Title page of volume 1

ref. 0291

Camden's Britannia - 1586

Translation by Edmund Gibson
2nd Edition - Published 1722
With maps by Robert Morden

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The first edition of William Camden's Britannia was published (in Latin) in 1588. It was a truly great work, and the first comprehensive topographical, geographical and historical study of Britain to be printed. Camden published several editions, each with revisions during his lifetime, the last being in 1607, including additional plates and maps. Camden died 9th November 1623 aged 72 and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

The first editions translated into English were published by Philemon Holland in 1610 and 1637, and there followed further translations, with substantial additions by Edmund Gibson in 1695 and 1722.

It is this 1722 second edition, in two large volumes, measuring 16" x 10.5" which I have had the pleasure of digitising and presenting on CD.

This is probably the most important book scanning project to date undertaken by Archive CD Books. A very rare book of which very few copies remain, and which is an invaluable source for historians.

Each page of the original books have been scanned, and recreated into a virtual book for viewing on screen using Adobe Acrobat Reader. Comprehensive bookmarks have been added so that you can find your way around the books very easily.

Sussex 1695 Morden map All of the excellent 1695 county maps by Robert Morden are included in the book.

North, West and South Wales
Map of England in Roman times
Maps of the Islands around Britain
Maps of every county of England

Left: one of the maps by Robert Morden (of 1695).
You can view the whole of each map on screen, or zoom in to the finest detail.

The typeface in this book of 1722 is somewhat uneven, and in some places there is the occasional "bleed through" of ink from the reverse side of the paper. It has been scanned just as it is - literally a digital photograph of every page.

However, it is very readable, once you get used to the old font used, where an "s" looks like an "f" for example.

On the CD, you can zoom in and out to whatever size is comfortable for you to read.

Extracts from the Ancient and Modern Customs of the Irish


"They commonly baptize their children by prophane names, adding somewhat from one accident or another: some from old wive's tale; or from colours, as red, white, black, &c. from distempers,, as scab'd, bald, &c, or else from some vice, as Robber or Proud; and, although they cannot bear reproach, yet the greatest among them, such as they have the letter O prefixed to their names, are not asham'd of these appelations. It is looked upon as a foreboding a speedy death to the parent or other of the Family then living, to give his or their names to any of the children; and therefore they avoid it as unlawful. When the father dies, the son takes his name, lest it should be forgotten; and if any of the Ancestors have been famous for their achievements, the like bravery is expected from him..."

Nursing the Children

"Women, within six days after their delivery, return to their husband's bed, and put out their children to nurse. Great appelation is made from all parts, to be nurses to the children of these Grandees; who are more tender to the foster-children than their own.....

If the infant is sick, they sprinkle it with the stalest urine they can get, and for a preservative against mischances, they hang not only the beginning of St. John's Gospel about the child's neck, but also a crooked nail out of a horse's foot, or a piece of wolf's skin. For this very purpose also, both nurses and sucklings wear always a girdle of women's hair about them.....

All who have suck'd the same breasts, are very kind and loving, and confide more in each other than if they were natural brothers, so that they will have an aversion even to their own brothers for the sake of these."


"They seldom marry out of their own town; and contract with one another, not de praesenti, but de futuro; or else agree without deliberation. Upon this account, the least difference generally parts them; the husband taking another wife, and the wife another husband; nor is it certain whether the Contract be true or false, till their dying day. Hence arise wars, rapines, murders and deadly feuds, about successions and inheritances. The cast-off wives have recourse to the witches; these being looked on as able to afflict either the former husband or the new wife, with barrenness or impotency, or some dangerous distemper."


"They generally go bare-headed, save when they wear a head-piece; having a large head of hair , with curled Gleebes, which they highly value and take it hainously if anyone twitch or pull them. They wear linnen shifts, very large, with wide sleeves down to their knees, which they generally dye with saffron. They have woollen jackets, but very shirt; plain breeches, close to their thighs; and over these they cast their mantles or shag rugs which Isidore seems to call Heteromallae, fring'd with an agreeable mixture of colours, in which they wrap themselves up, and sleep upon the bare ground. Such also do the women cast over the garment which comes down to their ankles, and they load their heads (as I said) rather than adorn them, with several ells of fine linnen roll'd up in wreaths, as they do their necks with neck-laces, and their arms with bracelets."


"As to their diet, they delight in herbs, especially cresses, mushrooms and roots..... They love butter mix'd with oatmeal, milk, whey, beef broth and flesh, of-times without bread.... When they are sharp-set, they make no scruple to eat raw flesh, after they have squeezed out the blood; to digest which, they drink Usquebaugh in great quantities."








On Gloucestershire:

"Here you may behold highways and publick roads full of Fruit-trees, not planted, but growing naturally. The Earth bears fruit of its own accord, much exceeding others both in taste and beauty, many sorts of which continue fresh the year round and serve the owner till he is supplied by a new increase. No county in England has so many or so good vineyards as this; either for fertility or for sweetness of the grape. The wine has in it no unpleasant tartness or eagerness."

A Wiltshire page, with an illustration of Stonehenge

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  • To the King - Dedication
  • Preface
  • The Life of Mr. Camden
  • Camden's Preface
  • Ad Lectorem
  • Books & Treatises Relating to the Antiquities of England
  • Treatises of Scotland
  • Treatises of Ireland
  • Treatises of the Islands
  • Antonius's Itinerary Through Britain
  • General Description of Britain
  • First inhabitants and their manners
  • The Romans in Britain (with map of Britannia Romana)
  • Conjectures upon the British Coins (illustrated)
  • Conjectures upon the Roman Coins (illustrated)
  • The Destruction of Britain (Middle Ages)
  • Britains of Armorica
  • Britains of Wales & Cornwall
  • The Picts
  • The Scots
  • The English Saxons (with map of Britannia Saxonica)
  • Saxon names and place names
    (the derivations of modern names)
  • Notes on the Saxon Coins
    (dozens of illustrations)
  • The Danes
  • The Normans
  • The Division of Britain
  • The Degrees of England
    (Relative status of the people. Kings to labourers)
  • The Law Courts of England

The Counties of England and Wales

  • Danmonii
    • Cornwall
    • Devon
  • Durotriges
    • Dorsetshire
  • Belgae
    • Somersetshire
    • Wiltshire
    • Hampshire
    • Isle of Wight
  • Attrebatii
    • Berkshire
  • Regni
    • Surrey
    • Sussex
  • Cantium
    • Kent
  • Dobuni
    • Gloucestershire
    • Oxfordshire
  • Cattieuchlani
    • Buckinghamshire
    • Bedfordshire
    • Hertfordshire
  • Trinobantes
    • Middlesex
    • Essex
  • Iceni
    • Suffolk
    • Norfolk
    • Cambridgeshire
    • Huntingdonshire
  • Coritani
    • Northamptonshire
    • Leicestershire
    • Rutlandshire
    • Lincolnshire
    • Nottinghamshire
    • Derbyshire
  • Cornavii
    • Warwickshire
    • Worcestershire
    • Staffordshire
    • Shropshire
    • Cheshire
  • Silures
    • Herefordshire
    • Radnorshire
    • Brecknockshire
    • Monmouthshire
    • Glamorganshire
  • Dimetae
    • Caermarthenshire
    • Pembrokeshire
    • Cardiganshire
  • Ordovices
    • Montgomeryshire
    • Merionethshire
    • Caernarvonshire
    • Anglesey, Mona
    • Denbeighshire
    • Flintshire
  • Princes of Wales
  • Brigantes
    • Yorkshire
      • West Riding
      • East Riding
      • North Riding
      • Richmondshire
    • Bishoprick of Durham
    • Lancashire
    • Westmorland
    • Cumberland
    • Pict's Wall
  • Ottadini
    • Northumberland

The Union of England and Scotland


  • Its Division
  • Its States, or Degrees
  • Its Jurisdictions, or Courts of Justice
  • Gadeni
    • Teifidale
    • Twedale or Peebles
    • Merch or Mers
    • Lauden or Lothien
  • Selgovae
    • Liddesdale
    • Annandale
    • Nidisdale
  • Novantes
    • Galloway
    • Carrict
    • Kyle
    • Cunningham
    • Glotta
  • Damnii
    • Cluydesdale
    • Lennox
    • Sterling
  • Caledonia
    • Fife
    • Strathern
    • Argile
    • Cantire
    • Lorn
    • Braidalbin
    • Perthshire
    • Angus
    • Mernis
    • Marr
    • Buquhan
    • Murray
    • Locqhuabre
    • Rosse
    • Sutherland
    • Cathness
    • Strath-navern
  • Additional description of the Roman Wall


  • The British Ocean
  • The Government of Ireland
  • It's Courts or Tribunals
  • It's Division
  • Munster
    • Kerry
    • Desmonia
    • Cork
    • Waterford
    • Limerick
    • Tipperary
  • Leinster
    • Kilkenny
    • Caterlogh
    • Queen's County
    • King's County
    • Kildare
    • Weisford
    • Wicklow
    • Divelin, or Dublin
  • Meth
    • East Meth
    • West Meth
    • Longford
  • Conaght
    • Twomond, or the County of Clare
    • Gallway
    • Maio
    • Slego
    • Letrim
    • Roscoman
    • Lords of Conaght
  • Ulster
    • Louth
    • Cavon
    • Fermanagh
    • Monaghan
    • Armagh
    • Down
    • Antrim
    • Colran, or London-Derry
    • Tir-Oen
    • Donegall, or Tir-Conel
  • The Ancient & Modern Customs of the Irish

British Islands

  • Islands on the West of Britain
  • The Isle of Man
  • The Hebrides, or Western Isles
  • The Orcades, or Isles of Orkney
  • The Thule of the Ancients
  • Islands in the German Ocean
  • Islands in the British Ocean
  • British Islands on the Coast of France
    Particularly, Jersey, Guernsey
  • The Cassiterides, or Silly Islands



  • Annals of Ireland
  • History of the O-Neals, and their Rebellions in Ireland
  • Chronicle of the Kings of Man

Insertions made by Dr. Holland in his English Translation of Mr. Camden's Britannia



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