Page images
PDF
EPUB

early encouragement and assistance. The luminous analysis of the Cheshire and Lancashire Genealogical MSS. have stamped a value on that part of his work which he could have hardly expected it to attain.

To Francis Freeling, Esq. F.S.A. he is infinitely indebted, for affording the most liberal access to his curious and valuable library, which, besides its well-known abundance in rare articles of old English Poetry, contains almost every work relating to the public transactions of the kingdom, during the reigns of Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I.; and references to many scarce volumes, there to be found, frequently appear in the ensuing pages.

He has many acknowledgments to make for the useful communications and obliging assistance of Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. particularly for the Catalogue of MSS. in his extensive genealogical library. To Michael Jones, Esq. F.S.A. for a constant and unremitting attention to his numerous inquiries, during the progress of the work. To Sheffield Grace, Esq. F.S.A. he is indebted for his kind permission to make extracts from MSS. in his possession, and for

the loan of several scarce and privately-printed books in his rich collection.

He is also indebted for much active assistance to Nicholas John Philipson, Esq. F.A.S. of Newcastle upon Tyne; to John Taylor, Esq. junior; and to Mr. Thomas Willement, the author of Regal Heraldry. To John Bell, Esq. of Newcastle, for his communications; and for a Catalogue of his heraldic library, to Mr. Alexander Deuchar, of Edinburgh.

The author takes the liberty also to offer his most respectful acknowledgments to the Right Hon. Lord Arundell; the Rev. Canon Newling; the Right Hon. and Rev. Lord Aston; John Caley, Esq. F.S.A.; Sir Cuthbert Sharp, F.S.A.; the Hon. William Cust; George Pearse, Esq.; Edward Poole, Esq.; and to Henry Carington Bowles, Esq. F. S. A.

In the arrangement of his materials, the most simple has been adopted; and in the first and principal division will be found the Printed Books, in chronological order, commencing with the first establishment of the press. These works are acknowledged to contain a vast fund of information upon the following subjects,

which it is the peculiar province of Heraldry to characterize and arrange:

I. Upon the System, and its application to Seals, Badges, Devises, Impresses, and Mottoes.

II. Works on Genealogy, which, when carefully compiled, include the recital of events of high local interest and importance, and tending greatly to the enlargement of historical knowledge.

III. Books relating to the Succession and Descent of the Crown, and of Pedigrees illustrating the lineal succession of our Monarchs, which unravel many intricate points of the history of the kingdom.

IV. Coronation Ceremonies, including the Feudal Claims, and ceremonies of Fealty and Homage, the Church Ritual, and descriptions of the Regalia.

V. Royal Progresses and Visits: these involve many curious particulars, relating to the manners and customs of those periods when they have taken place.

VI. A very numerous list of Works upon the Laws and Privileges of the Peerage, Titles of Honour, and upon Precedency, together with those curious tracts that were printed upon occasion of the celebrated Peerage Bill, in 1719.

VII. A not less numerous and useful class, consisting of Catalogues of Nobility, Peerages, Baronetages, &c.

VIII. Books upon the various Orders of Knighthood.
IX. Baptismal, Nuptial, and Funeral Ceremonies.

X. Those Books which relate to the proceedings of the Court of Chivalry, and the College of Arms.

The full title is described in every practicable instance, thus enabling the reader to ascertain what are the subjects actually treated upon by

the writer: the imprint, containing the name of the place of publication and the date, will identify varieties of copies, or editions; and the whole will afford an opportunity to collectors to restore the defect of title, not unfrequent in many early-printed books. A condensed analysis is given of the most important productions, made from a diligent and constant reference to the books themselves whenever it was possible, containing a detailed and faithful account of their contents, accompanied by critical opinions upon their respective merits: here it has been the author's object to select the remarks of competent judges, rather than to obtrude his own observations.

In the comments appended to the several articles will be found frequent incidental notices of books relating to the same subject, whether printed or manuscript. It has also been his endeavour to ascertain the depositaries of the original MSS. and in many instances he has been successful; and where books have been translated from foreign languages, the full title and some account of the originals have been added.

Amongst so large a number, every book could hardly be supposed worthy of mention beyond the title. Some that are here noticed, are of

minor importance; but when it was intended to form as complete a catalogue as possible, none could be entirely omitted.

A few biographical memorials of the authors are introduced, more for the intention of identifying their works, and ascertaining their posthumous productions, than for any purpose of eulogy, though, where the characters are not sufficiently eminent to be included in the Biographical Dictionary, no place could be so proper as in a catalogue of their works; but of most of the writers of this description, it is impossible to obtain any satisfactory information farther than the date of their death.

The second division of the "Bibliotheca Heraldica" contains a List of the Visitations made by the Kings of Arms and their Deputies into the several counties of England and Wales, absolutely necessary in elucidating the Genealogical history of the kingdom. The List of Visitations in the Appendix to the History of the College of Arms, has been collated with that by J. Anstis, Garter, published in the Collectanea Curiosa, and one given by the Rev. James Dallaway, to which very numerous additions have been made, from various authentic sources. It also comprises a Catalogue of Heraldic and

« PreviousContinue »