Richard Baker. A chronicle of the kings of England from the time of the Romans government unto the raigne of our soveraigne Lord King Charles…. London: Printed for Daniel Frere, 1643.
Rounding out this exhibition is three of the earliest histories on England and its monarchs. The earliest is this Chronicle by Sir Richard Baker (ca. 1568–1645), which was written in the mid-1630s while Baker was serving a prison sentence for debt contracted by his wife’s family. Baker’s Chronicle was first published in 1643 and is considered his principal work. According to the Dictionary of National Biography, the Chronicle’s ‘narrative is lively, often but not excessively anecdotal, and [Baker] took notice of what would later be called literary, social, and even economic affairs’.
Baker’s Chronicle was extremely popular. The last edition of the work, extended to the end of the reign of George I, appeared in 1730 and was reprinted in 1733, ninety years after its first appearance in print. Though the Chronicle was not without its later critic and had developed an ‘old-fashioned air before the middle of the eighteenth century’, the work was referred to by James Boswell as late as 1785 in the epigraph of his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides.