GENEALOGICAL ROLL OF THE FAMILY OF CHAMBERLAYNE OF SHIRBURN, in English, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
By William Hervey, Norroy King of Arms, 1552
1505 x 180mm. Genealogical roll on two membranes of the descent of the family of Chamberlayne of Shirburn for fourteen generations, the names written in brown ink in a cursive hand within double-ruled circles, the lines of descent in red, with twenty-five coats of arms in liquid gold, white, black, red and blue, certified by William Hervey or Harvey at lower right (bottom left corner, seemingly blank, excised; some wear; modern pencilled transcriptions of some names). Laid down on hardboard and framed.
William Hervey, Bluemantle Poursuivant in 1536, was promoted to Norroy King of Arms in 1550 and to Clarencieux in 1557. His researches for this roll were reused in the Visitation of Oxfordshire, completed after his death in 1567 by Richard Lee (Harleian Society, V, 1871). His certification at the lower right explains that the 'parfait pedigree' was made for Leonard Chamberlayne of Woodstock and Edward his brother to establish the descent of Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, the King's ambassador in Flanders. Leonard (d.1561) became Keeper of Woodstock in 1543 on the death of his father, Sir Edward. Usually distinguished as the Chamberlaynes of Shirburn, the family had acquired Shirburn Castle through Sir Edward's mother but did not reside there; in 1716 the Castle was bought by the 1st Earl of Macclesfield.
The Chamberlaynes claimed descent from the counts of Tancarville, hereditary chamberlains to the dukes of Normandy: the tree stems from Richard who, in other versions, was the grandson of William de Tancarville, companion of William the Conqueror. Harvey's note, top left, records that a comte de Tancarville was chamberlain to Charles VI of France in 1400, presumably to substantiate the connection. The penultimate row of shields on the left are of Leonard and his brothers Edward and Ralph; the last shield on the right is of Sir Thomas Chamberlayne of Presbury, the ambassador, with the names of his wives added after his second marriage in 1558. He is presented as the fourth cousin once removed of Leonard and Edward, so that it is not surprising that a herald was required to go through their 'records and evidences' to establish the relationship.
Leonard, who would be knighted by Queen Mary, had a successful career in royal service, ending as Governor of Guernsey. Perhaps in 1552 he regarded Sir Thomas as someone with whom it would be advantageous to claim kinship. In 1559, Sir Thomas would be able to have the brother of the King of Sweden and the future earl of Leicester as godfathers for his son. Sir Thomas's branch ensured a longer survival of the male line, through the Chamberlaynes of Maugersbury and Stoney Thorpe.