Brooke, Ralph

, York herald, whose real name was Brookesworth, until he changed it to Brooke, was bred to the trade of a painter-stainer, of which company he became free, September 3, 1576, and leaving this, he became an officer at arms. He was so extremely worthless and perverse, that his whole mind seems bent to malice and wickedness: unawed by virtue or station, none were secure from his unmerited attacks. He became a disgrace to the college, a misfortune to his contemporaries, and a misery to himself. With great sense and acquirements, he sunk into disgrace and contempt. He was particularly hostile to Camden, publishing “A Discovery of Errors” found in his Britannia. Camden returned his attack partly by silence, and partly by rallying Brooke, as entirely ignorant of his own profession, incapable of translating or understanding the “Britannia,” in which he had discovered faults, offering to submit the matter in dispute to the earl Marshal, the college of heralds, the society of antir quaries, or four persons learned in these studies. Irritated still more, he wrote a “Second Discovery of Errors,” which he presented to James I. January 1, 1619-20, who, on the 4th following, prohibited its publication, but it was published by Anstis, in 1723, in 4to. In it are Camden’s | supposed errors, with his objections, Camden’s reply, and his own answers. In the appendix, in two columns, are placed the objectionable passages in the edition of 1594, and the same as they stood in that of 1600. In 1622, he published a valuable work, dedicated to James I. entitled “A Catalogue and Succession of Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquises, Earls, and Viscounts of this Realm, since the Norman Conquest, until 1619, &c.” small folio. In his address to his majesty, he says, “he had spent fifty years’ labour and experience, having served his majesty and the late queen Elizabeth, of famous memory, forty years an more.” That no doubt might be entertained of his ability, he said he had in his custody the collections of the principal heralds deceased, before and during his time, adding, without ostentation be it spoken, he held his library better furnished than the office of arms. He does not neglect to intreat James to prohibit upstarts and mountebanks from impoverishing his majesty’s poor servants, the officers of arms, who labour daily, and spend both their bodies and substance in doing their duty. He was twice suspended and imprisoned for scandalous misbehaviour: the first time, for his shameful conduct to Segar, Garter; and in 1620, a petition was exhibited against him and Creswell as disturbers of the whole body of heralds. On Oct. 15,

1621, with a view probably to expel him the college, it was solemnly argued, whether he was a herald; but the chief baron of the exchequer, Whitfield, decided in his favour. Dec. 4, he and Creswell, Somerset herald, were sentenced to the Marshaisea for having spoken contemptuously of the Earl Marshal. Cresweil was obliged to resign, but Brooke died in his office, universally despised, Oct. 15, 1625, and was buried in the church of Reculver in Kent. 1

1 Noble’s College of Arms, —Gent. Mag. LXIII, Archaeologia, vol. I. p, xix,