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THE CHRONICLES AND MEMORIALS OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND DURING THE MIDDLE AGES.
[Royal 8vo., half-bound. Price 10s. each Volume or Part.]
On 25 July 1822, the House of Commons presented an address to the Crown, stating that the editions of the works of our ancient historians were inconvenient and defective; that many of their writings still remained in manuscript, and, in some cases, in a single copy only. They added, “that an “ uniform and convenient edition of the whole, published under His Majesty's “royal sanction, would be an undertaking honourable to His Majesty's reign, “ and conducive to the advancement of historical and constitutional know“ ledge; that the House therefore humbly besought His Majesty, that He “would be graciously pleased to give such directions as His Majesty, in His “ wisdom, might think fit, for the publication of a complete edition of the “ ancient historians of this realm, and assured His Majesty that whatever “ expense might be necessary for this purpose would be made good.”
The Master of the Rolls, being very desirous that effect should be given to the resolution of the House of Commons, submitted to Her Majesty's Treasury in 1857 a plan for the publication of the ancient chronicles and memorials of the United Kingdom, and it was adopted accordingly. In selecting these works, it was considered right, in the first instance, to give preference to those of which the manuscripts were unique, or the materials of which would help to fill up blanks in English history for which no satisfactory and authentic information hitherto existed in any accessible form. One great object the Master of the Rolls had in view was to form a corpus historicum within reasonable limits, and which should be as complete as possible. In a subject of so vast a range, it was important that the historical student should be able to select such volumes as conformed with his own peculiar tastes and studies, and not be put to the expense of purchasing the whole collection ; an inconvenience inseparable from any other plan than that which has been in this instance adopted.
Of the Chronicles and Memorials, the following volumes have been published. They embrace the period from the earliest time of British history down to the end of the reign of Henry VII.
1. THE CHRONICLE of ENGLAND, by John CAPGRAVE. Edited by the Rev. F. C. HINGEston, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford. 1858.
Capgrave was prior of Lynn, in Norfolk, and provincial of the order of the Friars Hermits of England shortly before the year 1464. His Chronicle extends from the creation of the world to the year 1417. As a record of the language spoken in Norfolk (being written in English), it is of considerable value.
2. CHRONICON MonAstERII DE ABINGDON. Wols. I. and II. Edited by the Rev. Joseph STEVENSON, M.A., of University College, Durham, and Vicar of Leighton Buzzard. 1858.
This Chronicle traces the history of the great Benedictine monastery of Abingdon in Berkshire, from its foundation by King Ina of Wessex, to the reign of Richard I., shortly after which period the present narrative was drawn up by an inmate of the establishment. The author had access to the title-deeds of the house ; and incorporates into his history various charters of the Saxon kings, of great importance as illustrating not only the history of the locality but that of the kingdom. The work is printed for the first time.
3. LIVES OF EdwarD THE CONFESSOR. I.-La Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei. II.—Vita Beati Edvardi Regis et Confessoris. III.—Vita AEduuardi Regis qui apud Westmonásterium requiescit. Edited by HENRY RICHARDs LUARD, M.A., Fellow and Assistant Tutor of Trinity - College, Cambridge. 1858.
.* The first is a poem in Norman French, containing 4,686 lines, addressed to
- . . , Alianor, Queen of Henry III., and probably written in the year 1245, on the occasion of the restoration of the church of Westminster. Nothing is known of the author. The second is an anonymous poem, containing 536 lines, written between the years 1440 and 1450, by command of Henry VI., to whom it is dedicated. It does not throw any new light on the reign of Edward the Confessor, but is valuable as a specimen of the Latin poetry of the time. The third, also by an anonymous author, was apparently written for Queen Edith, between the years 1066 and 1074, during the pressure of the suffering brought on the Saxons by the Norman conquest. It notices many facts not found in other writers, and some which differ considerably from the usual accounts.
4. MonuxTENTA FRANCISCANA ; scilicet, I.—Thomas de Eccleston de Adventu Fratrum Minorum in Angliam. II.-Ada de Marisco Epistolae. III.—Registrum Fratrum Minorum Londoniae. Edited by J. S. BREWER, M.A., Professor of English Literature, King's College, London. 1858.
This volume contains original materials for the history of the settlement of the order of Saint Francis in England, the letters of Adam de Marisco, and other papers connected with the foundation and diffusion of this great body. It has been the aim of the editor to collect whatever historical information could be found in this country, towards illustrating a period of the national history for which only scanty materials exist. None of these have been before printed.
5, FASCICULI ZIzANIORUM MAGISTRI JoHANNIS WYCLIF cuxs TRITICo.
Ascribed to THOMAs NETTER, of WALDEN, Provincial of the Carmelite
Order in England, and Confessor to King Henry the Fifth. Edited by
- the Rev. W. W. SHIRLEY, M.A., Tutor and late Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. 1858.
* - This work derives its principal value from being the only contemporaneous
account of the rise of the Lollards. When written, the disputes of the school
men had been extended to the field of theology, and they appear both in the writings of Wycliff and in those of his adversaries. Wycliff's little bundles of tares are not less metaphysical than theological, and the conflict between Nominalists and Realists rages side by side with the conflict between the different interpreters of Scripture. The work gives a good idea of the controversies at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th centuries.
6. THE BUIK of THE CRONICLIs of Scot1...AND ; or, A Metrical Version of the History of Hector Boece ; by WILLIAM STEwART. Wols. I., II, and III. Edited by W. B. TURNBULL, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, Barristerat-Law. 1858. - - This is a metrical translation of a Latin Prose Chronicle, and was written in the first half of the 16th century. The narrative begins with the earliest legends, and ends with the death of James I. of Scotland, and the “evil ending of the traitors that slew him.” Strict accuracy of statement is not to be looked for in such a work as this ; but the stories of the colonization of Spain, Ireland, and Scotland are interesting if not true; and the chronicle is valuable as a reflection of the manners, sentiments, and character of the age in which it was composed. The peculiarities of the Scottish dialect are well illustrated in this metrical version, and the student of language will find ample materials for comparison with the English dialects of the same period, and with modern lowland Scotch.
7. JoHANNIS CAPGRAVE LIBER DE ILLUSTRIBUs HENRICIs. Edited by the Rev. F. C. HINGEstoN, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford. 1858.
This work is dedicated to Henry VI. of England, who appears to have been, in the author's estimation, the greatest of all the Henries. It is divided into three distinct parts, each having its own separate dedication. The first part relates only to the history of the Empire, and extends from the election of Henry I., the Fowler, to the end of the reign of the Emperor Henry VI. The second part is devoted to English history, and extends from the accession of Henry I. in the year 1100, to the year 1446, which was the twenty-fourth year of the reign of King Henry VI. The third part contains the lives of illustrious men who have borne the name of Henry in various parts of the world.
Capgrave was born in 1393, in the reign of Richard II., and lived during the Wars of the Roses, for the history of which period his work is of some value.
8. Historia MonAstERII S. AUGUSTINI CANTUARIENsis, by THoMAs of ELMHAM, formerly Monk and Treasurer of that Foundation. Edited by CHARLEs HARDwick, M.A., Fellow of St. Catharine's Hall, and Christian Advocate in the University of Cambridge. 1858.
This history extends from the arrival of St. Augustine in Kent until 1191, Prefixed is a chronology as far as 1418, which shows in outline what was to have been the character of the work when completed. The only copy known is in the possession of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. The author was connected with Norfolk, and most probably with Elmham, whence he derived his name.
9. EULogIUM (Historia RUM sive TEMPORIs) : Chronicon ab Orbe condito usque ad Annum Domini 1366 ; a Monacho quodam Malmesbiriensi exaratum. Vols. I., II., and III. Edited by F. S. HAYDoN, Esq., B.A. 1858–1863.
This is a Latin Chronicle extending from the Creation to the latter part of the reign of Edward III., and written by a monk of the Abbey of Malmesbury, in Wiltshire, about the year 1367. A continuation, carrying the history of England down to the year 1413, was added in the former half of the fifteenth century by an author whose name is not known. The original Chronicle is divided into five books, and contains a history of the world generally, but more especially 12
of England to the year 1366. The continuation extends the history down to the coronation of Henry V. The Eulogium itself is chiefly valuable as containing a history, by a contemporary, of the period between 1356 and 1366. The notices of events appear to have been written very soon after their occurrence. Among other interesting matter, the Chronicle contains a diary of the Poitiers campaign, evidently furnished by some person who accompanied the army of the Black Prince. The continuation of the Chronicle is also the work of a contemporary, and gives a very interesting account of the reigns of Richard II. and Henry IV. It is believed to be the earliest authority for the statement that the latter monarch died in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster.
10. MEMORIALs of HENRY THE SEVENTH : Bernardi Andreae Tholosatis Vita Regis Henrici Septimi; necnon alia quaedam ad eundem Regem spectantia. Edited by JAMEs GAIRDNER, Esq. 1858.
The contents of this volume are—(1) a life of Henry VII., by his poet laureate and historiographer, Bernard André, of Toulouse, with some compositions in verse, of which he is supposed to have been the author; (2) the journals of Roger Machado during certain embassies on which he was sent by Henry VII. to Spain and Brittany, the first of which had reference to the marriage of the King's son, Arthur, with Catharine of Arragon; (3) two curious reports by envoys sent to Spain in the year 1505 touching the succession to the Crown of Castile, and a project of marriage between Henry VII. and the Queen of Naples; and (4) an account of Philip of Castile's reception in England in 1506. Other documents of interest in connexion with the period are given in an appendix.
11. MEMORLALs of HENRY THE FIFTH. I.-Vita Henrici Quinti, Roberto Redmanno auctore. II.—Versus Rhythmici in laudem Regis Henrici Quinti. III.-Elmhami Liber Metricus de Henrico V. Edited by CHARLEs A. Cole, Esq. 1858.
This volume contains three treatises which more or less illustrate the history of the reign of Henry V., viz.: A Life by Robert Redman; a Metrical Chronicle b Thomas Elmham, prior of Lenton, a contemporary author; Versus Rhythmici, written apparently by a monk of Westminster Abbey, who was also a contemporary of Henry V. These works are printed for the first time.
12. MUNIMENTA GILDHALLAE LONDONIENSIs ; Liber Albus, Liber Custumarum, et Liber Horn, in archivis Gildhallae asservati. Vol. I., Liber Albus. Vol. II. (in Two Parts), Liber Custumarum. Vol. III., Translation of the Anglo-Norman Passages in Liber Albus, Glossaries, Appendices, and Index. Edited by HENRY THOMAS RILEY, Esq., M.A., Barrister-at-Law. 1859–1862.
The manuscript of the Liber Albus, compiled by John Carpenter, Common Clerk of the City of London in the year 1419, a large folio volume, is preserved in the Record Room of the City of London. It gives an account of the laws, regulations, and institutions of that City in the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and early part of the fifteenth centuries.
The Liber Custumarum was compiled probably by various hands in the early part of the fourteenth century during the reign of Edward II. The manuscript, a folio volume, is also preserved in the Record Room of the City of London, though some portion in its original state, borrowed from the City in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and never returned, forms part of the Cottonian MS. Claudius D.II. in the British Museum. It also gives an account of the laws, regulations, and institutions of the City of London in the twelfth, thirteenth, and early part of the fourteenth centuries.
13. CHRONICA JoHANNIS DE OxENEDEs. Edited by Sir HENRY ELLIS, K.H. 1859.
Although this Chronicle tells of the arrival of Hengist and Horsa in England in the year 449, yet it substantially begins with the reign of King Alfred, and 13
comes down to the year 1292, where it ends abruptly. The history is particularly valuable for notices of events in the eastern portions of the kingdom, which are not to be elsewhere obtained, and some curious facts are mentioned relative to the floods in that part of England, which are confirmed in the Friesland Chronicle of Anthony Heinrich, pastor of the Island of Mohr.
14. A CollectION OF POLITICAL PoEMS AND SONGS RELATING TO ENGLISH History, FROM THE Accession of Edward III. To THE REIGN of HENRY VIII. Vols. I. and II. Edited by THOMAS WRIGHT, Esq., M.A. 1859–1861.
These Poems are perhaps the most interesting of all the historical writings of the period, though they cannot be relied on for accuracy of statement. They are various in character; some are upon religious subjects, some may be called satires, and some give no more than a court scandal; but as a whole they present a very fair picture of society, and of the relations of the different classes to one another. The period comprised is in itself interesting, and brings us, through the decline of the feudal system, to the beginning of our modern history. The songs in old English are of considerable value to the philologist.
15. The “OPUs TERTIUM,” “OPUs MINUs,” &c., of Roger BAcon. Edited by J. S. BREweR, M.A., Professor of English Literature, King's College, London. 1859. This is the celebrated treatise—never before printed—so frequently referred to by the great philosopher in his works. It contains the fullest details we
possess of the life and labours of Roger Bacon ; also a fragment by the same author, supposed to be unique, the “Compendium Studii Theologiae.”
16. BARTHOLOMAEI DE Cotton, MONACHI NORWICENSIS, HISTORIA ANGLICANA ; 449–1298 : necnon ejusdem Liber de Archiepiscopis et Episcopis Angliae. Edited by HENRY RICHARDs, LUARD, M.A., Fellow and Assistant Tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge. 1859. The author, a monk of Norwich, has here given us a Chronicle of England from the arrival of the Saxons in 449 to the year 1298, in or about which year it appears that he died. The latter portion of this history (the whole of the reign of Edward I. more especially) is of great value, as the writer was contemporary with the events which he records. An Appendix contains several illustrative documents connected with the previous narrative.
17. BRUT y Tywysogion ; or, The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales. Edited by the Rev. John WILLIAMs AB ITHEL, M.A. 1860. This work, also known as “The Chronicle of the Princes of Wales,” has been attributed to Caradoc of Llancarvan, who flourished about the middle of the twelfth century. It is written in the ancient Welsh language, begins with the abdication and death of Caedwala at Rome, in the year 681, and continues the history down to the subjugation of Wales by Edward I., about the year 1282.
18. A Collection of Roy AL AND HISTORICAL LETTERs DURING THE REIGN of HENRY IV. 1399–1404. Edited by the Rev. F. C. HINGEston, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford. 1860. This volume, like all the others in the series containing a miscellaneous selection of letters, is valuable on account of the light it throws upon biographical
history, and the familiar view it presents of characters, manners, and events. The period requires much elucidation; to which it will materially contribute.
19. THE REPREssor of over MUCH BLAMING, of the CLERGY. By REGINALD PEcoCK, sometime Bishop of Chichester. Wols. I. and II. Edited by CHURCHILL BABINGTON, B.D., Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. 1860.
The “Repressor” may be considered the earliest piece of good theological disquisition of which our English prose literature can boast. The author was born