J. Horace Round

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J. Horace Round

John Horace Round (1854–1928) — known as J. Horace Round — was an historian and genealogist of the English mediaeval period. He translated the portion of the Domesday Book (1086) covering Essex into contemporary English. As an expert in the history of the British peerage, he was appointed honorary historical adviser to the Crown.

Biography[edit]

Family and early life[edit]

Round was born on 22 February 1854 in Hove, Sussex, England. His parents were John Round, (died 1887) and Laura, the daughter of the poet Horatio Smith (died 1864). His family history appears in Burke’s Landed Gentry, a publication he regularly criticised for its inaccuracies, although there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the entry for his family. His birthplace, 15 Brunswick Terrace, is marked with a blue plaque.[1]

Following his childhood education, he went up to Balliol College, Oxford, where he read for a degree in Modern History. In the final examinations, he obtained a bachelor of arts with first class honours.

Though a native of Sussex, he had many interests in Essex, and was both deputy lieutenant and a lord of the manor in that county. A relative owned Colchester Castle,[2] and his grandfather John had been a Member of Parliament in Essex.[3] He never married.

Work as a genealogist and writer[edit]

Horace Round wearing ceremonial attire of Deputy Lieutenant of Essex

He contributed to many publications (most notably The Complete Peerage, The Dictionary of National Biography (first edition) and the Victoria County History (VCH)) and was the author of several significant works. His translation and discussion of the Essex Domesday (VCH Essex, vol. 1) is widely regarded as a masterpiece, and is of national significance; this contrasts with his books, where he often indulged in castigating his contemporaries. He pursued disputes with other academics vigorously, and on more than one occasion, the level of acrimony was sufficiently high that the editor was forced to close correspondence on the subject.[4] These disputes in a normally gentle academic area honed his analytic skills.[5] He was recognised as a leading authority on medieval and later genealogy and was awarded an honorary LLD by the University of Edinburgh in February 1905.[4]

He advised the Court of Claims and Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords on matters concerning the coronation of King Edward VII. His book on this topic, The King’s Serjeants and Officers of State, with their Coronation Services was published in 1911, the year of King George V’s coronation. An expert in British peerage history and law, he was appointed Honorary Historical Adviser to the Crown in peerage cases in 1914 (a post from which he resigned in 1922).

Illness and death[edit]

Round contracted a chronic illness some time after coming down from Oxford, and his handwriting progressively deteriorated over the years.[2] He died on 24 June 1928 in Hove. A memoir by his friend and colleague William Page was included in a posthumously published volume of writings.[4] and a biography by W. Raymond Powell was published in 2001. Both contain full bibliographies of Round's work. At the time of his death, he had more than sixty contributions to Essex Archaeology and History awaiting publication.[4] His most recent posthumous papers appeared in about 2003 in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeology and History Society, and in 2004 in Foundations.[6]

Legacy[edit]

Papers and correspondence[edit]

Correspondence between Round and various other historians is available in the archives at Senate House Library.[7] Additional papers are in the Essex Record Office, West Sussex Record Office, Warwickshire Record Office, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service, British Library, Bodleian Library, Edinburgh University Library, Glasgow University Library, Manchester University Library, Reading University Library, Yale University Library, Colchester Library, Sussex Archaeological Society and the National Archives.[8]

Publications[edit]

  • Geoffrey de Mandeville (1892)
  • Feudal England (1895)
  • The Commune of London (1899)
  • Calendar of documents preserved in France (1899)
  • Studies in Peerage and Family History (1901)
  • Peerage and Pedigree: Studies in Peerage Law and Family History (1910)
  • The King’s Serjeants and Officers of State, with their Coronation Services (1911)
  • Contributions to Domesday Studies, the Dictionary of National Biography, The Complete Peerage, Victoria County History (with W.H. Page), the English Historical Review and Archæological Transactions
  • Family Origins and Other Studies, ed. Page, William, 1930

References[edit]

  1. ^ Middleton, Judy (2001). Brunswick Town. 
  2. ^ a b Powell, W Raymond (2001). John Horace Round: Historian and Gentleman of Essex. Chelmsford: Essex Record Office. ISBN 1898529191. 
  3. ^ Middleton, Judy (2002). Brunswick Town. 
  4. ^ a b c d Page, W.H. (1930). Family Origins and other Studies. pp. ix–xlviii. 
  5. ^ Roffe, David (2000). Domesday, The Inquest and the Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0198208472. 
  6. ^ Cawley, Charles, Foundations contents page, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 ,[better source needed]
  7. ^ Online Catalogue
  8. ^ National Register of Archives

External links[edit]