Camden, William

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Camden, William

(kăm`dən), 1551–1623, English scholar, chief historian and antiquary of Elizabethan times. His two chief works are Britannia (1586) and Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum regnante Elizabetha [annals of affairs in England and Ireland in the reign of Elizabeth]. He was a conscientious scholar in editing old manuscripts and in collecting materials of antiquarian interest. He was also a teacher (1575–97) and headmaster (1593–97) at Westminster School and helped to revive the study of Anglo-Saxon. He wrote a Greek grammar long popular in English secondary schools and aided Sir Robert CottonCotton, Sir Robert Bruce,
1571–1631, English antiquarian. The Cottonian collection of books, manuscripts, coins, and antiquities became a part of the British Museum when it was founded in 1753.
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 in collecting materials.

Camden, William


Born May 2, 1551, in London; died Nov. 9, 1623, in Chislehurst, Kent. English antiquarian and humanist historian. Member of the Society of Antiquarians (founded c. 1585).

Camden’s antiquarian-topographical works, Britannia (Latin original, 1586; English version, 1610), Centuries-old Information on England, Normandy, and Ireland (Latin, 1603), and Remaines Concerning Britain (English, 1605), laid the foundation for the critical treatment of historical sources in England. The Chronicle of Events in England and Ireland During the Reign of Elizabeth (Latin, 1615), written from the point of view of a proponent of absolutism and the Anglican Church, is one of the highest achievements in English chronicle-writing.

The Camden Society was founded in 1838; it published a great many sources on English history. In 1897 it merged with the Royal Historical Society.


Vainshtein, O. L. Zapadno-evropeiskaia srednevekovaia istoriografiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. Pages 440–46. (Bibliography.)
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The 270 distinct records of loans and acquisitions nonetheless reveal a fascinating pattern of use--43 volumes were out on loan in August 1615, while 125 separate loans were recorded during 1621--by such luminaries as William Camden, William Dugdale, Symonds D'Ewes, Roger Dodsworth, William Lambarde, James Ussher, Augustine Vincent, James Ware, and John Selden, who also served as the library's guardian during the Civil War and Commonwealth eras, after which it was restored to Sir Robert's heirs.