William Dugdale 1605-1685

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Sir William DUGDALE 1605-1685

Biographical Note

Born at Shustoke, Warwickshire, son of John Dugdale, rector there. He was educated locally; after his father's death in 1624 he bought the manor of Blyth, in Shustoke, which remained his family home thereafter. He developed interests in antiquarian research, encouraged by Sir Simon Archer, Sir Henry Spelman, Christopher Hatton and others, and in 1638 he met Roger Dodsworth, who had long been working on Yorkshire history. He was appointed Blanch Lyon Pursuivant in the College of Arms in 1638. During the 1640s and 50s he undertook extensive work around churches and cathedrals, recording monuments and coats of arms, while also being drawn into the Civil War on the royalist side. His work with Dodsworth came to fruition in the Monasticum Anglicanum, published in 3 volumes between 1655 and 1673; he went on to publish Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656), The history of imbanking ... fenns (1662), The baronage of England (1676-7), and other important historical works. After the Restoration he was appointed Norroy King of Arms, and in 1677 Garter King of Arms.


We have little information on the size and contents of Dugdale's library, which must have been extensive. He bequeathed manuscripts to the Ashmolean Museum, which are now in the Bodleian Library (MSS Dugdale 1-49), but some of his manuscript collections, and presumably also printed books, remained with his family. Some of these manuscripts were sold at Sotheby's, 20.11.1862. The single book with an armorial stamp associated with Dugdale, now in the National Art Library, (Clements CLE R14), is a presentation copy given to him.


  • British Armorial Bindings.
  • Cronne, H. The study and use of charters in the seventeenth century: Sir Henry Spelman and Sir William Dugdale, in L. Fox (ed), English historical scholarship, 1956, 73-91.
  • Douglas, D. English scholars, 1939, ch.2.
  • Maggs (catalogues of the London booksellers Maggs Bros.) 1272 (1999)/27.
  • Parry, Graham. "Dugdale, Sir William (1605–1686), antiquary and herald." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.