Dugdale, Sir William

, an eminent English antiquary and historian, was the only son of John Dngdale, of Shustoke, near Coleshill, in Warwickshire, gent, and born there Sept. 12, 1605. He was placed at the freeschool in Coventry, where he continued till he was fifteen; and then returning home to his father, who had been edueatrd in St. John’s college, Oxford, and had applied himself particularly to civil law and history, was instructed by him in those branches of literature. At the desire of his father, he married, March 1623, a daughter of Mr. Huntbach, of Seawall, in Staffordshire, and boarded with his wife’s father till the death of his own, which happened July 1624 but soon after went and kept house at Fillongley, in Warwickshire, where he had an estate formerly purchased by his father. In 1625 he bought the manor of Blythe, in Shvstoke, above-mentioned; and the year following, selling his estate at Fillongley, he came and resided at Blythehall. His natimil inclination leading him to the study of antiquities, he soon became acquainted with all the noted antiquaries with Burton particularly, whose “Description of Leicestershire” he had read, and who lived but eight miles from him, at Lindley, in that county. In 1638 he went to London, and was introduced to sir Christopher Hatton, and to sir Henry Spelman by whose interest he was created a pursuivant at arms extraordinary, by the name of Blanch Lyon, having obtained the king’s warrant for that purpose. Afterwards he was made RougeCroix-pursuivant in ordinary, by virtue of the king’s letters patent, dated March 18, 1640; by which means having a lodging in the Heralds’ office, and convenient opportunities, he spent that and part of the year following, in augmenting his collections out of the records in the Tower and other places. In 1641, through sir Christopher Hatton’s encouragement, he employed himself in raking exact draughts of all the monuments in | Westminster-abbey, St. Paul’s cathedral, and in many other cathedral and parochial churches of England particularly those at Peterborough, Ely, Norwich, Lincoln, Newarkupon-Trent, Beverley, Southwell, York, Chester, Lichfield, Tamworth, Warwick, &c. The draughts were taken by Mr. Sedgwick, a skilful arms-painter, then servant to sir Christopher Hatton; but the inscriptions were probably copied by Dugdale. They were deposited in sir Christopher’s library, to the end that the memory of them might be preserved from the destruction that then appeared imminent, for future and better times. June 1642 he was ordered by the king to repair to York; and in July was commanded to attend the earl of Northampton, who was marching into Worcestershire, and the places adjacent, in order to oppose the forces raised by lord Brook for the service of the parliament He waited upon the king at the battle of Edge-hill, and afterwards at Oxford, where he continued with his majesty till the surrender of that garrison to the parliament June 22, 1646. He was created M. A. October 25, 1642, and April 16, 1644, Chester-heraid. During his long residence at Oxford, he applied himself to the search of such antiquities, in the Bodleian and other libraries, as he thought might conduce towards the furtherance of the “Monp.sticon,” then designed by Roger Dodsworth and himself; as also whatever might relate to the history of the ancient nobility of this realm, of which he made much use in his Baronage.

After the surrender of Oxford upon articles, Dugdale, having the benefit of them, and having compounded for his estate, repaired to London; where he and Dodsworth proceeded vigorously in completing their collections out of the Tower records and Cottonian library. He suffered a short avocation in 1648, when he attended lord and lady Hatton to Paris; but, returning to England in two months, he pursued with his coadjutor the work he had undertaken. When they were ready, the booksellers not caring to venture upon so large and hazardous a work, they printed at their own charge the first volume, which was published in 1655, in folio, under the title of “Monasticon Anglicanum,” adorned with the prospects of abbies, churches, &c. The second volume was published in folio, in 1661. These two volumes were collected and totally written by Dodsworth: but Dugdale took great pains in methodizing and disposing the materials, in making several indexes to | them, and in correcting them at the press for Dodsworth died in 1654, before the tenth part of the first volume was printed otF. (See Dodsworth). A third volume was published in 1673. These three volumes contain chiefly the foundation-charters of the monasteries at their first erection, the donation-charters in after-times being purposely omitted; but the publication of them was productive of many law-suits, by the revival of old writings and the puritans were highly offended at it, as they looked upon it as a large step towards introducing popery. The Monasticon being almost the only one of our books which finds a ready admittance into the libraries of monks, it has on that account become scarce.

The general preface to the “Monasticon” was drawn up by the learned sir John Marsham, and is followed by a short view of the first institution of the monastic life. Great part of the impression of the third volume was accidentally burnt, and that is now of course the scarcest. The variations in the price of these volumes have been singular. Whiston informs us that in 1728, they sold for 18l., and in 1764 for only seven but of late they have risen to 50l. The first volume was reprinted with large additions, in 1682; and the whole was abridged in 1695, by James Wright, author of the “History of Rutlandshire.” Another epitome, by an anonymous writer, was published in 1718. Great additions were made to the Monasticon itself in “The History of the ancient Abbeys, Monasteries, Hospitals, Cathedral and Collegiate Churches,” by John Stephens, gent. This work, which contains in folio, two additional volumes to sir William Dugdale’s Monasticon, appeared in 1722 and 1723. Mr. Peck promised a fourth volume of the Monasticon, and in 1735, told the world that it was in great forwardness. He left behind him on this subject, some curious manuscript volumes, in 4to, now in the British Museum, some particulars concerning which may be seen in the Anecdotes of Mr. Bowyer, vol. I. p. 518, and a full enumeration of their contents in Ayscough’s Catalogue, vol. I. p. 55 67. We have, however, at length the prospect of a much improved edition, which has been undertaken by the rev. Bulkeley Bandinell, F. S. A. principal librarian of the Bodleian; and which, if we may judge from the part delivered in July (1813) to the subscubers, may be justly praised for the accuracy, splendour, and spirit of the learned editor and proprietors. | In the mean time he printed at his own charge, and published in 1656, “The Antiquities of Warwickshire iilustr ted; from records, leiger-books, manuscripts, charters, evidences, tombs, and arms; beautified with maps, prospects, and portraitures,” folio. The author tells us in his preface, that he spent the greatest part of his lime, for more than twenty years, in accomplishing this work which indeed is reckoned his master- piece, and is allowed to be one of the best methodized and most accurate accounts that ever was written of this nature. A second edition was published in 1730, “in two volumes, printed from a copy corrected by the author himself, and with the original copper-plates. The whole revised, augmented, and continued down to this present time, by William Thomas, D. D. some time rector of Exhall, in the same county.*


The testimony of Mr. Gough to sir William Dugdale’s “Antiquities of Warwickshire illustrated” is, that “it must stand at the head of all our county histories. Sir Greville Verney corrected the map, and gave many drawings of monuments with his own hand. Dugdale himself had drawn the monuments of the Ferrars family at Badley, ready for engraving; but the heir of the family refusing to contribute any thing towards the charge thereof, and it not being proper for sir VVilliam to undergo it totally, they were omitted.” Concerning Dr. Thomas, who published the edition of 1730, Mr. Gough informs us, that he was very careless in his accounts, and took very little pains for information. “I have heard,” adds Mr. Gough, “an instance of his having an opportunity to call on a gentleman who had large records and other materials; but, because he was not at home, though he had left word he soon should be, Thomas eontented himself with inspecting the church. The Hundreds are very incorrectly copied from Beighton’s large Survey.” Dugdale’s original edition, with Hollar’s plates, was reprinted by subscription, in 1765, by a bookseller at Coventry; but in so negligent a manner was the publication executed, that some of the last sheets were worked off on the coarsest paper. The author’s grandson, Richard Geast, esq. of Blythe-hall, in the county of Warwick, recovered the plates by a suit in chancery,

While this work was printing, which was for near a year and a half, Dugdale continued in London, for the sake of correcting the press; during which time he had an opportunity of collecting materials for another work, which he published in 1658. “The History of St. Paul’s Cathedral, in London,” folio. A second edition of this curious work, corrected and enlarged by the author’s own hand, was published in 1716, in folio, by Edward Maynard, D. D. rector of Boddington, in Northamptonshire; to which is prefixed his life written by himself, from which these memorials of him are chiefly extracted. Five of the original plates being lost, five new ones were engraved for this second edition; to which are great additions in several places, and particularly a new introduction. | Besides these there is an account of the new building of St. P.nil’s to 1685; with a catalogue of the several benefactors, and the sums they gave towards it; and, “An historical Account of the Cathedral and. collegiate Churches of York, Hippon, Southwell, Beverly, Durham, and Carlisle;” of which, however, the first four appear to have been by sir Thomas Herbert, and the two last are probably not by Dugdale.

Upon the restoration of Charles II. Dugdale was, through chancellor Hyde’s recommendation, advanced to the office of Norroy king at arms; and in 1662 he published “The History of Imbanking and Draining of divers Fens and Marshes, both in foreign parts and in this kingdom, and of the improvement thereby. Extracted from records, manuscripts, and other authentic testimonies. Adorned with sundry maps, &c.” This work was written at the request of the lord Gorges, sir John Marsham, and others, who were adventurers in draining the Great Level, which extends itself into a considerable part of the counties of Cambridge, Huntingdon, Northampton, Norfolk, and Suffolk.*


This valuable book being become extremely scarce, owing to many of the copies having been burnt in the fire of London, and a person in the Fens having published proposals for reprinting it by subscription, with new plates, the corporation of Bedford Level, who were more particularly interested in a second edition, readily undertook one. Upon application to Richard Geast, esq. of Blythe-hall, co. Warwick, a lineal maternal descendant of the author, he desired that it might be conducted entirely at his own expense. It was accordingly printed undcr the inspection of their registrar, Charles Nalson Cole, esq. of the Inner Temple, barrister at law, from the author’s own copy, under the original title, wiih the addition of three indexes; one of the principal matters, the second of names, and the third of places, making eleven additional sheets, Lond. 1772, fol. The original plaies which remained in the possession of Mr. Geast, and wanted no touching, were used. It was Mr. Geast’s intention to have proceeded with the other parts of his learned ancestor’s works, but the restraint laid at that time upon literary property effectually diverted his thoughts from an expense which a period of fourteen years could never be expected to repay.

About the same time he completed the second volume of sir Henry Spelman’s Councils, and published it in If64, under this title “Concilia, decreta, leges, constitutiones in re ecclesiarum orbis Britannici, &c. ah introitu Normannorum, A.D. 1066, ad exutum papam A. D. 1531. Accesserunt etiam alia ad rem ecclesiasricam spectantia,” &c. Archbishop Sheldon and lord Clarendon had been the chief promoters of this work, and employed Dugdale upon it; and what share he had in it will appear from hence, that out of 2 “4 articles, of which that volume consists, 191 are of his collecting; being those marked (*) in the list of the contents at the | beginning of the volume. The same great personages employed him also to publish the second part of that learned knight’s” Glossary.“The first part was published in 1626, folio, and afterwards considerably augmented and corrected by sir Henry. He did not live to finish the second, but left much of it loosely written; with observations, and sundry bits of paper pinned thereto. These Dugdale took the pains to dispose into proper order, transcribing many of those papers;, and, having revised the first part, caused both to be printed together in 1664, under the title of” Glossariuin archaiologicum, continens Latino-barbara, peregrina, obsoleta, & novse significationis vocabula.“The second part, digested by Dugdale, began at the letter M; but Wood observes, that” it comes far short of the first." There was another edition of this work in 1687.

In 1666, he published in folio, “Origines Juridiciales; or, historical memoirs of the English laws, courts of justice, forms of trial, punishment in cases criminal, law-writers, law-books, grants and settlements of estates, degree of serjeants, inns of court and chancery, &c.” This book is adorned with the heads of sir John Clench, sir Edward Coke, sir Randolph Crew, bir Robert Heath, Edward earl of Clarendon-, to whom it is dedicated, sir Orlando Bridgman, sir John Vaughan, and Mr. Selden. There are also plates of the arms in the windows of the Temple-hall, and other inns of court. A second edition was published in 1671, and a third in 1680. Nicolson recommends this book as a proper introduction to the history of the laws of this kingdom. His next work was, “The Baronage of England,” of which the first volume appeared in 1675, and the second and third in 1676, folio. Though the collecting of materials for this work cost him, as he tells us, a great part of thirty years’ labour, yet there are many faults in it; so many, that the gentlemen at the Heralds’ office said they could not depend entirely upon its authority. Wood informs us, that Dugdale sent to him copies of all the volumes of this work, with an earnest desire that he would peruse, correct, and add to them, what he could obtain from records and other authorities; whereupon, spending a whole long vacation upon it, he drew up at least sixteen sheets of corrections, but more additions; which being sent to the author, he remitted a good part of them into the margin of a copy of his Baronage on large paper (which | copy, we believe, still exists). With all its faults, however, the work was so acceptable, that the year following its publication, there were very few copies unsold.

In May 1677, our antiquary was solemnly created Garter principal king at arms, and the day after received from his majesty the honour of knighthood, much against his will, on account of the smallness of his estate. In 1681 he published “A short View of the late Troubles in England; briefly setting forth their rise, growth, and tragical conclusion, &c.” folio. This is perhaps the least valued of all his works, or rather the only one which is not very much valued. He published also at the same time, “The ancient usage in bearing of such ensigns of honour as are co’i.monly called Arms, &,c.” 8vo a second edition of which was published in the beginning of the year following, with large additions. The last work he published, was, “A perfect copy of all summons of the nobility to the great councils and parliaments of this realm, from the 49th of king Henry III. until these present times, &e.” 1685, folio. He wrote some other pieces relating to the same subjects, which were never published; and was likewise the chief promoter of the Saxon Dictionary by Mr. William Somner, printed at Oxford in 1659. His collections of materials for the Antiquities of Warwickshire, and Baronage of England, all written with his own hand, contained in 27 vols, in folio, he gave by will to the university of Oxford; together with sixteen other volumes, some of his own hand-writing; which are now preserved in Ashmole’s Museum. He gave likewise several books to the Heralds’ office, in London, and procured many more for their library.

At length, this very industrious man, contracting a great cold at Blythe-hall, died of it in his chair, Feb. 10, 1686, in his eighty-first year and was interred at Shustoke, in a little vault which he had caused to be made in the church there. Over that vault he had erected in his life-time an altar-tomb of free-stone, and had caused to be fixed in the wall about it a tablet of white marble, with an epitaph of his own writing, in which he tells us of his ascending gradually through all the places in the office of heralds, till he was made Garter principal king of arms.

His wife died Dec. 18, 1681, aged seventy-five, after they had been married fifty-nine years. He had several children by her, sons and daughters. One of his | daughters was married to Elias Ashmole, esq. All his sons died young, except John, who was created M. A. at Oxford, in 1661, and was at that time chief gentleman of the chamber to Edward earl of Clarendon, lord chancellor of England. In Oct. 1675, he was appointed Windsor-herald, upon the resignation of his brother-in-law, Elias Ashmole, esq and Norroy king of arms in March 1686, about which time he was also knighted by James II. He published “A Catalogue of the Nobility of England, &c.” printed at London, a large broadside, in 1685, and again, with additions, in 1690. This sir John Dugdale died in 1700, leaving two sons, William and John, who both died single, the latter in 1749; and four daughters, the third of whom, Jane, married Richard Geast, esq. by whom she had a son named Richard, who took the name and arms of Dugdale only. This gentleman died in 1806, leaving a son, Dugdale Stratford Dugdale, esq. the present member of parliament for the county of Warwick. 1


Biog. Brit.—Noble’s College of Arms.—Wood’s Fasti, vol. II.