Charles, Nicholas (DNB00)

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CHARLES or CARLES, NICHOLAS (d. 1613), herald, is stated by Noble to have been son of a London butcher named George Carles, and grandson of Richard Carles of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. William Careless or Carlos [q. v.] is believed to have belonged to the same family. The herald’s name is spelt in a variety of ways, but Charles is the commonest form. At an early age Charles appears to have entered the College of Arms as Blanch-Lion pursuivant. His skill and industry attracted the attention of his superiors, and on 21 April 1609 he was created Lancaster herald in the place of Francis Thynne. In 1611 he accompanied Sir Richard St. George, Norroy king of arms, in his visitation of Derbyshire, and on 22 July 1613 William Camden (Clarenceux king) nominated him his deputy for the visitation of Huntingdonshire. Charles had barely completed this task when he died on 19 Nov. following. He married Penelope, daughter of Sir William Segar, Garter king of arms, who survived him and became the wife of Timothy Cartwright of Washbourn, Gloucestershire.

Charles was intimate with the antiquaries of his day. He was the friend of Camden and Sir Robert Cotton. Milles commends him in his 'Titles of Honour,' and Howes, the continuer of Stow's 'Chronicle,' acknowledges his assistance. Camden is said to have purchased Charles's valuable manuscript collections after his death for 90l. A portion of these collections is now at the College of Arms, but the greater part is in the British Museum. Among the more important volumes is a collection of epitaphs in the churches of London and elsewhere, with drawings of monuments and arms (Lansd. MS. 874), and an historical catalogue of the officers of the College of Arms (Harl. MS. 5880). Gough states that Le Neve possessed a manuscript visitation of Staffordshire by Charles, and Sir John Cullum a visitation of Suffolk; but of these documents nothing is now known. Several of Charles's letters are among the Cottonian MSS.

Charles's Huntingdonshire visitation is extant in three copies. One, marked 'C. 3 Huntingdon 1613,' at the College of Arms, has been printed for the Camden Society by Sir Henry Ellis (1849). The other two are at the British Museum (Harl. MSS. 1075, 1179).

[Sir Henry Ellis's Preface to Charles's Visitation (Camd. Soc 1849); Noble's Hist. College of Arms, pp. 214-15, 220; Gough's British Topography, ii. 230; Catt. of Harleian MSS., Lansdowne MSS., and Cottonian MSS. at the Brit. Mus.]

S. L. L.