Topographical-Historical Description of England

Camden, William. Britannia sive florentissimorum regnorum, angliae, scotiae, hiberniae, et Insularum adiacentium ex intima antiquitate. Chorographica descriptio. Autore Guilielmo Camdeno. Nunc quarto recognita, and magna accessione post Germanicam editionem adaucta.

Londini [London]: impensis Georg. Bishop., 1594. 199 x 150 mm (7 ¾ x 5 ¾ in). Quarto. [16], 717, [25] pp. In Latin. Woodcut title illustration. Woodcut initials throughout. Separate title page: Hiberniæ, et insularum Britanniæ adiacentium descriptio”; pagination is continuous.

Bound in half dark green crushed leather over cloth covered boards. Spine ruled and lettered in gilt with blind tooled ornament in each compartment; all edges marbled. Marbled endpapers. Armorial bookplate on front pastedown: Henry Edward Fox Strongways, Earl of Ilchester. Melbury.”

Exterior good plus; boards with light soiling, medium wear, and bumped corners; interior very good and overall quite crisp; 4 leaves near rear with an old water stain at fore-edge. 

William Camden’s Britannia provided the first county-by-county geographical survey of Great Britain and Ireland. Camden’s stated intention was to restore antiquity to Britain, and Britain to his antiquity”. The great topographical-historical description consumed ten years’ travel, study and effort by Camden. He had to learn Welsh and Anglo-Saxon in order to read original manuscript texts and public records. 

The first edition, written in Latin, was published in 1586. It proved very popular, and ran through five further Latin editions, of 1587, 1590, 1594, 1600 and 1607, each greatly enlarged from its predecessor. The book was not translated into English until 1610, but over the centuries has been printed in dozens of editions and remained in print until 1984. Our copy is the 1594 edition. 

Earl of Ilchester’s copy. This was Henry Fox-Strangways, 5th Earl of Ilchester’s (1847–1905) book and bears a large (4 ½ x 4 inch) armorial bookplate. Fox-Strangways was a Liberal British politician and served as Captain of the Honorable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms under William Ewart Gladstone. 

ESTC s107385


In stock

Stock Code: 1129B16 Collection: Catalogue:


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