Ralph Brooke ca.1553-1625

From Book Owners Online

Ralph BROOKE ca.1553-1625

Biographical Note

Born in London, son of Geoffrey Brooke, shoemaker. After an apprenticeship as a painter-stainer, he was appointed Rouge Croix pursuivant at the College of Arms in 1580, and promoted to York herald in 1592. His subsequent career has been documented primarily in terms of his disputatious nature, criticising his fellow heralds and arguing about money. His dislike of Camden generated his Discoverie of certaine errours published in ... Britannia (1599) and he famously challenged the grant of arms to Shakespeare's father. He published A catalogue and succession of the kings, princes, dukes ... of England in 1619.


Like all heralds, Brooke amassed manuscripts collections to support his genealogical and heraldic work, and some of these are now variously dispersed across the College of Arms, the British Library, and elsewhere. His will has no mention of books – his estate was divided between his wife and children – and there is evidence that some of his collections were sold in 1629. Sir Edward Dering is known to have acquired some of Brooke's manuscripts, and others subsequently entered the Harleian library. The extent and fate of his library of printed books is not known.