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William Camden (1551-1623) was an English historian, whose memory is preserved in the name of the Camden Society (founded 1838). Born in London and educated at Oxford University (Pembroke College), Camden became headmaster of Westminster School in 1593. His best-known work is Britannia (1586), a survey of Britain based on his own extensive travels and investigations, written in Latin. In 1597 he became Clarenceux king-at-arms (a heraldic appointment), and in 1615 produced his Annals of the Reign of Elizabeth to 1588. He died at Chislehurst and is buried in Westminster Abbey. He left his books and papers to Sir Robert Bruce Cotton.
CAMDEN, WILLIAM (1551-1623). antiquary and historian; educated at Christ's Hospital and (1564-6) at St. Paul's School; servitor (apparently to Thomas Cooper, schoolmaster) at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1566; migrated to Broadgates Hall, and afterwards to Christ Church (perhaps as servitor); asked grace for B.A., 1570; left Oxford, 1571, having been excluded from an All Souls' fellowship by the catholic fellows; began to travel up and down England, probably subsidised by Gabriel Goodman (d. 1601), dean of Westminster, collecting archaeological material; usher of Westminster School, 1575-93; appointed head-master, 1593; continued in vacations, 1578-1600, his personal tours of antiquarian investigation; published 'Britannia,' 1586; asked grace for M.A., June 1588; prebendary of Salisbury (though a layman), 1589-1623; published a Greek grammar, 1597; Clarenceux king-of-arms, 1597-1623; answered in his fifth edition of ' Britannia,' 1600, the criticisms (printed, 1599) of Ralph Brooke (or Brookesmouth); printed the epitaphs in Westminster Abbey, 1600; published certain chronicles (being some of his early collections for the 'Britannia'), 'Anglica ... a veteribus scripta,' Frankfort, 1603, containing in the text of Asser the interpolation about King Alfred's foundations in Oxford, and, 1605, 'Remains concerning Britain'; issued the sixth (greatly enlarged) edition of 'Britannia,' and printed the official account of the Gunpowder plot trials, 1607; named a foundation fellow of Matthew Sutcliffe's projected college at Chelsea, 1610; offered M.A. by Oxford University, 1613; communicated to Thuanus (Jacques Auguste de Thou) his manuscript history of Elizabeth's reign, c. 1607; published 'Annales . . . regnante Elizabetha ... ad annum 1589,' 1615 [the second part was printed posthumously, 1628]; wrote a skeleton life of James I (printed, 1691); founded a chair of history in Oxford University, 1622; memorial verses, 'Camdeni Insignia,' printed after his death by Oxford University, 1624; his correspondence printed by Thomas Smith, 1691.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.