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Exiled King James II Grants Arms - French Family Champions English Descent

Exiled King James II Grants Arms - French Family Champions English Descent

£14,000 €16,500  | $18,000


[James Terry (1660-1725), Athlone Herald; Julian Campain]: Vera genealogia antiquae et nobilis familiae de Campain In Anglia cum clarissimis eiusdem familae connubiis et prolibus ab origine ductis et accurate recenistis usque ad Julianum Campain nunc viuentem. Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, late 1699 or early 1700.


This highly ornate and impressive document, which spans nearly three metres and is decorated with over 50 illuminated coats of arms, represents a French family’s bid to proclaim their noble English heritage while King James II was exiled in France. Having been deposed in 1688 and replaced by his Protestant daughter and son-in-law (Mary II and Willliam III), the displaced Catholic king continued to grant arms even from across the Channel. This roll tells a fascinating, and very international story. A British king, exiled in France, grants the Frenchman Julian Campain the right to use an English coat of arms, as facilitated by an Irish herald who had Spanish connections. In a curious symmetry—which may not in fact be a coincidence—the English family with whom Campain was so eager to align himself included a Jacobite spy. The roll is remarkable survival; we have been able to locate only one comparable example (discussed below).

Physical Description

Manuscript roll (c.2700 x c.610 mm).

Layout and decoration: Title consists of twelves lines written in majuscule letters and chrysography, all within a gold and blue framing ornament. 54 illuminated coats of arms in varying sizes, of which 53 have a scroll underneath. Lines of descent indicated with thin red lines and/or large green foliage. 20 lines of text at end of roll, signed twice at end by James Terry. Red wax seal at lower edge on a square fragment adhered to the roll. Gold border to left and right edges.

Construction: four pieces of parchment, apparently once stitched together at the joins (sewing holes extant). The sewing was replaced with adhesive at a later stage. Adhered at top edge to a gilt wooden bar with metal hook; the hanging mechanism quite possibly added when the sewing was replaced.

Hands: Mostly written on one side and by a single hand, with some faded text overwritten by later hand(s). ‘Hiberniae’ added in a small hand to verso.

Condition: In good condition overall, with the colours vibrant and the text mostly still legible (some text faded and/or overwritten; UV light required to read at times). One burn hole at end of roll with some loss to twelve lines of text. Small tears and losses to outer margins, affecting the gold border and opening word of about five lines of text at end of document. Some cracking and flaking to gold and damage to other colours. Warping to parchment particularly at joins, a few small patches of mould, generally in blank areas, soiling to verso. A small number of puncture marks(?) in blank areas. Hanging seal(s) possibly removed to judge by six slits at end of document. Extant seal partially lacking.

Provenance: private collections (family in Normandy). Exported from France with proper documentation.

James Terry, Athlone Herald

This document was issued by James Terry (1660-1725; also spelled Therry, Tyrry), and his signature appears twice at the end of the roll.[1] 

Terry was born in Limerick and, at the age of 27, became a second lieutenant in the army. Shortly after, he was appointed to the position of Athlone Pursuivant, an officer of arms in Ireland. His next steps were fundamentally shaped by James II’s defeat in the Williamite war in Ireland in 1691. Along with other Jacobites, Terry fled from Ireland to France in an exodus known as ‘the Flight of the Wild Geese’. Terry went to St-Germain-en-Laye near Paris, where James II was residing in a Chateau put at his disposal by his cousin Louis XIV. There James II held court and maintained a College of Arms, with Terry as principal herald. With the exiled King’s authority, Terry ‘issued certificates of nobility, letters-patent granting coats-of-arms and he recorded and certified pedigrees’, and ‘acted as a king-of-arms for all the Jacobites, Irish, English, and Scots’.[2] 

Terry had taken his seal of Office with him from Ireland, along with some records. Remarkably, he came into possession of the Book of Lecan (Leabhar Mór Leacain), an important late medieval Irish manuscript containing genealogical information. The Book of Lecan had been removed from Trinity College Dublin during the Williamite War in Ireland, and was subsequently purchased by Terry (it is presently in the Royal Irish Academy). A printed catalogue of Terry's books published posthumously in 1730 confirms that he had an extensive library, including what appears to be a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle. 

While in France, Terry had numerous international correspondents including his brother Patrick (a captain in the Gardes Wallonnes of King Philip V of Spain) and his brother William (a merchant of Cadiz and London). 

Terry’s papers were dispersed after his death and went to locations including the British Library, the Archives Nationales de France, and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. We note especially four genealogical documents in the BNF which pertain to the name Campain/Campion and may be relevant to our roll (see bibliography for explanatory note).

 Questions of Genealogy in the Exiled Court

In St-Germain-en-Laye, Terry faced the difficult task of distinguishing families with genuine claims to nobility from their namesakes who saw the chaos as an opportunity to elevate their social status. He had to grapple not only with Catholics fleeing to France, but also with French families looking to prove their English heritage—many of whom hoping to secure titles that could be leveraged in future should James’s fortunes improve.

As James Callow puts it, some French families were ‘taking advantage of the general confusion to advance spurious claims of kinship’ or ‘[asserting] their ownership of titles that had long fallen vacant through tenuous claims to descent from junior or long-separated branches of once-great families’.[3] It is precisely this context to which Julian Campain belongs, as Callow himself observes with reference to the following warrant mentioned in the Calendar of Stuart Papers:

James II. To James Therry, Athlone Herald.
1699, Aug. 18. St Germains.—Warrant for examining the pedigree of Julian Campain, Seigneur de St. Julian, who desires to be authorized to bear the arms of the family of Campain in England, and, if he proves to be descended from them, to grant him the arms of that family with proper distinctions. Entry Book 3, p. xcviii. [4]

Remarkably, our roll appears to be the direct material outcome of this warrant and Terry’s subsequent research into the Campain claim.

Most of the roll comprises a complex family tree, tracing Julian’s ancestry and heraldry back to the twelfth century. Thereafter follows a section of text in which Terry explains that, after diligent and painstaking examination (post diligens sedulumque examen), he is satisfied that Julian descends from an ancient and illustrious family (antiqua clarissimaqua familia oriundum esse). As such, Terry grants Julian the arms of the Campain family and the appropriate title.[5] We note especially that Julian’s arms are decorated with appropriate coronet for a Baron (i.e four large silver balls): 

Terry notes that he made the document in the 15th year of the reign of James II, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland (anno 15 regni Domini nostri Iacobii II Dei Gratia Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae et Hiber<niae>). Expressing the date in this way is an element of wish fulfilment or propaganda, as of course James was King of England, Scotland, and Ireland for only four years. By process of extrapolation, the fifteenth year of James II would have started on the 6th of February 1699 and ended on the 5th of February 1700 (New Style dates). It is unclear to us whether Terry referenced a specific day, which was in the portion of the text affected by the burn hole. In any case, it seems that Terry produced the roll within five months of the warrant issued for that exact purpose.

The Kentish Campions

Which noble English family was Julian Campain so eager to associate himself with? The genealogical situation is highly complex, but particular significance appears to be attached to Richard Campain (fl. 12th century), Julian’s earliest traceable relative and the man to whom he ultimately owes a debt for his title and coat of arms. Notably, Terry seems to suggest that Richard Campain is the common ancestor of both Julian Campain and the Campions of Goudhurst in Kent (Campainus de Gudhust in comitatu Kantii). [6] 


Originally of Campion Hall in Essex, a branch of the Campion family (not depicted on this roll) moved to Kent early in the reign of Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603). Specifically, William Campion (d. 1615) ‘moved up into the landed gentry by acquiring an estate at Combwell near Goudhurst in Kent, owned before the Dissolution by Augustinian monks.’[7] He is commemorated by an elaborate memorial in St Mary’s Church, Goudhurst along with his first wife Rachel (née Duffield, d. 1606). Notably, the coat of arms used by the Kentish Campions is not identical with the arms to which the French Campains were laying claim.

Direct descendants of William Campion (d. 1615) include Sir William Campion, who fought in the English Civil War and whose armour is (or perhaps was?) preserved at Danny House, Sussex; William Campion (d. 1702), an MP, commemorated by a bust at St Mary’s Church, Goudhurst; and Henry Campion (d. 1761), also an MP, who came into possession of the aforementioned Danny House. For our purposes, it is striking that the family came to have strong Jacobite associations: 

After 1715 Campion [i.e. Henry, d. 1761] was an active Jacobite, acting as a messenger and helping to organize the intended rising in the West in 1715. Although never arrested, he spent much of the next few years abroad, returning to England by 1720 and continuing to correspond with the Jacobite court. [8]

This is tantalizing; one wonders if Henry Campion ever crossed paths with — or indeed knew — Julian Campain, apparently a distant relative who emphasized his noble English roots to the Jacobite court.

Were these men actually related? We have compared the family trees of the Kentish Campions and French Campains between approximately 1550 and 1700, and they do not intersect. Of course, Terry seems to imply that their common ancestry has much older roots. Further investigation could be undertaken by comparing the earlier Campain names listed on our roll to Campion Pedigree from 1907.  The latter document, which we have not seen, tracks the ‘remoter ancestors’ of Henry Campion (d. 1761) ‘to Campion Hall in Essex, and then further back by three ‘royal descents’ to King Edward III, and also for good measure to “cadets of the Counts of Champaigne”’.[9] Even if it ultimately emerges that the French Campains and Kentish Campions are not related, this in itself would shed fascinating light on the image of Englishness that a French family were trying to project in James II’s exiled court.

In the context of an English Catholic court, the name Campion also cannot help but recall Edmund Campion (1540-1581), an English Jesuit priest and martyr who was eventually canonised in the 20th century. We are not aware of a direct connection between the famous martyr and the Kentish Campions or indeed the French Campains. Nonetheless, it is easy to imagine how the name Campion/Campain would have had positive associations for the exiled Catholic court. 

The French Campains

Where the Kentish Campions favoured the Christian names Henry and William, the French Campains favoured Julian. Indeed, ‘our’ Julian Campain shares his name with multiple direct ancestors.

Julian’s ancestors appear to have remained in England until the late fifteenth century, marrying into families including the following: Codde, Cradock, Duke, Eames, Moyle, Powell, and Turner.

The family migrated to France in around 1480 when John (or rather Jean) Campain moved to Coutances, Normandy and married Catharine Lecarpantiere.

After this point, Julian’s ancestors continued to marry into French families, such as Le Tournel and Vallee. Given that Julian’s great-great grandfather moved to Coutances in Normandy, this may help to narrow down the location of the 'St Julian' with which Julian Campain is associated in both the 1699 warrant and this roll. In present-day Normandy, we note the following place names: Saint-Julien-sur-Calonne,  Saint-Julien-le-Faucon, and Saint-Julien-de-Mailloc. 

A rare survival

The closest parallel we have been able to locate for our document is a roll presently in the National Library of Ireland, which was included in their Treasures catalogue of 1994 (cat. no. 96). The NLI roll concerns the genealogy of Daniel O’Donnell (Domhnall Ó Domhnaill) of Ramelton in County Donegal and was issued by James Terry at Saint-Germain-en-Laye on the 5th of April 1709.

It was therefore produced nearly a decade later than our roll, by which point James II had died and the focus of the Jacobite court became his son, the ‘Old Pretender’, James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766). The NLI roll concerns the descent of an Irishman rather than a Frenchman, and is a confirmation of arms rather than a grant of arms. Nonetheless, there are some striking similarities between the two rolls, especially the thin gold border on the left- and right-hand sides of the parchment.

Closing remarks

Overall, this sumptuous roll projects an image of confidence—in both the Jacobite cause and the lineage of Julian Campain. It raises fascinating questions about national identity in a climate of socio-political upheaval, and offers a rare insight into the material culture of the exiled court of James II. However, perhaps the most interesting story it has to tell relates to a different James—James Terry, the herald who fled Ireland, served as king-of-arms for the Jacobites, and once owned the famous Book of Lecan and probably a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle.

A working transcription for the text at the end of the roll is available on request.


[1] This section on James Terry is informed by Lart 1938, MacBrádaigh 2004, and Marquis MacSwiney of Mashanaglass 1928/1929. 

[2] MacBrádaigh 2004, p. 22.

[3] Callow 2017, p. 269.

[4] Calendar of Stuart Papers 1902, p. 140, which we suspect relates to The National Archives SP 44/167. 

[5] We note the reference to 'leo exurgens, ex Baroneti corona' in the description of the coat of arms on the roll. We suspect this might be an error, as the coat of arms uses the conventions for a Baron (not a Baronet). 

[6] This section on the Kentish Campions is informed by Brent and Brent 2013, Comber 1933, Hasted 1790, H. G. O 1981, Watson and Wynne, 'CAMPION, Henry...', 2002, Watson and Wynne, 'CAMPION, William...', 2002, and Zell 2000.

[7] Brent and Brent 2013, p. 47.

[8] Watson and Wynne, 'CAMPION, Henry...', 2002.

[9] Brent and Brent 2013, p. 47.



Primary Sources

Outside France, we note the following relevant items, which we have not consulted:

  • Brighton, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office DAN 6 [Pedigree for the Kentish Campions, 1907]
  • Dublin, National Library of Ireland [shelfmark unknown to us] [Confirmation of arms of Daniel O’Donnell issued by James Terry, 1709]
  • Dublin, Royal Irish Academy MS 23 P 2 [The Book of Lacan (14th/15th century); formerly owned by James Terry]
  • London, The National Archives SP 44/167 (?) [Warrant for James Terry to investigate Julian Campain’s genealogy, 1699]
  • Maidstone, Kent History and Library Centre U814/P2 [Early modern estate map for the Kentish Campions; reproduced on the cover of Zell 2000]

In France, we note the following: 

  • BNF Anglais 111-113 (Correspondance de Jacques Tyrry, héraut d'armes, généalogiste et garde armorial de Sa Majesté britannique, à Paris; XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles). Not consulted by us.
  • BNF Clairambault 502 (Recueil de pièces, en majeure partie imprimées [discours, factums, catalogues de ventes, pièces de vers, etc.], de 1700 à 1731; XVIIIe siècle); this appears to refer to an annotated copy of Catalogue des livres de feu M. Jacques Terry Athlone, roy d'armes et généalogiste d'Angleterre (Impr. Paris, Rondet, 1730). Available online via Gallica.
  • BNF Français 32964-32965 (Papiers généalogiques de James TYRRY., généalogiste des rois d'Angleterre, Jacques II et Jacques III, à St-Germain-en-Laye; XVIIIe siècle). Not consulted by us.

MacBrádaigh 2004 (p. 22) surveys the complex dispersal of Terry’s papers, noting that some went to Charles d’Hozier (1640-1732), juge d’armes de France, and eventually to the Archives Nationales de France. MacBrádaigh also suggests a connection between Terry and ‘le dossier bleu’ in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. We note the following genealogical documents in the BNF which relate to the name Campion / Campain and have shelfmarks including either ‘dossier bleus’ or ‘Hozier’: 

Secondary Literature

Brent, Colin and Judith Brent, Danny House: A Sussex Mansion through Seven Centuries (Andover, Phillimore & Co, 2013). Last accessed by us 30 March 2024 via

Callow, John, King in Exile: James II: Warrior, King and Saint, second edn (Cheltenham, The History Press, 2017).

Comber, John, Sussex Genealogies. Lewes Centre (Cambridge, W. Heffer & Sons, 1933).

Corp, Edward, A Court in Exile: The Stuarts in France, 1689-1718 (Cambridge, CUP, 2004).

Hasted, Edward, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent … Volume III (Canterbury, Printed for the author by Simmons and Kirkby, 1790).

Historical Manuscripts Commission, Calendar of the Stuart Papers belonging to his majesty the King, preserved at Windsor Castle, Volume 1 (London, printed for his majesty’s stationery office by Mackie & Co, 1902).

H. G. O, ‘CAMPION, William (1549-1615), of London; later of Goudhurst, Kent', History of Parliament Online, originally published in P. W. Hasler (ed.), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603 (London, published for the History of Parliament Trust, 1981). Last accessed by us 30 March 2024 via

Kissane, Noel (ed.), Treasures from the National Library of Ireland ([Drogheda], Boyne Valley Honey Company, 1994).

Lart, Charles E., The pedigrees and papers of James Terry, Athlone Herald, at the Court of James II in France (1690-1725) (Exeter, William Pollard & Co., 1938).

MacBrádaigh, Seán, ‘James Terry's Legacy’, Journal of the Genealogical Society of Ireland 5:1 (2004): 22–25.

Marquis MacSwiney of Mashanaglass, ‘Notes on the History of the Book of Lecan’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 38 (1928/1929), pp. 31-50. 

Massue de Ruvigny, Melville, The Jacobite Peerage: Baronetage, Knightage, and Grants of Honour compiled and annotated by Melville Henry Massue Marquis de Ruvigny & Raineval [1868-1921], a facsimile of the original edition of 1904 with an added introduction by Roger Ararat (London and Edinburgh, Charles Skilton, 1974).

Watson, Paula and Sonya Wynne, ‘CAMPION, Henry (c.1680-1761), of Combwell, Goudhurst, Kent’, History of Parliament Online, originally published in David Hayton, Eveline Cruickshanks, and Stuart Handley (eds.), The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1690-1715 (Cambridge, CUP, 2002). Last accessed by us 30 March 2024 via

Watson, Paula and Sonya Wynne, ‘CAMPION, William (1640-1702), of Combwell, Goudhurst, Kent’, History of Parliament Online, originally published in David Hayton, Eveline Cruickshanks, and Stuart Handley (eds.), The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1690-1715 (Cambridge, CUP, 2002). Last accessed by us 30 March 2024 via

Zell, Michael (ed.), Early Modern Kent 1540-1640 (Woodbridge, Boydell, 2000).

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