TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

ANONYMOUS, [Heraldry of the Kings and Nobles of England from Edward the Confessor to Elizabeth I]

In English, illustrated manuscript on paper
[England, dated 1597]

TM 228

vii + 90 + vii, complete, (collation impossible to determine due to modern rebinding), paper size (285 x 194 mm), watermark (Briquet 12772, "Pot à una anse," Amiens, 1598), catchwords, contemporary foliation in Arabic numerals (ff. 1-86), written in a late Elizabethan secretary script in brown ink, justified for double modules in brown and red ink (writing space 236 x 122 mm; illustration space 236 x 45 mm), first module horizontal ruling line in rubric, larger calligraphic script used for the names of kings and queens, running headers identifying reigns centered in brown ink, ONE LARGE CALLIGRAPHIC INITIAL (72 x 90 mm) on f. 1 r, 509 COATS OF ARMS (307 painted; 164 illustrated; 38 blank), two sixteenth- or early seventeenth-century notes on noble families and one letter from the bookseller Simons and Waters to J.A Stewart bound into rear flyleaves as part of modern rebinding, foliation error on ff. 4 and 64 corrected in modern pencil, ff. 85 and 86 out of order due to rebinding, foliation for ff. 87-90 incomplete, ff. 1r-9v have numbering of the first 73 nobles appear in the gutters, ff. 13rv, 16v, 21rv, 25rv, 31v, 34v, 38v, 42rv, 47rv, 57v, 64rv, 68v, 80v, 82v blank, marginalia in seventeenth-century cursive script in brown ink on ff. 1r, 29r, 50v, 53r and 72v, marginalia in pencil on f. 82r, modern corrections and embellishments to heraldic devices in pencil on ff. 1v, 8r, 9r, 14v, 24v, 38r, 43r, 44v, 50v, 52v, 53r, 59v, 66r, 75r, 81v, and 84r, painter contemporary with pencil corrections corrects errors using white paint on ff. 55v, 57r, 67v, 79r, 80r, and 82r, moderate to heavy soiling on ff. 1r and 89r-90v, water staining in center of page on ff. 88-90 do not effect text, browning to edges throughout, periodic damp staining, minor worming to fore-edge on ff. 27-34, contemporary paper repairs to fore-edges on ff. 1-17 and 88-90. Bound in twentieth-century half binding in marble paper with brown leather spine and corner pieces over cardboard, gilded title and dating over brown leather affixed to front cover (“HERALDIC MANUSCRIPT 1597”), blind stamp decoration on spine, moderate to heavy wear to spine and corner pieces, all edges moderately chipped and worn revealing cardboard, reinforced maroon cloth shoulders on inside front and rear covers, marble paper used as front and rear pastedowns, first three front and rear flyleaves in modern heavy bonded paper, last four front and rear flyleaves in contemporary paper with justifications but no text, two book plates appear on front inside cover and recto side of first front flyleaf, sale price information and initials appear on recto side of second front flyleaf (“AYK £2000”), catalogue information on verso side of last fly leaf (3048). Dimensions 292 x 203 mm.

This interesting, richly illustrated manuscript presents a collection of heraldic devices with short biographies of the person pertaining to the coat of arms. It provides an important witness to the use of heraldry as a source for the history of England. Such manuscripts served as a means to identify family relationships and their importance to contemporary political and marriage alliances and were often also used to claim title to lands and offices during legal proceedings.


1. Manuscript dated 1597, written in England. Dating found on f. 1 r. “Anno dm. 1597. A Regine Eliz;, etc… xxxixo.”

2. Sir Robert Dallas (1756-1824). Robert Dallas was born on 16 October 1756 to Robert Dallas (d. 1797) and Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. James Smith. He was educated at Dr Elphinstone's school in Kensington and subsequently at Geneva under the tutorship of the distinguished Swiss pastor Chauvet. He entered Lincoln's Inn as a student on 4 November 1777. He received the bar on 6 November 1782. He specialized in parliamentary and privy council work being a part of many notable cases, including the first East India Company challenge to Charles James Fox's East India Bill in 1783 and the defense at the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings initiated by Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox, was to last for seven years in 1787. Between 1806 and 1808 he defended General Thomas Picton, the former governor of Trinidad, against charges of unlawfully torturing a young girl accused of theft. On 20 February 1807 Dallas attempted to convince the parliament not to pass Lord Grenville's bill meant to abolish the slave trade. Dallas had a brief political career; he became MP for the Cornish borough of Mitchell from 1802-1805, until appointed chief justice of Chester. He became MP for Dysart burghs in Scotland in March 1805, but served only until 1806. On 6 May 1813, Dallas was appointed solicitor-general in the earl of Liverpool's administration. He was knighted on 19 May. Following his brief tenure of the solicitor-generalship, Dallas was appointed an assistant justice of the court of common pleas on 18 November 1813. In October 1817, he formed part of the special commission that tried the Derbyshire Luddites for high treason, which ended in the execution of William Turner, Jeremiah Brandreth and Isaac Ludlam the elder on 7 November. In November 1818, Dallas became lord chief justice of the common pleas and was sworn of the Privy Council on 19 November. In March 1820 he and Lord Chief Justice Charles Abbott headed the commission to try the Cato Street conspirators, which ended in the execution of James Ings and four others on 1 May 1820. Dallas married twice, first to Charlotte Jardine on 11 August 1788, was Charlotte Jardine with whom he had one son and one daughter. Charlotte Dallas died on 17 October 1792. Dallas married his second wife Giustina Davidson on 10 September 1802, with whom he had five daughters.

3. John Alexander Stewart, possibly Professor John Alexander Stewart of Oxford University (1846–1933) who bought the manuscript from Simmons and Waters booksellers, 4 Bath Street, Leamington SPA, United Kingdom in late 1920 or early 1921. Stewart was educated at Edinburgh University, and afterwards at Lincoln College, Oxford. In 1870 he was elected a senior student of Christ Church and lecturer in philosophy at Lincoln and Oriel colleges (1874-75). He married Helen (d. 1925), daughter of John Macmillan, in 1875. In 1897 he became White's professor of moral philosophy and fellow of Corpus Christi College. He resigned his chair in 1927. He received the honorary degree of LLD from the universities of Edinburgh (1896) and Aberdeen (1934). He published two books: Notes on the ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ of Aristotle (2 vols., 1892) and The Myths of Plato (1905). This information comes from the bookplate on the front inside cover. This armorial bookplate depicts a coat of arms leaning dexter with a pelican piercing its breast in a nest with three young located middle chief above a chequey fess. Below the chequey fess is a cinquefoil placed middle base. The coat of arms is surmounted by a Melbury helm with a crest showing a nested pelican piercing its breast with three young placed on the sinister chief corner of the shield. The coat of arms is placed within a medallion, which contains the motto “sanguine suo” and the owner’s name in Latin “Sigillum Iohannis Alexandri Stewart.” On the bookplate in pencil are the marks “122” in the upper left corner “i” in the upper right corner and “3048” in the lower right corner. Both the pelican charge and the chequey fess belong to the Stewart clan of Scotland.

4. Henry Clark Stewart of Inchmahome, his armorial bookplate on the recto of the first front flyleaf. This armorial bookplate depicts a coat of arms leaning dexter with a pelican piercing its breast in a nest with three young located middle chief above a chequey fess. Below the chequey fess is a diamond placed middle base. The coat of arms is surmounted by a barrel helm with a crest showing a pelican piercing its breast placed on the sinister chief corner of the shield. The motto “Sanguine Suo” extends from between the pelican’s wings to the front of the helm. The coat of arms is framed by a double lined rectangular box in two modules. The lower module has the name “HENRY CLARK·STEWART OF INCHMAHOME.” Both the pelican charge and the chequey fess belong to the Stewart clan of Scotland. On the bookplate in pencil are the mark “ii” appears the upper right corner.


ff. 1r-84v, [Heraldry of the Kings and Nobles of England from Edward the Confessor to Elizabeth I], incipit, “The names and ahrmes of all the nobilitio [???] in England...Edward Confessor sonne of king Etheldredo and Emma his last wyfe, daughter of Richard the third duke of Normandie...”; explicit, “Henry Norys knight created Lord Norys of Ricott he bendang a cheveron betwene 3 ravens heads erased sables.”

ff. 88r-90v, Index.

The history of heralds dates from the twelfth century as part of the growing importance of land and title claims and the role of chivalric codes. Heraldry confirmed the lands and titles of each lord by displaying the emblems on the shield. In 1484, Richard III created constitutionally the organization run by the heralds, also known as the College of Arms, as part of the royal court to adjudicated claims to nobility and to create new coat of arms. In the 1530s, Henry VIII reconstituted the heralds and began a comprehensive survey of titles and heraldic devices in England. Elizabeth I encouraged the creation of heraldry and noble lineages, using three kings of arms, seven heralds, and four pursuivants charged with establishing official pedigrees and asking writers and historians to research these pedigrees. Besides granting arms, the heralds are responsible for establishing rights of arm by descent, and, in so doing, legitimizing claims to titles and lands.

This manuscript prepared by an anonymous scribe organized his collection of heraldic devices around the reigns of the kings and queens of England. The scribe begins a new section with each new monarch and includes the principal nobility who held titles or were given titles during their reign. The organization seems simple on the surface, but it is a bit confusing as certain nobles held their lands and titles in previous reigns, but are listed in latter reigns. There are short summary histories for the principal figures in the manuscript. Most, however, are described by their title and family origins followed by a description of their coats of arms. All in all, it provides an important source for the contemporary interest in heraldry during the sixteenth century.

Two small contemporary fragments likely used in the research of the heraldic manuscript have been bound into rear flyleaves of the modern binding. The first contains hand written notes in the hand of the scribe regarding the family genealogy of the heirs of Richard Woodvile, earl of Rivers, which includes information on the lords of Stanley. A later hand at the bottom of the note corrects certain errors in these notes regarding John Stanley as not being the first son or brother of first lord Stanley. The second fragment contains numerous notes on the financial holdings of several properties and several notes on family histories in no order. This information is quite useful to those seeking to understand how one took notes to compose the larger manuscript and to those interested in seeking out the importance of wealth in estates for identifying the importance of the English peerage.

A third modern memorandum is bound into rear flyleaves of the modern binding. This memorandum was written by Simmons and Waters of Leamington SPA to J.A. Stewart, Esq. On 18 February 1921. It reads “Dear Sir, We thank you for your cheque for the MSS. We know nothing of its history except it at one time belonged to Sir R. Dallas 1756-1824, the judge. Yours very faithfully, Simmons Waters.”


There are three types of coats of arms depicted in this manuscript: blank, pen illustrated, and painted. Each of the coats of arms appears in the fore edge margins next to the name of the person. The blank coats of arms have the outline of a shield and nothing more. They occur throughout the manuscript in random locations, this despite the fact the descriptions of the devices are present in the manuscript. The scribe completed the pen-illustrated coats of arms in brown ink. He completed the painted coats of arms using several colors over the pen-illustrated coats of arms. The pen-illustrated coats of arms are done with moderate skill. The painted coats of arms are completed with less skill.

It is difficult to determine whether or not the manuscript was ever intended to be painted in its original form. The pen-illustrated coats of arms are certainly contemporary, although incomplete. This is also true for the painted coats of arms. Although most coats of arms are painted, they are done in series and not front to back. There are gaps in the painting throughout the manuscript and the initial pages are not painted, as one would expect. The problem is complicated by the fact that there is a painter who corrects the paintings and does so after the scribe who corrects the heraldic devices in pencil. This is known by the fact that the painter often paints over the pencil corrections. There are two possibilities. The original painting is contemporary with the original production of the manuscript and the painter-corrector is later. The second possibility is that all the painting was completed much later than the original manuscript, perhaps by one of its nineteenth century owners who used pencil to correct the manuscript.

Royal coats of arms: Edward the Confessor (f. 1r); William the Conqueror [blank] (f. 1r); William Rufus (f. 10r); Henry I (f. 14r); Stephen I [blank] (f. 17r); Henry II (f. 22r); Richard I (f. 26r); John I (f. 29r); Edward I (f. 35r); Edward II (f. 39r); Edward III [blank] (f. 43r); Richard II (f. 48r); Henry IV [incomplete] (f. 53r); Henry V [blank] (f. 55r); Henry VI [blank] (f. 58r); Edward IV [blank] (f. 65r); Edward V [blank] (f. 69); Henry VII [blank] (f. 70r); Henry VIII [blank] (f. 72r); Edward VI (f. 78r); Mary I (f. 81); Elizabeth I (f. 83r).


Fairbairn, James. Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, New York, Dover Publications, 1993.

Murray, John. “Stewart, John Alexander (1846–1933),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, Oxford, OUP, 2004.

Wells, Nathan. “Dallas, Sir Robert (1756–1824),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, Oxford, OUP, 2004.

Williamson, David. Debrett’s Guide to Heraldry and Regalia, London, Headline Book Publishing PLC, 1992.

Woodcock, Thomas and John Martin Robinson. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1988.

Online resources

Renaissance the Elizabeth World

Medieval English Genealogy