Herendeen divides Camden's life into three sections: his education, including four years at Oxford, which he left apparently dissatisfied, and without a degree, but having won the admiration of contemporaries including Richard Hakluyt and Henry Savile; the remainder of his achievements in the reign of Elizabeth, when he taught at Westminster School (becoming headmaster in 1593), published the first five editions of the Britannia, and was elected Clarenceux
King of Arms in 1597; and his work under James I, including the Annales, and his establishment of the first chair of civil history at Oxford.
Camden's authority in heraldry of which the 1594 Britannia provided convincing evidence, together with his association with the advocates of armorial reform (Fulke Greville, Sir Edward Hoby, and Baron Burghley as well as the queen) made him a logical choice, over Ralph Brooke, for elevation to Clarenceux King of Arms in October 1597.
Brooke was incensed by the fact that Camden, an outsider, having displayed extraordinary qualifications as a historian of privilege, won appointment as Clarenceux, to which Brooke himself aspired.
Was he already cultivating the connections that eventually led to his elevation to Richmond Herald and then Clarenceux King of Arms?
On the face of it, Camden's coronation as Clarenceux seems, therefore, altogether likely.
19] The granting of the commission for visitations in 1530 provoked a jurisdictional dispute between Clarenceux Benolt and Garter Wriothesley, and later decades were marked by disputes and backbiting among the heralds as well as conflicts over the College's records.
24] Lord Burghley, as chief commissioner, sought reform by attempting to consolidate the offices of Garter and Clarenceux but was prevented by their charters, which had parliamentary confirmation.
What Sir Anthony Wagner called the great pedigree craze was well advanced by the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, and it crested during Camden's tenure as Clarenceux.
If Gough is correct in his analysis of Brooke's timing, then the Discouerie, containing charges based on a reading of the 1594 Britannia soon after publication, appeared in print some two years after Camden's elevation to Clarenceux, which took place in October of 1597.
42] Brooke was challenging Camden's right to hold the office of Clarenceux, to which Brooke also aspired, and attempting to bring his career in the College of Arms to an end.