William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland

Picture of William Camden

William Camden was born in London in 1551, and attended Christ's Hospital, St Paul's School and Oxford University. From 1575 he taught at Westminster School but spent holidays travelling for antiquarian research. The first edition Britannia was published in Latin in 1586. He became headmaster of Westminster in 1593 and Clarenceux King of Arms, a senior officer of the College of Arms, in 1597. He died in 1623. Later editions of Britannia saw major changes. We present here the text of Philemon Holland's English translation of 1610, based on Camden's final edition of 1607 and probably translated under Camden's direction. It was the first ever published topographical survey of the whole British Isles, county by county. It does not describe a particular journey but within counties it often follows the main rivers. We thank Prof. Dana Sutton of the University of California for allowing us to use his transcription. To read about particular places mentioned by Camden, search for the placename on our main home page, then click on 'Travel Writing'.

The following sections are available:
Introduction: The Author to the Reader
Romans in Britaine (1)
Romans in Britaine (2)
Coins of Britain; The Celts, Picts and Scots
Saxons, Danes and Normans
The Division of Britaine
Cornwall and Devon
Dorset and Somerset
Wiltshire and Hampshire
Berkshire, Surrey and Sussex
Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire
Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire
Middlesex and London
Essex and Suffolk
Norfolk and Cambridgeshire
Huntingdon and Northampton
Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincoln
Nottinghamshire, Derby and Warwick
Worcestershire and Staffordshire
Shropshire and Cheshire
Hereford, Radnor, Brecon, Monmouth and Glamorgan
Rest of Wales
Yorkshire: West Riding
Yorkshire: East and North Ridings
Durham, Lancashire and Westmorland
Scotland: South of the Antonine Wall
Scotland: North of the Antonine Wall
Ireland (1)
Ireland (2)
Ireland (3)
Smaller Islands in the British Ocean