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Powell Roll

The Powell Roll was compiled during the reign of King Edward III, presumably in 1348 or late 1347. Its name, which was coined by J. Greenstreet at the end of the 19th c. (1st Ed. 1889) is derived from the most recent of its only two surviving copies, painted by Rev. D. Powell (version C) in 1812.

The work presented here is based on the digitized Oxford Bodleian Library, Ashmole ms. 804, pt. IV (available online), also presumed to be the original version of the roll (version A). This manuscript contains a painted collection of 672 coat of arms, organized in rows of three, each of the pages totalling 12 items. It is mainly arrranged in two seperate programs, the first of which features 45 coat of arms relating to the royal family and the highest princes of the realm using a distinct square banner format. The rest of the armorial, represents individuals using a more traditionnal shield format. Although most of the individuals here are contemporary to the document's estimated date of compilation, there are still some notable exceptions and even some retrospective sub-programs at the end of the roll (from folio 25 to the end).

Both the drawing of the illustrations and the restitution of the exact legend from the manuscript, aswell as the identifications derived from them, are based on our own interpretation and understanding of that remarkable document. A different version based on Steen Clemmensen's legend and identifications is also illustrated here as a point of comparison.