MS ARMORIAL OF ENGLISH BARONETAGE
[Baronets of this Kingdom From the first creation of that Dignity until the death of K. Charles IId].Manuscript, on paper, England, probably late 17th century.
Small 8vo. 120 x 82mm. English ms., in black-brown ink. 157 ll., numbered pp. 7-306, 6 ll. blank) + 19 unnumbered ll. (index), lacking 3 initial leaves with arms 1-11; 28 blanks, likely added. c.1600 illuminated crests and shields, finely hand-coloured in red, blue, white, silver and gold, about 200 blank, 1 corrective flap. Outer edges untrimmed, occasional light age yellowing, the odd ink mark. A very good copy in blind-tooled late C19 calf, marbled eps, spine gilt-lettered, rubbed.
Very well-preserved, lavishly illustrated armorial probably late C17, listing the crests and shields of the English Baronets created from 1611 – when the title was exploited by James I to raise money for the establishment of the Ulster Plantation – to the death of Charles II, in 1685. Among them is Thomas Temple, first baronet of Nova Scotia in 1624. The ms ends with a 40pp. alphabetic table, which suggests it was put to practical use. The corresponding arms and crests, shown on facing pages, are identified by the same number, for easy consultation. Although we have not traced a particular source – the first heraldic work devoted solely to baronetage appears to have been published in 1727 – the list of baronets appointed by James I and Charles I had appeared previously in print, e.g., as an appendix to Walkley’s ‘A catalogue of the nobility of England’ (1630), in regularly updated versions. This ms was produced by painstakingly bringing together printed and ms sources, the blank crests or arms probably evidencing the difficulties surrounding heraldic research on the lesser nobility, before the appearance of the great ‘Peerages’, ‘Baronetages’, etc. of following centuries.