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The three chief authorities for the reign of Henry II. are WILLIAM OF NEWBURY,2 the Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi, commonly ascribed to Benedict of Peterborough, and ROGER HOVEDEN. The Historia Rerum Anglicarum of the first-named writer is in five books, extending from the year 1066 to 1198. William's style is clear and sober, and his appreciation of the comparative value of facts is sound. His account of the disputes between the king and Beket is singularly free from prejudice. His characters are drawn with much fidelity and discrimination, and he has preserved many interesting The Gesta anecdotes relating to distinguished persons. The work ascribed to Benedict of Peterborough is of no less merit and is characterised by professor Stubbs as 'indisputably the most important chronicle of the time.' He has, however, clearly shewn that Benedict was certainly not the author, and he inclines to the belief that it was the production of Richard Fitz-Neal, the treasurer of Henry II., and author of the celebrated treatise known as the
editor, 'show that it is very frequently, if not always, contemporaneous.' It became, in turn, the source from whence not a few other monastic chronicles, and especially that known as the Chronica de Lanercost,' incorporated some of their most interesting facts. The last-named work is a well-known and amusing record, chiefly of events in Border history; its name, however, would seem to be a misnomer, the internal evidence leading us rather to conclude that it was the composition of a member of the Franciscan community in Carlisle.
Historia de Gestis Regum Britannorum et Anglorum a Cassibellano ad annum 20 Edw. 3 (1346) per quendam Canonicum de Lanercost in comitatu Cumbria. Edited by J. Stevenson. 2 vols. Bann. C. 1839.
? Edited for E. H. S. by Mr. Hans Hamilton. 2 vols. 1856.
• See his preface to his edition of this author (R. S. 1867) pp. lii, liii. ; and Hardy, D. C. ii. 254.
Dialogus de Scaccario. The greater part of the Gesta was reproduced by ROGER HOVEDEN in his Chronica, a series of annals extending from A.D. 732 to 1201. Of Roger this series, the portion from the commencement to the d. circ. year 1169 appears to be mainly a compilation, though one of considerable value. The portion which corresponds with the Gesta is that included between the years 1170 and 1192, and the internal evidence serves to shew that the two writers had access to the same materials, but treated them in a somewhat different fashion. From 1192 to 1201 the Chronica may be regarded as wholly Hoveden's work, and constitute an authority for that period of the highest importance. It is in Hoveden,' says professor Stubbs, 'that we have the full harvest of the labours of the Northumbrian historians. . . . Studied as the primary authority on the history of a reign of primary importance, this work affords material for discussion of the most interesting kind on an immense variety of points, constitutional and political.'
The Imagines Historiarum of RALPH OF DICETO2 Ralph of are also of considerable value for the reigns of Henry II. d. circ. and Richard, the position occupied by the writer for 1203. more than fifty years as archdeacon of Middlesex and dean of St. Paul's having given him access to the best information. 'Well illustrated,' says the same authority, 'as the reigns of Henry II. and Richard are, without Ralph de Diceto one side of their character would be Edited by
1 Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Hovedene. William Stubbs. R. S. 1868–71.
2 Radulfi de Diceto Decani Londoniensis Opera Historica. Edited by William Stubbs. 2 vols. R. S. 1876. This includes also the Abbreviationes Chronicorum by the same writer, a work of comparatively slight value. As regards the use of the term 'Chronicle' by writers in these times, the observation of Professor Stubbs is to be noted: 'Chronicles were, as Ralph de Diceto had read in Cassiodorus, Imagines Historiarum, -the outlines of histories.' Pref. to Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi, p. xi.
Gervase of Canterbury.
Other materials for reign of Richard I.
imperfectly known, and some of the crises of their politics would be almost incomprehensible.' A Chronicle of the earlier years of the reign of Richard, viz., A.D. 1189-1192, by RICHARD OF DEVIZES,' adds somewhat to the information supplied in the Gesta attributed to Benedict of Peterborough.
The History of the monastery at Peterborough, by HUGO CANDIDUS,2 carries the narrative down to the year 1175, and includes notices of neighbouring monasteries founded by bishop Ethelwold. Hugh appears to have used and amplified the Peterborough version of the Saxon Chronicle in connexion with which his work possesses its chief interest, being otherwise almost entirely destitute of information of a general character.
About the year 1189, GERVASE,3 a monk of Canterbury, began to put together a compilation from the chief historians of the century,-Henry of Huntingdon, the continuator of Florence of Worcester, and the author of the Gesta Regis Henrici Secundi,-commencing with the reign of Stephen and continuing the work to the death of Richard I. Gervase appears to have been inspired throughout by a spirit of hostility to the house of Anjou, and his labours, though not without value, do not entitle him to take rank with the best authorities for the period.
Two other volumes in the Rolls Series will be found useful for the reign of Richard I. Of these, the one
1 Chronicon Ricardi Divisiensis de Rebus gestis Ricardi Primi. Edited by J. Stevenson. E. H. S. 1838.
2 Hugonis Candidi Coenobii Burgensis Historia. Printed in Sparke (see supra, p. 217), who also gives an abridged translation of Hugh's work into Anglo-Norman verse.
The Chronicle of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II., and Richard I., by Gervase, the Monk of Canterbury. Edited by William Stubbs. 2 vols. R. S. 1879-81.
• Chronicles and Memorials of the Reign of Richard the First. Vol. i.: Itinerarium Peregrinorum, et Gesta Regis Ricardi, Vol. ii. : Epistolae Cantuarienses. Edited by William Stubbs. R. S. 1864-5.
furnishes a minute and authentic narrative of that monarch's career, from his departure from England in December, 1189, as the leading spirit of the third Crusade, to his death; the other, consisting of letters written by the prior and convent of Christchurch, Canterbury, between the years 1187 and 1189, supplies a good illustration of the relations between the monastic orders and the secular clergy, an important feature in the history of these times.
GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS,' a Welsh ecclesiastic, who Giraldus wrote in the latter part of the twelfth century, was a brensis. man of great shrewdness of observation and considerable b. 1147. powers of satirical humour. His Gemma Ecclesiastica and Speculum Ecclesiae, together with the poem of WALTER Walter MAP, de Nugis Curialium, and the de Nugis Curialium Map. et Vestigiis Philosophorum of JOHN OF SALISBURY,2 pre- John of Salisbury. sent us with a remarkable, although in some respects exaggerated, picture of ecclesiastical and court life at this period. The Letters of the last-named writer are not less valuable and full of interest.
The Works of Giraldus Cambrensis. Vols. i--iv. Edited by J. S. Brewer, M.A. Vols. v-vii. Edited by James F. Dimock, M.A. R. S. 1861-77.
2 For the works of John of Salisbury, see Migne, P. L. cxcix.
The most important of the works of Giraldus are, The Topohowever, his Topographia Hiberniae and his Expugnatio graphia Hiberniae, the former being the result of his visit to pugnatio Ireland, as secretary to prince John, in 1185, and con- of Giraldus. taining a description of the natural history, the miracles, and inhabitants of the country; the latter giving an account of the Conquest of Ireland under Henry II. Both these works are of exceptional merit; and the Expugnatio is characterised by Brewer as 'a noble specimen of historical narration, of which the author's age furnished very rare examples.'
Poem on the Conquest of Ireland.
Works relating to
the Early History of
Besides Giraldus, we possess, for the Conquest of Ireland, a poem in Norman French verse,' which, though faulty in style and very corrupt in its language, contains an interesting account of the whole expedition. It is the composition of an unknown author who derived his information from Morice Regan, interpreter to Dermod MacMurrough, king of Leinster. Few events,' observes Mr. Wright in his Preface, 'have had the good fortune to be recorded by two contemporaries so well fitted for the task as Giraldus and Maurice Regan-one closely related to the heroes (for heroes we may truly call them) who performed the enterprise; the other, an immediate agent of the native chieftain in whose aid it was performed.'
Early Irish History.-In connexion with yet earlier Irish history, a subject which may advantageously be taken up at this period, almost the only printed source of authentic information is the fragmentary records known as the Annals of Ireland,2 which, along with much that is fabulous and legendary, supply a disjointed narrative of the achievements of the princes of Ossory and Leix, together with those of their kinsman, the Ui Neill. Of the manuscript sources a minute criticism will be found in MR. EUGENE O'CURRY'S Lectures.3 In speaking of modern writers on the early period, this critic goes so far as to affirm that no one event of early Irish history is accurately given in Moore.' The History of Erina, by DR. Keating, a work of the seventeenth century composed among the woods
1 Anglo-Norman Poem on the Conquest of Ireland by Henry the Second. Edited by Francisque Michel. With an Introductory Essay on the History of the Anglo-Norman Conquest of Ireland, by Thomas Wright. 1837.
* Annals of Ireland: Three Fragments copied from ancient Sources by Dubhaltach Mac Fribisigh, and edited with a Translation and Notes. By John O'Donovan. Dublin, 1860.
Lectures on the MS. Materials of Ancient British History, delivered at the Catholic University of Ireland, during the Session of 1855 and 1856. By Eugene O'Curry. Dublin, 1861.