English historians in the Middle Ages is an overview of the history of English1 historians and their works in the Middle Ages. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland These historians helped lay the groundwork for modern historical methodology, provided vital accounts of the early history of England, Wales and Normandy, its cultures, and revelations about the historians themselves. Normandy (Normandie Norman: Normaundie) is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy.
The most remarkable period of historical writing was during the High Middle Ages in the 12th and 13th centuries, when English chronicles produced works with a variety of interest, wealth of information and amplitude of range. The High Middle Ages was the period of European history in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries (AD 1000&ndash1299 However one might choose to view the reliability or nature of particular works, it is from these that much of our knowledge of the Middle Ages originates.
Prior to the boom in historical writing in the High Middle Ages, the number and quality of works from England's earlier period is often lacking, with some notable and bright exceptions. Later historians lamented the gaps in this period and usually explained it by way of Viking invasions; in the 12th century William of Malmesbury said ". . in many places in England that knowledge of the deeds of the saints has been wiped out, in my opinion by the violence of enemies. . ". 2
Listed chronologically, by author's death. Dates represent the historical period covered by the work(s). Works and authors listed are not exhaustive. These are the major and most significant historians and chroniclers of the period.
The High Middle Ages were a golden period for historical writing in England. Æthelweard (also spelled Ethelward) Anglo-Saxon Historian, was the great-great-grandson of Æthelred of Wessex (who was the brother of The High Middle Ages was the period of European history in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries (AD 1000&ndash1299 The craft of history was not a professional subject taught in school, such as the scholastic subjects of logic, theology, law and natural science, but rather something practiced by well-educated men of learning, not subjected to the process of systems and procedures of Academia. Scholasticism was the dominant form of theology and philosophy in the Latin West in the Middle Ages, particularly in the 12th 13th and 14th centuries This article is about Western European institutions See also Medieval university (Asia and Byzantine university Medieval university It was a realm for educated men in monasteries and the courts of kings, bishops and barons, who had the time and position and particular talents to pursue it. As a result the quality and variety of the histories from this period are highly variable, with some entertaining and appealing examples.
After the Norman Conquest there was an explosion of interest in English history. It has been theorized this was due in part to the native English desire to reclaim their cultural identity from the debacle of 1066. As well the new Norman rulers were interested in discovering who it was they had reigned over, which fueled demand for legends of England's early Kings, such as Geoffrey’s King Arthur. King Arthur is a legendary British leader who according to medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against the Saxon invaders
The works of this period are often categorized by chronicles, and by literary Histories. Generally a chronicle (chronica from Greek (from) is a historical account of facts and events in chronological order Chroniclers recorded events and dates of events with little prose or expansion. For example the Winchcombe Annals, by a 12th century monk, wrote one paragraph for each year, no matter how much or little happened, with one-sentence for each event in that year. In this way Chronicles would often give as much, or more, attention to things of little importance as those things of greater importance.
Unlike chronicles, the literary histories could be classified along with other forms of medieval literature. Indeed, entertainment was considered a legitimate function of historical writing. Historical accounts of battles often included long, and entirely invented, speeches from leaders. Histories were as much a part of medieval literature as other forms, such as the romance. Most of them endeavoured to be readable, arming themselves, as Roger of Wendover does, against both "the listless hearer and the fastidious reader" by "presenting something which each may relish", and so providing for the joint "profit and entertainment of all. "3
Another characteristic of the histories of the period is that they borrowed heavily from other writers, often directly copying entire works as their own. For example Henry of Huntingdon's History of the English is only one fourth original, relying in many places on Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica. For Earl Henry father of two Scottish kings see Henry of Scotland 3rd Earl of Huntingdon Henry of Huntingdon (c This process would often be compounded as later writers would copy these works in full or part.
Bede was highly regarded by historians of this period, and later historians lamented the fact that the 223 year period between Bede's death in 735 and Eadmers History of Recent Events (starting in 960) was sparsely represented. Bede (ˈbiːd (also Saint Bede, the Venerable Bede, or (from Latin Beda (beda (c Eadmer, or Edmer (c 1060&ndashc 1124 was an English historian, theologian and ecclesiastic William of Malmesbury said of Bede "after him you will not easily find men who turned their minds to the composition of Latin histories of their own people". 4 Henry of Huntingdon referred to Bede as "that holy and venerable man, a man of brilliant mind,". 5
For writing contemporary history, historians could draw on their own eye-witness accounts, reports from those they met and primary source documents such as letters. A good network of contacts was essential, and taking many journeys was common. Clerics assigned to the courts of Kings would often have the best access to information, such as Roger of Howden in Henry I's reign. Henry I (c 1068/1069 – 1 December 1135) was the fourth son of William I the Conqueror, the first King of England after the Norman Although some monks, such as William of Newburgh, never left their monastery, yet he was able to obtain considerable information through the network of story-telling and gossip which existed in the theoretical seclusion and silence of monastic life.
Listed chronologically, by authors death. Dates represent the historical period covered by the work(s). Works and authors listed are not exhaustive. These are the major and most significant Historians and Chroniclers of the period.
Geoffrey of Monmouth is singled out from the list because, on the one hand he was the most popular historian of all of England in this period. Eadmer, or Edmer (c 1060&ndashc 1124 was an English historian, theologian and ecclesiastic John of Worcester (died Circa 1140 was an English Monk and chronicler. Biography The education William received at Malmesbury Abbey included a smattering of Logic and Physics; Moral philosophy and History, Symeon (or Simeon) of Durham (d after 1129 English chronicler, embraced the monastic life before the year 1083 in the monastery of Jarrow; For Earl Henry father of two Scottish kings see Henry of Scotland 3rd Earl of Huntingdon Henry of Huntingdon (c Alredus or Alfred of Beverley, English chronicler, was Sacristan of the church of Beverley in the first half of the 12th century Orderic Vitalis (1075&ndashc 1142 was an English chronicler who wrote one of the great contemporary Chronicles of 11th and 12th century Normandy and The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of Annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. Deeds of King Stephen or Acts of Stephen or Gesta Stephani is a 12th century English history by an anonymous William of Newburgh (1136? &ndash 1198? also known as William Parvus was a 12th century English historian and Augustinian canon from Bridlington, Gervase of Canterbury ( Gervasus Dorobornensis) (c 1141 &ndash c Ralph de Diceto (d c 1202 Dean of St Paul's, and chronicler is first mentioned in 1152 when he received the archdeaconry of Middlesex. Roger of Hoveden, or Howden (fl 1174 - 1201 was a 12th century English chronicler. Walter Map (born 1140 died c 1208&ndash1210 was a medieval writer using Latin Gerald of Wales (c 1146 &ndash c 1223 also known as Gerallt Gymro in Welsh or Giraldus Cambrensis in Latin, Ralph of Coggeshall (d after 1227 English Chronicler, was at first a monk and afterwards sixth Abbot (1207-1218 of Coggeshall, an Essex Roger of Wendover (died May 6, 1236) probably a native of Wendover in Buckinghamshire The Flores Historiarum ( Flowers of History) is a Latin Chronicle dealing with English history from the creation to Matthew Paris (c 1200 &ndash 1259 was a Benedictine monk English chronicler, artist in Illuminated manuscripts and Cartographer Piers Langtoft, also known as Pierre de Langtoft (died c 1307 was an English historian and chronicler who took his name from the small village of Langtoft Nicholas Trivet (or Trevet, as he himself wrote (c 1257&ndashc Robert Mannyng or Robert de Brunne (c1275 - c1338 a Gilbertine monk provides a surprising amount of information about himself in his two known works Handlyng Mannyng's Chronicle is a Chronicle written in Middle English by Robert Mannyng in about 1338. Geoffrey of Monmouth ( Gruffudd ap Arthur or Sieffre o Fynwy) (c On the other hand his work History of the Kings of Britain (Historia Regum Britannia) was considered almost entirely fiction and was not considered authentic history by some other contemporary historians. The Historia Regum Britanniae ( English: The History of the Kings of Britain) is a pseudohistorical account of British history Kings of Britain covers the legend of King Arthur as well as other Welsh legends of the early period of England, and was presented, and often accepted, as actual English history. It was extremely popular, but other contemporary historians, interested in impartiality and truth, were highly critical of Geoffrey. William of Newburgh devotes an extended section of the preface of Historia to discredit Geoffrey, saying at one point "only a person ignorant of ancient history would have any doubt about how shamelessly and impudently he lies in almost everything". William of Newburgh (1136? &ndash 1198? also known as William Parvus was a 12th century English historian and Augustinian canon from Bridlington, 6 The discussion over the Historical basis for King Arthur continues to this day. The historical basis of King Arthur is a source of considerable debate among Historians.