The Dering Roll

The Dering Roll

Thanks to the generous support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, The Art Fund, The Friends of the National Libraries, Friends of the British Library and numerous individual donors the British Library has been able to acquire The Dering Roll, the oldest extant English roll of arms, dating from c.1270-1280.

The Roll, a vital record for the study of knighthood in medieval England, depicts 324 coats of arms, representing approximately a quarter of the entire English baronage during the reign of King Edward I (1272-1307).

The Roll was sold at auction in December 2007 but was subsequently placed under a temporary export bar, giving us a rare opportunity to acquire it and save it for the nation.

It has been on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery where it enthralls our visitors with its beauty and intricacy.

Dr Claire Breay, Curator of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts main photo

The Dering Roll was identified as a priority acquisition for the British Library, and we are very pleased that we were able to secure the funding required to purchase the Roll and keep it in the UK. The Library holds an extensive collection of outstanding historical and heraldic manuscripts and the acquisition of the Dering Roll provides an extremely rare chance to add a manuscript of enormous local and national significance which will greatly strengthen and complement its existing collection.

Dr Claire Breay, Curator of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts