Edmund Bolton

Alexander Chalmers, in General Biographical Dictionary (1812-17) 6:29-31.

EDMUND BOLTON, or BOULTON, an ingenious writer and antiquary, in the beginning of the seventeenth century, was a retainer to the great George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, under whom he probably enjoyed some office. He was a Roman catholic, and distinguished himself by the following curious writings; 1. The Life of king Henry II. intended to be inserted in Speed's Chronicle; but the author being too partial to Thomas Becket, another life was written by Dr. Barcham. 2. The Elements of Armories, Lond. 1610, 4to. 3. A poem upon the translation of the body of Mary queen of Scots, from Peterborough to Westminster-abbey, in 1612, entitled Prosopopoeia Basilica, a MS. in the Cottonian library. 4. An English translation of Lucius Florus's Roman History. 5. Nero Caesar, or Monarchie depraved. An historicall worke, dedicated with leave to the duke of Buckingham, lord admiral, Lond. 1624, fol. This book, which contains the life of the emperor Nero, is printed in a neat and elegant manner, and illustrated with several curious medals. In recapitulating the affairs of Britain, from the time of Julius Caesar to the revolt under Nero, he relates the history of Boadicea, and endeavours to prove that Stonehenge is a monument erected to her memory. How much he differs from the conjectures of the other antiquaries who have endeavoured to trace the history of Stonehenge, it would be unnecessary to specify. He wrote also, 6. Vindiciae Britannicae, or London righted by rescues and recoveries of antiquities of Britain in general, and of London in particular, against unwarrantable prejudices, and historical antiquations amongst the learned; for the more honour, and perpetual just uses of the noble island and the city. It consists of seven chapters. In the first, he treats "of London before the Britann rebells sackt and fired it in hatred and defiance of Nero." In the second he shows, that "London was more great and famous in Nero's days, than that it should be within the description, which Julius Caesar makes of a barbarous Britann town in his days. In the third, he proves, "that the credit of Julius Caesar's writings may subsist, and yet London retain the opinion of utmost antiquity." In the fourth, "the same fundamental assertion is upholder with other, and with all sorts of arguments or reasons." The fifth bears this title, "The natural face of the seat of London (exactly described in this section) most sufficiently proved, that it was most antiently inhabited, always presupposing reasonable men in Britain." The sixth contains "a copious and serious disquisition about the old book of Brute, and of the authority thereof, especially so far forth as concerns the present cause of the honour and antiquity of London, fundamentally necessary in general to our national history." The last chapter is entitled, "Special, as well historical, as other illustrations, for the use of the coins in my Nero Caesar, concerning London in and before that time." This MS. (for it never was printed) was in the possession of Hugh Howard, esq. and afterwards sold among Thomas Rawlinson's to Endymion Porter. Mr. Bolton was also author of "Hypercritica, or a rule of judgement for writing or reading our histories. Delivered in four super-censorian addresses by occasion of a censorian epistle, prefixed by sir Henry Savile, knt. to his edition of some of our oldest historians in Latin, dedicated to the late queen Elizabeth. That according thereunto, a complete body of our affairs, a Corpus Rerum Anglicarum may at last, and from among our ourselves, come happily forth in either of the tongues. A felicity wanting to our nation now when even the name thereof is as it were at an end." It was published by Dr. Hall, at the end of Triveti Annales, Oxford, 1722, 8vo. Bolton likewise intended to compose a General History of England, or an entire and complete body of English affairs; and there is in the Cottonian collection, the outline of a book entitled Agon Heroicus, or concerning Arms and Armories, a copy of which is in the Biog. Britannica. The time and place of his death are unknown.