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