John Guillim (c. 1565 – 7 May 1621) was an antiquarian and officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He is perhaps best remembered for his monumental work A Display of Heraldry which was first published in London in 1610.
Early life and education
Most historians date the birth of John Guillim to 1565 in the county of Herefordshire. However, it is possible he may have been born around 1550. He was the son of John Guillim of Westbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. This part of England is very close to the border with Wales and Guillim's ancestors were probably of Welsh extraction. He was educated at Brasenose College in Oxford University. John Guillim of Minsterworth married Frances Dennis, 2nd. da. of Richard Dennis(1525–1593) of Siston Court, Glos. and Anne da. of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe and fathered eleven children, 5 boys and 6 girls: St.John, Walter, George, Thomas, Richard; Prescilla, Margaret, Frances, Elizabeth, Anne, Alice.
The first record of his involvement with heraldry is the Earl Marshal's warrant, dated 23 February 1604, permitting him to bear the tabard of the Portsmouth Pursuivant Extraordinary. From Michaelmas 1613, he was receiving a salary from the College of Arms, though his official appointment as Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary was not made until 1618.
The Display of Heraldry was written around 1610 and reprinted as early as 1611. There were seven further editions of the book following Guillim's death, the fourth being edited by Francis Nower in 1660, shortly replaced by another omitting the innovations under the Commonwealth, and the last one being printed in 1724. Some historians have suggested that the original author of the Display of Heraldry was a clergyman named John Barkham who was unwilling to have the work published in his own name.
- Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1890). "Guillim, John". Dictionary of National Biography 23. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Foster, Joseph (1891) Alumni Oxoniensis 1500-1714
- The Visitation of the County of Gloucester taken in the Year 1623 by Henry Chitty and John Phillipot as Deputies to William Camden Clarenceux King of Arms. Edited by Sir John Maclean. London, 1885. pp 251-252 Guillim, 49-53 Dennis.
- Godfrey, Walter H.(1963), The College of Arms, a monograph of the London Survey Committee.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "Nower, Francis". Dictionary of National Biography 41. London: Smith, Elder & Co.