Friday 13 March 2009

A Derbyshire Armory

I hesitate to say that I have just finished reading because that would be inaccurate but I have just spent the best part of a fortnight pleasurably trawling through a superb and enviable record of Derbyshire arms compiled by Maxwell Craven. I thoroughly recommend it and quote below the information given on the book by The Derbyshire Records Society who published the book:

A Derbyshire Armory
Compiled by Maxwell Craven
Illustrated by Elizabeth Forrest

This book is the only comprehensive dictionary of Derbyshire coats of arms. It contains some 2,500 entries, arranged alphabetically by surname. In each case, the parishes within the county with which the family in associated are listed, followed by a descrip­tion of their arms and an outline of their family's history. For many families, several variant coats are described. For every entry, references to sources are given. A representative sample of eighty coats of arms are illustrated in the text with specially prepared line drawings. An exceptionally comprehensive index of place names completes the volume.

ISBN: 0 946324 13 1
xxiii + 205 pages, 80 line drawings
£20.00 (members £10)

I'm not a member of the Derbyshire Records Society so I enquired as to availability from some of my other sources and managed to obtain a new copy for a lot less than the records society was asking from none members. I've used Chapel Books on a few occasions now for books and manuscripts and they always come up trumps.

The beauty of this book is not its illustrations, there are very few of them and they are in black and white, but in the scholarly research and accurate notation of source. I especially like the way in which it refers to a family as bearing an achievement where it has some official standing  whereas one without such authority is referred to as simply being used by the family. I hasten to add that, of course, the book is all about the arms used in an English county and such terms are probably best thought of as in an English environment.

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