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Thomas Walsingham (died c. 1422) was an English chronicler, and is the source of much of the knowledge of the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, and the careers of John Wycliff and Wat Tyler.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Richard II, also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to King Edward III. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne.
Henry IV, also known as Henry Bolingbroke, was King of England from 1399 to 1413. He asserted the claim of his grandfather King Edward III, a maternal grandson of Philip IV of France, to the Kingdom of France.
Walsingham was a Benedictine monk who spent most of his life at St. Albans Abbey, where he was superintendent of the copying room (scriptorium). His works include Chronicon Angliæ, controversially attacking John of Gaunt, and Ypodigma Neustriæ (Chronicle of Normandy), justifying Henry V's invasion, and dedicated to him in 1419.
Scriptorium, literally "a place for writing", is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts by monastic scribes.
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster was an English prince, military leader, and statesman. He was the third of the five sons of King Edward III of England who survived to adulthood. Due to his royal origin, advantageous marriages, and some generous land grants, Gaunt was one of the richest men of his era, and an influential figure during the reigns of both his father, Edward, and his nephew, Richard II. As Duke of Lancaster, he is the founder of the royal House of Lancaster, whose members would ascend to the throne after his death. His birthplace, Ghent, corrupted into English as Gaunt, was the origin for his name. When he became unpopular later in life, scurrilous rumours and lampoons circulated that he was actually the son of a Ghent butcher, perhaps because Edward III was not present at the birth. This story always drove him to fury.
He is no relation to Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Queen Elizabeth I.
Sir Francis Walsingham was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I of England from 20 December 1573 until his death and is popularly remembered as her "spymaster".
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called the Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
He became a monk at St Albans, where he appears to have passed the whole of his monastic life, excepting a period from 1394 to 1396 during which he was prior of Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk, England, another Benedictine house. At St Albans he was in charge of the scriptorium, or writing room, and he died about 1422.
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism by monastic living, either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decides to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his or her life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.
Wymondham Abbey is the Anglican parish church for the town of Wymondham in Norfolk, England.
Walsingham is stated by Bale and Pits to have been a native of Norfolk. This is probably an inference from his name, as Walsingham is a village in that county. From an early period he was connected with the abbey of St Albans Abbey at St Albans, Hertfordshire, and was doubtless at school there. An inconclusive passage in his Historia Anglicana has been taken as evidence that he was educated at Oxford. The abbey of St. Albans, however, maintained particularly close relations with Oxford, sending its novices to be trained at St. Alban Hall and its monks at Gloucester College. It is probable, therefore, that Walsingham was at the university.
Norfolk is a county in East Anglia in England. It borders Lincolnshire to the northwest, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest, and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea and to the north-west, The Wash. The county town is Norwich. With an area of 2,074 square miles (5,370 km2) and a population of 859,400, Norfolk is a largely rural county with a population density of 401 per square mile. Of the county's population, 40% live in four major built up areas: Norwich (213,000), Great Yarmouth (63,000), King's Lynn (46,000) and Thetford (25,000).
Walsingham is a village in North Norfolk, England, famous for its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary. It also contains the ruins of two medieval monastic houses.
St Albans is a city in Hertfordshire, England and the major urban area in the City and District of St Albans. It lies east of Hemel Hempstead and west of Hatfield, about 20 miles (32 km) north-northwest of central London, 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Welwyn Garden City and 11 miles (18 km) south-southeast of Luton. St Albans was the first major town on the old Roman road of Watling Street for travellers heading north, and it became the Roman city of Verulamium. It is a historic market town and is now a dormitory town within the London commuter belt and the Greater London Built-up Area.
Subsequently, as the register book of benefactors of St. Albans Abbey preserved in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, shows, he held in the abbey not only the office of precentor, implying some musical education, but the more important one of scriptorarius, or superintendent of the copying-room. According to the register it was under Thomas de la Mare, who was abbot from 1350 to 1396, that he held these offices. Before 1388, he compiled a work (Chronica Majora) well known at that date as a book of reference. In 1394, he was of standing sufficient to be promoted to the dignity of prior of Wymondham.
Corpus Christi College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. It is notable as the only college founded by Cambridge townspeople: it was established in 1352 by the Guild of Corpus Christi and the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary, making it the sixth-oldest college in Cambridge. With around 250 undergraduates and 200 postgraduates, it also has the second smallest student body of the traditional colleges of the University.
He ceased to be prior of Wymondham in 1396, and was recalled to St. Albans, where he composed his Ypodigma Neustriæ, or Demonstration of Events in Normandy, dedicated to Henry V, about 1419. His Historia Anglicana, indeed, is carried down to 1422, though it remains a matter of controversy whether the latter portion is from his pen. Nothing further is known of his life. Pits speaks of Walsingham's office of ‘scriptorarius’ at St. Albans Abbey as that of historiographer royal (regius historicus), and as bestowed on Walsingham by the abbot at the instance of the king. This king, according to Bale and Pits, was Henry VI, for both of them assert that Walsingham flourished A.D. 1440. The title of historiographer royal has probably no more basis than Bale's similar story of William Rishanger. Bale makes his case worse by adding that Walsingham was the author of a work styled Acta Henrici Sexti. This is now unknown. If the ‘Chronica Majora’ was written, as must be supposed, at the latest not long after 1380, Walsingham must have been of exceptional age for that period in 1440. It is quite inconceivable that he can have been writing histories after 1461, the virtual close of Henry VI's reign. The Acta regis Henrici Sexti is therefore probably apocryphal, and Bale and Pits have post-dated Walsingham.
Recent research conjecturally assigns to Walsingham the following six chronicles:
Pits remarks in his life of Walsingham that we owe to him the knowledge of many historical incidents not recorded by other writers. He is the principal authority for the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. Our acquaintance with John Wycliff's career is largely due to his information, though he was greatly prejudiced against lollardy. He is also the chief authority for the insurrection of Wat Tyler in 1381. The Peasants Revolt of that year was formidable at St. Albans, the abbey being besieged, many of its court rolls and other muniments burnt, and charters of manumission extorted. Walsingham's admiration for Henry V, as the opposer of lollardy, led him to follow with minute detail the progress of that king's campaigns in France.
Walsingham was a painstaking collector of facts rather than an historian, though he sometimes manipulated his facts with ulterior objects, as is illustrated by the contradictory accounts he gave of the characters of Richard II and John of Gaunt. Tanner mentions a manuscript in the library of St. John's College, Oxford, as attributed to Thomas Walsingham. It is intituled De Generatione et Natura Deorum, a title which suggests remoteness from Thomas Walsingham's literary pursuits.
Walsingham was no relation to Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Queen Elizabeth I.
Anne of Bohemia was Queen of England as the first wife of King Richard II. A member of the House of Luxembourg, she was the eldest daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth of Pomerania. She died at age of 28 after 12 years of marriage; she was childless, and greatly mourned by her husband.
Matthew Paris, known as Matthew of Paris, was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which he scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called "tinted drawings". Some were written in Latin, some in Anglo-Norman or French verse.
Roger of Wendover, probably a native of Wendover in Buckinghamshire, was an English chronicler of the 13th century.
Mary de Bohun was the first wife of King Henry IV of England and the mother of King Henry V. Mary was never queen, as she died before her husband came to the throne.
The Flores Historiarum is the name of two different Latin chronicles by medieval English historians that were created in the 13th century, associated originally with the Abbey of St Albans.
William of Newburgh or Newbury, also known as William Parvus, was a 12th-century English historian and Augustinian canon of Anglo-Saxon descent from Bridlington, Yorkshire.
Sir John Maunsell, Provost of Beverley Minster, was a king's clerk and a judge. He served as chancellor to King Henry III and was England's first secretary of state.
Historians of England in the Middle Ages helped to lay the groundwork for modern historical historiography, providing vital accounts of the early history of England, Wales and Normandy, its cultures, and revelations about the historians themselves.
The Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes is a medieval chronicle written in Latin, probably around 1290.
John Waltham was a priest and high-ranking government official in England in the 14th century. He held a number of ecclesiastical and civic positions during the reigns of King Edward III and Richard II, eventually rising to become Lord High Treasurer, Lord Privy Seal of England and Bishop of Salisbury. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, London.
John of Worcester was an English monk and chronicler who worked at Worcester Priory. He is usually held to be the author of the Chronicon ex chronicis.
The Chronica Majora has long been considered a contemporary attempt to present a universal history of the world. The Chronica is the seminal work of Matthew Paris, a member of the English Benedictine community of St Albans and long-celebrated historian. The work begins with Creation and contains annals up until the year of Paris' death, 1259.
Robert Belknap JP was an English judge. He is first mentioned in June 1351 in a papal register of indults issued to inhabitants of England, where he is called a "clerk, of the diocese of Salisbury" in Wiltshire. He next appears in 1353 as a member of a commission to survey Battle Abbey. This commission was followed by an extensive number of others, as evidenced by extant patent rolls, until 1388, most of which related to oyer and terminer, walliis et fossatis, gaol delivery, sewers, and the peace primarily, but not exclusively, in Kent and other parts of southeastern England. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Kent on 18 May 1362, and at the same time began serving as legal counsel. In July 1362 he served on a commission with William of Wykeham investigating lands granted to the Bishopric of Winchester, which Wykeham at that time held. From this point Belknap's career as a lawyer began to prosper; from 1371 he was retained as a lawyer by Westminster Abbey, and from 1374 by John of Gaunt. He was sent along with John Wycliffe and John Gilbert to Bruges in July 1374 to negotiate papal provisions; he returned in September and on 10 October he was made Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and was knighted on 28 December of that same year. From 1375 to 1388 he served as a Trier of Petitions in Parliament, and in 1376 he was involved in investigating Richard Lyons in Essex and Sussex after complaints of embezzlement.
The Vitae duorum Offarum "The lives of the two Offas" is a literary history written in the mid-thirteenth century, apparently by the St Albans monk Matthew Paris.; however, the most recent editor and translator of the work rejects this attribution and argues for an earlier date, in the late twelfth century. The earliest editor, William Wats, argues that the texts are older than Matthew's day but were revised by him; he bases this view on stylistic elements, such as the inclusion in the first Vita of a quotation from Lucan which also appears repeatedly in Matthew's Chronica maiora.
Sir Nicholas Brembre was a wealthy magnate and a chief ally of King Richard II in 14th-century England. He was Lord Mayor of London in 1377, and again from 1383-5. Named a "worthie and puissant man of the city" by Richard Grafton, he became a citizen and grocer of London, and in 1372-3 purchased from the Malmains family the estates of Mereworth, Maplescomb, and West Peckham, in Kent. His ties to Richard ultimately resulted in his downfall, as the anti-Richard Lords Appellant effectively took control of the government and imprisoned, exiled, or executed most of Richard's court. Despite Richard's efforts, Brembre was executed in 1388 for treason at the behest of the Lords Appellant.
John of Tynemouth was a medieval English chronicler who flourished in the mid-14th-century.
John of Eversden or Everisden,, was an English chronicler.
Henry Thomas Riley (1816–1878) was an English translator, lexicographer, and antiquary.
The Chronicon Angliae Petriburgense is a 14th-century chronicle written in Medieval Latin at Peterborough Abbey, England, covering events from 604 to 1368, although the original manuscript ends with an entry for 868, and the remainder was added in the 17th century. It survives as part of a composite manuscript volume held at the British Library with the mark Cotton Claudius A.v, in which it appears on folios 2–45. An edition of the Chronicon was published in 1723 by Joseph Sparke, in a collection of English histories by various writers. According to John Allen Giles, in the preface to his own edition published by the Caxton Society in 1845, the Chronicon was attributed by both Simon Patrick and Henry Wharton to John of Caleto, who was an abbot of Peterborough (1250–1262). Giles reported a marginal note in the manuscript making a similar attribution, besides a similar note at the beginning of the manuscript stating that it belonged to Peterborough Abbey. However, Giles observed that this manuscript attribution was "comparatively modern", and regarded the chronicle's author as unknown. In Giles's view, the Chronicon is "extremely valuable both on account of the numerous facts which it contains, and for the [700 years] which it embraces."
A modern edition of Walsingham's Chronica Maiora in: David Preest, The Chronica Maiora of Thomas Walsingham 1376-1422, with Introduction and Notes by James G. Clark (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005).