, that scrutiny of this sort, given the contentious and fractious state of heraldic politics in late Elizabethan England, was sure to lead to controversy. Moreover, in view of Camden's many errors -- some of them egregious -- in marital connections and inheritances, the publication of the 1594 Britannia stood more than a likely chance of provoking the quarrelsome spirit of Ralph Brooke. Seeing the errors in Britannia, Brooke indeed jumped at the chance to accuse Camden of incompetence and plagiarism, charging not only that he had dishonored the nobility but also that he had stolen materials from the wor ks of Glover and Leland. [18]

Brooke's dispute with Camden forms an illuminating chapter in the history of the Tudor College of Arms, and it illustrates several matters of consequence in the assessment and representation of social distinction in Elizabethan England. The first is something akin to disarray in heraldic politics. The College of Arms in the late sixteenth century, with its history of almost continuous disputes, was in many ways a jealous and defensive institution. Owing in part to ambiguities in the demarcation of the jurisdictional spheres of the three kings of arms, the College was never entirely free of controversy from the beginning of the Henrician visitations in 1530 to the last of the visitations in 1689. [19] The granting of the commission for visitations in 1530 provoked a jurisdictional dispute between Clarenceux Benolt and Garter Wriothesley, and later decades were marked by disputes and backbiting among the heralds as well as conflicts over the College's records. There were frequent and extravagant errors and mis representations in the framing of genealogies; heralds took bribes; armorial grants were made to many who were not entitled to them; many who were summoned in the county visitations declined to present their pedigrees, and some who were disclaimed persisted in displaying their coats of arms anyhow. Brooke complained to Sir Robert Cotton in 1614 that Robert Cooke had granted more than 500 coats of arms during his tenure as Clarenceux (1566-1593) and that Sir Gilbert Dethick (Garter 1550-1584) and his son Sir William (Garter 1586-1606) had exceeded these numbers. [20] Brooke was not alone in voicing complaints. Sir William Segar (Garter 1606-1633) objected that Cooke made numberless grants to base and unworthy persons, doing so without the earl marshal's knowledge. [21] Glover's voice was added to this general chorus of ad hominem indictments when he offered the view that the initial cause of dissent in the College of Arms was the elder Dethick's policy of turning heralds against Norroy and Clarenceux. [22]

There were several attempts at reform, but none had lasting results. The Duke of Norfolk, as earl marshal, drew up a set of guidelines in 1568 for policing the College and the use of its records, and Queen Elizabeth is thought to have expected reform through the commission in which the earl marshalcy was placed on the death of the sixth earl of Shrewsbury in 1590. [23] The Derby House Conference, at which Hoby and Sir George Carew presided, was held to hear heralds' grievances and to review procedures used in visitations and the granting of coats of arms. Segar presented a paper on heraldic officers and their jurisdictions and duties; there were several reports of the theft of books, pedigrees, and visitation records from the College's library; and an anonymous delegation of heralds and pursuivants presented a petition against Brooke to deputies Hoby and Carew. [24] Lord Burghley, as chief commissioner, sought reform by attempting to consolidate the offices of Garter and Clarenceux but was prevented by their charters, which had parliamentary confirmation. [25] Clarenceux Camden himself provoked a controversy by deputizing officers of arms for visitations in the southern counties, and King James issued a set of reforming guidelines in the commission given to Camden for his visitation of Huntingdonshire in 1603. [26] The King took note in these directives of what by now was abundantly clear: many were bearing arms unlawfully, painters and glaziers were practicing their crafts without due authorization, the additions of gentleman and esquire were being used indiscriminately. James's instructions "to correct, comptroll, and reforme all manner of armes, crests, cognizances, and devyses, unlawfull or unlawfully usurped, borne, or taken by any manner person or persons" bear the unmistakable conviction that procedures were in disarray. [27]

No one spoke out more forcefully on the decline of honor than Francis Thynne (Lancaster 1602-1608), who identified himself with the voices of reform in a paper presented to the Society of Antiquaries in 1605 (139-59). The name of herald had become odious, he remarked, because of the lewd behavior of a few, and as a consequence the esteem in which heralds were once held was in decline. Fees for the conduct of ceremonial events, particularly tourneys, had fallen below the level needed to maintain the port of a herald's calling (145). Thynne's paper was one of many dissertations on heraldic matters presented before the "old" Society of Antiquries, and, like several others, it addressed questions of correctness in heraldic technicalities (differences in degrees of bastardy, the quartering of daughters' arms, distinctions to be worn in the arms of younger brothers when they marry and establish new houses), doing so in a spirit that suggested these were matters of present urgency as well as antiquarian interest. T hynne's remarks are symptomatic of the general awareness of a drift toward nonfeasance in the policing of armorial display. They also address the question of enforcement. Since the beheading of the last constable, the Duke of Buckingham, in 1521, the earl marshal has supplied his office, Thynne observed, and he reasoned on statutory authority (37 Henry VI) that the marshal's court was one with that of the constable, the two constituting a law unto themselves (156-57). This was a plea for the earl marshal's jurisdictional supremacy in matters of armorial bearings and precedence, and it would not have been offered if Thynne had not concluded that distinctions of degrees were not being maintained with the strictness that social order required. Without the power of imprisoning, he concluded, all is vain (156).

The troubles of the College of Arms were compounded by increasing demands for gentle standing and armorial bearings as the sixteenth century's upward mobility produced new fortunes and new families. What was taking place in the hundred years beginning about 1530 is that the estates of the landed classes increased in size and value (the wealthiest families grew wealthier), while at the same time the landowning classes were increasing numerically as well (greater numbers were gaining access to the nation's landed property). There were losses as well as gains, of course; some estates declined as others rose. The estates of many of the peerage declined proportionally as those of the lower and middle gentry were growing, but, overall, privilege was gentrified and localized. What Sir Anthony Wagner called the great pedigree craze was well advanced by the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, and it crested during Camden's tenure as Clarenceux. [28] C. G. A. Clay found that the middle and lesser gentry held only twenty-f ive percent of England's landed property at the end of the fifteenth-century, but nearly half by the middle of the seventeenth, and that the number of families styling themselves gentry quadrupled between 1502 and 1623 (157-58). G.E. Mingay produced figures to show that in numbers alone the gentry were increasing more rapidly than other classes: he counted 5,000 gentry families entitled to display armorial bearings at the close of the fifteenth-century and estimated that 4,000 new armorial grants were made between 1560 and 1640, while the lay peerage numbered sixty at the end of the fifteenth century and fifty-five at the death of Elizabeth (4-5). John Guy counted 5,000 gentry families in 1540 and 15,000 in 1640 (48-49). These figures indicate that approximately 500 new grants were made, on average, in every decade in the ninety year period beginning in 1550. [29] The heralds, in other words, were exceedingly active in a socially volatile age. The erosion of traditional criteria of distinction was an inevitab ility, and, consequently, so was controversy.

Another controversial feature of Brooke's quarrel with Camden is of an entirely different nature, but it too touches on the question of authority. Heraldry and historical inquiry were closely related pursuits in Elizabethan England. Heralds' visitation books were collections of the primary materials and the raw data of social and economic history, and their customary organizational arrangement as books of manorial properties was a model for county surveys and histories. Scholars in the provinces, including Camden's fellow antiquaries Sampson Erdeswicke of Sandon, Henry Ferrers of Baddesley-Clinton, and Richard Carew of East Anthony, were collectors of pedigrees as well as historians of landed estates in their counties, and their works -- Ferrers's unfinished history of Warwickshire, Erdeswicke's Staffordshire history, and Carew's Survey of Cornwall -- were collections of genealogies and notes on distinguished dynasties and dynastic properties. [30] Their endeavors, like those of Pole, Burton, and Dugdale in t he next century, had a distinctly heraldic character. The structure of society had become an object of interest, for obvious financial reasons, to county families, and these early county historians were the chief contemporary witnesses, outside the College of Arms, of the flourishing of the upper and middle gentry. The objectives of heraldic and historical inquiry, in other words, were shaped by the imperatives of social definition. Heralds and historians, furthermore, adhered to a model of distinction that, like many Tudor customs, had roots in the feudal past -- the governing authority conferred by manorial estates -- and sought by every means possible to retain its main features in a time when society was being transformed by new wealth, new numbers, and the inevitable confusions and ambiguities attending these.

Another product of society's destabilizing was the flourishing subgenre of books on arms and honor -- Smith's De Republica Anglorum (1583), Harrison's Description of England (1587), Segar's Book of Honor and Armes (1590), Leigh's Accedence of Armorie (1597), Milles's Honor Military and Civil (1602) and Catalogue of Honour (1610), Guillim's A Display of Heraldne (1610), Selden's Titles of Honor (1614). The orders of precedence were catalogued in these works and the description of heraldic devices became a highly cultivated art. In these works, as well, the social order was appraised through criteria deriving from the age associated with the origin of honor in England, the Norman age, and their authors again and again voiced their awareness that an ancient precision in the demarcation of society's gradations was being lost. Lines defining the social classes were losing clarity and becoming problematical. [31]

Unlike historians, however, heralds were bound by their creation oaths, in spite of their well known and widespread violations, to make and keep faithful records of the arms and descents of every gentleman and to prohibit the bearing of arms without authority. [32] Grants of armorial bearings as well as records kept in the College of Arms carried the authority of the earl marshal; heraldic records, including heralds' visitation books, were allowed as valid evidence of pedigrees, and coats of arms fell under the laws of inheritance. [33] "The nobleman or gentleman hath a fee simple in arms," Coke wrote in the first part of The Institutes of the Laws of England, which meant that armorial bearings descended without condition to heirs in general, male and female, lineal and collateral. [34] Brooke undeniably, therefore, had a legitimate case against Camden, and he was entirely right to point out that Camden had dishonored the nobility if by this he meant that Camden had misrepresented orders of precedence. [35] Students of Camden, beginning with his earliest biographers, have defended Camden by dismissing Brooke's attack as an instance of his notorious contentiousness, but, despite the well documented justness of Brooke's reputation for troublemaking, Camden's defenders have tended to miss an important feature of their dispute. The basis of Brooke's quarrel with Camden was, in reality, the evidentiary status of heraldic records. Camden had blundered in matters that were subject to strict regulation, and it is possible to argue that the detested Brooke, for once, was acting responsibly, albeit in spite of himself, in placing his misrepresentations before the public.

Brooke had been at the center of mote than one controversy. [36] He had a reputation for intimidating and manipulating others. He turned his fellow heralds against each other and took inappropriate and excessive profits from drawing pedigrees; he was committed to the Marshalsea for tricking Segar into granting arms to the common hangman of London. [37] The petition denouncing him at the Derby House Conference in 1596 is only one indication of the low regard in which he was held by his colleagues; further evidence of his reprehensible doings was supplied by Segar, Lennard, Philipot, and Richard and Henry S. George, among others, who accused him, in commendatory verses composed for Augustine Vincent's Discoverie of Errovrs, of ignorance, insolence, and fraudulence. [38] It should therefore come as no surprise, as Camden's eighteenth-century biographer Richard Cough asserted, that Brooke wasted no time but commenced at once, as soon as the 1594 Britannia was in print, combing it for errors that could be constru ed as dishonoring noble families, but -- and this is a critical feature of his quarrel with Camden -- that he did not publish his findings immediately. [39] Gough wrote that Brooke waited five years before making his censures public, finally bringing them out in 1599 under the title A Discouerie of certaine Errours published in print in the much commended Britannia, 1594. If Gough is correct in his analysis of Brooke's timing, then the Discouerie, containing charges based on a reading of the 1594 Britannia soon after publication, appeared in print some two years after Camden's elevation to Clarenceux, which took place in October of 1597. In other words, it seems as though Brooke had been waiting for the right moment, which did not arrive until 1599. [40]

In his Discouerie, Brooke declaimed against Camden for usurping the rights of heralds and darkening the honor of the nobility by falsifying their descents, and he accused Camden of plagiarizing the papers of Leland and Glover. [41] It was his duty, Brooke announced, to take Camden's errors to the earl marshal, and he threatened Camden with the procedure known as quo warranto, a writ for determining on what authority one rests a right to an office or franchise. [42] Brooke was challenging Camden's right to hold the office of Clarenceux, to which Brooke also aspired, and attempting to bring his career in the College of Arms to an end. In other words, Camden's appointment seems almost certainly to have fueled a resentment that had been smoldering at least since 1597, perhaps since 1594. Furthermore,

Brooke knew in 1599 that Camden was at work on a new edition of Britannia, for he referred to it in the Discouerie as "your book now in hand" (77), threatening to expose the additional errors in this new edition in order to head off any further dishonoring of noble families. Brooke could have seen parts of the new edition (that is, the future fifth edition of 1600) in draft, but, in any case, after Camden became Clarenceux in 1597, Brooke almost certainly was motivated by professional jealousy; and he now had a pretext -- the prospect of further dishonoring of the nobility -- for publishing the errors he had found in 1594. Brooke complained that he was "stayed" in the printing of his Discoutrie by Camden's friends the stationers, who had no small gain from earlier editions; it may or may not be material that Brooke's Discouerie bore no publisher's imprint when it appeared in 1599.

Having waited two years after Camden's appointment as Clarenceux in 1597 for an opportunity to undermine his authority, Brooke saw his opening when he learned in 1599 of plans for a new Britannia. He then went back to the notes he had made as soon as the 1594 Britannia was in print and brought them out with the objective of portraying Camden as an incompetent who had blemished the honor of noble families and was likely to do so again. Brooke was now in a position to expose Camden as one who had published a wildly inaccurate representation of the nobility in order to get himself a place in the College of Arms. This interpretation rests on two inferences: first, since Camden did not hold an official position in the College of Arms in 1594, neither the interests of the College nor those of the nobility would have been served, particularly, by making his errors public (Camden could not have been accused, in 1594, of any official breach of office); and second, because, since in 1594 Brooke had no reason to think Camden aspired to an appointment in the College of Arms, the motive of professional jealousy would not have been a factor. There was no reason for Brooke to hold a grudge against Camden until 1597, and no pretext for exposing the errors in the 1594 Britannia until he learned in 1599 of plans for a new edition.

Brooke counted, in all, somewhat more than a hundred errors in the 1594 Britannia. Camden had mistaken descents, putting grandsons in the place of grandfathers and mothers in the place of wives; he had made mistakes in blazoning arms; he had invented earls and dukes who never existed and failed to acknowledge others who did; he claimed inheritances where there were none; and he gave sons and daughters to men who had died without issue. He both omitted and invented generations and disinherited heirs and demolished estates. By omitting a grandson of the Norman Henry Lord Ferrers, Camden annihilated three branches of this family, ancestors of some of the most famous of England's nobility, and by mistaking James Butler Earl of Wiltshire for his brother Thomas Earl of Ormond, he made Queen Elizabeth the descendant of a traitor who was beheaded without issue in the reign of King Edward IV. Haccomb was never, as Camden asserted, a possession of the family of Fitz-Stephens; Thomas Beaufort was not created Duke of Su rrey by Henry IV or any other king; and it was the grandfather -- not, as Camden held, the father -- of the Elizabethan Lord Chandos who was the first of the family of Bruges to be a baron. Richard Fitz Gilbert, who held Haresfield of the Conqueror, was not, as Camden thought, Earl of Clare, and the dignity and earldom of the Mandevilles was Essex, nor Walden.

Camden defended himself and counterattacked in an "Ad lectorem" appended to the 1600 Britannia, and Brooke then composed a second catalogue of errors together with a response to Camden's self-defense. Camden confessed in the 1600 "Ad lectorem" to some but not all of the errors Brooke found in 1594, and in other instances challenged Brooke's charges. He asserted his qualifications in historical and heraldic inquiry and berated his adversary, whom he declined to name, as one who was motivated by jealousy and lacked the learning and intellect to make correct judgments of descents and lineages in Britannia. This man, Camden asserted, had waited thirteen years after the first edition to voice his objections ("emersit quidam post decimum tertium a prima aeditione annum qui in me & opellam meam clamat"), and it was in his place that Camden had been advanced by the queen ("eum in locum diuina Serenissimae Reginae benignitas me euocauerit"). [43] In all, Camden addressed sixty-six matters disputed by Brooke and produ ced evidence from his sources (charters, registers, chronicles, other heralds) to show in some cases that he had accurately transcribed documentary witnesses containing errors and in others that he had, in fact, erred, being only human. It was written, for instance, in a charter of Lewes Monastery that William the Conqueror, not William Rufus, created William de Warren first earl of Surrey; Thomas Walsingham wrote that Henry de Lacy was earl of Salisbury as well as Lincoln; records in Walden Monastery indicate Geoffrey de Mandeville was lord of the honor of Walden. An error concerning the family of Zouch was a printer's mistake (typographorum negligentia), and so was the omission of lands held by Henry de Ferrets under the Conqueror.

Furthermore, Camden corrected his mistakes. The 1600 Britannia contained corrections in a little under a hundred instances of misrepresentations in the edition of 1594, but Brooke, who refused to relent, scrutinized the 1600 as he had the 1594 edition and produced another crop of errors. Camden could not lay on Clarenceux Cooke the blame for his assertion that

Hugh Bigod was created Earl of Norfolk by King Henry I, for Cooke wrote no such thing, Brooke wrote in his second "discouerie"; nor could he blame Glover for naming Bradstons Barons of Winterbourn because only one Bradston was called to Parliament.

Brooke was irrepressible. He discovered errors committed by William Martyn and Thomas Milles as well as Camden, and in 1619 brought out his Catalogve and succession of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, and Viscounts of this Realm, in which inaccuracies in Martyn's History and Lives of Twenty Kings of England (1615) and Milles's Catalogue of Honour (1610) were exposed. In his dedication Brooke petitioned King James, with what now seems astonishing temerity, to enact a reformation so that "upstarts and Mountebankes within this our profession may be prohibited to make their profite and credite, vpon the discredite and impouerishing of your Maiesties poore seruants the officers of Armes" (A 3v). Augustine Vincent, at last, turned the tables and in 1622 produced an exposure of the errors committed by Brooke in his Catalogve and succession, using the rhetoric of invective that seems to have become customary in heraldic dispute. Vincent claimed to have been carried with the multitude, enthralled by Broo ke's name, which had become a terror to men of his profession, and that he had "heard him sing Magnificat to himselfe in Pauls, and all the walke beare the Quire to him" (fol. 3v). Vincent's eyes were opened, however, by the malice and fraudulence displayed in Brooke's Discoverie of the errors in Britannia, and he now sought to demolish Brooke's credibility with the same savage scorn that Brooke had used against Camden.

For reasons unknown, Brooke did not publish his second "discouerie" of Camden's errors, which contained, in addition to the misrepresentations Brooke found in the 1600 Britannia, other errors in Camden's "Ad lectorem," and still others from the 1594 Britannia. Publication of the second "discouerie" had to wait until the early eighteenth century, when John Anstis (Garter 1714-1744) assembled all the documents engendered by Brooke's quarrel with Camden -- the first Discouerie, Camden's "Ad lectorem," and the second Discouerie--and published them in 1724. together with a table illustrating the corrections Camden made in the 1600 Britannia. This volume was published under Brooke's first title, A Discoverie of Certaine Errours published in print in the much commended Britannia, 1594.

There is no reason to suppose that Brooke ever truly attempted to bring Camden's misrepresentations before the earl marshal, whose court had the power of imposing reparations in points of honor. [44] Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged, not that he was alone in this, but that Camden was guilty of errors owing in some instances to neglect and in some to carelessness. He was not, however, guilty of intentionally defaming the nobility. Because he misrepresented orders of precedence, he may have been technically guilty, as Brooke charged, of dishonoring ancient nobles, but Brooke's case was grossly overstated. It is entirely unlikely that Camden's misrepresentations were deliberate. The worst one can say is that he was not sufficiently critical of his documentary sources in matters that were supposed to be governed by the strictest procedural guidelines. The recording of pedigrees and other heraldic data was a matter of extraordinary concern, inside and outside the College of Arms, for obvious reasons: heralds w ere custodians of privilege and precedence. They were arbiters in matters of honor. Camden had made mistakes that no herald ought to have been able to make with impunity, in Brooke's or anyone else's eyes. Brooke, on the other hand, was guilty of arrogance, obtuseness, and disingenuousness. Brooke's vision was narrow. He was blind to the intellectual and scholarly virtues that lay beyond the sphere of his authority as York Herald, and the inference that his prerogative had been challenged by Britannia led him to try to intimidate its author by presuming upon the authority of his office. Brooke as well as Camden, furthermore, had made his share of errors, as Vincent so convincingly demonstrated.

There remains, however, another matter of at least equal interest. Of what significance is it that Camden so dramatically increased Britannia's heraldic content that its shape and texture were altered in the edition of 1594? What revised conception of Britannia's fabric do the additional surnames, descents, and notes on property holdings, as well as the baronial index, indicate? Social change was visible to everyone in the sixteenth century, although no one, including Camden, was in a position to gauge its precise nature or depth. It was evident that the criteria of distinction were undergoing a change in the direction of greater elasticity: sixteenth-century society was open to a greater variety of avenues to status than in the past. Scholars, lawyers, and merchants were eligible for gentle standing, together with anyone who had enough money to live like a gentleman and to be acknowledged as such. At the same time, not surprisingly, there were more gentlemen than ever before. Of this there was abundant reco gnition, expressed with varying degrees of disapproval, by the authors of books on arms and honor, the likes of William Harrison and Thomas Smith as well as Segar, Guillim, and Milles. Benolt's visitation commission of 1530 particularly had opened the way for an expanding gentry by singling out for exclusion only those who were disloyal, heretical, or of vile blood. Finally, new families were especially desirous of making known their enhanced standing in the display of armorial bearings, and the College of Arms complied with this increased demand by making hundreds of new grants. We are witnessing, obviously, both a redefining of social distinction and an inflation and devaluing of the formal and ceremonial devices historically used to denote privilege.

The prevailing assumption is that the College of Arms was attempting to exercise a degree of social control in a period of accelerating change while smoothing the way for the advancement of the newly privileged. [45] Students of heraldry, that is, including Wagner, have not been inclined to question Rowse's view that Elizabethan heralds were performing the socially useful function of accomodating a massive shift in the constitution of the privileged classes. However, this customary view needs to be re-examined in the light of signs of increasing disorder and declining control in the College itself -- personal antagonisms, quarrels over records, and jurisdictional disputes. Internal stress in the College followed along with the increased demands for coats of arms -- Wagner's great pedigree craze -- and, even if heralds did see themselves as maintaining order in the midst of rapid change, which is not at all certain, they nevertheless complied with the new demands, making new grants in unprecedented numbers, w ith the obvious consequence of accelerating the inflation of honor. It is difficult to see exactly how their practices were calculated to maintain order. A plausible alternative to the customary argument is that, in the attempt to accomodate itself to unprecedented change, the College of Arms had fallen back on the expedient of increasing numbers of armorial grants, which in its own way contributed to the blurring of distinctions so frequently noted by historians.

Heralds as well as the newly arrived were propelling the pedigree craze because it was in their interest to do so, while utilizing what would very soon prove to be an anachronistic instrument, the county visitation, for discriminating degrees of distinction. Camden, of course, had a part in this. The 1594 Britannia assuredly may be seen as, among other things, a comprehensive visitation book structured along lines of precedence as well as topography. Its index of barons and illustrious families is an abstract of privilege in England over six centuries. In the tours of the counties leading families are connected with geographical regions by means of placenames (that is, names of manorial properties): Ludlow with Montgomery; Chartley with Ferrers, Pomfret with Talbot. Moreover, the history of privilege in the 1594 Britannia is structured along traditional lines. Camden's conception of privilege differed in no remarkable way from that portrayed in the county histories or in the heralds' visitation books. Privil ege was territorial in character; its continuity could be seen in the descent of manorial properties; the entitlement of families to social distinction was recorded in charters and grants -- real estate records -- dating back to the period of the Conquest.

Nor is there any real reason to number Camden among those who saw in an expanding sphere of privilege a cause for alarm. Quite the contrary: the dramatically increased representation of the propertied classes in the 1594 Britannia is a reflection of the same social phenomena mirrored in the increased numbers of armorial grants made by the College of Arms: new families, new money, greater numbers claiming distinction. There is, however, every reason to suppose that Camden was aware of disorder and irregularities in the College of Arms; these things were well known and incontestable. Coming when it did, at a time of controversy and uncertainty for the College of Arms, the 1594 Britannia with its new index confirmed Camden's position as England's leading authority in British history, but it also assertively proclaimed his distinction in the sphere of heraldry. It was a demonstration of achievement in historical and heraldic scholarship together, which is what made it unique among Tudor histories. Leland had att empted something very similar, but Camden brought it to completion. The 1594 Britannia defined a new context for heraldry by assimilating it into a comprehensive topography, and it therefore established an alternative to the customary modes of representing privilege. The leading families, including new families, are woven into England's historical fabric by means of perambulations that delineate, among other things, the territorial base of the social order.

Brooke demeaned Camden as an outsider, but as England's leading British historian he was an outsider in a sense that Brooke could not grasp. Furthermore, by weaving the history of privilege into the fabric of a national topography, Camden broadened the base of heraldic scholarship. He endowed it with a distinctly national significance, which, it might be added, was an accomplishment beyond the abilities of Brooke or anyone else in the College of Arms. The 1594 Britannia was not, as Brooke in his obtuseness claimed, an affront to the College of Arms, but it did have the effect of making Camden a logical if not inevitable choice for those, including the queen, who in various ways were expressing the need for reform in the heraldic regulation of the social gradations. It obviously made Camden an opponent of

Brooke, who was widely associated with the College's internal strife, and thus with conditions that advocates of reform sought to remedy, and it made eminently good sense of the queen's selection of Camden over Brooke as Clarenceux in 1597.

(*.) An earlier version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Vancouver, B.C., 6 April 1997.

(1.) On Britannia's structural arrangement, see Rockett, 829-32.

(2.) Richard Gough was one of the earliest of Camden's biographers to notice the marked increase in pedigrees and the names of families in the fourth edition of Britannia. Gough also noticed the addition of a new index, "Barones et Illustriores Familiac," and concluded that Camden's intrusion into armorial affairs is what provoked Ralph Brooke's resentment. See Cough, 1:xiii.

(3.) Camden was not alone in doing his part to perpetuate an outmoded set of social criteria. Sir Anthony Wagner recognized years ago that old ways of acknowledging privilege were being perpetuated by the College of Arms at a time when notions of what constituted privilege were changing remarkably. Wagner expressed what has become conventional wisdom (see below, n. 45) when he wrote that sixteenth-century heraldic visitations helped assimilate new families to old traditions "by giving official recognition to acquired gentility" (Heralds and Heraldry 8). What Wagner almost certainly did not see is that economic forces (engrossment, the squeezing out of lesser freeholders, the rise of the great estates) that would make the manorial system of land tenure outmoded, and heraldic visitations therefore anachronistic, before the end of the seventeenth century were already at work before the death of Elizabeth. See Hoyle, 1-20, passim.

(4.) In repeating Kendrick's assertion that in the 1594 Britannia Camden had not been "very polite to heralds" (1967, 225), Wagner is expressing an assumption that I shall seek to modify in the sense that the real significance of the heraldic content in the 1594 Britannia was that it made heraldry a part of national history. However, I am entirely in accord with Wagner's inference that Brooke attacked Camden out of a sense of having been wronged by Camden's appointment to Clarenceux. "In the eyes of Ralph Brooke," Wagner wrote, "[Camden] had now been appointed over others' heads, including that of Brooke himself, to the second place in the College" (225).

(5.) Lipsius wrote: "Multum patria tibi debet, multum exteri nos qui per Te videmus Britanniam, cum non videmus." See Smith, 1691, 31.

(6.) Seate Papers Domestic, 1591-94, 479.

(7.) Stone, 578. Burghley's interest in the ordering of society, as well as his high regard for the rituals of social hierarchy is also noticed in Beckingsale, 287.

(8.) What I mean by the representation of privilege must be distinguished from the study of privilege in works like Strong's Cult of Elizabeth and Whigham's Ambition and Privilege because I am interested solely in Camden as historian of privilege and in Elizabethan heralds as custodians thereof. Ritual and pageantry have little, if anything, to do with what follows, unless one views precedence in some sense as inherently ritualistic. On this, see Dean, 253-54.

(9.) Elizabethan maps, including those of Saxton and Norden in the 1607 Britannia, were pictures of landscapes formed not so much by natural forces as by customs and institutions that governed the distribution of landed estates. This elemental fact of cartographic history is what makes maps an essential feature of Britannia and of works like Norden's Speculum Britanniae and Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611) as well. I have in progress a study that will illuminate the bearing of the manorial estate on the cartographic representation of the Elizabethan topography.

(10.) Camden's perceptions concerning the powers conferred by land in the Middle Ages and the survival of this institution in Elizabeth's England find corroboration in several recent historians. See particularly Given-Wilson, who observes that medieval England was ruled by a system of land tenure that entailed nobility and the wealth to maintain dominance: "it was both a system of social control and a means of keeping the nation's wealth in the hands of the elite" (19). Bernard asserts that landownership provided opportunities for building and consolidating social and political influence in the counties and that, at the end of the sixteenth century, for instance, "Tenants, servants, adjacent gentry and neighbouring towns came under the sway of the seventh earl of Shrewsbury," whose personal properties were a visible manifestation of lineage society (177).

(11.) Sig. Kk 8v, Sig. Gg 6r. All references cite the fourth edition of Britannia, 1594, and, when cited in the text will give signature and page number without specifying "Sig."

(12.) So it was determined by the Conqueror, who took care to see that the holdings of his tenants in chief were widely separated and lay in distant counties. See Douglas, 270.

(13.) "Ad Austrum, Stour fluuius statim a fonte in amplam paludem Stourmere vocant, stagnare vidimus, sed mox intra ripas se colligens, primum Clare praeterfluit vicum nobilem, qui praeter dirutam arcem, quam ostendit, Clarorum nomen honoratissimae familiae, quae a Gisleberto Normanno descendit, & Ducatus titulum Leonello Edwardi III. filio impertiuit, qui cum vxorem ex illa familia duxisset, Ducis Clarentiae titulu a patre accepit" (Z 8v).

(14.) "Perambulations were both official instruments of land measurement and invaluable historical documents as well as organizational models in topographies. This fact is implicit in the structure of Lambarde's Perambulation of Kent as well as Camden's Britannia. Perambulations of sanctuaries were required by statute in 1540 (32 Henry VIII c. 12); Perambulations were also a commonplace instrument of forest and estate management; see, for instance, Manwood, passim, and Norden, Dialogue, passim. A notable and well known contemporary example is Norden's manuscript Description of the Honor of Windsor, produced for James in 1607; Westcote reproduces perambulations of Dartmoor and Exmoor in A View of Devonshire in MD CXXX. Perambulations of medieval forests, moreover, were among the documents collected by Lambarde's mentor, Laurence Nowell. See Flower, 55.

(15.) For Willoughby's Wollaton Hall, see Sig. Ee 3r; for Thynne's Longleat, Sig. N 2r. For discussions of both, see Friedman, 71.

(16.) Wagner, 1967. 209-10.

(17.) Hearne, 2:39O.

(18.) These charges were recited by Kendrick, who acknowledged that Camden's borrowings from Leland left him open to Brooke's charge of fraudulence but conduded that the accusation "in its frill implication is nonsense" (148). Kendrick also remarked that Camden's errors in genealogy and other heraldic matters were numerous. "Camden had not been very poBte to heralds in 1594 and the preceding editions of the Britannia, and he had made, as he could scarcely avoid doing, many mistakes in the genealogical sections of his books" (151-52).

(19.) For rivalries in the College of Arms at the time of the institution of the Tudor visitations, see Gunn, 121-23. It was not until after the Restoration, thanks to the strenuous and methodical efforts of Sir William Dugdale, that something resembling uniformity and efficiency was achieved in the conduct of visitations. See Styles, 96.

(20.) Wagner, 1967,208. Rowse accused Brooke himself of making excessive grants: 120 in ten years (248).

(21.) Woodcock and Robinson, 35.

(22.) Wagner, 1967, 188-89.

(23.) Ibid., 209.

(24.) Ibid., 209-10. It was Wagner's opinion that Camden's coronation as Clarenceux was one of the outcomes of grievances aired and reforms proposed at Derby House; Camden was a personal favorite of the queen, Wagner observed, and it was probably through her intervention that he won this appointment (1967, 220).

(25.) Mark Noble, 160. On Burghley as commissioner and on Burghley's attitude toward the nobility, see Beckingsale, 251 and 273.

(26.) Noble, 203-6; Ellis, 132-34.

(27.) Ellis, 132.

(28.) Wagner, 1967, 205.

(29.) Numbers adduced by Clay, Mingay, and Guy are approximately in accordance with those of Woodcock and Robinson, who wrote that Garter Wriothesley made between 400 and 500 grants in the first third of the sixteenth century, that Hervey (Clarenceux 1557-1567) made at least sixty grants a year, and that Cook (Clarenceux 1567-1593) made over 900 (35).

(30.) For Ferrers's Warwickshire collections, see Berry, passim. For Carew's relatively popular Survey of Cornwall see F. E. Halliday's edition; and for Erdeswicke's Survey of Staffordshire, see Harwood's edition. The Devonshire collections of Richard Vowel and Lambarde's Perambulation of Kent are not included here because these works were nor arranged as books of manorial properties.

(31.) Among the many who have recently noticed the blurring of class lines, see Coss, 45.

(32.) Thynne, 153.

(33.) Pulman observes that the office of earl marshal in Elizabeth's government was associated with the Council but did not carry automatic membership (38). See Blackstone, 3:103-05; and Coke, L.1. C.2. Sect. 31.

(34.) Coke, L1. C.2. Sect. 31.

(35.) Kendrick singles out several of Camden's mistakes and observes that in many instances Brooke was right in his criticisms of Camden's heraldic scholarship (152).

(36.) Brooke's troubles with his colleagues are discussed by Wagner, 1967, 210-1 5.

(37.) Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. "Segar, William."

(38.) For denunciations by Segar and the others, see commendatory verses in Vincent.

(39.) Gough, 4:xiii. Kendrick observed that "Brooke must have been busy preparing his Discoverie of Certaine Errours ... in the much-commended Britannia 1594, before Camden became Clarenceux" (152).

(40.) This assessment of Brooke's timing and of the dating of his Discoverie is corroborated by Tenison, who observed that the Discoverie was at times conjecturally dated 1596, but added that "A glance at the dedication would have shown that it must have been written after 12th of March 1598-9 and before thc 28th of September 1599 when Essex was arrested. It is presented to him as 'Lord Generall of hir Majesties Forces in hir Realme of Irelande'" (11:34).

(41.) In references to Brooke's Discoverie, I cite John Anstis's edition.

(42.) Brooke, 18. Black's Law Dictionary, s.v. "quo warranto.

(43.) Camden, 1600, Sig. Kkk.

(44.) Blackstone, 3, 105.

(45.) Rowse held, for instance, that heralds were attempting to keep class distinctions "in some sort of order amid so much economic flux, and -- perhaps of most importance -- of regulating, though not obstructing, entry to the governing class" (248). For a recent reformulation of Rowse's view that regulating the gentry was considered to be a responsibility of the heralds, see Coss, 44. Joyce Youings voiced a modified version of the Rowse theory of the heralds' regulatory role; heralds had been perambulating England at regular intervals since 1530, she wrote, "seeking our any who bore arms unlawfully and, a practice peculiar to England, recording the genealogy of those who successfully established their right. As with the sumptuary laws, the object was not to obstruct social mobility but to ensure that no one pretended a status to which he was not entitled" (115).


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Date:Jun 22, 2000
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