Pedigrees and consumers in Early modern England

Résumé de la communication prévue dans le cadre du colloque

L’entreprise généalogique, Paris, 27-28 novembre 2014

(http://humanisme.hypotheses.org/434)

 

Clive Cheeseman (College of Arms, Londres)

Pedigrees and consumers in Early modern England

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the English heralds provided different levels of genealogical service for clients. The Visitations involved the recording of pedigrees that were usually short and unambitious, frequently attested by the signature of the head of the family, and ostensibly constrained by their formal nature as acts of the kings of arms under the Royal prerogative. But outside the visitation framework the senior heralds also provided a more lavish, unrestrained luxury item in the form of the roll pedigree. The College of Arms has recently consolidated its collections of roll pedigrees and it is now possible to begin a survey of this interesting phase in the development of genealogical services.

This paper will look at two aspects of the phenomenon: the relationship between growing historical and antiquarian sensibilities and the need to provide a genealogical account that satisfied the client, with whom the economic relationship undoubtedly had a major role in determining the character of the resulting pedigree; and the physical form of the finished item, which was gradually refined to convey ever more effectively a positive account of the client’s ancestry and contemporary kinships.

The paper will focus on one particular illustrative example of a client who, compulsively adjusting, improving, abandoning and replacing the heralds’ expensive pedigrees genealogical work, can be truly described as a roll pedigree « consumer ».

 


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