William Dugdale's The Antiquities of Warwickshire 1656 and 1730


William Dugdale was born at Shustoke in Warwickshire in 1605.  During his life he became increasingly interested in antiquarian studies and the history of Warwickshire.  He is best known in Warwickshire for his work, The Antiquities of Warwickshire, first published in 1656.  The second edition was published in 1730 in two volumes.  It was one of the most detailed county histories of the period and is praised for its accuracy.

The second edition contains a fine county map and detailed maps of each hundred, all drawn by Henry Beighton in 1730.  There are also many illustrations by Wenceslaus Hollar which provide important early views of Warwickshire.  The entries for each settlement provide the reader with a brief history of the town and an indication of regional commodities.  More prominent and detailed are the recording of family histories, which includes illustrations of coats of arms and family tombs.

Figure 7: Dugdale Second Edition 1730 Newton Regis (Vol II p1124-25 )

  Reproduced with kind permission of the Dugdale Society

Click here for larger image


This type of early county history can be used in a number of ways.  For instance, Beighton's maps can be compared with other maps to identify changes in the landscape and key landscape features.  A brief history of settlements can be gained from Dugdale's writing but is it unlikely that the reader will learn much about a settlement's layout or it's inhabitants. Extensive information can however be gained about prominent families including details of their marriages, family crests and burials.  Dugdale wrote Antiquities in the 17th Century and so it is important to bear in mind that his language and terminology may be difficult to understand. 

Where to find this source:

  • Local Libraries
  • County Record Office
  • Indexes available on Internet