Page images
PDF
EPUB

[note.Those marked * are by Members of the Society..]

* Calendar of the Patent Rolls preserved in the Public Record Office. Prepared under the superintendence of the Deputy-Keeper of the Records. Edward II. A.d. 1307-1313. (London: Printed for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1894.)

The present volume is one of seven, which have recently been issued by the English Record Office. The importance of the English Patent and Close Rolls for early local and family history is very great, and the publication of full calendars is most desirable for historical students in England, and to some extent for those of our own country.

This volume, while it adds somewhat to the materials for Irish history, reminds us afresh of our loss in the discontinuance of the Sweetman Calendar, for though there is no name on the title page, a brief prefatory note intimates that this is the work of Mr. G. F. Handcock, to whom the duty of continuing Mr. Sweetman's work had been intrusted before its further progress was stopped. In this volume we have assurance that that work could not have been placed in more careful or capable hands. When the discontinuance of the Sweetman Calendar first aroused dissatisfaction in Ireland, the English Record authorities replied to the complaints of Irish antiquaries, that the work was being continued in a more comprehensive way by this new series of calendars to the Patent and Close Rolls; and they pointed to the undoubted fact that the majority of the entries abstracted by Mr. Sweetman were obtained from these two series of rolls. This is quite true, but it is also the case that the most interesting and important documents, and much the greater bulk of the matter published by Mr. Sweetman was obtained from sources other than these. His calendar was in fact the result of an examination of some thirty series of Records.

While, however, we indulge in complaint, it must be admitted that there is some gain in bringing thus together all the entries on the rolls. The men occupied in the government of Ireland in the 13th and 14th century were chiefly new importations, and gathering the references to them in England as well as Ireland we can better understand the position of some of those mentioned. Thus we find in the present volume a Nicholas de Hugate presented to the church of Carlow. If this entry stood alone we might fancy Hugh an English clergyman settling dowu to parish work at Carlow. But other entries here show that he also held benefices in the dioceses of Bangor, York, and Lincoln. Similarly, a Roger Wyngefeld obtained the church of Dungarvan, one of the richest rectories in Ireland. These patent rolls tell us that he already held benefices in the dioceses of York, Lincoln, Norwich, and Exeter. Both of these pluralists are described as King's Clerks—secretaries or clerkly attendants of the Royal Household, who, probably, never saw their Irish churches.

A still more interesting opportunity of comparing the entries relating to England and Ireland is offered by the requisitions to the seaport towns for aid in the war against King Robert Bruce. To support the royal army some 20 English towns on the south and west coast of England were required to furnish 40 ships (p. 353). The chief of these towns were Bristol, Southampton, and Dartmouth, each of which was to provide three. At the same time 22 ships were called for from the ports on the south and east coasts of Ireland, 3 each from Cork, Waterford, Drogheda, Dublin, Ross, and Youghal, the remainder from Wexford, Carrickfergus, and Coleraine.

Though light is thus gained by a comparison of entries relating to Ireland with those concerning England, the gain is, on the whole, less than might be expected, and the series, valuable as it undoubtedly is, can only to a limited extent be considered to supply to Ireland the place of the Sweetman Calendar.

The present volume seems to be admirably done; the entries, while giving every necessary detail, are never needlessly diffuse, and the book is made thoroughly useful by an ample index.

Armorial Families: a Complete Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage; and a Directory of some Gentlemen of Coat-Armour, and being the First Attempt to show which Arms in use at the moment are borne by Legal Authority. Compiled and Edited by Arthur Charles FoxDavies. (Edinburgh: T. C. and E. C. Jack, 1895.)

There is, perhaps, no subject concerning which more widespread ignorance prevails than the laws which regulate the right to use armorial ensigns. An enormous number of persons have assumed and use them—crests especially—under the mistaken notion that it is lawful for them to do so. This is due to a great extent to the erroneous idea, fostered by seal-engravers and jewellers, that all people of the same name are entitled to use the same arms. So far from this being the case, the right to bear arms is, like a title of nobility, only acquired by patent granted by the Kings of Arms, to whom the Sovereign, the fountain of honour, has delegated his authority in that respect. It was ordained by Royal Proclamation in the year 1417 that no man should in future bear arms in England without lawful authority, and the Heralds' College, or College of Arms, subsequently incorporated, has control over all matters pertaining to the use of arms in that country. In Scotland similar jurisdiction is exercised by the Lyon Office. The Office of Arms in Ireland was called into existence for a like purpose in the year 1552 by the creation of the offices of Ulster King of Arms and Principal Herald of all Ireland, and of Athlone Pursuivant of Arms. Owing, doubtless, to the fact that prior to the creation of these officers no certain rules prevailed regulating the use of arms in Ireland, Ulster has power to grant a Confirmation of arms in cases where it can be proved to his satisfaction that certain arms have been continuously used by a family for three generations or one hundred years. Mr. Fox-Davies is in error in stating that the Officers of the College of Arms have the sole authority and control of armorial matters for the whole of Her Majesty's dominions except Scotland and Ireland. No such exclusive jurisdiction exists outside the United Kingdom. As a matter of fact Ulster exercises heraldic authority over persons of Irish descent wherever resident, and the other Kings have an equal right to bear similar sway over their subjects throughout the world. No person, then, is entitled to use arms without a Grant or a Confirmation to himself or his ancestor, and in the latter case his descent from such ancestor must be capable of proof in the same manner as would be required in proving title to an estate. Hence the necessity of having pedigrees duly registered in the Offices of Arms. But while the person who displays armorial ensigns without any right thereto struts in borrowed plumage like the jackdaw with the peacock's feather, strange to say, there are not a few instances of persons, whose right to a certain coat is undoubted, having wrongfully assumed another through mistake or ignorance, or, indeed, sometimes of malice prepense. Hitherto no attempt has been made to set forth clearly the lawful use, and also the abuse, of arms. This book is not an official publication. But neither is there any existing Peerage or Baronetage or other book treating in a similar manner of arms and titles, which possesses any official authority. The object of Mr. Fox-Davies' work is "to take every living person who claims or pretends to the display of arms, to quote the arms he uses, and to let it be widely known whether his armorial insignia are borne with or without authority." This being a first attempt, perfection is not to be expected, but the Editor believes that such information as he gives is correct. Every entry not in italics is that of a genuinely armigerous person. In this respect the greatest caution has been exercised, as some of the names printed in italics are those of persons who can, doubtless, establish their right to arms, but have not yet satisfactorily done so. Many names of undoubtedly armigerous persons are altogether omitted, but through no fault of the Editor, who has had to depend upon the assistance received in response to his 50,000 circulars issued requesting information. The names of all Knights and Companions of the different Orders, whether they use arms or not, are included, and many of them have not, and make no pretension to, arms. The book is illustrated with engravings of some five hundred coats of arms from drawings by wellknown heraldic artists, several of these coats, as appears by referring to the text, being unlawfully assumed. The Editor claims that this is the first and only book that has touched upon the subject of liveries, and the first and only attempt to regulate the usage of cockades. The cockade, it is pointed out, is purely a fighting badge, so that it is essentially ridiculous for civilians or ladies to pretend to it. The book is intended to take its place among the other recognised handbooks of the year . As at present produced, however, the volume is too bulky to be used conveniently as a book of reference. Exclusive of the introductory essay on "The Abuse of Arms" and the plates, 112 in number, the text occupies 1,086 double-column pages. Mr. Fox-Davies disdains the use of abbreviations, and insists on printing every word in full. There is also much needless repetition. If the end in view be eventually attained, and the name of every living person who claims arms be included, it will be absolutely necessary to avoid all repetition and to ahbreviate as much as possible in order to keep the work within reasonable limits.

Mr. Fox-Davies makes some practical suggestions as to remedying the abuse of Arms, and appeals to the Ex Libris Society to pillory all book-plates of Arms assumed without authority. The obvious means to prevent abuse is for the Kings of Arms to publish official lists of the Arms registered in their offices. There is no reason why this should not be done, and the Lyon King has already issued a work of this kind.

Historical Beminiscencea of Dublin Castle from 849 to 1895. By F. E. R. (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers, & Walker, 1895.)

We have here an outline of the history of the Castle and its principal occupants, from the earliest mention of the fortress of the Norsemen which occupied portion of the site. The information is derived chiefly from the works of Dr. J. T. Gilbert, and from Mr. W. J. Bayley's "Historical Sketch of the Castle," published some years ago. Of the Norman Castle, built at the commencement of the thirteenth century, the only portion which remains is the Wardrobe Tower, now occupied by the State Paper Office and Office of Arms. The rest of the buildings which constitute the Castle date from the middle of the last century. The State apartments are fully described, and also the ceremonies of the Viceregal Court and of the Order of St. Patrick, with some curious particulars of the manner in which Viceregal entertainments were conducted in former days. The book is illustrated from photographs of the Upper Castle Yard, St. Patrick's Hall, the State Dining Room, Viceregal Lodge, Throne Room, and Chapel Royal.

* Ristorieal Sketches of Monaghan from the earliest times to the Fenian Movement. By Denis Carolan Rushe, B.a., F.b.s.a. (Ireland). (Dublin: James Duffy & Co., 1895.)

Monaghan is one of the few counties in Ireland of which a history has been written, and is fortunate in having as historian a distinguished antiquary, the late Evelyn Philip Shirley, F.s.a., a Fellow also of our Society, whose work will ever remain as the foundation upon which all subsequent historians of the county must build. Under the title of "Historical Sketches of Monaghan" Mr. Rushe has included a collection of essays and papers, written by him at various times. They contain a great amount of interesting information, and much that is new, concerning the town of Monaghan and its neighbourhood; but owing to the circumstances in whicli the different chapters were written they are necessarily of unequal value. The most interesting and valuable contributions to local history are those on the United Irishmen in Monaghan, Local Geography and Topography, the Tithe War, and Secret Societies in the County after the Union. The last includes some of the principal occurrences in the county down to the year 1864. While, however, there is much to commend in Mr. Rushe's work from the standpoint of the historian, we cannot too strongly condemn the tone adopted in the introduction in reference to Mr. Shirley. This is not calculated to increase the value of the book.

« PreviousContinue »