Arms of England from BL Royal 15 E IV, f. 14
Detail from the full border of the royal arms of England encircled by the Garter and supported by two white lions. Image taken from f. 14 of Anciennes et nouvelles chroniques d'Angleterre, volume 1. Written in French.
The BL Royal Manuscript Collection, also known as the Royal Collection, consists of over 2,000 manuscripts that were once owned by the British monarchs, including English and later British kings and queens from the late 12th to the 19th centuries. These manuscripts are notable for their historical and artistic value.
The collection was initially stored in various royal libraries and palaces, such as the Tower of London and Westminster Palace. During the English Civil War in the 17th century and the subsequent Interregnum, many royal treasures, including manuscripts, were dispersed and sold. Some manuscripts were lost, destroyed, or ended up in private hands.
In 1757, King George II donated the Old Royal Library to the British Museum (which later became the British Library), where the manuscripts were integrated into the museum's collections. This marked the formal establishment of the Royal Manuscript Collection within the British Museum.
Jehan de Waurin (Born near 1398, died near 1474) was illegitimate son of Robert de Waurin, Lord of Wavrin. He was a Burgundian soldier, politician, chronicler and a bibliophile. He put together the first complete history of England. Jehan compiled the Recueil des croniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne ("Account of the chronicles and old histories of Great Britain"), a collection of the sources of English history. Written in French, it extends from 688 to 1471, and a period of the Wars of the Roses. Only England events are covered, with an addition of French and Burgundian events. Wavrin was legitimated in 1437 by Philip the Good and knighted five years later. He fought for the Burgundians at the battle of Verneuil and elsewhere, and then occupying a high position at the court of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, was sent as ambassador to Rome in 1463. His first documented visit to England was in 1467, long after he produced the first version of his work.