Camden Roll

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The Camden Roll is a 13th-century English roll of arms believed to have been created c. 1280, containing 270 painted coats of arms with 185 French blazons for various English and European monarchs, lords and knights.

The original roll is now held at the British Museum as Cotton Roll XV. 8. It consists of three vellum membranes in total measuring 6.25" by 63". The face of the roll consists of 270 painted shields arranged in 45 rows of six shields, each with associated names and/or titles listed above each shield. The dorse includes French blazons for 185 of the shields on the face.[1]

Provenance[edit]

The roll belonged to William Camden, Clarenceux King of Arms, c. 1605, and is believed to have been among several documents and manuscripts which were willed to Sir Robert Cotton, 1st Baronet, of Connington, in 1623. In 1700 Sir John Cotton, Sir Robert's grandson, sold the Cottonian library to the nation, and in 1753 the collection was granted to the British Museum in London.[1]

Contents[edit]

The coats on the face of the roll are loosely divided into the following sections:[1]

  • Shields 1-18: Emperors and kings
  • Shields 19-24: Foreign dukes
  • Shields 25, 27, 29, 30, 34, 36, 37: English earls
  • Shield 26: "Sire Aunfour" (Alphonso of England, Earl of Chester, eldest son of Edward I)
  • Shield 28: "Prince of Gales" (Prince of Wales)
  • Shields 31-3, and 35: Foreign counts
  • The rest are those of English lords and knights, with the following exceptions: 44-51, 54, 56-61, 71-2, 83, 88, 94, 102, 181, 184, 207-8, 226, 240, 243, 246, 256-67, 270

The blazons, written in French on the dorse, are of the shields 1-202 with the omission of 9 "Rey de Escoce" (King of Scotland), 86 "Johan Giffard" (John Giffard), and several others.

Copies[edit]

16th Century

17th Century

Modern Illustrations[edit]

Illustrated by R. S. Nourse based on the list of blazons in James Greenstreet's "The Original Camden Roll of Arms" published in Vol. XXXVIII of The Journal of the British Archaeological Society, 1882.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wagner, Anthony Richard (1950). A Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms. Society Of Antiquaries: Charles Batey for The Society of Antiquaries. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0854312129. 
  2. ^ Greenstreet, James (1882). "The Original Camden Roll of Arms". Journal of the British Archaeological Society. XXXVIII: 309–28.