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NOBLE BRITISH FAMILIES
In that great work of scholarship, GEC’s Complete Peerage, several histories have notes referring to “Drummond’s Noble British Families” ~ which seems strange in view of the seeming ease with which the author accepted family traditions that modern genealogists treat with caution. However, once away from the very early Middle Ages his compilation of trees and arms is a valuable guide.
Henry Drummond was a Member of the British Parliament, a poet, founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church, an economist, and a banker (a partner in Drummond’s), but despite his multiplicity of talents the front page of his famous book suggests he was a modest man. The publisher’s name is there, but not his. The shield in the centre of the illustration bears not his arms but the arms of his chief.
Only two volumes of his Histories were published and, it has been claimed, only twenty of each. The plates were coloured by hand, of course, for this was 1846, and the style of the heraldic artists employed, apart from the Neville shields at the end of the second volume, is consistent. The achievement of the Marquess of Salisbury shown here is a fair example of the clear approach adopted at a time when a great deal of heraldry was absurdly ornate.
Although the two volumes are described usually as containing the histories of only twelve families, many of these families are related groups of families. Thus the Arden lineage includes the Eardene, Arderne and Compton branches, and owing to the very common addition of the inorganic h as an initial letter, one of the several origins for the Harden surname is here.
The Baronage magazine will now begin a series of articles discussing the histories, the portraits, and the armorial illustrations in Henry Drummond’s monumental work. This series will be published as PDF files so that those readers who have a personal interest in any of the subjects may download the files and pass them onto family members.
The beautiful portraits we are copying from Drummond’s work will inevitably arouse in some readers the wish to have such engravings hanging framed on their own walls. We are now happy to announce plans to provide original antique engraved portraits of several thousand famous men and women for readers seeking pictures of ancestors or of famous people bearing their surname. More details will be announced next month.
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Readers are asked to bear in mind that although The Baronage Press retains copyright in its articles and PDF booklets (its chapbooks), everyone is encouraged to give the chapbooks extra circulation by attaching them to their e-mails. We wish to encourage heraldic interest, especially in the younger generations, and this in turn encourages the sponsors and advertisers on whose generosity we rely. So do please pass them on.
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