William Camden, a British historian and antiquary, born in London, May 2, 1551, died at Chiselhurst, Kent, Nov. 9, 1623. In 1571 he left the university of Oxford, having previously been educated at Christ's hospital and St. Paul's school, and in 1575 was appointed second master of Westminster school. In the following year he composed his celebrated descriptive work Britannia, written in elegant Latin, which was published in 1586, and passed through eight editions in four years. An English translation, by Dr. Holland, appeared in 1610, and a later edition in 1637, and a new translation by Edmund Gibson, afterward bishop of London, in 1695; and an edition enlarged by Richard Gough, the topographer, was published in 1789, in 3 vols, fol., increased to 4 vols, by John Nichcls in 1806. In 1592 he became head master of Westminster school, and in 1597 was made Clarencieux king at arms. His next great work was the "Annals of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth," also written in Latin; the first part of this was published in 1615, and though it was completed within the next two years, he determined that the second volume should not appear till after his death.
He wrote many other works, among which was a Greek grammar published in 1597. He was interred in Westminster abbey, where a monument with his half-length statue, the left hand resting on "Britannia," still remains. He devoted the greater part of his fortune to the foundation of a professorship of history at Oxford, which bears his name. The " Camden Society," for the publication of early historical and literary remains, founded, in 1838, was named in his honor.