Sir William Dugdale - Encyclopedia

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SIR WILLIAM DUGDALE (1605-1686), English antiquary, was born at Shustoke, near Coleshill, in Warwickshire, on the 12th of September 1605, the son of a country gentleman of an old Lancashire stock; he was educated at Coventry. To please his father, who was old and infirm, he married at seventeen. He lived with his wife's family until his father's death in 1624, when he went to live at Fillongley, near Shustoke, an estate formerly purchased for him by his father. In 1625 he purchased the manor of Blythe, Shustoke, and removed thither in 1626. He had early shown an inclination for antiquarian studies, and in 1635, meeting Sir Symon Archer (1581-1662), himself a learned anti quary, who was then employed in collecting materials for a history of Warwickshire, he accompanied him to London. There he made the acquaintance of Sir Christopher (afterwards Lord) Hatton, comptroller of the household, and Thomas, earl of Arundel, then earl marshal of England. In 1638 Dugdale was created a pursuivant of arms extraordinary by the name of Blanch Lyon, and in 1639 rouge croix pursuivant in ordinary. He now had a lodging in the Heralds' Office, and spent much of his time in London examining the records in the Tower and the Cottonian and other collections of MSS. In 1641 Sir Christopher Hatton, foreseeing the war and dreading the ruin and spoliation of the Church, commissioned him to make exact drafts of all the monuments in Westminster Abbey and the principal churches in England, including Peterborough, Ely, Norwich, Lincoln. Newark, Beverley, Southwell, Kingston-upon-Hull, York, Selby, Chester, Lichfield, Tamworth and Warwick. In June 1642 he was summoned to attend the king at York. When war broke out Charles deputed him to summon to surrender the castles of Banbury and Warwick, and other strongholds which were being rapidly filled with ammunition and rebels. He went with Charles to Oxford, remaining there till its surrender in 1646. He witnessed the battle of Edgehill, where he made afterwards an exact survey of the field, noting how the armies were drawn up, and 'where and in what direction the various movements took place, and marking the graves of the slain. In November 1642 he was admitted M.A. of the university, and in 1644 the king: created him Chester herald. During his leisure at Oxford he collected material at the Bodleian and college libraries for his books. In 1646 Dugdale returned to London and compounded for his estates, which had been sequestrated, by a payment of 168. After a visit to France in 1648 he continued his antiquarian researches in London, collaborating with Richard Dodsworth in his Monasticon Anglicanum, which was published successively in single volumes in 1655, 1664 and 1673. At the Restoration he obtained the office of Norroy king-at-arms, and in 1677 was created garter principal king-at-arms, and was knighted. He died "in his chair" at Blythe Hall on the 10th of February 1686.

Dugdale's most important works are Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656); Monasticon Anglicanum (1655-1673); History of St Paul's Cathedral (1658); and Baronage of England (1675-1676). His Life, written by himself up to 1678, with his diary and correspondence, and an index to his manuscript collections, was edited by William Hamper, and published in 1827.

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