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OT: Researching English mediaeval heraldry
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Peter Howarth
2017-05-20 10:50:08 UTC
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In an attempt to be more positive on how to research English mediaeval heraldry, I suggest that the best starting points are two works, the 'Dictionary of British Arms' and Steen Clemmensen's 'Ordinary of Medieval Armorials'. The problem with general works is that they concentrate on heraldry in the 19th and 20th century, which bears little resemblance to what actually happened in mediaeval times. It is most unfortunate that Brian Timms's website, with its descriptions of many mediaeval rolls of arms, including some French ones, is no longer on line.

'Dictionary of British Arms: Medieval Ordinary', edd. Hubert Chesshyre, Thomas Woodcock et al., 4 vols., London: Society of Antiquaries, 1992-2014
This is arranged as an ordinary, that is by the arms themselves and not by the names of the owners. There is an index of names at the end of each volume, but it is cumbersome to use because you must search each volume separately for all the different spellings and variations on a surname. The research into the different sources (mainly British, before 1530) was carried out from 1940 to 1980 and the results were put onto hand-written index cards by over 70 volunteers before being collated, eventually onto computer, by staff at the College of Heralds. It is not surprising that in the process some errors have crept in.
Nonetheless, this is a most valuable work. It is not limited to the different rolls of arms, of which England still has many more than any other country, but also includes the major collections of seals and many other sources including architecture, church windows and carvings, and manuscripts. But its greatest value lies in the sources that are given for each entry, so that it is possible to check on each one and to give it at least an approximate date. This is where I start looking for arms I haven't already researched.
Unfortunately, at £95.00 a volume it's not cheap and there are not many second-hand copies around yet. It should be available in larger libraries.

Clemmensen, Steen, 'Ordinary of Medieval Armorials', a Microsoft Access database on CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
The whole of Steen Clemmensen's website is worth investigating because he has carried out a quite prodigious amount of work on rolls of arms, both English and continental, which is not just limited to listing the contents of the different rolls but which also analyses how they were written and the connections between them. He has also produced critical editions in pdf format of several fourteenth-century rolls. It therefore seems a little churlish to point out that his database 'Ordinary of Medieval Armorials' is limited to the various rolls and does not include any seals or other types of sources. He uses a special kind of blazon where the tinctures are listed separately from the charges and he often invents different sigla for the rolls. It also requires the purchase of Microsoft Access. And as might be expected in such an enormous work, there are some typos here and there.
But the great advantage is that Clemmensen standardises the surnames so that it is possible to look up all the different versions of a coat of arms used within a family, together with their sources, including continental rolls as well as English ones. I use it almost as often as the DBA.

Amongst cheaper alternatives, the best is Joseph Foster's 'Feudal Coats of Arms' (1902), available in modern reprints. He was constrained by the more limited knowledge of his day, but he was the first to go back to mediaeval rolls of arms for his information, and to give his sources, instead of just copying freely from earlier writers. C R Humphery-Smith, 'Anglo-Norman Armoury' (1973) and 'Anglo-Norman Armoury Two' (1984) are also useful but not so easily found. Ideally, all of these compilations, including the two big ones, should be checked against editions of the original rolls: Tremlett and London in 'Rolls of Arms Henry III' (1967), Brault, 'Rolls of Arms Edward I', 2 vols (1997) and 'Eight Thirteenth-Century Rolls of Arms in French and Anglo-Norman Blazon' (1971). Transcriptions of later rolls have been made by Clemmensen or are listed in Wagner, 'A Catalogue of English Mediaeval Rolls of Arms' (1950) available from Archive CD Books http://www.archivecdbooks.org/ Unfortunately, many of the transcriptions are not easily accessible.

For seals, the Internet Archive has Walter de Gray Birch, 'Catalogue of Seals in the Department of Manuscripts in the British Museum', 6 vols., London: British Museum, 1887-1900, and Louis-Claude Douët d’Arcq, 'Collection de sceaux', 3 vols., Paris, 1863-68, which has many English seals. The Durham Cathedral collection of seals is available at http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ead/dcd/dcdmseal.xml and the card-index of seals at the Public Record Office has now been made available on the National Archives website. These are the major collections but there are plenty of other, smaller ones scattered over the country and, sometimes, the internet.

Genealogists now research amongst mediaeval documents themselves and no longer consider secondary sources unless they cite contemporary evidence. I am looking forward to the time when mediaeval heraldry is treated in the same way. It could therefore be helpful to include references to other sources of mediaeval heraldry.

Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
2017-05-20 10:50:40 UTC
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Background to rolls of arms

We are fortunate that in England we still have well over a hundred different mediaeval rolls of arms, more than in any other country, and their value has been greatly increased by the work of Sir Anthony Wagner, firstly in his catalogue of all the different versions still extant of each roll, and secondly in his encouragement of modern critical editions of the rolls. These have so far covered the rolls from the reigns of Henry III and Edward I, i.e. much of the golden age of English heraldry. However, since Sir Anthony’s death, the study of mediaeval heraldry seems to have lost all momentum in England, although at long last the Dictionary of British Arms is now complete. Fortunately, Steen Clemmensen of Copenhagen has been carrying out an enormous amount of very valuable work on a wide range of rolls, both English and Continental. As a result, we now have access to the rolls of Edward II, Edward III, Richard II and even beyond.

It should be remembered that the rolls were privately owned, and they never constituted official records. We must therefore be prepared for errors. We know very little about those who compiled them, although we can see that they often copied information from each other. Brault (Early Blazon p 5) points out that many of the charges, and the terms used for them, are derived from ‘the clichés of earlier artists and craftsmen’. By using these terms the compilers soon had a sophisticated system of blazon, used on both sides of the Channel, even by the time of the earliest rolls. However, these early rolls were only intended for the simple identification of knights actually seen at tournaments or on campaign. An approximation was often sufficient for this, and the information in the rolls is therefore not always as detailed as we might wish it to be. And whilst the compilers, with their background knowledge, may have found the names easy to recognise, we cannot always be certain which individuals are meant.

Some rolls are of those who were present on a single occasion, at a particular muster or tournament, and some rolls are more general collections made over a period of time. Some consist of rows of coloured shields with captions, and some are just names with written blazons. A few rolls have survived in their original version, or at least a contemporary copy, but most exist only as copies made centuries later.

Rolls of arms changed character over time. In the thirteenth century, they referred to specific individuals, suggesting that the rolls acted as aides memoires for recognising knights at tournaments, or on campaign (when quite often tournaments provided practice and entertainment between the comparatively rare pitched battles). During the fourteenth century it became more common for rolls to refer to 'le Sr de Berkeley' with perhaps an additional entry, differenced, for 'Monsr James Berkeley'. By this time, arms had become associated with land, so that when in 1337 Hugh de Audley was awarded the Clare earldom of Gloucester together with Clare lands he changed his fretty arms to the Clare chevrons. During the fifteenth century, the fashion for quartering grew, as a symbol of additional lands inherited. By 1450 Warwick the Kingmaker had quarters representing the lands he had inherited from the Beauchamp, Clare, Montagu, Monthermer, Neville of Salisbury, Warwick and Despenser families. Others found excuses for adding more quarters to their arms, whether or not they involved land, and rolls of arms often copied much of their content from the earlier rolls and merely gave family names for coats of arms as if to assist in identifying the multitude of quarterings being used by all and sundry.

Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
2017-05-20 10:51:07 UTC
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Thirteenth-century rolls of arms with their sigla, dates and sources

'Aspilogia II', including MP, B, C, and Additions and Corrections to Wagner's 'Catalogue of English Medieval Armorials', available as pdf from Archive CD Books http://www.archivecdbooks.org/

MP Matthew Paris Shields, various manuscripts dated between c1244 and c1259
edited by T. D. Tremlett, ‘Matthew Paris Shields’ in Aspilogia II: Rolls of Arms Henry III, ed. Sir Anthony Wagner, London: The Harleian Society, 1967
Matthew Paris was a monk who wrote chronicles of events in the world around him and who decorated the margins of his manuscripts with shields representing those people he was writing about. He worked at St Alban’s Abbey, a popular place for the King’s court to stay whenever it travelled north from London. He was therefore able to collect information both directly and from his contacts amongst the court administrators. In general, his information was good. But there are occasions where he did not know an individual’s coat of arms and was therefore reduced to making something up in order to complete his marginal decorations.

B Glover’s Roll c1253-8
edited by Hugh Stanford London, ‘Glover’s and Walford’s Rolls’ in Aspilogia II: Rolls of Arms Henry III, ed. Sir Anthony Wagner, London: The Harleian Society, 1967
A lost roll in blazon only, later copies of which now exist in four versions: B I Cooke’s version (c1253), with 214 entries, includes B I(a), a copy of the text with tricks added, and B I(b), which only has tricks; B II Harvy’s version (c1310) and B III St George’s version (c1258) provide 9 additional names (Gerard J. Brault, Eight Thirteenth-Century Rolls of Arms pp 31-37 transcribes both MSS for B III); B IV Grimaldi's version (c1350) is part of Grimaldi’s Roll (v. infra). B I and B IV include material copied from an earlier collection dated c1240-42.

BA Bigot Roll 1254
transcribed by Gerard J. Brault,, University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1973
A lost roll from France of names and blazons in the Picardy dialect of 295 knights from both sides who were involved in a campaign in Hainault by Charles, Count of Anjou, against John of Avesnes.

WN Wijnbergen Roll 1265-70 and 1270-85
transcribed by Paul Adam-Even and Léon Jéquier, ‘Un armorial français du XIIIe siècle: l’armorial Wijnbergen’, Archives héraldique suisses, 65 (1951): 49-62, 101-10; 66 (1952): 28-36, 64-68, 103-11; 68 (1954): 55-80, per Brian Timms, Early Rolls of Arms.
An original French roll of 1,302 painted shields, in two parts, 256 from the Île de France, and 1,056 from other regions of France, from Germany and from the Low Countries.

C Walford’s Roll c1275
edited by Hugh Stanford London, ‘Glover’s and Walford’s Rolls’ in Aspilogia II: Rolls of Arms Henry III, ed. Sir Anthony Wagner, London: The Harleian Society, 1967 (all three texts transcribed by Gerard J. Brault, Eight Thirteenth-Century Rolls of Arms)
A lost roll, now in three different versions, with 185 names and blazons, many of them foreign. London died eight years before Aspilogia II went to press and was therefore unable to correct the inaccuracies that appear in his transcription. Brault’s transcriptions therefore make a useful control. The original compiler was quite often careless either about the Christian name or about omitting any difference used by a younger son. Not very reliable.

HE Heralds’ Roll c1279
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 697 painted shields, now found in four versions from twelve manuscripts: I Heralds’ Version, a 13th-c. fragment; II FitzWilliam Version, probably the most reliable, in four later copies, one of which is illustrated in its entirety (b/w) in Humphery-Smith, Anglo-Norman Armory; III Earl of Bedford’s Version, the least reliable version, in four late copies; IV Everard Green’s Version, a single 16th-c. copy. The roll contains many errors, especially amongst the foreign coats at the end, but it was of sufficient value to be used as a source by both Dering and Camden Rolls.

A Dering Roll c1280
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
The earliest English roll where the original is still extant, containing 324 painted shields, many of them from Kent and Sussex. Much of it was copied from the Heralds’ Roll, including its mistakes. Denholm-Young, History and Heraldry ch. IV, has suggested that this roll was produced as a castle-guard roll for Stephen of Penchester, constable of Dover 1268-99.

D Camden Roll c1280
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
Contemporary roll with 270 painted shields on the front and blazons on the back, both probably done at around the same time. This compiler also copied from the Heralds’ Roll, but appears to have been more knowledgeable than the painter of the Dering Roll.

E St George’s Roll c1285
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 677 painted shields, with a good number from the Welsh Marches, which suggests that it may have been compiled in that area. It has many arms (350) in common with Charles’ Roll.

F Charles’ Roll c1285
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 486 painted shields, many of them the same as St George’s Roll. There are also copies of a second version (FII) which omits many items in the first roll but includes 97 additional coats.

G Segar’s Roll c1285
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 212 painted shields, beginning with kings, many of them mythical, then earls, including some arms no longer in use, then knights.

LM Lord Marshal’s Roll c1295
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
The only copy of this lost roll of 588 painted shields is unfortunately defective, with blank shields, wrong colours (argent is very often used instead of or, azure and vair), and omitted charges. The paintings in the copy are therefore very unreliable. But the list of names has proved useful in researching knights involved in Edward I’s army (see D Simpkin, The English Aristocracy at War (2008) pp 21-28).

Q Collins’ Roll c1296
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 598 painted shields quite possibly compiled at the ‘Parliament’ of Berwick, Aug-Sep 1296. Several of the entries differ from those in other rolls. Some of the copies include names and shields which appear to have been inserted later, probably around 1440. These additions (QII) are not included in Brault’s edition, but can be found in C Humphery-Smith, Anglo-Norman Armory Two.

ChP Chifflet-Prinet Roll 1297
transcribed by Gerard J. Brault, Eight Thirteenth-Century Rolls of Arms in French and Anglo-Norman Blazon, University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1973
A 17th-c. copy with 147 painted shields, forming a substantial part of the larger Rôle d'armes de l'ost de Flandre, a lost roll of those who took part in Charles de Valois’s campaign in 1297 against the count of Flanders.

H Falkirk Roll 1298
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost list of 115 names and blazons of the earls and knights banneret acting at the Battle of Falkirk, 22 July 1298, set out under the four divisions used by Edward I at the battle.

J Guillim’s Roll 1295-1305
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 148 painted shields now in six copies (all in trick except for Jc, a Hatton Dugdale facsimile) in four versions, I. Guillim’s Version (Ja, Jb); II. Le Neve’s Version (Jc); III. Bodleian Version (Jd, Je); and IV. Holland’s Version (Jf). The roll starts with the king and his son, then earls, and then knights.

Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
2017-05-20 10:51:49 UTC
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Fourteenth century rolls of arms with their sigla, dates and sources

K Caerlaverock Poem 1300
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
An anonymous French poem giving the names and blazons of 106 knights present at the siege of Caerlaverock, 15 July 1300.

GA Galloway Roll 1300
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A sixteenth-century copy, often garbled, of a lost roll of 261 names and blazons of some of the knights present at the Battle of Galloway, which probably took place on 8 Aug 1300. Several entries begin ‘Sir ...’ but go no further. Brault includes them and numbers them, but other editions, including that used by the DBA, omit them entirely.

V Vermandois Roll c1300
transcribed by Brian Timms, Armorial du Hérault Vermandois, http://www.briantimms.fr/Rolls/vermandois/0veintroduction.html
A lost roll in the Picardy dialect of names and blazons of 1076 coats of arms arranged in marches covering France and spilling over into parts of the Low Countries, Germany and Spain. Picardy was a region popular for the holding of tournaments.

SP Smallpece’s Roll 1298-1306
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 168 painted shields.

ST Stirling Roll 1304
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of the names and blazons of 102 knights in the vanguard of an English force involved in the siege of Stirling castle 1304. It may originally have been part of the same manuscript as the Galloway Roll.

M Nativity Roll 1307-8
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of names and blazons of 79 knights present at some unknown occasion held on the Monday before the Nativity of Our Lady (8 Sep).

FF Fife Roll temp. Edw I
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
The only copy of this compilation, made towards the end of Edward I’s reign, is in poor condition and several of the 32 painted shields are not clear. The roll is unusual in giving prominence to Scottish earls, with only one English earl listed.

WNR Sir William Le Neve’s Roll temp. Edw I
edited by Gerard J. Brault, Aspilogia III: Rolls of Arms Edward I, 2 v., London: Society of Antiquaries, Boydell Press, 1997
A lost roll of 167 painted shields without Christian names, making it difficult to date.

L First Dunstable Roll 1309
transcribed by C. E. Long, ‘Tournament at Stepney, 2 Edw. II’, Collectanea, Topographica et Genealogica, iv. (1887) 61-72
Transcription, with introduction, of an 18th-century copy with painted shields of a lost roll, probably in trick, of 235 knights who took part in a tournament held, despite C. E. Long’s early misgivings, at Dunstable in 1309. Most of the names are arranged in retinues under the five earls who opposed Gaveston and the king, with some extra names at the end. An additional 14 shields, found in College of Arms MS. 2nd. G3, are given in the Appendix to A. Tomkinson, ‘Retinues at the Tournament of Dunstable, 1309.’

N Parliamentary Roll c1312
transcribed by Nicholas Harris Nicolas, A Roll of Arms of Peers and Knights in the Reign of Edward the Second, London: William Pickering, 1828
Transcription, with introduction, index and ordinary, of an original roll with 1,110 names and blazons, beginning with earls and knights banneret, then knights bachelor arranged by county, followed by a list of additional names. This is the nearest we have to an official armoury and the entries under counties can make them easier to identify. An excellent resource.

O Boroughbridge Roll alais Newcastle Armorial 1319
edited by Steen Clemmensen, The Newcastle Armorial: formerly known as the Boroughbridge roll of arms, http://www.armorial.dk/english/Newcastle.pdf, 2016
An original list (which is missing the head of the membrane) of 214 names and blazons of knights, originally thought to have fought at the Battle of Boroughbridge 16 Mar 1322, but who much more probably attended an informal tournament at Newcastle during the Berwick campaign of 1319 (see B Wells-Furby, ‘The ‘Boroughbridge roll of arms’ reconsidered’).

HA Harleian Roll temp. Edw II
transcribed by James Greenstreet, The Genealogist, n.s., iii. (1886): pp 37-41, 118-121
An original vellum book containing various different matters and decorated along the top margin with 191 painted shields, most with names, although many shields have been cut away or damaged by fire.

PV Povey’s Roll temp. Edw II
transcribed by Steen Clemmensen, Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
82 painted arms apparently from an original roll on vellum cut up into pieces of 2-3 items and mounted on pages; poor execution; about half the pages have full names, the rest surnames only

CK Cooke’s Book temp. Edw II
edited by C R Humphery-Smith, Anglo-Norman Armory Two, Canterbury : Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, 1984, as part of his ordinary
A lost roll of 89 painted arms, beginning with kings, then lords (including some French) and finally knights and gentlemen (most with no names).

CA Carlisle Roll 1334
transcribed by O. Barron and S. M. Collins per Dictionary of British Arms
A lost list of earls, bannerets and knights, with names and blazons, present in the vanguard of Edward III's army at Carlisle on 12 Jul 1334, now only available in a 15th-c. copy with painted shields added by someone who had little understanding of heraldry. The last section (241-275) lists German knights in the service of William V, C of Juliers (Jülich) and E of Cambridge.

SD Second Dunstable Roll 1334
transcribed by C. E. Long, ‘Roll of the Arms of the Knights at the Tournament at Dunstable, in 7 Edw. III’, Collectanea, Topographica et Genealogica, iv. (1887) 389-395
Transcription, with introduction, of a lost roll of 135 names and blazons of knights present at a tournament in Dunstable in 1334.

AS Ashmolean Roll c1334
edited by Steen Clemmensen (2004), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
Although treated as an original roll by Wagner and by Clemmensen, the earliest copy dates from the late 14th/early 15th century and has had 24 extra entries added in a 16th-century hand. The original contains 489 arms in blazon, beginning with sovereigns, then earls, and finally lords and knights. The final section is very nearly an ordinary. The roll forms a group of similar arms with Cooke’s Ordinary and Cotgrave’s Ordinary.

CKO Cooke’s Ordinary c1340
edited by Steen Clemmensen (2005), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
An original roll of 646 painted shields, possibly the first ordinary ever to be compiled, with all the crosses together first, followed by lions, then eagles, and then the other charges in turn. Content appears to be based on the Ashmolean Roll.

CG Cotgrave’s Ordinary c1340
transcribed by Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Rolls of Arms of the Reigns of Henry III, and Edward III, 1829; reprinted on demand Charleston: BiblioLife, [2008]
Transcription, with introduction and indexes, of a lost roll of 556 blazoned arms with 219 illustrative shields, largely similar in content and arrangement to Cooke’s Ordinary. Denholm-Young (Country Gentry pp 98-99) thought that this may well be the earlier of the two since it does not have so many entries. The sixteenth-century copy of the roll omits many Christian names and corrupts quite a few surnames.

P Grimaldi’s Roll c1350
transcribed by Stacey Grimaldi, ‘Copy of a Roll of Arms (of the reign of Edw. III.) in the possession of Stacey Grimaldi, Esq. F.S.A.’, Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, ii. (1835) pp 320-8
Transcription of an early 15th-c. copy of a lost original, with 167 painted shields with names and blazons. It begins with kings, princes and foreign dukes; then there are 85 arms taken for the most part from a source compiled around 1240-42, also used by Glover’s Roll B I (v. supra); at the end there are some 14th-c. English arms.

PO Powell’s Roll c1350
transcribed by James Greenstreet, ‘The Powell Roll of Arms (temp Edward III)’, The Reliquary, n.s., vol. iii (1889) pp 145-152, 231-240, vol. iv (1890) pp 93-97
Transcription, with introduction, of an original roll held in the Bodleian of 45 painted banners (earls and bannerets) and 627 painted shields (knights) similar in content to the Antiquaries’ Roll. Many entries have Elizabethan and modern amendments. Greenstreet numbers the banners and shields separately; I have followed Clemmensen and the DBA in numbering them consecutively.

CV Sir George Calveley's Book c1350-1450
transcribed by Rev Bernard R. K. Moillet (†1956) for Dictionary of British Arms
Lost vellum book, owned in 1580 by Sir George Calveley, with 876 shields in five sections: I Becket’s Murderers’ Roll, 320 painted shields beginning with those attributed Becket’s murderers, mostly from mid 14th c., but some from 13th c. and perhaps 15th c.; II Lancashire Roll, 116 shields of Lancashire nobility and gentry apparently temp. Henry IV but many from Edward III’s reign; III Cheshire Roll, 220 shields of Cheshire nobility, gentry and religious houses, apparently from mid 15th c.; IV Kent Roll, 100 shields of Kentish arms from 13th and 14th centuries; V [Untitled] 20 miscellaneous shields mainly from 14th c.

AN Antiquaries’ Roll c1360
transcribed anonymously for Dictionary of British Arms
A single manuscript, Society of Antiquaries MS 136, Pt I, an original collection of 352 painted arms, beginning with dukes and earls and followed by knights.

WJ William Jenyns’ Ordinary c1360-80
edited by Steen Clemmensen, William Jenyns’ Ordinary: An ordinary of arms collated during the reign of Edward III, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/english/WJO_PreEd.pdf, 2008
An ordinary of 1611 painted banners and shields, first collated c1360 but with additions c1380, available in two later copies, one by William Jenyns, Lancaster Herald 1516-1527, and the other a Hatton-Dugdale facsimile.

NAV Navarre Roll c1368-75
edited by Steen Clemmensen, based on de Boos and Popoff, Armorial du heraut Navarre in Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
lost original compiled by Martin Carbonnel, Navarre king of arms to Charles le Mauvais, C of Evreux and K of Navarre; knights banneret and bachelor, 1249 French in 8 provinces, 64 English, and a few from the Low Countries.

R Styward’s Roll temp Edw III
revised by Steen Clemmensen (2004), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013, from James Greenstreet, Notes & Queries, 5th series, iv. (1875) pp 324-325, 383-384
Also called Second Calais Roll or Sir Symond d’Ewes’ Roll. A lost roll of 135 painted shields.

CY County Roll temp Ric II
edited by Steen Clemmensen (2007), Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
A Hatton-Dugdale facsimile of a lost book of 700 shields, 504 painted, 20 in trick and 176 blank, arranged in counties, 1-184 Ches, 185-268 Lancs, 269-312 Derbys, 313-376 Salop, 377-440 Staffs, 441-504 Norfolk, 505-536 Suffolk, 537-568 Essex, 569-632 Kent, 633-696 Sussex.

Ur Urfé Roll c1381
[English section only] edited by Steen Clemmensen, Armorial Urfé, http://www.armorial.dk/english/Urfe-en.pdf, 2007
A lost French roll containing in total 2855 coats of arms in blazon, of which a section of 269 items, numbered 128-396, are English and were almost certainly based on an English roll, possibly one also used as a source by William Jenyns’ Ordinary. The entries begin with royal and comital arms, some of which are retrospective, and then continue with the arms of contemporary gentry, particularly from the north and north-east.

S Willement’s Roll c1395
edited by Steen Clemmensen, Willement’s roll of arms: An armorial of nobles and gentry living in the reign of Richard II, Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/english/WIL_PreEd.pdf, 2008
A lost roll of 601 painted shields, the first 25 being those attributed to the founder members of the Order of the Garter, followed by earls, heads of baronial families (with Christian names omitted), and then a list of other knights.

BG Basynge’s Roll c1395
edited by Steen Clemmensen, Ordinary of Medieval Armorials, CD-ROM, rev. edn., Copenhagen: http://www.armorial.dk/, 2013
An original ordinary of 407 crudely painted shields, based on Willement’s Roll, but with many mistakes.

Peter Howarth
Chris Hampson
2017-05-20 14:16:17 UTC
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Hello Peter, do the St George's and Charles' Rolls say anything about where the holder of the arms was from?
Peter Howarth
2017-05-20 18:09:09 UTC
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Post by Chris Hampson
Hello Peter, do the St George's and Charles' Rolls say anything about where the holder of the arms was from?
Only rarely do any of the rolls ever say where the person is from; just occasionally a roll may distinguish one branch of a family from another. St George's and Charles' Rolls never do.

Peter Howarth
Chris Hampson
2017-05-22 13:03:18 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
Only rarely do any of the rolls ever say where the person is from; just occasionally a roll may distinguish one branch of a family from another. St George's and Charles' Rolls never do.
Thanks, Peter. It was a question asked in hope rather than expectation.
Peter Howarth
2017-05-21 05:16:45 UTC
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Post by Chris Hampson
Hello Peter, do the St George's and Charles' Rolls say anything about where the holder of the arms was from?
I should also have mentioned the value of seals. Rolls may give the tinctures that are otherwise missing, but I much prefer seals. They are cast-iron evidence of the arms borne by the owner at that particular time, and most of the time they have the owner's name round the edge. Rolls can be, and quite often are, mistaken. And because seals are often still attached to documents, you get all the additional information there that genealogists are used to handling. It's just that there are so many different places to search for seals.

Peter Howarth
Peter Howarth
2017-05-22 14:19:32 UTC
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Brian Timms's website

I have already alluded to Brian Timms's marvellous website. It had details of almost all the English rolls from Glover's Roll (c.1253-8) to the Stirling Roll (1304), with illustrations and, importantly, cross-references where arms occur in more than one roll. He also had details of four French rolls, Bigot, Wijnbergen, Chifflet-Prinet, and Vermandois, the last of which is almost impossible to find anywhere else. In addition he had details of the Barons' Letter to the Pope of 1301, with the seals of nine earls and seventy-nine barons, all illustrated.

Ian Fettes is well known for still maintaining Leo van de Pas's website 'Genealogics'. And when Brian first had to give up his website, Ian helped by saving everything on his computer. He has now generously made all the files available for download (but not browsing) at a Dropbox site:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1o6h81udyjji2o/AACTUNEds5HOVqWtUAUoEa-4a?dl=0

Many thanks to both Brian and Ian.

Peter Howarth
Ian Goddard
2017-05-22 15:30:40 UTC
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Post by Peter Howarth
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1o6h81udyjji2o/AACTUNEds5HOVqWtUAUoEa-4a?dl=0
I wasn't familiar with the site but the contents of Dropbox indicates
that its URL was www.briantimms.com

Archive.org had archived copies of that site. This URL seems to be one
of the last good captures:

https://web.archive.org/web/20060402212658/http://briantimms.com:80/

although you may have to go back to about

https://web.archive.org/web/20050330002245/http://www.briantimms.com:80

to get records from Early Rolls of Arms.

Later captures suggest the domain was eventually cyber-squatted.
--
Hotmail is my spam bin. Real address is ianng
at austonley org uk
Peter Howarth
2017-05-22 16:09:35 UTC
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Post by Ian Goddard
Post by Peter Howarth
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m1o6h81udyjji2o/AACTUNEds5HOVqWtUAUoEa-4a?dl=0
I wasn't familiar with the site but the contents of Dropbox indicates
that its URL was www.briantimms.com
Archive.org had archived copies of that site. This URL seems to be one
https://web.archive.org/web/20060402212658/http://briantimms.com:80/
although you may have to go back to about
https://web.archive.org/web/20050330002245/http://www.briantimms.com:80
to get records from Early Rolls of Arms.
Later captures suggest the domain was eventually cyber-squatted.
--
Hotmail is my spam bin. Real address is ianng
at austonley org uk
Thanks, Ian, that is excellent news. The last time I tried they hadn't drilled down deeply enough to save the actual details. I notice that now when drilling down, the date at the top for the Wayback Machine changes, suggesting that they saved different parts at different times and have now synthesised them.

Whatever the reason, it means that we can now browse the site again. On the other hand, I'm glad I've downloaded the information and backed it up.

Peter Howarth
Jason Quick
2017-05-23 00:11:17 UTC
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There are a few high resolution rolls on this site too http://www.aspilogia.com


THE HERALD'S ROLL (The Fitzwilliam version) is an English roll of arms dating to c. 1270-80, consisting of 17 vellum membranes, now bound as a book of 39 leaves, each measuring 9.1" x 10.75", painted in color in the 15th century, illustrating 697 shields in 117 rows of 6 per row, with 1 shield over. The roll is now part of the Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum manuscript collection: MS. 297.

SEGAR'S ROLL (Grenstreet 11; Papworth G) is an English roll of arms dating to about 1282. The original -- now lost -- measured 6.125" x 9' 4.75", and consisted of 212 shields in 53 rows of 4, with the names of the coresponding kings, princes, nobles, and knights above each shield. Several 17th century copies were made from the original. The following illustrations are based on the c.1600 color facsimile housed at the College of Arms in London -- Ga. MS. L14, Part I, ff. 26-31.

GUILLIM'S ROLL (Grenstreet 18; Papworth J) is an English vellum roll dating to about 1295-1305. The original -- now lost -- is thought to be identical to the 17th century manuscript copy, MS. Harl. 6589, ff. 44-5 which consists of 148 shields in 21 rows of 7 + 1, with names above. The following illustrations are based on this copy.

THE NATIVITY ROLL(Greenstreet 19; Papworth M) is a lost vellume English roll of arms dating to about 1300, and probably measuring about 6.25" by 4'. The original roll consisted of 79 names and blazoned shields written on the dorse of The Falkirk Roll (q.v.). The illustrations represented here are based on the blazons in the 16th century copy transcribed by Anthony R. Wagner, Richmond Herald, housed at the College of Arms, London; formerly Wrest Park MS. 16, ff. 6-8

THE PARLIAMENTARY ROLL (aka: The Great Roll or The Bannerets' Roll) is an English roll of arms dating to about 1312, consisting of 19 vellum leaves measuring 6" x 8.25", and including the names and blazons for 1,110 English nobles, knights and deceased lords of the day. The roll is part of the British Museum's manuscript collection: MS. Cotton, Caligula A. XVIII, ff. 3-21b.
Peter Howarth
2017-05-23 06:05:58 UTC
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Post by Jason Quick
There are a few high resolution rolls on this site too http://www.aspilogia.com
THE HERALD'S ROLL (The Fitzwilliam version) is an English roll of arms dating to c. 1270-80, consisting of 17 vellum membranes, now bound as a book of 39 leaves, each measuring 9.1" x 10.75", painted in color in the 15th century, illustrating 697 shields in 117 rows of 6 per row, with 1 shield over. The roll is now part of the Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum manuscript collection: MS. 297.
SEGAR'S ROLL (Grenstreet 11; Papworth G) is an English roll of arms dating to about 1282. The original -- now lost -- measured 6.125" x 9' 4.75", and consisted of 212 shields in 53 rows of 4, with the names of the coresponding kings, princes, nobles, and knights above each shield. Several 17th century copies were made from the original. The following illustrations are based on the c.1600 color facsimile housed at the College of Arms in London -- Ga. MS. L14, Part I, ff. 26-31.
GUILLIM'S ROLL (Grenstreet 18; Papworth J) is an English vellum roll dating to about 1295-1305. The original -- now lost -- is thought to be identical to the 17th century manuscript copy, MS. Harl. 6589, ff. 44-5 which consists of 148 shields in 21 rows of 7 + 1, with names above. The following illustrations are based on this copy.
THE NATIVITY ROLL(Greenstreet 19; Papworth M) is a lost vellume English roll of arms dating to about 1300, and probably measuring about 6.25" by 4'. The original roll consisted of 79 names and blazoned shields written on the dorse of The Falkirk Roll (q.v.). The illustrations represented here are based on the blazons in the 16th century copy transcribed by Anthony R. Wagner, Richmond Herald, housed at the College of Arms, London; formerly Wrest Park MS. 16, ff. 6-8
THE PARLIAMENTARY ROLL (aka: The Great Roll or The Bannerets' Roll) is an English roll of arms dating to about 1312, consisting of 19 vellum leaves measuring 6" x 8.25", and including the names and blazons for 1,110 English nobles, knights and deceased lords of the day. The roll is part of the British Museum's manuscript collection: MS. Cotton, Caligula A. XVIII, ff. 3-21b.
Many thanks, Jason. The illustrations at http://www.aspilogia.com are very attractive and the first four rolls seem to be based on Gerard Brault's 'The Rolls of Arms Edward I'. However, the Parliamentary Roll, dating from Edward II's reign, was written in Anglo-Norman blazon only, and so the illustrations can only be just one person's interpretation. For example, the original entry for N 360 is "Sire Rauf de Cheyndut, de azure a un cheyne de or e un label de goules." Gerard Brault, whose principal job before he retired was Professor of Early French, translates 'chesne' as oak-tree ('Early Blazon' p 141) [cf. modern French 'chêne']. Yet the illustration has the main charge as an acorn -- close, but not exactly right.

But as long as this danger is borne in mind, this could be a useful site for the Parliamentary Roll, an important roll which doesn't appear in the rescued version of Brian Timms's site.

Peter Howarth
Rhys Howitt
2017-05-24 10:21:29 UTC
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I would be grateful for some pointers. I am resarching family history and apparently it has a heraldic dimension. The Hewitts of Killamarsh (/Hewet/Hewit/Huit etc) in the 1500s bore a shield with white lions and some wading birds (pewits presumably for a cant, or tyrwhits). In 1599 William Hewitt died and the heraldic procession used Gules, three owls and a chevron engrailed argent, which were apparently the ancient and correct arms of Hewet.

The Dictionary of British Arms gives some references, which I would like to look up but have struggled to locate -- some armorials apparently have several names. Can anyone tell me (a) where I would find and (b) how I would access the armorials? They are LH “Letter H Roll” SOL MS476 c1520 aka Pedegrees Hereldry Armes painted and Inblason; XV “Wriothesley's Chevrons” c1525; SK “Starkey's Roll”. I gather none are available online.

Rhys from Australia
Peter Howarth
2017-05-24 13:54:28 UTC
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Post by Rhys Howitt
I would be grateful for some pointers. I am resarching family history and apparently it has a heraldic dimension. The Hewitts of Killamarsh (/Hewet/Hewit/Huit etc) in the 1500s bore a shield with white lions and some wading birds (pewits presumably for a cant, or tyrwhits). In 1599 William Hewitt died and the heraldic procession used Gules, three owls and a chevron engrailed argent, which were apparently the ancient and correct arms of Hewet.
The Dictionary of British Arms gives some references, which I would like to look up but have struggled to locate -- some armorials apparently have several names. Can anyone tell me (a) where I would find and (b) how I would access the armorials? They are LH “Letter H Roll” SOL MS476 c1520 aka Pedegrees Hereldry Armes painted and Inblason; XV “Wriothesley's Chevrons” c1525; SK “Starkey's Roll”. I gather none are available online.
Rhys from Australia
I'm afraid mediaeval heraldry does not have the facilities that are made available to genealogists, and accessing the sources you quote are likely to be so difficult that you will probably not bother. But here are the details anyway.

As a preliminary point, the Dictionary of British Arms refers to these three sources under the sub-heading 'Gu chev betw 3 owls Arg', in other words the chevron is not treated as engrailed. It is possible that this is a mistake, but for it to have occurred three times is really not likely.

The first reference is to the Letter H Roll (c.1520) no. 924, which is part of MS 476 at the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BE.

The second reference is to Wriothesley's Chevrons (c.1525) Part I no.361, which is MS 4406 in the Norfolk Record Office, The Archive Centre, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2DQ

The third reference is to Starkey's Roll (c.1460) no. 856, the original of which has been lost and which, according to Wagner's CEMRA p 103, now exists as three different manuscripts:
(a) MS. Gybbon's Ordinary of Arms, pp 227-83 (total of 1124 shields in trick) at the College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4BT
(b) MS. Vincent 164, ff. 59b-83b (total of 771 shields in trick) also at the College of Arms
(c) MS. 158, ff. 225-95 (total of 1124 shields in trick, but not exactly the same as (a)) at Queen's College, High St, Oxford OX1 4AW

None of these manuscripts have been published, in print or on line.

The Society of Antiquaries (an independent charity) and the Norfolk Record Office (run by Norfolk County Council) allow outside visitors by appointment; expect to provide evidence of identity (passport, driving licence) and current address (bank statement, utility bill). Queen's College normally also allow outside visitors, but they are in the process of moving their collections between now and the end of the Long Vacation in September.

The College of Arms is unsupported from public funds and access to its records is therefore limited. However, the heralds do undertake searches in its records on payment of professional fees, and if an enquirer wishes to consult a particular manuscript 'appropriate arrangements can be made' (presumably for a price).

As you can see, it would not be easy to look at any of these manuscripts (which are totally outside my period of interest). In comparison, genealogists are thoroughly spoiled!

Peter Howarth
Rhys Howitt
2017-05-30 11:35:08 UTC
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Thanks for that advice. I'll pursue it when I get to the UK next, probably in a couple of years (alas).
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