Holinshed, Raphael

, an English historian, and famous for the Chronicles that go under his name, was descended from a family which lived at Bosely, in Cheshire: but neither the place nor time of his birth, nor scarcely any other circumstances of his life, are known. Some say he had an university education, and was a clergyman; while others, denying this, affirm that he was steward to Thomas Burdett, of Bromcote in the county of Warwick, esq. Be this as it will, he appears to have been a man of considerable learning, and to have had a particular turn for | history. His “Chronicles” were first published in 1577, in 2 vols. folio; and then in 1587, in three, the two first of which are commonly bound together. In this second edition several sheets were castrated in the second and third volumes, because there were passages in them disagreeable to queen Elizabeth and her ministry: but the castrations were reprinted apart in 1723. Holinshed was not the sole author or compiler of this work, but was assisted in it by several other writers. The first volume opens with “An historical Description of the Island of Britaine, in three books,” by William Harrison; and then, “The Hislorie of England, from the time that it was first inhabited, until the time that it was last conquered,” by R. Holinshed. The second volume contains, “The description, conquest, inhabitation, and troublesome estate of Ireland; particularly the description of that kingdom:” by Richard Stanihurst. “The Conquest of Ireland, translated from the Latin of Giraldus Cambrensis,” by John Hooker, alias Vowell, of Exeter, gent. “The Chronicles of Ireland, beginning where Giraldus did end, continued untill the year 1509, from Philip Flatsburie, Henrie of Marleborow, Edmund Campian,” &c. by R. Holinshed; and from thence to 1586, by R. Stanihurst and J. Hooker. “The Description of Scotland, translated from the Latin of Hector Boethius,” by R. H. or W. H. “The Historie of Scotland, conteining the beginning, increase, proceedings, continuance, acts and government of the Scottish nation, from the original thereof unto the yeere 1571,” gathered by Raphael Holinshed, and continued from 1571 to 1586, by Francis Boteville, alias Thin, and others. The third volume begins at “Duke William the Norman, commonly called the Conqueror; and descends by degrees of yeeres to all the kings and queenes of England.” First compiled by R. Holinshed, and by him extended to 1577; augmented and continued to 1586, by John Stow, Fr. Thin, Abraham Fleming, and others. The time of this historian’s death is unknown; but it appears from his will, which Hearne prefixed to his edition of Camden’s “Annals,” that it happened between 1578 and 1582.

As for his coadjutors; Harrison, as we have already noticed in his article, was bred at Westminster school, sent from thence to Oxford, became chaplain to sir William Brooke, who preferred him, and died in 1593. Hooker, who was uncle to the famous Richard Hooker, will be | noticed hereafter. We know nothing of Botevile; only that Hearne styles him “a man of great learning and judgment, and a wonderful lover of antiquities.” In the late reprint of the series of English Chronicles by the booksellers of London, Holinshed very properly took the precedence, and was accurately edited in 6 vols. 4to. 1


Biog. Brit. Tanner’s Bibliotheca.