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His Historia Major.
The Historia Major of Matthew Paris,-of the latter part of which his Historia Anglorum (or Historia Minor) is chiefly an abridgment, though containing some additional facts,-extends from the Creation to the year 1259.' The much controverted question, as to the relative claims of Matthew and Roger of Wendover to be considered the original author, has been finally set at rest by the valuable Prefaces of Mr. Luard to his edition of the larger work. He concludes that the Historia Major up to the year 1189 was the work of John de Cella, abbat of St. Alban's during the years 1195 to 1214; that it was then continued by ROGER OF WENDOVER on the same plan and from the same sources to the year 1235, the whole work up to this date subsequently passing, for a long time, as the production of the latter writer exclusively, and being known as the Flores Historiarum; that it was then transcribed by Matthew Paris, who, however, made numerous corrections and additions, but, in the opinion of professor Stubbs, 'interpreted ' rather than 'interpolated;' that it was then continued by the same writer, and is, from 1235 to the year 1259, exclusively his work. In style, in vividness of narration, and in descriptive power, Matthew greatly surpasses his two predecessors. He has also received the praise, very generally, of being a warm advocate of English rights and liberties, and a sturdy opponent alike of regal and
Matthæi Parisiensis Monachi Sancti Albani, Chronica Majora. Edited by H. R. Luard. R. S. 1872–80. [Vol. i., the Creation to A.D. 1066; vol. ii. A.D. 1066–1216; vol. iii. 1217-1239; vol. iv. 1240-1247; vol. v. 1248-1259]. Matthæi Parisiensis Historia Anglorum, sive, ut vulgo dicitur, Historia Minor. A.D. 1067-1253. Edited by Sir Frederic Madden. 3 vols. R. S. 1866-69. [The Chronica Majora are often designated the Historia Major.]
2 This work has also been edited by Mr. H. O. Coxe for the English Historical Society. He considers that for the period A.D. 1200-1235 Wendover may be looked upon as an original writer, and that here his character as an historian is unimpeachable.
papal tyranny: in fact, the national sentiment may be said first to receive adequate expression in his pages. His History, moreover, is not only the best source of information with respect to events in England, but is also an authority as regards continental affairs, especially those of France and the Empire.
1 Willelmi Rishanger Chronica et Annales, forming vol. iii. of the Chronica Monasterii S. Albani. Edited by Mr. Riley. R. S.
The Chronica of WILLIAM RISHANGER,' also a monk William Rishanger. of St. Alban's, was formerly known as his continuation of Matthew Paris. It embraces the period A.D. 12591306, and is in many respects identical with the Annales of NICHOLAS TRIVET, a history of the Angevin dynasty Nicholas in England, both authors having evidently drawn to a great extent from the same sources. Trivet was a Dominican friar who had been educated at Oxford and at Paris, at which latter university he collected many of his materials for his history. He assigns as his motive for undertaking the work, the comparative neglect with which, after the death of John, historical writers had treated English affairs. For the reign of Edward I., Trivet's Annals are a contemporary record. The work is one of high merit, whether regarded as a literary production or simply as a clear and accurate narrative of events.
For the reign of John, besides the Historia Major, we Walter de have a very valuable contribution in the Memoriale of Coventry. WALTER DE COVENTRY, a compilation made in one of the fen monasteries, probably Crowland or Peterborough.
2 Annales sex Regum Angliae qui a comitibus Andegavensibus originem traxerunt. Edited by Mr. Hog. E. H. S. 1845. It is to be noted that Trivet makes up the number 'six' by including Geoffrey of Anjou, the husband of Matilda, and the original wearer of the planta genista. He speaks of Henry II. as 'primus eorum regum qui a comitibus Andegavensibus duxerunt originem secundum lineam masculinam' (p. 31).
Mr. Gairdner (Early Chronicles, p. 265) seems, however, to have clearly established the conclusion that Rishanger's work is borrowed, for the above period, almost entirely from that of Trivet.
For the reign of Henry III., down to the commencement of the Barons' War, Matthew Paris is the main The Mon- authority; but at this period the Annales of the different monasteries come in and often supply trustworthy subsidiary information. The principal of these Annales are those
(i.) of the monastery of Burton-upon-Trent,' in StafAnnals of fordshire, beginning in the year 1004 and ending with the year 1263. From 1189 to 1201, they supply little more than a series of extracts from Hoveden, but after the year 1211 they acquire a special value from the importance of the incorporated documents, especially those relating to the Provisions of Oxford.
(ii) of the monastery of Winchester 2 (A.D. 519 to Annals of 1277), probably the work of Richard of Devizes. These are important for the last ten years, as they supply us with a very full account of the period immediately following upon the battle of Evesham.
(iii) of Waverley,3 near Farnham in Surrey, the earliest Cistercian house in England. These treat of the whole Christian era up to the year 1291. The history of John's reign is given at considerable length, and from the year 1219 to 1266 the manuscript was written contemporaneously with successive events, and consequently furnishes one of the most authoritative records of the period. From 1266 to 1275 it is identical with the Winchester Annals.
(iv.) of Dunstable, comprising the whole Christian era The Annal down to the year 1297. Very few contemporary chroniclers,' says Mr. Luard, throw so much light on the general history of the country, and, what would scarcely be expected, on foreign affairs as well as those of England. Many historical facts' (enumerated by the editor
In vol. i. of Mr. Luard's Annales Monastici.
R. S. 1864-9.
Ibid. vol. iii.
in his Preface, pp. xv-xix.) ' are known solely from this chronicle.' The compiler is on the barons' side in his account of the Barons' War.
(v.) of Osney near Oxford' (A.D. 1016-1347). This The Annals of is supposed to have been the work of Thomas Wykes, Osney. with whose Chronicon (A.D. 1066-1289) it has much in common. Both the Chronicon and the Annals are to a great extent compiled in the earlier parts from Ralph of Diceto and Florence of Worcester, while in the later they borrow largely from Matthew Paris and William of Newbury. The points with respect to which the two works are found to differ are enumerated by Mr. Luard in his Preface to the fourth volume of the Annales Monastici, pp. xviii-xxiii.
(vi.) of Worcester, comprising the whole Christian The Annals of era to A.D. 1377. In their general character these Annals Worcester. much resemble those of Dunstable, though hardly of equal excellence.
1 Luard's Annales Monastici, vol. iv.
In vol. iv. of the Chronica Monast. S. Albani.
In the series edited by Hearne.
For the reign of Edward II. we have
(i.) the Annales of JOHN of TROKELOWE (A.D. 1307- John of 1323), a monk of Tynemouth, who had been transferred from that monastery to St. Alban's, where he composed his work. He had been an eye-witness of many of the events which he describes, and these portions of his narrative are consequently of value.
(ii.) A Life of Edward by an unknown writer, who, Monk of from the fact that the only existing MS. came from bury. Malmesbury, is supposed to have been a member of that monastery. This, as regards both style and authority, ranks higher than the compilation of Trokelowe. Pauli considers that the narrative is certainly contemporary with the year 1327.
2 Ibid. vol. iv.
(iii.) A Life by THOMAS DE LA MOOR,' who evinces considerable sympathy with Edward. He indulges, Thomas de however, in frequent exaggeration, and his statements do not appear to rest, in any case, on a personal knowledge of the facts.
(iv.) The Chronicon of ADAM OF MURIMUTH,2 a diplomatist who had received his education at Oxford. This work is of importance both for the reign of Edward II., and for the earlier period of that of his son, the narrative terminating with an account of the battle of Crecy, and the victory of the earl of Derby.
Another Chronicle, of especial importance for the reigns of the first three Edwards, is that of Walter de Gisseburn, better known as WALTER HEMINGFORD.3 This extends in the first instance, from A.D. 1066 to 1297; it was subsequently continued (but whether by Hemingford himself or by another hand is a matter of some doubt) and carried on to the year 1346, terminating somewhat abruptly on the eve of the battle of Crecy. Of this continuation, the part of the narrative relating to the last five years of the reign of Edward II. is altogether wanting. The early part is derived mainly from the Durham compilers, and from William of Newbury, but with the thirteenth century, the narrative assumes an independent value. The editor, Mr. Hans Hamilton, describes it as 'one of the most favourable specimens of our early chronicles, both as regards the selection of events
In Camden's Anglica-Norm. Hibern. Cambr. pub. 1603.
2 Adami Murimuthensis Chronica sui Temporis, nunc primum per decem annos aucta (1303–1346) cum eorundem Continuatione ad A.D. 1380 a quodam Anonymo. Edited by Mr. T. Hog. E. H. S. 1846.
3 Chronicon Walteri de Hemingburgh. Edited by H. C. Hamilton. 2 vols. E. H. S. 1848. It is from this writer that Hume mainly derived his account of Edward I. Both Hume's and Hallam's estimate of this monarch are, however, superseded by that given in Stubbs's Const. Hist. c. xiv.
See Hardy, D. C. iii. 255.