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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ralph Brooke, York Herald, frontispiece to the 1723 edition of A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594
Ralph Brooke, York Herald, frontispiece to the 1723 edition of A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594
Arms of Ralph Brooke, granted 1593: Or, a cross engrailed per pale gules & sable, on a chief gules a lion passant guardant or; as Rouge Croix he bore: Gules, on a bend argent a cross throughout gules; crest: On a torse or & sable a hand fessways joined to an open wing argent & holding a sword erect proper entwined with a spray of leaves vert
Arms of Ralph Brooke, granted 1593: Or, a cross engrailed per pale gules & sable, on a chief gules a lion passant guardant or; as Rouge Croix he bore: Gules, on a bend argent a cross throughout gules; crest: On a torse or & sable a hand fessways joined to an open wing argent & holding a sword erect proper entwined with a spray of leaves vert
1784 engraving of mural monument to Ralph Brooke in the chancel of St Mary's Church, Reculver; destroyed when the church was rebuilt[1]
1784 engraving of mural monument to Ralph Brooke in the chancel of St Mary's Church, Reculver; destroyed when the church was rebuilt[1]

Ralph Brooke (1553–1625)[2] was an English Officer of Arms in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. He is known for his critiques of the work of other members of the College of Arms, most particularly in A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594, which touched off a feud with its author, the revered antiquarian and herald William Camden.

Origins

He described himself as the son of Geoffrey Brooke (by his wife Jane Hyde) a son of William Brooke of Lancashire, who was a cadet of the family of Brooke seated at Norton in Cheshire. However the records of the Merchant Taylors' School, where he was admitted on 3 July 1564, simply records the fact that his father was Geoffrey, a shoemaker.[3]

Life and works

He was appointed Rouge Croix Pursuivant in 1580 and York Herald in 1593.[4] As York Herald, he bore the helm and crest in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I.[5]

In 1597, Brooke published A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594, which occasioned a bitter controversy with Britannia's author, the antiquarian William Camden.[6]

Ralph Brooke in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I.
Ralph Brooke in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I.

Brooke also challenged the work of other heralds; in 1602 he prepared charges against Sir William Dethick, Garter King of Arms 1586–1606, and Camden for improperly granting arms to 23 "mean" men, including John Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon, the father of playwright William Shakespeare.[7] He complained in 1614 that Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms 1566–1593, had granted more than 500 new coats of arms and that Sir Gilbert Dethick, (Garter 1550–1584), and his son Sir William had exceeded these numbers.[6] Such bitter infighting among the heralds was common; Sir William Segar (Garter 1606–1633) also objected that Cooke made numberless grants to "base and unworthy persons for his private gaine onely."[6][8]

In December 1616 Brooke tricked Segar into confirming foreign royal arms to Gregory Brandon, a common hangman of London who was masquerading as a gentleman.[9] Brooke then reported Segar to James I, who imprisoned both Brooke and Segar in Marshalsea.[9] They were released a few days later and the Lord Chamberlain hoped that the experience would make Brooke more honest and Segar more wise.[9]

Brooke's Catalogue and Succession of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, Earles and Viscounts of this Realme of England since the Norman Conquest was published in 1619.[4] A revised edition of the Discoverie "...to which is added, the learned Mr. Camden's answer to this book, and Mr. Brooke's reply" was issued in 1622, as was an expanded edition of the Catalogue and Succession..., as Catalogue and Succession of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, Earles and Viscounts of this Realme of England since the Norman Conquest, to this present year 1622.[10]

Brooke died on 16 October 1625 and was buried inside St Mary's Church, Reculver, where he was commemorated by a black marble tablet on the south wall of the chancel, showing him dressed in his herald's tabard.[11]

Notes

  1. ^ Robinson, DNB
  2. ^ Dictionary of National Biography 2004, "Ralph Brooke"
  3. ^ Robinson, DNB
  4. ^ a b Dictionary of National Biography 1903, p. 150
  5. ^ Annotated drawing of the funeral procession of Elizabeth I, from the British Library
  6. ^ a b c Rockett 2000
  7. ^ Evans 1997, p. 1954
  8. ^ Wagner 1967, p. 207
  9. ^ a b c Wagner 1967, p. 219-220
  10. ^ Open Library list of works by Ralph Brooke
  11. ^ Duncombe 1784, pp. 73, 89, Plate 2

References

  • Duncombe, J. (1784). "The history and antiquities of the two parishes of Reculver and Herne, in the county of Kent". In Nichols, J. (ed.). Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica. 18. Nichols. pp. 65–161. OCLC 475730544.
  • Evans, G. Blakemore, ed. (1997). The Riverside Shakespeare. 2. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-395-85822-6. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  • Robinson, Charles John, biography of "Brooke, Ralph", Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 6[1]
  • Oxford University Press (2004). "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, "Ralph Brooke"". Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  • Rockett, William (22 June 2000). "Britannia, Ralph Brooke, and the Representation of Privilege in Elizabethan England". Renaissance Quarterly. 53 (2): 474–499. doi:10.2307/2901876. JSTOR 2901876. Retrieved 23 August 2009.
  • Wagner, Anthony (1967). Heralds of England: A History of the Office and College of Arms. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

External links

Heraldic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Dawes
Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms
1580–1592
Succeeded by
Thomas Knight
Preceded by
Humphry Hales
York Herald of Arms
1593–1625
Succeeded by
William Le Neve
This page was last edited on 12 February 2021, at 11:44
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