William Lambarde (18 October 1536 – 19 August 1601) was an antiquarian, writer on legal subjects, and politician.
Early life, education and career
William Lambarde was born in London on 18 October 1536. His father John Lambarde was a draper who served three times as Master of the Drapers' Company, an alderman and a sheriff of London. The Manor of Westcombe in Greenwich, demolished in 1725, was their family home.
In 1556, Lambarde was admitted to Lincoln's Inn. He studied law with Laurence Nowell, and in 1568, with Nowell's encouragement, published a collection of Anglo-Saxon laws, Archaionomia, which was printed by John Day.
In 1570, while he was courting the daughter of George Multon, he completed his Perambulation of Kent, the first English county history. Circulating in manuscript before being printed in 1576, it proved to be very popular and went through several editions. Lambarde considered writing a similar work for all of Britain, but he set the idea aside when he learned that William Camden was already working on the same project. On 11 September 1570, Lambarde married Jane Multon on her 17th birthday. She later died in 1573. He lived in the Manor of St. Clere in Ightham. On Laurence Nowell's death, he inherited his books and manuscripts, which may have included the manuscript of Beowulf.
Lambarde founded an almshouse in East Greenwich in 1576. He was appointed Keeper of the Rolls by the Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas Egerton in 1597, and Elizabeth made him Keeper of the Records in the Tower in 1601. He died on 19 August that same year.
Apart from the works already mentioned, Lambarde wrote Eirenarcha: Or of the Office of the Justices of Peace (1581), a manual that became the standard work on the subject. He later completed Archeion, or, A Discourse upon the High Courts of Justice in England by 1591, another important legal work. The manuscript circulated widely, and a copy was published without consent by the printer Daniel Freres in 1635. In the same year, Lambarde's grandson put out an authorized edition of the work to correct certain errors in Frere's version.
- R[oderick] Cameron (1981), Great Comp and its Garden: One Couple's Achievement in Seven Acres, Maidstone, Kent: Bachman and Turner Publications, pp. 131–144, ISBN 978-0-85974-100-2.
- Izaak Walton (1827), The Lives of Dr. John Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr. Richard Hooker, Mr. George Herbert, and Dr. Robert Sanderson, London: W. Pickering, p. 469, OCLC 4394977.
- William Lambarde (1568), Archaionomia, siue de priscis anglorum legibus libri: sermone Anglico, vetustate antiquissimo, aliquot abhinc seculis conscripti, atq[ue] nunc demum, magno iurisperitorum, & amantium antiquitatis omnium commodo, è tenebris in lucem vocati. Gulielmo Lambardo interprete. Regum qui has leges scripserunt nomenclationem, & quid præterea accesserit, altera monstrabit pagina, London: Ex officina Ioannis Daij, OCLC 606547050.
- William Lambarde (1576), A Perambulation of Kent: Conteining the Description, Hystorie, and Customes of that Shyre. Collected and Written (for the Most Part) in the Yeare. 1570. by William Lambard of Lincolnes Inne Gent. and Nowe Increased by the Addition of Some Things which the Authour Him Selfe hath Obserued since that Time, London: [By Henrie Middleton] for Ralphe Nevvberie, dwelling in Fleetestreete a litle aboue the Conduit, OCLC 606507618.
- William Camden (1586), Britannia siue Florentissimorum regnorum, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, et insularum adiacentium ex intima antiquitate chorographica descriptio, authore Guilielmo Camdeno, London: Per Radulphum Newbery. Cum gratia & priuilegio Regiae Maiestatis, OCLC 228713993, subsequently published in English as William Camden (1610), Britain, or A Chorographicall Description of the most Flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Ilands Adioyning, out of the Depth of Antiquitie: Beautified vvith Mappes of the Severall Shires of England: VVritten First in Latine by William Camden Clarenceux K. of A. Translated Newly into English by Philémon Holland Doctour in Physick: Finally, Revised, Amended, and Enlarged with Sundry Additions by the Said Author, London: [Printed at Eliot's Court Press] impensis Georgii Bishop & Ioannis Norton, OCLC 352861344. See C. R. J. Currie; Christopher Lewis (1997), A Guide to English County Histories, Stroud: Sutton, pp. 10–12, ISBN 978-0-7509-1505-2.
- J[ohn] E[rnest] Neale (1963), The Elizabethan House of Commons, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books in association with Jonathan Cape, p. 219, OCLC 750597926.
- A later edition William Lambarde (1581), Eirenarcha: Or of the Office of the Iustices of Peace: In Two Bookes: Gathered. 1579. And Now Reuised, and Firste Published, in the. 24. Yeare of the Peaceable Reigne of our Gratious Queene Elizabeth: By William Lambard of Lincolnes Inne Gent, London: Imprinted by Ra[lph] Newbery, and H. Bynneman, by the ass. of Ri[chard] Tot[tell] & Chr. Bar[ker], OCLC 606510559.
- William Lambarde (1635), Archion, or, A Commentary upon the High Courts of Iustice in England, London: Printed for Daniel Frere, and are to sold at his shop ..., OCLC 310094000.
- William Lambarde (1635), Archeion, or, A Discourse upon the High Courts of Justice in England. Composed by William Lambard, of Lincolnes Inne, Gent. Newly Corrected, and Enlarged according to the Authors Copie, London: Printed by E. P[urslowe] for Henry Seile, dwelling at the Tygers-head in St Pauls Church-yard, OCLC 216661922.
- Smith, George; Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1973), "Lambarde, William", Dictionary of National Biography: From the Earliest Times to 1900, Oxford: Oxford University Press, OCLC 3336495.
- Warnicke, Retha M[arvine] (1973), William Lambarde: Elizabethan Antiquary, 1536–1601, London: Phillimore, ISBN 978-0-85033-077-9.