Xmera / William Dugdale: A Life

William Dugdale
A Life of the Warwickshire Historian and Herald

Jan Broadway

ISBN 9780956742803

This first full-length biography of a leading light of the intellectual world of Restoration England draws together the separate strands of William Dugdale's life. As a herald he played a ceremonial role at the courts of three Stuart kings and met statesmen, aristocrats, bishops and hundreds of gentry families across England. As a historian he profoundly influenced the study of medieval and local history, heraldry and genealogy. Throughout he remained a Warwickshire gentleman, deeply embedded within a provincial society torn apart by the civil war and its aftermath.

Until now accounts of Dugdale's life have depended on his own autobiography, which as Jan shows was economical with the truth in regards to certain aspects of his life. There is, for example, no mention of his siblings from his mother's first marriage or of his role during the civil war as secretary for the comptroller of the king's household in Oxford. Nor does he reveal that his wife bore him nineteen children during their almost six decades of marriage.

This biography attempts to do justice to all aspects of Dugdale's life and to show how a minor provincial gentlemen with a small income and a large family was able to establish himself as a scholar and author in the decades after the civil war. It is largely based on Dugdale's correspondence, a catalogue of which was produced as part of research for the book and is available on this website.

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