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William Lambarde (October 18, 1536 – August 19, 1601) was an antiquarian and writer on legal subjects.
Lambarde was born in London. His father was a draper (serving three times as Master of the Drapers' Company), an alderman and a sheriff of London. In 1556, he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn. He studied Old English 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, he completed his Perambulation of Kent, the first English county history. It circulated 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.
He wrote Eirenarcha: or of the Office of the Justices of Peace (1581) a manual that became the standard work on the subject. He later wrote Archeion, or, A Discourse Upon the High Courts of Justice in England (1591), another important legal work.
- C.R.J. Currie & C.P. Lewis eds., A Guide to English County Histories (Stroud, 1997), 10-12
- J. E. Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (Penguin revised edition, 1963), 219
- "Lambarde, William" in Dictionary of National Biography. 1973 repr. ed. London: Oxford University Press.
- Walton, Izaak. The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert and Sanderson. London: W. Pickering, 1827. p. 469 googlebooks Accessed Dec. 12, 2007
- Retha M. Warnicke, William Lambarde, Elizabethan Antiquary 1536-1601, Phillimore & Co Ltd (1973).