William Camden

Commentary


Life
1551-1623; ed. Oxford, but not awarded a degree; became a schoolmaster, Westminster School, 1575; travelled through Britain to pursue his antiquarian interests; learned Welsh and Anglo-Saxon; Britannia sive florentissimorum regnorum, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, chorographica descriptio (London Radulphum Newbury 1586), with two further editions up to 1590; described Ireland as “Ogygia”, or ‘Ancient Isle’, compared with which all other nations were young; also a de luxe folio edition in the translation of Edmund Gibson (1695), published by himself; also issued a Greek grammar for schools;
 
became headmaster of Westminster, 1593; Clarenceux king-at-arms, 1597, an appt. that caused some bad feeling; attacked by Ralph Brooke for plagiarism and genealogical inaccuracy in Britannia, replying in appendix to fifth edn, 1600; enlarged edn. 1607; also published Giraldus’s Topographia and Expugnatio in 1602; Annales rerum anglicarum et hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha ... ad annum 1589 (1615), said to reflect an account of the reign of Mary altered to please James I and at variance with his account given to Jacques de Thou;
 
fnd. Oxford Chair of Ancient History, 1622; issued Actio in Henricum Garnetum, Societatis Jesuiticae in Anglia superiorem in caeteros, an official account of trial of Gunpowder Plot conspirators; d. Chislehurst, 9 Nov.; friend of Ussher, Cotton, and other notables; Britannia first trans. in English by Philemon Holland (1610); other translators incl. Richard Gough, 3 vols. 1789 (4 vols. 1816); Annales ed. Thomas Hearne, 1717; French and English trans. 1635, 1675, and 1688. ODNB FDA

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Works
Britannia ... Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae
  • [Guilielmo Camdeno,] Britannia sive florentissimorum regnorum, Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, et insularum adjacentium ex intimo antiquitate chorographica Descriptio, 2 pts (London Radulphum Newbury 1586), 556pp., 8°;
  • Do. [adding], Nunc tertiò recognita, & magna accessione adaucta [e.g., 3 pts.] (Londini: Impensis Georg. Bishop. Cum gratia & priuilegio Regiae Maiestatis 1590), [16], 762, [22]pp., ill., 8°/18cm. [incls. “Hiberniae, et insularum Britannię adiacentium descriptio” with separate dated title page but continuous pagination];
  • Britannia, sive, florentissimorvm regnorvm, Anglię, Scotię, Hibernię, et insularum adiacentium ex intima antiquitate chorographica descriptio / authore Guilielmo Camdeno; nunc quartò recognita, & magna accessione post Germanicam ęditionem adaucta. [Clarissimo, et honoratissimo viro, domino] (Londini: Impensis G. Bishop 1594), [16], 717, [24]pp., ill.; 8°/20 cm. [“Hiberniae, et insularum Britanniæ adiacentium descriptio” has special t.p. - as supra, 1590]
  • [Philemon Holland, trans., John Speed., ed & cart.] Theatrum Imperii Magnae Britanniae; exactam regnorum Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae et insularum adiacentium geographiam ob oculos proponens: una cum comitatibus, centurijs, urbibus et primarijs comitatuum oppidis, intra regnum. Angliae, divisis et descriptis / opus nuper quidem à Iohanne Spédo ...; nunc verò à Philemone Hollando apud Coventrianos medicinae doctore Latinitate donatum (London: excusum [T. Snodham] apud Ioann Sudbury et Georg: Humble [...] to be solde by Iohn Sudbury and Georg Humble ... Anno ... 1616), [16], 146, [i.e. 280], [12]pp., ill. [maps], fol. [trans. from Speed’s The theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (1611; see note), with text largely taken from Camden’s Britannica].
  • Gvilielmi Camdeni viri clarissimi Britannia, sive Florentissimorvm regnorum Angliae, Scotiae, Hiberniae, & insularum adjacentium ex intima antiquitate descriptio: In epitomen contracta a regnero Vitellio Zirizaeo, & tabulis chorographicis illustrata (Amstelredami: Ex officina Guilielmi Ianssonij 1617), [16], 714, 26pp., maps [abridged version of Britannia, ill. by reduced copies of Saxton’s maps and sectional maps of Scotland and Ireland];
  • Do. (Amsterdami: Apud Guilielmum Blaeu 1639), 458pp. [with reduced versions of Mercator’s group county maps of 1595 previously in P. Bertii[,] Tabularum Geographicarum contractarum ... 1616; gen. maps of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland bear signature of S. Rogiers, engraver.]
  • The Abridgment of Camden’s Britannia with the maps of the seuerall shires of England and Wales([London]: printed by Iohn Bill ... 1626), [130]pp., maps; 4°/15cm. x 20cm.
  • Britain, or A chorographicall description of the most flourishing kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Islands adjoyning, out of the depth of antiqvitie: beavtified with 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 ...: Finally, revised, amended, and enlarged with sundry additions by the said author (London: printed by F.K. R.Y. and I.L. [F. Kingston, R.Young and I.Legatt] for Andrevv Crooke, 1637), [14], 822, 233, [57]pp., ill. [55 lvs. of pls., maps], 34cm., fol.
  • [Edmund Gibson, trans.,] Camden’s Britannia, newly translated into English, with large additions and improvements (London: F. Collins [... &c.] 1695) [see details];
  • [Richard Gough, F.A. & R.S.S., ed. & trans.,] Britannia; or, A chorographical description of the flourishing kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the islands adjacent; from the earliest antiquity / By William Camden. Translated from the edition published by the author in MDCVII. Enlarged by the latest discoveries, by Richard Gough, F.A. & R. S.S. In three volumes. Illustrated with maps, and other copper-plates (London: Printed by John Nichols for T. Payne and son ... and G. G. J. and J. Robinson ... MDCCLXXXIX [1789]), [“Life of Mr. Camden”: v.1, p.i-xxii; double columns];
Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha (1610)
  • Annales rerum Anglicarum, et Hibernicarum, regnante Elizabetha, ad annum salutis M.D.LXXXIX. / Guilielmo Camdeno authore, Pars 1-3 ] (Londini: Typis Guilielmi Stansbij, impensis Simonis Watersoni, ad insigne Coronę in Cœmeterio Paulino M.DC.XV [1615), [8], 499, [23]pp., fol.
  • Annales rerum Anglicarum, et Hibernicarum : regnante Elizabetha, ad annum ... M.D.LXXXIX (Francofurti ad Moenum: curantibus Rulandiis typis Ioannis Bringeri 1616);
  • Annales rervm anglicarvm, et hibernicarvm, regnante Elizabetha. 1. pars emendatior, altera nunc primum in lucem edita, 2 vols. (Lvg. Batavorvm: ex officina Elzeviriana 1625), 8°[1st Elsevier edn.; see also Do. ultima editio, ... exudebantur typis Elseviriorum, 1639]
  • [Thomas Browne,] Tomus alter et idem: or, The historie of the life and reigne of that famous princesse, Elizabeth : containing a briefe memoriall of the chiefest affaires of state, that have passed in these kingdomes of England, Scotland, France, or Ireland, since the yeare of the fatall Spanish invasion, to that of her sad and ever to be deplored dissolution : whereunto also is annexed an appendix of animadversions upon severall passages, corrections of sundry errours and additions of some remarkable matters of this history, never before imprinted (London: Printed by T. Harper, and are to be sold by W. Web in Oxford, 1629), [519]pp., 20cm. [trans. by Browne [being] 4th part of Camden's Annales rerum anglicarum et hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha, covering 1589-1603; ded. King Charles signed Tho: Browne; Camden not named].
  • [R. Norton, trans.,] Annals: or, The Historie of the Most Renovvned and Victorious Princesse Elizabeth, late Queen of England. Containing all the important and remarkable passages of state, both at home and abroad, during her long and prosperous reigne / VVritten in Latin by the learned Mr. William Camden. Translated into English by R. N.[orton] Gent. Together with divers additions of the authors never before published. [third edition] (London: Printed by Thomas Harper, for Benjamin Fisher [...] to be sold at his shop in Aldersgate street, at the signe of the Talbot, 1635), 18p., l, 586 [i.e., 588], [18]pp., port., 29cm.
  • The history of the most renowned and victorious princess Elizabeth, late Queen of England: containing all the most important and remarkable passages of State, both at home and abroad (so far as they were linked with English affairs) during her long and prosperous reign / written by William Camden. [Third edition, revised and compared with the originall, whereby many gross faults are amended, severall periods before omitted are added in their due places, and the English phrase much altered, more constant to the mind of the authour, with a new alphabetical index of all the principall things contained in The history] (London: Printed by E. Flesher for Charles Harper and John Amery ... 1675), [19]p, 10 leaves, 11-661, [41]pp.
  • London : Printed by M. Flesher, for J. Tonson at the Judge’s-Head in Chancery-Lane near Fleetstreet, 1688 [4th Edn.] (London: Printed by M. Flesher, for J. Tonson at the Judge’s-Head in Chancery-Lane near Fleetstreet, 1688), [xii], [10], 11-661,[41]pp., fol.
  • Guilielmi Camdeni Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha : tribus voluminibus comprehensi : e codice pręclaro Smithiano, propria auctoris manu correcto, myltisque magni momenti additionibus locupletato / eruit ediditque Tho. Hearnius, qui & alium codicem é Bibliotheca Rawlinsoniana adhibuit [3 vols.] ([Oxford:] s.n.], 1717.
Camden’s Remains
  • [Anon.,] Remaines of a greater worke, concerning Britaine, the inhabitants thereof, their languages, names, surnames, empreses, wise speeches, poêsies, and epitaphes. (At London: Printed by G.[eorge] E.[ld] for Simon Waterson, 1605), [8], 235, [1], 59, [1]pp., 4° [Ded. signed M. N. [i.e. [Willia]m [Camde]n].
  • Remaines, concerning Britaine, but especially England, and the inhabitants thereof : their languages, names, surnames, allusions, anagrammes, armories, monies, empreses, apparell, artillarie, wise speeches, prouerbs, poesies, epitaphes. [ Remaines of a greater worke, concerning Britaine, the inhabitants thereof, their languages, names, surnames, empreses, wise speeches, poeêsies, and epitaphes: Reviewed, corrected, and encreased (London: Printed by Iohn Legatt for Simon Waterson 1614), [4], 181, 190-386, [2]pp. [Ded. signed M. N. [i.e. [Willia]m [Camde]n].
  • Remaines concerning Brittiane: but especially England, and the inhabitants thereof [4th Edn.] (London: Waterson 1629);
  • Remaines concerning Britaine: their languages. Names. Surnames. Allusions. Anagrammes. Armories. Monies. Empreses. Apparell. Artillarie. Wise speeches. Proverbs. Poesies. Epitaphes / VVritten by VVilliam Camden Esquire, Clarenceux, king of armes, surnamed the learned. fift[h] impression, with many rare antiquities never before imprinted / By the industry and care of Iohn Philipot, Somerset Herald (London: Printed by Thomas Harper, for John Waterson [...] to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard, at the signe of the Crowne 1637), [8], 420, [4]pp. [coats of arms, port.], 4° [variant on 1636 edn.];
  • Do. [6th imp.] (London: Printed for Simon Waterson and Robert Clavell 1657), [9], 408, [4]pp.;
  • Do. [var. tit. orth.; 7th imp.] (London: Printed for, and sold by, Charles Harper at the Flower de Luce over against St. Dunstan’s Church, and John Amery at the Peacock over against Fetter Lane, both in Fleetstreet, 1674);
Note: Remains Concerning Britain (1605, & edns.) styled anthologised from Britannia in Encyc. Brit., 1949 edn.]
Other works
  • [W. Udall, trans.] The historie of the life and death of Mary Stuart Queene of Scotland. (London: printed by Iohn Haviland, and are to be sold by William Sheares ... 1636) [literal trans. of Annales rerum anglicarum [... &c.], 1615, prev. publ. in 1924 with ded. signed Wil. Stranguage, pres. pseud. for Udall, trans. with Camden’s permission].
  • Instituio Graevae Grammatices Compendaria in usum Regiae Scholae Westmonasteriensis (London: M. Flesher, & R. Young per assign. R. Norton 1640), [192]pp.; Do. [num. eds. and corrected eds. in use to 1784, with var. Latin titles, viz., ... In usum studiosæ juventutis, 1719; later in English, e.g., as Grammar of the Greek Language, originally composed for the College-school at Gloucester ... reject [...] supply [...] reduce [...] consign to an appendix [what is not requisite to be got by heart: recommended by Univ. of Cambridge (Mass.) to be used by those who are intended for that seminary (Boston: J. T. Buckingham, for Thomas & Andrews 1805]), iv, 233pp.;
  • Anglica, Hibernica, Normanniica, Cambrica, a veteribus scripta: ex quibus Asser Meneuensis, Anonymus de vita Gulielmi Conquestoris, Thomas VValsingham, Thomas de la More, Gulielmus Gemiticensis, Giraldus Cambrensis: plerique nunc primu`m ... editi ex bibliotheca Guilielmi Camdeni [1602] (Francofurti: impensis Claudij Marnij, & haeredum Iohannis Aubrij, 1603, 1603) 898pp.; Do. (Lugd. Batavorum, Excudebantur typis Elseviriorum, MDCXXXIX [1639]), [14], xv, 856, [40]pp., ill. [port.], 8°;
  • Reges, Reginae, Nobiles et alii ecclesias collegiata beati Westmonasterii sepulti (enl. 1603, 1606);
  • [...]
New editions
Robert Mayhew, ed. & intro., Britannia, trans. by Philémon Holland, 3 vols. [Historical cultures and geography, 1600-1750], Bristol : Thoemmes, 2003), Vol. 1 [pp.], Vol. 2, pp.391-822, Vol. 3, 233pp.; ill., maps, 31 cm. [facsim. rep. of 1610 Edn.],

Bibliographical details
Edmund Gibson [trans.,] Camden’s Britannia, newly translated into English, with large additions and improvements. Publish’d by Edmund Gibson (London: Printed by F. Collins, for A. Swalle [&c.] 1695), fol./41cm.; “Antonius’s Itinerary through Great Britain ...”: prelim. leaves 16-17; “Catalogue of some books and treatises relating to the antiquities of England”: prelim. leaves 14-16; “The life of Mr. Camden”: prelim. leaves 6-12; Col iii-iv incorrectly numbered ii-iii; some of the maps colored by hand; leaf, or signature “A” (following “g”) and several maps wanting; t.p. mounted; marginal notes; foot-notes [copy in Aberdeen UL].

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John Speed, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine: presenting an exact geography of the kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the iles adioyning: with the shires, hundreds, cities and shire-townes, within ye kingdome of England divided and described / by Iohn Speed (London: And are to be solde by Iohn Sudbury and Georg Humble, 1611), 146 [i.e. 140]pp., [7] l., fol./41cm.; printed by William Hall; contains 67 maps prepared by Speed from surveys of Saxton, Norden et al.; chiefly engrav. by Jodocus Hondius and bearing imprint of John Sudbury and George Humble though 10 with imprint of Humble only; each map contains an inset large scale plan of the county town; hundreds, wapentakes, &c., are shown on all the county maps with the exception of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmorland and Durham; the text, abridged from Camden’s Britannia, is printed on the backs of the maps [see The Harold Whitaker Collection, Univ. of Leeds, 1947, p.19.

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Criticism
Rudolf B. Gottfried, ‘The early development of the section on Ireland in Camden’s Britannia’, in ELH, 10 (1943), pp.117-130; ‘Edward Lhuyd, Edmund Gibson, and the printing of Camden’s Britannia, 1695’ (London: Bibliographical Society, 1977), [29]pp. pls. [offprint of article originally published in The Llibrary [5th ser.], XXXII, 2; June 1977]. 

See also L. T. Hobhouse, G. C. Wheeler & M. Ginsberg, The Material Culture and Social Institutions of the Simpler Peoples: An Essay in Correlation [Studies in Economics & Political Science [at LSE]; Monographs on Sociology, No. 3], (London: Chapman & Hall 1930).

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Commentary
Thomas Crofton Croker, Researches in the South of Ireland (1824), quotes Camben (presum. Brittania : ‘ “In no case,” says Camden, speaking of Irish superstitions, “must you praise an horse or any other beast, until you say, “God save him,” or unless you spit upon him. If any harm befall the horse within three dayes after, they seeke him that praised him, that he may mumble the Lord’s Prayer in his right eare. They think that there bee some that bewitch their horses with looking upon them, and then they use the help of some old hagges, who, saying a few prayers with a loud voice, make them well again.” This belief in the fatal effects of an evil eye is as prevalent at the present day as when Camden wrote; and few, if any, of the lower orders will speak to or of a child without spitting out, and excusing himself, should a superior be present, with - “It’s for good luck sure.” - “And God bless the boy, and make a fine man of him.” So powerful is this superstition that even people of education and above the ordinary rank, are obliged, from policy, to accommodate themselves to it in their intercourse with the peasantry, as few things are considered more dangerous and unfriendly, or are longer remembered, than the omission of such ceremony. (Croker, op. cit., p.93.)

Thomas Crofton Croker (Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824), quotes further: ‘They take her for a wicked woman and a witch, whatever she be, that commeth to fetch fire from them on May-day, (neither will they give any fire then, but unto a sicke body, and that with a curse,) for because they thinke the same woman will, the next summer, steale away all their butter. If they finde an hare amongst their heards of cattell on the said May-day, they kill her, for they suppose shee is some old trot, that would filch away their butter. They are of opinion that their butter, if it be stollen, will soone after bee restored againe, in case they take away some of the thatch that hangeth over the doore of the house, and cast it into the fire.’ (Quoted in Croker, ibid., p.95.)

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References
R. F. Foster
, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988) notes that his anti-Catholic rather than racially-superior views colour his pictures of Ireland (p.4, ftn.iv).

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