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Full text of "Matthew Paris"

CAMS] :<ATE .STUDIES IN 

MEDIEVAL LIFE & THOUGHT 

NEW SERIES: VOLUME 6 



MATTHEW 
PARIS 



By 
RICHARD VAUGHAN 



General Editor of the 
New Series: 

DOM DAVID KNOWLES 




CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



Little is known of Matthew Paris, save that he 
was a tMrteenth-^oitury Benedictine monk of 
St Albany and author of a number of historical 
works, including the famous Chronica Majora; 
the rest of the details must be pieced together 
from his writings. The character that emerges 
from Dr Vaughan's studies of the contents, 
handwriting, chronology and interrektionships 
of the various manuscripts is a colourful one: 
we find a man at once diligent but unsystem- 
atic, bigoted but possessed of a liberal curiosity, 
scurrilous but prepared to estpunge his offensive 
remarks if the occasion demanded; above all 
a man with a great range of interests, consider- 
able artistic talent, and a healthy disrespect for 
authority* ffis life as a monk was tar from 
cloistered; he hob-nobbed with Kings, Bishops 
tad notables, was an inveterate gossip, an 
enter* t.u i , ; I' : , , : irate raconteur, and had a 
Kutui kiu)*',it<itfi we! understanding of con- 



Dr Vaughan assesses his merits as a domestic 
and general historian, chronicler, writer of hV 
of tb saints, mtmAt, versifier, map-maker 
ai4 ilkstmtot (the many plate show examples 
;J hfcwork}. 




1148 00331 4424 



9*4-2.03 
Vaughan 

Matthew Paris 



63-02860 



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Kansas city, missou 



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CAMBRIDGE STUDIES IN 
MEDIEVAL LIFE AND THOUGHT 

Edited by M. D. KNOWLES, Litt.D,, F.B.A. 

Fellow of Peterhouse and Regius Professor of Modern History in the 

University of Cambridge 



NEW SERIES, VOL. 6 



MATTHEW PARIS 



NEW SERIES 

VOL. i. The Alley and Bishopric of Ely by EDWARD MILLER 

2. Tavistock Abbey by H. p. R. FINBERG 

3. Crusading Warfare by R. c. SMAIL 

4. Foundations of the Conciliar Theory byBRiAN TIERNEY 

5. Bradwardine and the Pelagians by GORDON LEFF 

6. Matthew Paris by RICHARD VAUGHAN 

Other volumes in preparation 




Virgin and Child. B.M. Roy. MS. 14 C vii, f. 6a. 



MATTHEW PARIS 



BY 

RICHARD VAUGHAN 

Fellow of Corpus Christi College 
Cambridge 




CAMBRIDGE 

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
1958 



PUBLISHED BY 
THE SYNDICS OF THE CAMBKIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

Bentley House, 200 Euston Road, London, N.W. i 
American Branch: 32 East 57th Street, New York 22, N.Y. 



CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
1958 



Printed in Great Britain at the University Press, Cambridge 
(Brooke Crutchley, University Printer) 



CONTENTS 

List of Plates page vii 

Preface xi 

Abbreviations xiii 

I The Life of Matthew Paris i 

II Matthew Paris and Roger Wendover 21 

III The Handwriting and Authorship of the Historical 

Manuscripts 35 

IV The Relationship and Chronology of the Chronica 

Majora, the Historia Anglorum, and the Liber 

Additamentorum 49 

V The Liber Additamentorum 78 

VI The Flores Historiarum: some Manuscript 

Problems 92 

VII Matthew Paris's Historical Works: Abridgement 

and Expurgation no 

VIII Matthew Paris the Chronicler 125 

IX Matthew Paris the Hagiologist 159 

X Matthew Paris the Domestic Historian 182 

(i) The Gesta Abbatum 182 

(ii) The Vitae Off arum 189 

(iii) Domestic Hagiology 195 

(iv) The Relics of St Alban 198 



CONTENTS 

XI Matthew Paris the Artist page 205 

XII Other Interests 235 

(i) Cartography 235 

(ii) Heraldry 250 

(iii) Natural Science 253 

(iv) Verse 258 

Epilogue 261 

Bibliography 267 

Index 277 



VI 



LIST OF PLATES 

Virgin and Child. British Museum Royal MS. 140 
vii, f. 6 a. frontispiece 

PLATES I-XXI ARE BETWEEN PP. 276 AND 277 

I Matthew Paris on his death-bed, British Museum 
Royal MS. 14.0 vii, f. 2i8b. 

II Examples of Matthew Paris's handwriting in the early 
part of the Chronica Major a (actual size). Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16 ; (a) part of f . 38 b ; 
(b) part of f. 82 a. 

III Examples of Matthew Paris's handwriting in the later 
part of the Chronica Majora (actual size). Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16; (a) part of 
f. 242a; (b) part of f. 253 b. 

IV Shields in the lower margin of British Museum Cotton 
MS. Claudius D vi, ff. 9ib-92a (actual size). 

V Shields in the lower margin of British Museum Royal 
MS. 14 C vii, ff. 99b-iooa (reduced). 

VI The siege of Damietta in 1219, from the margin of 
the Chronica Majora, Corpus Christi College, Cam- 
bridge, MS. 1 6, f. 55 b. 

VII The defeat of the French at Damascus in 1240, from 
the margin of the Chronica Majora, Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, MS. 16, f. 133 b. 

VIII Two of Matthew Paris's illustrations of his Vie de 
Seint Auban. Trinity College, Dublin, MS. 140; 
(a)L 38 a; (6)f.4ib. 

IX (a) The Crucifixion. British Museum Royal MS. 

2 B vi, f. Qb. 

(b) Illustration from the Estoire de Seint Aedward. 
Cambridge University Library, MS. Ee iii 59, f. 9 a. 



vu 



LIST OF PLATES 

X Drawings of seated kings. 

(a) British Museum Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, f. 5b. 

(b) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, p. 28. 

XI Drawings of seated kings. British Museum Royal MS. 
i4Cvii, f. 8b. 

XII First page of one of Matthew Paris's itineraries from 
London to Apulia. British Museum Royal MS. 
14 C vii, f. 2 a. 

XIII First page of another of Matthew Paris's itineraries 
from London to Apulia. Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge, MS. 26, f. ia. 

XIV Architectural details in Matthew Paris's drawings. 

(a) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, p. 220. 

(b) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16, 
f. i 3 8b. 

(c) British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii, f. 9 a. 

(d) British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i, f. 2b. 

(e) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 385, 

P- 173- 

(/) Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ashmole MS. 304, 
f. 38 a. 

XV Architectural details in Matthew Paris's itineraries and 
map of England and Scotland. 

(d) British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i, f. 183 a. 

(b) British Museum Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, f. 8b. 

(c) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, 
f. iiia. 

XVI Map of Palestine. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 
MS. 26, ff. iiib-iva. 

XVII Map of Palestine. Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 
MS. 2, f. 2b. 

viii 



LIST OF PLATES 

XVIII Heraldic lions on some of Matthew Paris's shields. 

(a) British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i, L 198 a. 

(b) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16, 88 b. 

(c) British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i, f. 3b. 

(d) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16, f. iiib. 

(e) Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, p. 225 . 
(/) British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii, f. n6b. 

XIX A page of coloured shields in the Liber Additamentomm. 
British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i, f. 170 b. 

XX Some of Matthew Paris's diagrams illustrating the 
Dragmaticon Philosophiae. Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge, MS. 385, Part II, pp. 130, 147, 148, 152 
and 178. 

XXI (a) Matthew Paris's drawing of an elephant. Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16, f. iva. 

(b) The Sphera Bestiamm. Bodleian Library, Oxford, 
Ashmole MS. 304, f 



IX 



PREFACE 

WHEN, in the summer of 1951, I was in a position to 
embark on research for a Ph.D. thesis, I found myself 
unable to decide on a suitable subject. It was Professor 
Knowles who suggested Matthew Paris to me, and who super- 
vised my researches during the ensuing three years. The result 
was a study of the relationship and chronology of Matthew 
Paris's historical manuscripts which is incorporated much 
altered, and, as I hope, improved in the present work. My 
especial thanks are due to Professor Knowles, who, besides 
helping me as a supervisor and afterwards, has read the whole 
of this book in typescript and been kind enough to accept it for 
publication in the series of medieval studies which he edits. 
I must also thank Professor Galbraith, who has taken a lively 
interest in my work, and thereby been a constant source of 
encouragement and stimulation. Professor Cheney has provided 
help of a rather different kind, for which I must also record my 
thanks : he has read this book in typescript and proof and saved 
me from numerous errors, as well as making many suggestions 
which led to some important alterations in the text. For his 
encouragement since my undergraduate days, frequent loans 
and gifts of books, and much learned assistance, I must thank 
Professor Dickins. I would also like to thank Dr R. W. Hunt of 
the Bodleian Library, Dr C. E. Wright and Mrs Antonia 
Gransden of the British Museum, and Mr H. L. Pink of the 
University Library, Cambridge, for their help concerning manu- 
scripts ; Mr A. G. Woodhead for helping me with Matthew's 
Latin, and Dr M. H. Tweedy for helping me with his French; 
Dr T. E. Faber for advising me on some points concerning 
Matthew's scientific interests; and Professor Mynors, Dr 
Dorothy Whitelock, and Mr H. M. Adams. It is not perhaps 
inapposite here for me to record my obligations and thanks to 
my colleagues of Corpus Christi College for enabling me to 
complete this study by electing me into their Fellowship; and 
to my wife for her patience and forbearance during the many 
hours I have had to spend engrossed in Matthew Paris. 



XI 



PREFACE 

My thanks are due to the authorities of the following for 
allowing me to study manuscripts in their possession, and to 
the various librarians for their courtesy and help: the British 
Museum; the Public Record Office; the Bodleian Library; the 
University Library, Cambridge; the John Rylands Library; the 
Lambeth Palace Library; Chetham's Hospital, Manchester; 
Corpus Christi College, Oxford; Trinity College, Cambridge; 
my own College ; and Eton College. I must also thank the Duke 
of Devonshire, Mr Francis Thompson and Mr T. E. Wragg for 
enabling me to see the manuscripts at Chatsworth; Lord Bute 
and Miss Catherine Armet for arranging for me to have Bute 
MS. 3 on loan in Cambridge, and Mr H. R. Creswick for 
allowing it to be deposited in the University Library here; Miss 
M. F. Austin, the Hertfordshire County Librarian, for lending 
me some extracts and off-prints concerning the history of 
St Albans; and Professor Arnould and Mr H. W. Parke of 
Trinity College, Dublin, for transcribing for me the marginalia 
in Trinity College, Dublin, MS. E i 40. Finally, I have to 
thank the authorities of the following libraries for giving me 
permission to reproduce portions of their manuscripts: the 
British Museum (frontispiece, Plates I, iv, v, ix (a), x (a), xi, 
xii, xiv (c) and (d), xv (a) and (4), xvm (a), (c), and (/), and 
xix) ; the Bodleian Library (Plates xiv (/) and xxi (6)) ; the Uni- 
versity Library, Cambridge (Plate ix ()); Trinity College, 
Dublin (Plate vm) ; Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Plate xvn) ; 
and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (Plates II, in, vi, vn, 
x (6), xn, xiv (a), (ft), and (*), xv (c), xvi, xvm (ft), (d\ and (*?), 
xx, and xxi (a)). 

R. V. 

CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE 
CAMBRIDGE 

3 April 1956 



xii 



ABBREVIATIONS 

A Corpus Christ! College, Cambridge, MS, 26. 

B Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS, 16. 

C British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D v, Part II. 

Ch Chetham's Library, Manchester, MS. 6712. 

E Eton College, MS. 123, 

LA British Museum. Cotton MS. Nero D i. 

British Museum Cotton MS. Otho B v. 

R British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii. 

V British Museum Cotton MS. Vitellius A xx. 

W Bodleian Library Douce MS, 207. 

CM. Chronica Majora (ed. Luard), 

HA. Historia Anglorum (ed. Madden). 

FH. Flores Historiarum (ed. Luard). 

AC. Abbreviatio Chronicorum (ed. Madden). 

Wats Gesta Abbatum and Vitae Offarum (ed. Wats). 

GA. Gesta Abbatum (ed. Riley). 

MGH,SS. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Saiptores. 

EHR. English Historical Review, 



CHAPTER I 

THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

THE writings of Matthew Paris, monk of St Albans and 
historian, seem to have come down to us almost intact, 
and it is from them that our very fragmentary knowledge 
of his life is derived. In the last century two great scholars, 
Madden and Liebermann, brought this information together, 1 
and, since their work, not a scrap of new material concerning the 
events of Matthew's life has come to light. We have no know- 
ledge of his family or even nationality. His name, which he 
usually wrote Tarisiensis', but sometimes *de Parisius', was 
formerly taken to refer either to this, or to his university educa- 
tion; and it was surmised in consequence either that Matthew 
was French, or that he was educated at Paris University. But 
Parisiensis was a common enough patronymic in thirteenth- 
century England, and, on the whole, it seems probable that 
Matthew was English, and that he did not receive his education 
at Paris, or indeed any other, university. His interests are not 
those of a university educated clerk, and his outlook is charac- 
teristically English. The phrase 'which in common speech we 
call Hoke Day 5 in his Chronica Major a (v, p. 281) shows that he 
thought of English as his own language; and his English feelings 
are displayed in his account of Henry Ill's campaign in Poitou 
in 1242, when he uses the phrase c our men' ('nostri anglici') 
in reference to the English troops. 2 

The date of Matthew's birth also remains in doubt. He 
himself tells us that he took the religious habit (that is, became 
a monk) at St Albans on 21 January I2I7. 3 It was customary 
at this time for a novice to take the habit when he entered the 
house, instead of waiting until he made his profession, 4 so that 
it is probable that Matthew entered St Albans as a novice in 

1 HA. m, pp. vii-xxii (Madden), and Liebermann, MGH,SS. xxvm, 
pp. 74 ff. * CM. iv, pp. 210, 219. 3 HA. in, p. ix. 

* That this was true for St Albans is shown by a statute of Abbot Warin; 
Wats, pp. 101-2. It was also the custom, in Lanfranc's time: see his Monastic 
Constitutions (ed. M. D. Knowles), pp. 105-6. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

1217, and made his profession a year or two later. At this time, 
the minimum age of admission for a novice could hardly have 
been under fifteen, so that the date of Matthew's birth cannot 
be placed much after 1200. It is unlikely, too, that he was born 
much before this, since he lived until 1259, and sixty must have 
been a ripe old age for a medieval monk. Some remarks of 
Matthew himself which might be taken as evidence for an 
earlier date than 1200 are in fact of very doubtful significance. 
In the Chronica Majora, for instance, he tells under the year 
1195 the story of Vitalis the Venetian, with the following mar- 
ginal note: 'King Richard's Apologue, which he related to 
Warin, abbot of St Albans; and which he (Warin) passed on to 
us' (Apologus Ricardi regis quern abbati Sancti Albani Guarino et 
ipse nobis enarravit). 1 If the word 'nobis' here means 'to me', 
then Matthew must have been born some years before the death 
of Abbot Warin in 1195; but in fact it probably only means 
'to us', that is 'to the community'. Under the year 1213 2 
Matthew inserts another story, which he says was related in his 
hearing (p. 564: 'audiente Mathaeo qui et haec scripsit') to 
various St Albans monks by Robert of London, the secular 
custodian of the abbey. Robert of London was secular 'custos' 
of St Albans in I2o8, 3 but he may easily have visited the abbey 
on some later occasion. A third statement of Matthew's, this 
time in the Gesta Abbotum, is equally inconclusive: he says, in 
reference to Abbot John de Cella's extraordinary feats of 
memory: 4 'Hoc enim quasi in confusionem ncsciorum fecisse 
ipsum, profecto meminimus.' The word 'meminimus' here 
need not necessarily mean 'we remember', it may only mean 
'we have recorded'; and so we are by no means compelled to 
conclude from this statement that Matthew Paris actually knew 
Abbot John, who died in 1214. It seems likely, therefore, that 
Matthew was born about the year 1200: at any rate there is no 
reliable evidence that he was born before this date. 

We know nothing certain about Matthew between 1217 and 
1247, t> ut from the language of his chronicle it seems probable 
that he was present at Canterbury for the translation of St Thomas 
Becket on 7 July 1220; that he was at St Albans in 1228 when 

1 n, pp. 413-14. 2 CM. ii, pp. 559-64. 

2 HA. m, p. xi. 4 Wats, p. 108. 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

the abbey was visited by an Armenian archbishop ; and that he 
attended the marriage of Henry III and Eleanor at Westminster 
in January I2%6. 1 His account of each of these events seems to 
be that of an eye-witness. Our lack of knowledge of Matthew 
Paris during these years is probably due to the life he was leading 
as a cloistered monk at St Albans; and we may assume that 
throughout this time, as well as during most of the rest of his 
life, it was only occasionally that he interrupted his historical 
writing (in which he was probably more or less continually 
engaged from c. 1245 onwards) and the service of God in his 
house, to witness some great event either at Westminster, 
Canterbury, Winchester, or some other centre. How he was 
enabled to leave the abbey from time to time in this way, we 
do not know. It is possible, as Professor Cheney has suggested 
to me, that he held some such office as chaplain to the abbot; 
but there is, so far as I have been able to discover, no evidence 
in contemporary records of any monastic official at St Albans 
at this time by the name of Matthew. On 13 October 1247 
Matthew Paris was present at Westminster for the feast of 
St Edward the Confessor, and his account shows that Henry III 
knew by this time that he was writing a chronicle, and had 
already met him, perhaps during one of his many visits to 
St Albans. 2 Matthew's account of his meeting with the king on 
this occasion is as follows : 3 

And while . . . the king was seated on his throne, noticing the 
writer of this work, he called him to him, made him sit down on 
a step between the throne and the rest of the hall, and said to him: 
* You have noticed all these things, and they are firmly impressed on 
your mind.' To which he answered: * Yes, my Lord, for the splendid 
doings of this day are worthy of record.' The king then went on: 
' . . . I entreat you . . . therefore ... to write an accurate and full account 
of all these events . . . lest in the future their memory be in any way 
lost to posterity'; and he invited the person with whom he was 
speaking to dinner, together with his three companions. 

Under the year 1250* Matthew has recorded another of his 
conversations with the king, which perhaps occurred in April 

1 HA. n, pp. 241-2; CM. iii y pp. 161-4; and CM. in, pp. 336 ff. 

2 For these see below, pp. 12-13. 

3 CM. iv, pp. 644-5. 4 CM. v, pp. 129-30. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

1251, when the king was at St Albans. 1 On this occasion, he 
tells us, he remonstrated with the king for granting rights of 
free warren contrary to the privileges of St Albans. In July 125 1 
Matthew was with the king again, this time at Winchester, and 
he there heard and noted down at length Thomas of Sherborne's 
account of the Pastoureaux in France. 2 In November 1251 he 
may have been present at the dedication of the church of Hayles 
in Gloucestershire, and at Christmas at York for the marriage 
of Henry Ill's daughter Margaret to Alexander II of Scotland; 
for his accounts of these events seem to be those of an eye- 
witness. 3 Finally, we hear of him again with Henry III at 
St Albans in March I257, 4 when he spent some time in the 
king's company both at table and in the royal lodgings. On this 
occasion the king imparted to him some historical information, 
including a list of the canonized kings of England (which 
Matthew inserted into his chronicle) and the names of two 
hundred and fifty English baronies. During the week which 
the king spent at St Albans at this time, Matthew had an 
opportunity of putting in a good word to him on behalf of the 
University of Oxford, whose M.A.'s had sent a deputation to 
complain of the oppression of the bishop of Lincoln. 

Matthew's life as a monk of St Albans was on one occasion 
disturbed much more seriously than by the occasional visits to 
Westminster or elsewhere which we have hitherto noted. It 
seems that in the year 1246, as a result of the disappearance of 
its abbot with the convent's seal, the abbey of St Benet Holm 
on the island of Nidarholm in Norway got into serious financial 
difficulties with the London Cahorsins. 5 King Haakon of 
Norway sent the prior to England with a letter to Matthew 
Paris, requesting his help; and, through his good offices, an 
agreement was reached with the money-lenders which enabled 
the monks of St Benet Holm to free themselves from debt. In 
1247 or 1248, however, they were in trouble again; this time 
because of a quarrel with their archbishop, and they were 
advised by the papal legate then in Norway to apply to the 

1 CM. v, pp. 233-4. 2 CM, v, pp. 246-54. 

3 CM. v, pp. 262 and 266-7. 4 CM. v, pp. 617-18. 

5 CM. v, pp. 42-5. I have also used the narrative in Knowles, Religious 
Orders, I, pp. 294-5. 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

pope for someone to visit and reform their house. Innocent IV 
allowed them to choose whom they liked, and they decided on 
Matthew Paris, probably because of his previous services to 
them. The papal mandate to the abbot of St Albans instructing 
him to send Matthew to Norway to reform the monastery of 
St Benet Holm is copied out by Matthew Paris in four of his 
manuscripts. Although by it Matthew is only appointed to 
instruct and advise the abbot and monks of St Benet Holm in 
regularibus disciplinis et statutis' pertaining to the Benedictine 
Order, he copied it into his collection of additional documents 
with this heading: 1 

The original papal document (Auctenticum papale) by which Dom 
Matthew Paris, who wrote these things, was appointed, though 
unwillingly, reformer of the Benedictine observance and Visitor of 
the Benedictine abbeys and their monks in the kingdom of Norway. 

In his Historia Anglorum 2 he introduces the same document 
with similar words : 

. . .Brother Matthew, the author of this work, was sent by order of 
the pope to Norway, to restore Benedictine observance in the 
monasteries of the Black monks (ad reformandum Ordinem Sancti 
Benedicti in coenobiis monachorum Nigri Or dints). 

It looks very much as if Matthew's natural pride in his 
appointment caused him to magnify the importance of this 
mission and to consider himself Visitor to the whole of the 
Benedictine Order in Norway. Be this as it may, his visit there 
poses an interesting problem. No doubt the monks of St Benet 
Holm chose Matthew as their Visitor on account of the services 
he had previously rendered them; but why did King Haakon 
write to him, in 1246, asking him to negotiate with the Cahorsin 
money-lenders in London on behalf of the monks of St Benet 
Holm? H. G. Leach 3 suggested that Matthew's visit to Norway 
in 1248 was perhaps not his first, and that he had met Haakon 
on a previous visit there. Matthew, however, tells us nothing 
of this, and it is most unlikely that, had such an event taken 
place, he would have passed over it in silence. The mystery of 
Haakon's selection of Matthew as his financial agent in this 

1 LA, f. 92 b; for the heading, see CM. v, p. 244, note 4. 

2 in, p. 40. 3 Angevin Britain and Scandinavia, p. 105. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

affair is perhaps partly elucidated, however, by his appointment, 
in 1238, of a certain Richard of St Albans to look after his 
affairs in England, 1 for it is possible that this Richard, relin- 
quishing his post, recommended Matthew to Haakon as a 
suitable successor. Nevertheless, however we try to explain 
the choice of Matthew in this matter, we still do not know why 
he was considered suitable; and we can only hazard the guess 
that the interest in and knowledge of financial matters which 
he displays throughout his writings 2 reflect a considerable 
experience in practical affairs, which he had perhaps already 
obtained before 1246, and which qualified him to undertake 
these transactions. 

The papal mandate sending Matthew to Norway is dated 
27 November 1247, and it probably arrived at St Albans early 
in 1248; but it was not until the early summer that Matthew 
finally set out for Norway. He arrived at the port of Bergen 
c. 10 June, 3 at the very moment when a great fire was raging in 
the city. Both Matthew and the author of Haakon's Saga give 
a vivid description of this fire, which was followed by a violent 
thunderstorm over the town. 4 Haakon' s Saga describes how the 
lightning struck the mast of a ship in the harbour and dashed it 
into small pieces, and how only one person on the ship was hurt 
a citizen of Bergen who had gone on board from the town to buy 
finery. Matthew, who was ashore at the time celebrating mass 
in a neighbouring church, and thanking God for his safe passage 
through the perils of the sea, also describes how the mast of his 
ship was shivered into pieces, but he, with the pardonable 
hyperbole of a passenger, claims that, besides one man killed, 
all those on the ship were either wounded or hurt in some way. 
He goes on to record how, when Haakon heard of this accident, 
he provided the ship with a new and bigger and better ('prae- 
stantiorem . . . et majorem') mast. Haakon was in Bergen at the 
time, 5 and Matthew delivered to him letters from King Louis IX 
of France seeking Haakon's company on his projected crusade, 

1 Rymer (ed.), Foedera, I, p. 236. 

2 See below, pp. 145-6. 

3 Leach, Angevin Britain and Scandinavia, p. 105. 

4 CM. v, pp. 35-6, and Dasent (ed.), Saga of Hacon, pp. 266-7. 

5 Dasent (ed.), Saga of Hacon, p. 266: he organized attempts to extinguish 
the fire with ' kettles J full of sea-water. 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

and giving him permission to land in French territory on his 
way. Haakon received Matthew kindly and rewarded him with 
sumptuous gifts. 1 It would be interesting to know how Matthew 
Paris came to be the bearer of these important letters from 
Louis IX. Was it mere chance? Or did that monarch have 
personal knowledge of the monk of St Albans? There is no 
hint, in Matthew's writings, of the answer to these questions; 
nor indeed does he give us any further information about his 
visit to Norway and his reformation of the monks of St Benet 
Holm. He does not even mention his return journey, which 
probably took place in 1249. 

We have now passed in review the few known facts about the 
life of Matthew Paris. The last of these, his death in 1259, was 
once undisputed; but recently Sir Maurice Powicke has cast 
doubts on this, and has argued that Matthew may have lived 
'for some little time after 1259 J . 2 The belief that Matthew died 
in this year is based on the colophon which closes the text of his 
Chronica Major a, and which is illustrated in Plate I. The text of 
this, as translated by Professor Galbraith, 3 reads : 

Thus far wrote (perscripsit) the venerable man, brother Matthew 
Paris : and though the hand on the pen may vary, nevertheless, as the 
same method of composition is maintained throughout, the whole is 
ascribed to him. What has been added and continued from this point 
onwards may be ascribed to another brother, who presuming to 
approach the works of so great a predecessor, and unworthy to 
continue them, as he is unworthy to undo the latchet of his shoe, 
has not deserved to have even his name mentioned on the page. 

Below these words is a drawing of Matthew on his death-bed, 
with his 'book of chronicles' on the desk by him, and with the 
words 'Hie obit Matheus Parisiensis' written above. Professor 
Galbraith, in his criticism of Sir Maurice Powicke's theory, 
produced other evidence for the date of Matthew's death. He 
pointed out that the continuator of Matthew's Gesta Abbatum 
states that Matthew Paris lived and died in the time of Abbot 

1 See below, p. 18. 

2 Powicke, ' Compilation of the Chronica Major a', Proceedings of the British 
Academy, xxx (1944), pp. 157-8. 

3 Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 12. 

7 



MATTHEW PARIS 

John of Hertford. 1 Now H. T. Riley, in his edition of the Gesta 
Abbatum^ claims that Abbot John ruled from 1235 to 1260, and 
suggests that the text of the Gesta Abbatum from about the year 
1255 to 1308 was written by a monk who lived in the early years 
of the fourteenth century. 2 If Riley were right on these two 
points, the statement about Matthew referred to by Professor 
Galbraith would constitute evidence that he died before 1260. 
In fact, however, Abbot John of Hertford did not die in 1260, 
but in 1263. The date 1260 is found only in the latest manuscript 
of the Gesta Abbatum (written by Walsingham), and is due to 
a copying error. The true date, 1263, is given in the Bute manu- 
script of the Gesta Abbatum and in the Flares Historiarum, and 
it can also be inferred from the record evidence. 3 Furthermore 
there is evidence that the statement that Matthew Paris lived 
and died in the time of Abbot John occurs in a passage added 
to the Gesta Abbatum by Thomas Walsingham, and that it did 
not form part of the so-called 'Second Continuation' of the 
Gesta Abbatum which Riley thought was written in the first half 
of the fourteenth century. It is found only in Walsingham 's 
manuscript of the Gesta, where it follows a series of extracts 
from the Chronica Majora which are likewise only in the 
Walsingham manuscript. It seems that Walsingham, having 
extracted a considerable amount of material from Matthew 
Paris's Chronica Major a^ inserted this statement into his descrip- 
tion of the rule of Abbot John as a memorial to his famous pre- 
decessor, and on exactly the same evidence as modern historical 
opinion has supposed Matthew to have died in 1259, namely, 
the colophon at the end of the text of the Chronica Majora, 

Sir Maurice Powicke had no positive evidence that Matthew 
lived after 1259, but he considered that the evidence from the 
colophon and picture at the end of Matthew's chronicle was 
inconclusive, and he further remarked that 'in the course of 
original composition, a time-lag [i.e. between the events and 

1 Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 30. 

2 Perhaps William Rishanger: GA. n, pp. ix-xiii, and I, p. xvii. 

3 Bute MS. 3, p. 278 (the manuscript called by Wats the ' Spelman MS.'; 
it was not known to Riley; its text ends in 1308, and it was written inde- 
pendently of the Walsingham MS., c. 1400); PH. n, p. 478; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 
1258-66, p. 256 (23 April 1263): grant of abbey to prior and convent during 
vacancy for 600 marks. 

8 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

the recording of them] of a year or more was almost inevitable', 
and he showed that the annal for 1252 in the Chronica Major a 
was not written before November I253. 1 Powicke's conclusion 
is, on the face of it, eminently reasonable. One would not expect 
an author to bring the text of his chronicle right up to the time 
of his death, and the inference from the colophon might very 
well only be that Matthew died (perhaps in 1260 or 1261 or 
even later) at a time when the text of his chronicle had arrived 
at the point, during the annal for 1259, where it is inserted. In 
spite of this, however, I think it far more likely that Matthew 
was overtaken by death very soon after the occurrence of the 
last event recorded in his chronicle. In a work of the scope and 
size of the Chronica Major a, the author must surely have recorded 
events in a first rough draft almost as soon as news of them 
reached him. In the course of the annal for I256 2 Matthew 
records the departure abroad of certain people, and adds that he 
does not know why they went: a confession of ignorance which 
is understandable only if it was included inadvertently in 
the final text from a rough draft made very soon after their 
departure especially as they were back in England again in 
January i25y. 3 There is more evidence for the use of rough 
drafts in the course of the annal for 1257, where a number of 
entries are repeated, apparently because they were carelessly 
copied twice from a series of rough drafts written perhaps on 
loose sheets and scraps of parchment. There is, in fact, every 
reason to believe that Matthew wrote out rough drafts im- 
mediately on receipt of the information he wished to record, 
and that these were later used for writing up the final text of the 
chronicle in the existing manuscripts (E and R). If this is so, 
it by no means follows that, because there was a time-lag of a 
year or two between events and the recording of them in the 
manuscript of the Chronica Majora, Matthew died perhaps a 
year or more after the date of the last event recorded in his 
chronicle. On the contrary, there was probably no such time- 
lag between the events and the composition of his drafts, and 
these latter no doubt continued right up to the time of his death. 
Composed and probably written out by Matthew himself, and 

1 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ loc. cit. pp. 157-8. 
z CM. v, p. 560. 3 CM. v, p. 618. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

kept up to date, as I suppose, these would have been ready at 
hand for Matthew's scribe to copy out into the Chronica Major a 
after his death, thus bringing its text up to the last event 
recorded by Matthew in draft. 

The obvious implication of the picture which accompanies 
the colophon at the end of Matthew's Chronica Majora (Plate i) 
is that he died while still at work on it, and there is in fact much 
evidence to show that Matthew continued to write out his own 
manuscripts until failing powers forced him to employ a scribe. 
In the Liber Additamentorum^ for instance, there is a series of 
documents in just the rough chronological order we should 
expect to find had they been copied as their texts became 
available to Matthew. These documents extend from f. 71 to 
f. 82; they are all in Matthew's own handwriting; and they 
extend in date from 1255 to I259- 1 The last, a document of 
March 1259, * s t ' ie l atest piece of writing that has survived in 
Matthew's own hand, and it is clearly the work of a person of 
failing powers. 2 It is followed by some documents of 1258 
copied into the book by the scribe who helped Matthew to 
complete the texts of his historical manuscripts, and who wrote 
the colophon we have been discussing. 3 This, I think, shows 
that Matthew's powers failed in the spring or early summer of 
1259. Had he lived beyond the summer of this year, we should 
expect to find at any rate some signs of his continued use of the 
Liber Additamentorum, of all his manuscripts the most intimate 
and personal. The scribe of the colophon at the end of Matthew's 
Chronica Majora distinguishes carefully between that work and 
his own continuation of it, and if, as I have suggested, Matthew 
died shortly after the end of the text ascribed to him, we may 
assume also that he did so before the earliest event recorded in 
the continuation. The original version of this continuation is no 
longer extant, but, as Madden has shown, 4 a transcript of it was 

1 See pp. 82-3 below. 

2 See Vaughan, 'The handwriting of Matthew Paris', Trans, Camb. 
Bibliog. Soc. I (1953), Plate xvn (d) and p. 388. 

8 HA. i, p. li and note i. Besides these documents in the Liber Addita- 
mentorum, this scribe wrote the last part of the texts of Matthew's Chronica 
Majora (jR, ff. 2ioa~2i8b); Historia Anglorum (R y ff. I54b-i56b); and 
Abbreviatio Chronicorum (B,M. Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, ff. 87b~94b). 

4 HA. i, p. xxiii, note 2. See also Galbraith (ed.), St Albans Chronicle, 
1406-1420 (1937), p. xxviii. 

10 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

made in the Chetham manuscript of the Floras Historiarum. 
Now the first entry of this continuation refers to 26 June 1259, 
and the last entry in Matthew's Chronica Majora to the week 
following 25 May. 1 It seems therefore reasonable to conclude 
that Matthew Paris died in June 1259. 

It may well be asked how it was that a monk of St Albans, 
who apparently left the seclusion of the cloister only from time 
to time, and who only once left this country, and then only for 
a short period, could have kept himself well enough informed 
of current events in all parts of Europe to write one of the fullest 
and most elaborate of all medieval chronicles. The answer is 
that the cloister at St Albans was by no means secluded, and 
that Matthew could count many of the leading men of his day 
among his acquaintances. Contacts of various kinds with the 
outside world were kept up so continually that one wonders if 
it is right to use the term 'the outside world' in reference to 
a monastery like St Albans, which was in many ways at the very 
heart of affairs. The abbey was situated one day's journey from 
London on the main route to the north, and it is probable that 
the guests' stables, which Matthew tells us held 300 horses, 2 
were by no means unnecessarily large. Between 1220 and 1259 
the king visited St Albans at least nine times, sometimes staying 
as long as a week, and, had a visitors' book been kept in these 
years, and preserved for posterity, we might reasonably expect 
to find in it the names of most of the great men in the kingdom, 
as well as those of a number of important foreigners. The list 
printed here is far from complete, for it includes only those 
guests mentioned by Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris. How 
useful these visitors were, as a source of information for the 
chronicler, may be judged from the number who appear also in 
the list of Matthew's informants which follows. This list not 
only shows how Matthew obtained much of his information and 
from whom, but also the variety of circles in which he moved, 
the extent of his acquaintance, and the fame and influence which 
he enjoyed in his lifetime. 

1 FH. n, p. 426 and CM. v, p. 747. 2 CM. v, p. 344. 



II 



MATTHEW PARIS 

VISITORS TO ST ALBANS MENTIONED BY ROGER 
WENDOVER AND MATTHEW PARIS, 1220-59 

CM. 

1223 in, p. 80 A chaplain of the Emperor Baldwin 

1225, Easter v, p. 320 Henry III stayed for five days 

1228 in, p. 161 An Armenian archbishop who told the 

monks about the Wandering Jew 

1239 in, p. 568 Otho, the papal legate 

1240 IV, p. 43 Richard, earl of Cornwall 

1241 iv, p. 172 The prior of Coventry and some of his 

monks stayed more than a year 

1244, ii June iv, p. 358 Henry III stayed for three days 
1244 iv, p. 378 Thomas of Savoy, count of Flanders; his 

brother, Boniface, archbishop -elect of 
Canterbury; and Walter Suffield, bishop- 
elect of Norwich 
1244, 21 Dec. iv, p. 402 Henry III stayed for three days 

1247 iv, p. 600 John and Alexander, Franciscans and papal 

emissaries 

1248 v, p. 2 Richard, bishop of Bangor 
1251, 2 April v, p. 233 Henry III stayed for three days 

1251, 15 Sept. v, pp. 2578 Henry III stayed for three or four days 

1251, 29 Sept. v, p. 258 Visitation by the prior of Hurley and the 

sub-prior of St Augustine's, Canterbury 
1252 v, p. 288 Alan de la Zouche, a royal administrator 

returning from Wales 
1252 v, p. 288 Richard, bishop of Bangor 

1252, 23 Aug. v, pp. 319-20 Henry III stayed five days, together with 

his son Edward and his half-brother 
Geoffrey of Lusignan (CM. v, pp. 344-5). 
Philip Luvel and John Mansel, royal 
councillors, were also probably with the 
king 
1252 v, pp. 340-1 Certain Armenians 

1253, Nov. v, pp. 413 fT. Archbishop Boniface, on his way from 

Lincoln to London ; he left on 1 1 November 

1254, ii July V, p. 451 Walter Suffield, bishop of Norwich and 

royal tax collector 

1254, Dec. v, p. 468 Some Winchester monks 

1255, 9 Mar. v, p. 489 Henry III stayed for six days 

1256, Aug. v, p. 574 Henry III 

1257, 2 Jan. v, p. 608 Richard, bishop of Bangor; Philip de Eia, 

a councillor of Earl Richard of Cornwall ; 
and some nobles from the household of 
William of Valence 

12 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

CM. 

1257, 3 March v, pp. 617-18 Henry III stayed a week, during which 

time a deputation of M.A.'s from the 
University of Oxford arrived to see him 

1257 v, p. 630 The prior of St Thomas of Acre 
1257, 8 Oct. v, pp. 653-4 Queen Eleanor, Eleanor of Castile, and 

other noble ladies 

1258 v, p. 684 Simon Passelewe, a royal administrator 
1258 v, p. 719 Archbishop Boniface 



LIST OF MATTHEW'S KNOWN FRIENDS 

AND INFORMANTS 

(i) Nobility and knights of the British Isles 

King Henry III. Matthew knew him well, and he must have 
given the chronicler much useful information. For instance, he 
told Matthew the cost of the new feretory for St Edward's 
remains, 1 and of the homage done to him by Count Amadeus 
of Savoy. 2 

Queen Eleanor. Gave Matthew some cloth. 3 

Richard, earl of Cornwall, brother of Henry III. Evidently one 
of Matthew's chief informants. For instance, he told Matthew 
of his expenses at Hayles, 4 and Matthew's account of his crusade 
is certainly based on information given him by Richard himself. 5 

Hubert de Burgh, earl of Kent. Told Matthew about his 
escape from Devizes in 1233 ; 6 and many of Matthew's additions 
to Roger Wendover seem to be based on his information. 7 

Richard of Clare, earl of Gloucester. Told Matthew about 
some mounted knights seen in the sky in I236. 8 

Isabella, countess of Arundel, widow of Hugh of Albini. Must 
have told Matthew about her interview with the king in I252. 9 
Matthew lent her one of his books. 10 

Richard of Argenton, knight. Witnessed to the truth of the 
statements of the archbishop of Armenia. 11 

1 HA. n, p. 455- 2 &A. in, p. 8. 

3 CM. vi, p. 391. 4 CM. v, p. 262. 

5 CM. iv, pp. 43-7, 71, 144-8, 166-7. 6 HA. n, p. 359, note i. 

7 See CM. in, pp. 3-4, 28-9, 121, 199 ff., 290-1, etc. 

8 CM. in, p. 368. 9 CM. v, pp. 336-7. 
10 See below, p. 170. u CM. in, p. 164. 

13 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Baldwin de Vere, knight; Henry Ill's messenger to the emperor 
in 1236. He almost certainly told Matthew about this embassy. 1 

John of Gaddesden, knight. Gave Matthew information about 
the family of Raymond- Berenger V. 2 Evidently a useful contact 
for Matthew since he was sent on at least two important diplo- 
matic missions. 3 

The master of the Temple in Scotland. Probably gave Matthew 
information about Louis IX' s crusade. 4 

(2) Royal administrators 

John Mansel, councillor of Henry 111. Matthew had almost 
certainly met him, and he figures largely in the Chronica Major a. 
He seems to have lent Matthew a book, for in the margin of the 
manuscript of Matthew's life of St Alban 5 we find an alternative 
reading headed by Matthew: 'de libro Johannis Mansel'. 6 

John of Lexinton, councillor of Henry III. Told Matthew of 
the miracles at the tomb of the archdeacon of Northumberland. 7 

Roger Thurkelby, judge de Banco. Conversed with Matthew 
at dinner on one occasion. 8 

Alexander Swereford, baron of the Exchequer. Gave Matthew 
some information about King Offa. 9 He was evidently Matthew's 
main contact at the Exchequer, and he allowed Matthew to 
inspect the Exchequer records. 10 

Robert of London , a clerk employed by King John; in 1208 he 
was the secular ' custos ' of St Albans. It was he who told Matthew 
the story of John's embassy to Morocco. 11 

Edward, a councillor of Henry III, and Nicholas, moneyer to 
Henry III. These two were among Matthew's informants about 
the theft of the relics of St Alban by the Danes. 12 

(3) Bishops of the British Isles 

Alexander Stavensby, bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. Told 
Matthew about the repentance of Fawkes de Breaute. 13 

1 CM. nr, pp. 376-8. 2 CM. in, p. 335. 

3 CM. v, pp. 585 and 61 1. 4 CM. vi, p. 521. 

5 Trinity College, Dublin, MS. E i 40, f. 22 a. 

6 See below, p. 196. 7 CM. v, p. 384. 

8 CM. v, p. 317; see also v, p. 211. 

9 CM. vi, p. 519, note i. 10 See below, pp. 17-18. 
11 CM. it, pp. 559-64. 12 GA. I, p. 19. 

13 HA. n, p. 265; see also CM. in, pp. 169, 172, 268. 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

Eustace de Fauconberg, bishop of London. Told Matthew about 
his conversation with Fawkes de Breaute in I224. 1 

Peter des Roches, bishop of Winchester. Matthew obtained 
from him a book on the marvels of the East which he had 
brought back from Palestine in i23i. 2 

Nicholas of Farnham, bishop of Durham. Told Matthew the 
story of Simon of Tournay. 3 

Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln. In the colophon to the 
tract on the virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in B.M. Royal 
MS. 4 D vii (f. 248 a), Matthew says that he had obtained his 
exemplar from Grosseteste himself. He was with Grosseteste 
at Westminster in October 1247.* 

William Button, bishop of Bath. Told Matthew about an 
earthquake in I248. 5 

Richard Wych, bishop of Chichester. Gave Matthew informa- 
tion about St Edmund of Abingdon. 6 

John, bishop of Ardfert. Died at St Albans in 1245 after a long 
period of residence there. 7 

Richard, bishop of Bangor. Resided at St Albans between 
1248 and 1256. He repeated, to Matthew, Richard of Cornwall's 
words on accepting the German crown. 8 

(4) Other English ecclesiastics 

Ranulph Besace, canon of St PauTs; formerly physician to King 
Richard I. Told Matthew about the murder of the prince of 
Antioch by Saladin. 9 

Thomas of St Albans, physician to the earl of Arundel and prior 
of Wymondham. Probably told Matthew of the earl's anger with 
the papal legate in I2I9- 10 

John of Basingstoke, archdeacon of Leicester and a friend of 
Robert Grosseteste. Told Matthew the stories of the deacon who 
apostatized 11 and the beautiful Athenian girl ; 12 and showed him 
the Greek numerals which he copied into his chronicle. 13 

1 HA. n, p. 266. 2 HA. i, p. 163, note 4. 

3 CM. n, pp. 476-7 and HA. n, p. 90. 

4 CM. iv, pp. 643-4. 5 CM. v, p. 46 and HA. in, p. 42. 

6 CM. v, p. 369 and HA. in, p. 135. 

7 HA. n, p. 511 etc. 8 CM. v, p. 602. 
9 CM. n, p. 391 ; v, p. 221, and HA. n, p. 37. 

10 HA. II, pp. 237 and note 3, 249. u HA. n, pp. 254-5. 
12 CM. v, pp. 286-7. 13 CM. v, p. 285. 

15 



MATTHEW PARIS 

John Crakehall, archdeacon of Bedford. Told Matthew of the 
bells which rang miraculously on the death of Grosseteste. 1 

Ralph, abbot of Ramsey. Gave Matthew a silk cloth. 2 

The prior of Westacre. Told Matthew of various gifts made 
to the pope at the Council of Lyons. 3 

Walter of St Martin, a Dominican, and confessor of Cecilia de 
Sanford. Told Matthew of her pious death; 4 and probably 
gave Matthew copies of the letters he received from Palestine. 5 

John of St Giles, a Dominican. He confessed William de 
Marisco before his execution and probably gave Matthew an 
account of this. 6 

Robert Bacon, a Dominican. Gave Matthew information about 
St Edmund of Abingdon. 7 

Thomas, a monk of Sherborne. Matthew met him when he was 
with the king at Winchester in 1251, and copied down his 
account of the Pastoureaux. 8 

William, a Franciscan, Matthew drew a picture of him in the 
margin of his chronicle, 9 and inserted his picture of Christ in the 
Liber Additamentorum (f. I5S). 10 

Gervase of Melkeley, perhaps a clerk of Archbishop Stephen 
Langton. Probably gave Matthew information about Langton, 
as he is cited as a source in Matthew's Life of Langton. 11 
There are some verses of his in the Chronica Majora. 12 

(5) Foreign informants and acquaintances 

King Haakon IV of Norway. Told Matthew how he had 
refused the pope's offer of the imperial crown. 13 

Waleran, bishop of Beirut. Probably told Matthew of the 
difficulties of the journey to Palestine. 14 He was apparently in 
England in the summer of I245. 15 

1 CM, v, p. 408. 2 Below, p. 18. 3 CM. iv, p. 428. 

4 CM. v, pp. 235-6. 6 CM. vi, pp. 203 ff. 

6 CM. iv, pp. 196-7; see also CM. in, pp. 324 and 627, and v, p. 705. 

7 CM. v, p. 369. 8 CM. v, pp. 246-54. 

James, 'Drawings of Matthew Paris', Walpole Society, xiv (1925-6), 
no. 52. 

10 See Little, 'Brother William of England*, Franciscan Papers, pp. 16-24. 

11 Liebermann (ed.), Ungedruckte anglo-normannische Geschichtsquellen, 
p. 327. 12 ill, p. 43, and note 5; and iv, p. 493. 

13 CM. v, p. 201 ; see also above, pp. 4-6. 

14 CM. iv, p. 345, and HA. n, p. 483. 15 CM. iv, pp. 488-9. 

16 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

Peter, proctor of Philip of Savoy, archbishop-elect of Lyons. 
Told Matthew of the archbishop's expenses at a feast. 1 

Thomas, chaplain of Cardinal Raynier Cappochi, incarcerated 
with him at Naples in 124.1. Told Matthew about their 
imprisonment. 2 

A messenger of Ferdinand III of Castile. Told Matthew about 
his king. 3 

(6) Other persons 

Geoffrey Hackesalt, a servant of Abbot Warm of St Albans. 
Told Matthew about Warm's gifts to King Richard I in ii94. 4 

John of St Albans, a goldsmith; and Odo, former moneyer to 
King Waldemar III of Denmark. These two were among 
Matthew's informants about the theft of the relics of St Alban 
by the Danes. 5 

Aaron, a Jew of York. Told Matthew how much money the 
king had taken from him. 6 

A Cahorsin money-lender. Told Matthew how the London 
Cahorsins were being despoiled. 7 

A note ought to be included here on Matthew's connexion 
with the royal Exchequer. He evidently knew Alexander Swere- 
ford, a baron of the Exchequer, personally, and was in the habit 
of collecting information about matters of state from the 
Exchequer clerks. He certainly had access to the Exchequer 
records, and well understood their value. 8 Fourteen of the 
documents copied into his manuscripts are also to be found in 
the Red Book of the Exchequer. The most important of these are 
a group of four letters between Pope Gregory IX and the 
patriarch of Constantinople, Germanus, of the year 1232; and 
a group of six imperial letters. In his Chronica Major a Matthew 
refers his readers to the ' consuetudinario scaccarii ' for a fuller 
account of the coronation of Henry III and Eleanor in I236. 9 
A comparison of the two -accounts shows that Matthew did not 
use the existing Red Book, but probably its exemplar; and this 

1 CM. vi, p. 444. 2 CM. iv, p. 130. 3 CM. v, pp. 231-2. 

4 HA. n, p. 47- 5 GA. i, p. 19. 6 CM. v, p. 136. 

7 CM. v, pp. 245-6. 

8 Hall (ed.), Red Book of the Exchequer, i, pp. xxix-xxx; Liebermann 
(ed.), in MGH,SS. xxvni, p. 82. 

9 Hall (ed.), Red Book, I, p. xix. 

2 17 



MATTHEW PARIS 

is borne out by collation of the documents in Matthew with 
those in the Red Book. On the basis of this evidence, it is 
reasonable to suppose that Matthew obtained from the Exchequer 
a great deal of information and documentary material ; it may 
indeed have been his main source of the latter. It is worth 
noting, too, that the system of signa which Matthew uses in 
referring to documents is very similar to that used in the 
Exchequer, and was probably copied from it. 1 

As a result of his wide connexions, Matthew Paris received 
a number of gifts which he later passed on to his house. A list 
of some of these, written by himself, has survived at the end of 
a short tract which he included in his Liber Additamentorum, 
headed 'De pannis sericis huius ecclesiae'. 2 Henry III gave 
him some silk material from which he made a set of vestments 
for use in the chapel of St Matthias ; and Matthew also presented 
to his house a choir-cope he had made out of some cloth given 
him by Queen Eleanor, and ornamented with a fine orphrey 
given him by his friend King Haakon of Norway. The abbot of 
Ramsey, too, gave him some ornamental silk material which he 
afterwards gave to St Albans. It seems likely that the gifts 
recorded in the late-fourteenth-century Book of Benefactors of 
St Albans as from Matthew Paris 3 had likewise been given to 
him by friends of his; except perhaps the last item mentioned, 
a silver cup, which he may have made himself. 4 The other gifts 
recorded are two silver basins, which Matthew perhaps acquired 
in Norway, since it appears from the text of the Book of Bene- 
factors that he gave them on his return thence, and a pendent 
reliquary of gold. While on the subject of his gifts to St Albans 
we ought to note Matthew's gifts of books. Of his surviving 
autograph manuscripts, four still contain inscriptions in his own 
hand recording his gift of them 'to God and St Albans', 5 

1 Palgrave (ed,), Ancient KalendarSy I, pp. xxvi-xxvii, describes the system 
used in Bishop Stapleton's Calendar. 2 CM, vi, pp. 389-92. 

3 B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D vii, ff. sob-si a. 

4 Oman, 'Goldsmiths at St Albans Abbey 1 , Trans. St Albans and Herts 
Archit. and ArchaeoL Soc. (1932), p. 230. 

5 They are B.M. Cotton MS. Nero Di (the Liber A dditamentorum) ; 
B.M. Royal MS. 14 C vii (JR); Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 
1 6 (B); and University Library, Cambridge, MS. Dd xi 78 (poems of Henry 
of Avranches, etc.). 

18 



THE LIFE OF MATTHEW PARIS 

It was no doubt largely because of his gifts that Matthew 
found his way into the Book of Benefactors, compiled 150 years 
after his death. 1 But Thomas Walsingham does not limit him- 
self to them; he says: 2 

Matthew Paris, a religious monk, an incomparable chronicler and 
an excellent painter, was sent by Pope Innocent to reform the 
monastery of Holm in Norway, which was under the jurisdiction 
of the archbishop of Nidaros. Owing to the idleness of the monks of 
this place, its religion had disappeared, its fame had dwindled away, 
and its goods had been dissipated. He caused its religion to flourish 
again; advanced its fame for sanctity; and carefully added to its 
possessions, so that, among the monasteries of that region, it was 
reputed inferior to none. 

He then goes on to describe the gifts to St Albans which we 
have mentioned above. Elsewhere, in a tract ' On the foundation 
and merits of the monastery of St Albans', 3 Thomas Walsing- 
ham includes Matthew in his list of the historians of his house 
with the following remarks : 4 

Afterwards flourished Matthew Paris, who ably enlarged (necessarie 
ampliavit] the aforesaid Roger's chronicles; who wrote and most 
elegantly illustrated (depinxit) the Lives of Saints Alban and Amphi- 
balus, and of the archbishops of Canterbury Thomas and Edmund; 
and who provided many books for the church. Were I to try to sing 
all his praises, the task would be interminable. 

The only other notice of Matthew Paris in a later St Albans 
source is the well-known eulogy of him in the Gesta Abbatwn, 
which, as we have seen, is also probably from the pen of Thomas 
Walsingham : 5 

At this time, too, flourished and died Dom Matthew Paris; monk 
of St Albans, and an eloquent and famous man full of innumerable 
virtues; a magnificent historian and chronicler; an excellent author 

1 See Galbraith (ed.), St Albans Chronicle, pp. xxxvi-xxxvii. 

2 B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D vii, ff. 50)3-51 a. 

3 B.M. Cotton MS. Claudius E iv, f. 331 b; printed in Riley (ed.), 
Johannis Amundesham Annales, II, pp. 296306. 

4 Riley (ed.), Amundesham, p. 303. The phrase c ably enlarged' in the first 
line of my translation of this passage is taken from Galbraith's translation, 
Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris , p. 22. 

5 See above, pp. 7-8. Printed, GA. I, pp. 394-5. I am again indebted 
to Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 30, for parts of my 
translation of this passage. 

19 2-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

(dictator), who frequently revolved in his heart the saying: 'Laziness 
is the enemy of the soul', and whom widespread fame commended 
in remote parts where he had never been. Diligently compiling 
his chronicle from the earliest times up to the end of his life, he 
fully recorded the deeds of magnates, both lay and ecclesiastical, as 
well as various and wonderful events; and left for the notice of 
posterity a marvellous record of the past. He had such skill in the 
working (sculpendo) of gold and silver and other metal, and in 
painting pictures, that it is thought that there has been no equal to 
him since in the Latin world. 

Outside St Albans Matthew is mentioned, so far as I have 
been able to discover, by only three later chroniclers. 1 Of these, 
the most interesting is an anonymous monk of Ramsey, who 
wrote, before 1267, a little treatise in prose and verse on the 
struggle between Henry III and the barons. For the history of 
the period up to the start of the war, he refers his readers to 
Matthew Paris with the following words : 2 

If anyone wishes to know about his [i.e. Henry Ill's] deeds up to 
the forty-second year of his reign [1258], he should consult the 
chronicle of Master Matthew, a monk of St Albans; there the diligent 
reader can find out how he [Henry III] captured Bedford castle, how 
he exiled Archbishop St Edmund, how he behaved in general 
(qualiter duocerit} ; and many other things concerning England in his 
time. 

The other two notices of Matthew are the barest mentions: 
Thomas Wykes includes his name, together with those of Bede 
and William of Newburgh, among his predecessors in the 
writing of history; 3 and the author of the Book of Hyde cites 
him by name: 4 ut scribit Matheus Parisiacensis'. 4 A number 
of later chroniclers copied from Matthew Paris without men- 
tioning his name, but the use thus made of his historical 
writings will be examined in a later chapter. 

1 The mention of Matthew Paris in John of Oxenedes's chronicle (Ellis 
(ed.), ChronicaJ. de Oxenedes^ p. 184) has been copied, together with most 
of the rest of the text, from John of Wallingford's chronicle in B.M. Cotton 
MS. Julius D vii, fF, 61110, copied in its turn from Matthew's own writings. 

2 Halliwell (ed.)> William Rishanger, p. xxi note; the Ramsey monk's use 
of the title 'magister', in reference to Matthew Paris, is doubtless an error, 
for it is not used elsewhere. 

3 Luard (ed.), Annales monastic^ iv, p. 7. 

4 See below, pp. 40-1. 

20 



CHAPTER II 

MATTHEW PARIS AND 
ROGER WENDOVER 

MATTHEW PARIS was the most distinguished of a 
succession of historical writers at St Albans, and his 
most important work, the Chronica Majora, takes the 
form of a revised edition and continuation of the Flores His- 
toriarum of his predecessor Roger Wendover, who died on 6 May 
I236, 1 twenty-three years before Matthew. It is thus essential, 
before we examine Matthew's historical writings, to discuss 
their relationship to the work of his predecessor. Our know- 
ledge of Roger Wendover and of his chronicle is extremely 
scanty, and, in spite of the fact that Roger's work formed the 
basis of his own, Matthew tells us nothing about it. Two manu- 
scripts of Roger's Flores Historiarum survive, both of them late 
copies, one written c. 1300, and the other c. I35O. 2 These, 
following Luard's terminology, 3 I shall call respectively W and 
O ; and the text which they share in common, OW. Fortunately, 
the original manuscript of Matthew's Chronica Majora survives 
in three parts: A, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, 
containing the text up to 1188; B, Corpus Christi College, 
Cambridge, MS. 16, with the text from 1189 to I2 53 5 ^> British 
Museum Royal MS, 14 C vii, containing the text from 1254 to 
the end, as well as the whole of Matthew's Historia Anglorum. 
A was produced under the supervision of Matthew Paris, and 
B and R are almost entirely autograph. 4 In this chapter we shall 
be concerned only with A and B y since it is in them that the text 
of Roger's Flores Historiarum was incorporated by Matthew; 
and, since they were written originally as one book, 5 1 shall refer 

1 CM. vi, p. 274. 

2 W, Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce MS. 207; and O, B.M. Cotton MS. 
Otho B v. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 264, ff. 1-64, is a series 
of extracts from O extending from 1 199 to 1234 and written in the fourteenth 
century, before 1352. 3 CM. I, p. Lxxxv. 

4 Vaughan, * Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Camb. Bibliog. Soc. I (1953), 
pp. 390-1. 5 See below, pp. 56-7. 

21 



MATTHEW PARIS 

to them with the symbol AB except when it is necessary to 
distinguish between them. 

Until recently historians disputed Madden's belief 1 that Roger 
Wendover was the founder of the St Albans historical school. 
Hardy supposed that Roger had based his Flares Historiamm on 
an earlier, twelfth-century, *St Albans compilation' perhaps 
written by Walter of St Albans, and extending to 1154 or even 
to n88. 2 Luard put forward the theory that this 'St Albans 
compilation' was written by Abbot John de Cella (1195-1214); 
that its text extended to 1188; and that it formed the basis of 
Roger's chronicle. 3 Liebermann, in the introduction to his 
edition of excerpts from Roger's chronicle, did not deny the 
possibility that Roger used the work of a predecessor extending 
to 1 1 88, and he claimed as evidence for this that, up to the 
annal for 1188 in the Flores Historiarum, the compiler refers to 
himself in the plural, and after it in the singular. 4 But this is 
not in fact true, for in at least two places in the early part of the 
text the compiler refers to himself in the singular. 5 Liebermann, 
however, showed that if there were a compilation lying behind 
the text of Roger's chronicle, it was probably not written until 
after c. I2O4. 6 This did not rule out the possibility that Abbot 
John de Cella was the author of the compilation, and in 1904 
Miss Rickert restated this theory, and argued that Abbot John 
also wrote the Vitae Offarum and the chronicle attributed to 
John of Wallingford in British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vii 
which she took to be a sort of rough draft of the ' St Albans 
compilation'. 7 In 1922 Professor Claude Jenkins revived the 
theory of a twelfth-century compilation at St Albans, and sug- 
gested that the original compilation perhaps ended in 1154, and 
that Abbot John continued it thence up to n88. 8 The basis of 
the theory of Abbot John's authorship of a compilation extending 

1 HA. i, p. xiii. 

2 Hardy, A Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History of 
Great Britain and Ireland) in, p. xxxvi and note 3. 

a CM. n, pp. x-xii and vii, pp. ix-xi. 

4 Liebermann (ed.), in MGH y SS. xxvin, p. 8. 

5 CM. I, pp. 270, note 2, and 509. 

6 Liebermann (cd.), in MGH,SS. xxvin, pp. 7-8. 

7 Rickert, c Old English Offa Saga', Modern Philol. n (1904-5), pp. 29-39. 

8 Jenkins, Monastic Chronicler and the Early School of St Albans, pp. 32 ff. 
and 40-1. 

22 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

to 1 1 88 was a marginal note in one of the manuscripts of Roger 
Wendover's Flores Historiarum opposite the annal for uSS: 1 
'hue usque in lib. cronic. Johannis abbatis'; but Sir Maurice 
Powicke showed that this note, far from referring to a compila- 
tion written by Abbot John de Cella, merely meant that, when 
it was written, c. 1300, the Abbot John of the time was in 
possession of another manuscript of the chronicle (probably A), 
the text of which ended at that poinl Powicke went on to state 
that there was in fact no evidence of the existence of a ' St Albans 
compilation' previous to Roger Wendover; and Professor 
Galbraith agreed with him. 2 

I do not propose here to attempt to examine in detail the 
complex question of the sources of Roger Wendover's Flores 
Historiarum, but it should be remarked that, in spite of the 
statements of Powicke and Galbraith, the possibility remains 
that he may have used an earlier compilation of some kind. The 
existing manuscripts O and W are evidently both copies of 
Roger's chronicle, for in both the text ends with the words: 
'Hue usque scripsit cronica Dominus Rogerus de Wendovre' ; 3 
and we may assume from this that OW (as I call the common 
source of O and W) was likewise a copy of Roger's chronicle. 
But we cannot overlook the possibility that the opening words 
of O and W^ ( Incipit prologus in librum qui Flores Historiarum 
intitulatur ', 4 refer to a compilation called Flores Historiarum, on 
which Roger based the cronica referred to at the end of these 
manuscripts. No doubt Madden, Powicke, and Galbraith are 
right in considering Roger Wendover as the founder of the 
St Albans historical school so far as original historical writing is 
concerned, but nobody has yet proved that he did not make use 
of a historical compilation written by some unknown monk of 
the twelfth or early thirteenth century. 

While we are on the subject of Roger Wendover, there is one 
small point which we ought to note. Both Sir Maurice Powicke 
and Professor Galbraith assumed that Roger Wendover begins 
to be original about the year 1201, when 'the great histories of 

1 W, f. 135 a- 

2 Powicke, Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(1944), pp. 148-9; Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 16, and 
note i. 8 CM. in, p. 327, note 2. 4 CM. I, p. i. 

23 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Hoveden and Diceto, his main standby, stopped '. l Liebermann, 
however, had long before pointed out that Roger used a book 
of annals (called by Liebermann ew) for the reign of King John 
which were used later by Taxster, and which had already been 
used by the author of the Annales Sancti Edmundi* The manu- 
script of these latter ends abruptly in 1212, but Liebermann 
suggests that their source, ew, continued at least until 1214, an d 
possibly for the rest of the reign of John ; and that many of the 
passages which are in Roger Wendover but not in the Annales 
Sancti Edmundi were in ew but were omitted by the annalist of 
St Edmunds. Roger Wendover also used some annals added 
at the end of the St Albans copy of Ralph de Diceto for his 
account of John's reign, 3 and it seems, in fact, that there may 
be little original material in Roger's chronicle before his account 
of Henry Ill's reign. 

The text of the existing manuscripts of Roger's Flores His- 
toriarum (OW) is by no means identical with that of Matthew's 
manuscript of the Chronica Majora, AB. Two main types of 
variant occur in the latter, both of which must be examined 
here. In the first place, the text of AB, as originally written by 
Matthew's scribes, differs in places from that of Roger; and, 
secondly, many variations occur in AB which are due to Matthew 
Paris himself, both in those parts of the text which he wrote out 
himself, and in the margins or between the lines. Let us take 
first those variations in the text of AB which are not due to 
Matthew himself. Luard discovered that, up to the annal for 
231, and again between the annals for 1012 and 1065, the varia- 
tions of this kind between OW and AB were such that they 
could not rightly be called copies of the same book. Between 
231 and 1012, however, he found that these two texts were 
identical 'with only such variations as will always exist between 
two copies of the same work'. 4 Luard noticed, too, that, up to 

1 Powicke, 'Roger Wendover and the Coggeshall Chronicle*, EHR. xxr 
(1906), p. 287; Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 15, whence 
the quotation. 

2 Liebermann (ed.), Ungedruckte anglo-normannische Geschichtsquellen, 
pp. 101 ff. 

3 B.M. Royal MS. 13 E vi, fT. 136-7; they are printed in Liebermann (ed.), 
Ungedruckte anglo-norm. Geschichtsquellen, pp. 167-72. 

4 CM, i, pp. xiii and xxx; the quotation is from p, xiii. Powicke has mis- 
represented Luard when he states (* Compilation of the Chronica Majora ', 

24 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

231, OPT is fuller than AB, and he thought that this was due to 
the fact that, while AB had been copied from an earlier com- 
pilation, OW had been enlarged from it. 1 He concluded that 
Matthew Paris, in supervising the writing of his Chronica Major a 
in AB, had used a manuscript of an earlier compilation which 
had been used independently by Roger Wendover; and that, 
while AB was throughout an accurate copy of this compilation, 
the text of OW had been altered from it up to 231, and again 



MS. of the 'St Albans compilation * 



Altered up to 
231 annal; and 
between 1012 and 1065 



Copied 



OW 
Roger Wendover 



AB 
Matthew Paris 



Fig, i. Diagram to show Luard's theory of the relationship 
between OW and AB up to 1066. 

between 1012 and 1065 (see fig. i). Powicke disagreed with 
Luard, and thought that the differences between AB and OW 
were due either to Matthew himself, or to the use by his scribes 
in AB of a different compilation up to the annal for 23 1. 2 The 
only way to resolve this problem is to compare carefully a passage 
as it is in OW, AB, and the original source whence it was 
derived. Here, first, is an example from before the annal for 231 : 

The source, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia regum Britanniae* 
Nee mora concurrentes undique nationum populi exemplum regis 

pp. 149-50): 'Luard. . .assumed that the whole of A was independent of 
Wendover. He did not point out, what can be inferred from his own foot- 
notes, that in fact there is no such independence except for the period from 
the Creation to the year A.D. 231, and the period from 1013 to 1065.' 

1 CM. i, pp. xxx-xxxi. 

2 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a 9 , Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(1944), p. 150. 3 A. Griscom (ed.), p- 3^9 (Bern MS.)- 

25 



MATTHEW PARIS 

insequntur, eodemque lauacro mimdati, celesti regno restituuntur. 
Beati igitur doctores cum per totam fere insulam paganismum 
deleuissent, templa que in honore plurimorum deorum fundata 
fuerant uni deo eiusque sanctis dedicauerunt, diuersisque cetibus 
ordinatorum repleuerunt 

AB. Part of the annal for I85. 1 

. . . concurrerunt ad baptismum nationes diversae, exemplum regis 
sequentes, ita ut in brevi nullus inveniretur infidelis. Beati igitur 
doctor es> cum per totam Britanniam paganismum delevissent, templa, 
quae in honore plurimorum deorum fundata fuerant) uni Deo ejusdemque 
sanctis dedicaverunt, diversisque ordinatorum coetibus expleverunt. 

OW. The same passage, but under the year i83. 2 

. . . concurrebant ad baptismum sacramentum nationes diuerse 
regis exemplum sequentes, ita ut in breui nullus infidelis remaneret. 
Beati igitur doctores Christi, cum per totam Britanniam paganismum 
deleuissent, templi [sic] que ob honorern deorum gentilium fundata 
fuerant [in W the 'n* is expunct] uni Deo eius sanctis dedicantes, 
diuersis ordinatorum cetibus inpleuerunt. 

I have italicized those words in AB and OFF which are taken 
directly from the source. It will be seen that AB and OW share 
a text in common which is different from the source, though 
obviously based on it; they are, in fact, clearly versions of one 
and the same compilation. It will also be seen that, where the 
texts of AB and OW differ, AB is nearer the original source; 
a fact which shows that, while the scribe of AB has copied his 
exemplar more or less accurately, the scribe of OW has made 
alterations from it in the course of writing. A similar comparison 
between AB, OIF" and their source may be made for part of the 
text between 1012 and 1065: 

The source, Florence of Worcester's Chronicon ex chronicis? 

Rex Walanorum Griffinus non, Augusti a suis interficitur, et caput 
eius caputque navis ipsius cum ornatura comiti Haroldo mittitur, 
quae mox ille regi detulit Eadwardo. Quibus gestis, suis fratribus 
Blethgento et Rithwalano, rex terram Walanorum dedit; cui et 

1 CM. i, p. 129. 

2 W, f. 29 a and O, f. 26 a. O is unfortunately badly damaged by fire, and 
could therefore only be partially collated here. 

3 B. Thorpe (ed.), I, p. 222. 

26 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

Haroldo comiti, fidelitatem illi juraverunt, et ad impermm illorum . . . 
obedienter se pensuros spoponderunt. 

AB. The annal for 1064.! 

Gens Walanorum, nonas Augusti, interfecto rege suo Griffino, 
caput ejus duci Haroldo miserunt, quod mox Haroldus ad regem 
Eadwardum transmittens, alium Walensibus regem praefecit. Qui 
Eadwardo regi fidelitatem praestito faciens juramento, omnia, quae 
regibus Anglorum solvi consueverant, ipse fideliter se pensurum 
spopondit. 

OW. The annal for io64. 2 

Gens Wallensium nonas Augusti, rege Griffino perempto, caput 
suum duci Haroldo miserunt, quod mox Haroldus ad regem Ead- 
wardum transmittens, alium Wallensibus regem praefecit; qui, 
Anglorum regi fidelitatem faciens, omnia, quae regibus Anglicis solvi 
debebantur, ipse fideliter se redditurum spopondit. 

Here, again, AB and OW were clearly taken from a common 
exemplar, which was, in its turn, taken from the original source ; 
and, here again, where AB and OIF differ, AB is almost invari- 
ably nearer the source than OW. Thus the differences between 
AB and OW are again due to the scribe of OW, who is making 
free with the exemplar while that of AB keeps strictly to it. 
In this part of the text, however, the scribe of OW has usually 
abridged his exemplar, instead of amplifying it, as he did before 
the annal for 23 1 . Luard, then, was right in supposing that the 
differences between AB and OW are due to alterations made by 
the scribe of OPFfrom an exemplar which was copied more or 
less accurately by the scribe of AB. 

If we take the whole text of the chronicle up to 1066, and 
compare it carefully in AB, O and W, the relationship of the 
manuscripts can be established with some degree of certainty. 
O and W, for instance, were certainly copied from a single 
exemplar, OW: W could not have been copied from O, since it 
is earlier than that manuscript, nor could O have been copied 
from W, since in W four different lines are omitted through 
homoeoteleuton, 3 yet in each case the missing line is in O. On 

1 CM. I, p. 531. 2 H. O. Coxe (ed.), i, p. 5^4- 

3 At CM. i, pp. 252, note 3; 328, note i; 400, note i; and 487, note 16. 
The possibility of an intermediate manuscript between OW and O is not 
considered here, since its existence would not affect the argument. 

27 



MATTHEW PARIS 

the other hand the readings which O and W have in common 
show that they shared a common exemplar ; 1 and, since in both 
manuscripts the text is attributed to Roger Wendover, it is 
certain that their common exemplar, OW, was likewise a text 
of Roger Wendover. O W was undoubtedly copied from another 
manuscript, which I shall call b, for errors and omissions com- 
mon to O and W, which can only have been due to the careless- 
ness of the scribe of OWin copying, occur frequently. 2 Since 
these errors are not found in AB, that manuscript cannot have 
been copied from OW, and the virtual identity of much of the 
text of AB and OW can only be explained on the hypothesis 
that AB, like OW, was copied from b (see fig. z). 

This same relationship is found after the annal for 1066. For 
instance, in the course of the annals for 1098 and 1228, there are 
cases of the loss of a line through homoeoteleuton in both O 
and W? which show that they still derive from the common 
exemplar OW; and the fact that in each case AB has the missing 
line shows that it is still not copied from OW (the scribe of 
which must have omitted these lines in order that they should 
be missing in both O and W) but from OW's exemplar, i. All 
the manuscripts carelessly omit several lines of the text of 
Magna Carta, 4 a fact which shows that at this point, too, they 
all derive from a single manuscript, b. The fact that the text of 
b continued at any rate up to the annal for 1228 is of some 
significance; for Luard believed that the exemplar of OW and 
AB, that is b, was a manuscript of a compilation written at 
St Albans before Roger Wendover's time. 5 But the text of any 
such compilation would certainly not have extended up to the 
year 1228, within eight years of Roger's death; and in fact b 
must surely have been an early copy or recension of Roger's own 
chronicle, and not an earlier *St Albans compilation'. 6 There is 
some evidence that Roger's Floras Historiarum did in fact exist 
in two recensions. In both O and W the text is attributed to 
Roger Wendover and ends at a point about half-way through 
the annal for 1235, the last date mentioned being that of the 

1 See Luard's remarks on this, CM. i, p. xiv. 

2 See, for instance, CM. i, pp. 297, note i, 340, note i, and 448, note 2, 

3 CM. n, p. 83, note 3, and in, p. 149, note 3. 

4 CM. n, p. 591, note 5. 5 CM. I, pp. xxx-xxxi. 

6 For a discussion of the manuscript lying behind b> see below, pp. 96-7. 

28 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

marriage of Frederick II and Isabella on 20 July. 1 On the 
other hand a rubric in O at the beginning of book two of Roger's 
chronicle (f. 3 a) states that the text continues 'up to the year of 
Our Lord 1234' ; anc * i* 1 the fair copy of part two of Matthew's 
Chronica Majora (C) the rubricator has written a note referring 
to a point in the text between April and May 1234 which says : 2 
1 Dom Roger Wendover, one time prior of Belvoir, completed 




Fig. 2. Diagram to show the relationship of the manuscripts of 
Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris. 

(digessit) his chronicle up to this point. Brother Matthew Paris 
begins [here].' This note must have been written in or soon 
after 1250, and it seems to be the earliest surviving evidence for 
the termination of Roger Wendover's Flores Historiarum. It 
was copied, c. 1300, into the margin of Matthew's autograph 
manuscript of the Chronica Majora (B), but here it refers, not 
to a point in the annal for 1234, as in C, but to the point where 
the text of O and W ends. Its writer, presumably, had seen 
a copy of Roger Wendover's chronicle which ended at this point 



1 CM. in, p. 324. 



CM. in, p. 290, note 8. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

In 1235, and assumed that the note in C was misplaced. Apossible 
explanation of the discrepancy in this evidence concerning the 
termination of Roger's Flares Historiamm is that Roger finished 
one recension of his chronicle up to 1234, and that he then 
produced a second recension of it, in which the text was con- 
tinued into 1235. If this is so, it seems possible that b represented 
Roger's first recension, and OW his second; though on the 
other hand it is perhaps unlikely that Matthew Paris would have 
been content to use the first recension of his predecessor's work, 
when a more up to date version was available to him. 

Before we go on to discuss those variations in AB which are 
due to Matthew Paris, we ought to note that there are a few 
cases where a passage in OW does not occur in AB. It is, 
however, impossible to ascertain whether these passages were 
omitted on purpose by Matthew, or whether they were only 
added by Roger in the second recension of his chronicle, that is 
in OW, and were consequently omitted in AB simply because 
they did not occur in its exemplar b. 1 

By no means all the variations from OW which occur in the 
original text of AB have so far been discussed, for a large 
number occur in those parts of AB which were written by 
Matthew himself, not to mention those which are due to 
his subsequent additions and alterations in that manuscript. 
Matthew himself wrote the annals for 619 and 620 in A, and 
nearly all the text of B from the annal for 1213 onwards, and 
throughout both manuscripts he has rewritten passages on 
erasures and made corrections and additions in the margins. 
If we look first at those sections of the text written by Matthew 
himself, we find that verbal variations from OW (apart from 
those already discussed) occur in them, and very seldom else- 
where. Thus, a number occur in the annal for 620, but very 
few are to be found elsewhere in this part of A. 2 Again, when 
Matthew himself begins writing the text of B during the annal 

1 The most important of these passages are mentioned by Luard in his 
notes to the Chronica Majora, and printed in Hewlett's edition of Roger 
Wendover's Flores Historiarum, i, pp. 225-6; and n, pp. 356-8 and 369-72. 
See CM. n, p. 398, note 4; ni, p. 165, note 2; and in, p. 176, note 3. 

2 Purely scribal variations are, of course, found throughout the text, but 
these differ in character from the deliberate verbal alterations made by 
Matthew Paris. 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

for 1213, a large number of variations from OW occur; but they 
cease (except for two small additions) 1 when Matthew hands 
the quill back to his scribe for ff. 46b~~5oa of B. Unfortunately 
Luard's edition of the Chronica Major a is extremely confusing 
here, because he frequently does not point out whether or not 
a passage added in AB to the text of OIF and consequently 
printed by him in large type was in the original text of the 
manuscript, or only added subsequently. Owing to this, and to 
Luard's uncertainty about the identity of Matthew's hand- 
writing, the striking coincidence between the occurrence of 
variations in the text of AB and the sections of this text written 
by Matthew Paris himself is not at all apparent in his edition. 
A careful comparison of the manuscripts, however, shows that 
Matthew was at first content merely to supervise the writing of 
AB] to insert many of the rubrics in his own hand; and occa- 
sionally to write out a piece of its text himself; while his scribes 
made a close copy of the exemplar, b. But when the text reached 
his own lifetime he took over the writing of it himself, so that 
he could incorporate directly into it his own version of the 
chronicle of his predecessor. Later he went through the manu- 
script making further additions and alterations, both to the 
sections of text written by himself, and to those written by his 
scribes. These facts are of the utmost importance, for they show 
that AB is the actual manuscript into which Matthew Paris 
first made his revisions of Roger Wendover: it is, in fact, the 
earliest and original complete manuscript of his Chronica Major a? 
Were this not so, we should not find variations from OIF occur- 
ring in just those parts of the text of AB which were written by 
Matthew Paris himself. 

Matthew evidently at first intended to go carefully through 
the whole of AB in order to correct the errors of his scribes. 
But this good intention was carried out systematically only up 
to about p. 75 (about the annal for 500). At this point he 
evidently grew tired of the work of correction, and in the rest of 
A he was active only at a few scattered points. Thus, between 
the beginning of the book and p. 75 he made over 100 corrections ; 
but from here on until the annal for 1066 there are only about 

1 CM. n, pp. 653 and 669. 

2 For more on this, see below, pp. 50 ff. 

31 



MATTHEW PARIS 

thirty, twenty-two of which occur between the annals for 1006 
and 1066. After the annal for 1066 corrections again become 
frequent, and it is clear that Matthew went through this part of 
the text of A with much more care. Matthew's work of correction 
was not, on the whole, very satisfactory. Sometimes he fails to 
correct in one place an error which he had avoided elsewhere. 
Thus he spoils the sense of one passage which he misunderstood 
because the scribe had omitted the initial letter for illumination ; 
yet he wrote the same passage out correctly in the Vitae Off arum. 1 
Sometimes he makes blundering attempts at correction which 
entirely spoil the sense of the passage; as, for instance, where, 
mistaking an' ( = c annis') for ante, he alters Roger Wendover's 
c Francorum [rex] Marcomirus annis triginta quatuor ' to * Fran- 
corum [rex] Marcomirus an[te] triginta quatuor dies obiit'. 2 
Sometimes, however, his corrections are successful: he supplies 
a missing verb or corrects a scribal blunder, and, on one 
occasion, provides a missing line in the margin. 3 Occasionally 
he corrects a historical mistake of Roger's: for instance, where 
Roger wrongly had ' Walone ', Matthew corrects to * Pandulpho J . 4 
On the whole, however, Matthew's corrections of Roger are 
inadequate and few in number, and they hardly make up for the 
numerous new blunders and inaccuracies which were introduced 
into the chronicle through his own or his scribe's carelessness in 
AB. 

Apart from correction or attempted correction, Matthew's 
revision of Roger's Floras Historiarum consists of * improve- 
ments', in part stylistic and literary, and in part historical. 
His literary alterations often take the form of the addition of 
words and phrases, usually colourful and tendentious, to give 
vigour and picturesqueness to the narrative, and frequently he 
substitutes his own phrases for Roger's more prosaic ones. For 
instance, he alters Roger's 'subridens' (in reference to King 
John) to 'subsannans'; and 'cerebro perforate' (speaking of 
Eustace de Vescy's death from a head wound) to 'cerebro 

1 CM, I, p. 359, note 4; Wats, p. 29. 

2 CM. i, p. 171, note i ; see also CM. I, p. 141, note z, and n, pp. xxx-xxxi. 

3 CM, i, p. 203. Luard does not point out that the words * Vae tibi. . . 
lacerabuntur * are omitted through homoeoteleuton in all the MSS., but 
added in the margin of A by Matthew himself. 

4 CM. ra, p. 61, note 5. 

12 



MATTHEW PARIS AND ROGER WENDOVER 

terebrato'; and elsewhere he adds to Roger's phrase c cum 
juramento' the word 'horribili'. 1 Many other examples of this 
kind of 'improvement' could be cited. 2 Matthew's love of 
playing on words is often reflected in the addition in the margin 
of the manuscript of a word similar in form to that used by 
Roger, usually preceded with a vel: thus we find * vel indicio* in 
reference to the word 'editio', and 'vel fir.' in reference to 
'conformari'. 3 Frequently Roger's narrative is 'improved' by 
the provision of an apt quotation, some illustrative verses, or an 
epitaph. 4 Other characteristic literary alterations are the intro- 
duction of direct speech, 5 and the insertion of epithets or short 
character sketches, usually bestowing praise or blame, where 
Roger Wendover only mentions a name. Here is a passage 
containing a number of examples of this kind of ' improvement ' : 6 

Fawkes, lacking the bowels of compassion; the warlike and blood- 
thirsty Savari de Mauleon with his Poitevins; William Brewer, 
bellicose and experienced, with his men; Walter Buc, an assassin and 
man of blood, with his filthy ignoble Flemings and Brabanters, stained 
with every kind of crime .... 

This passage exemplifies another of Matthew's favourite 
'improvements' to the text of his predecessor: the introduction 
of his own opinions, feelings, and prejudices. When Roger 
records Henry Ill's return from Poitou in 1230 without any 
comment, Matthew supplies it thus : 7 ' [He returned . . . ] having 
wasted an infinite amount of money, and having caused the 
death of innumerable nobles; weakened them with sickness and 
hunger; or reduced them to extreme poverty . . ..* Again, when 
Roger records John of Brienne's flight to France in 1230, 
Matthew adds: 8 '[He fled...] with his mercenaries, whom 
the pope enriched with ecclesiastical plunder and honoured 
with goods taken whencesoever from the poor. . . .' 

Many of these colourful, partisan comments and statements 

1 CM. n, pp. 586, note 3, and 666, note 2; m, p. ai. 

2 See CM. n, p. xxxii, and pp. 622-3, 639-40 etc. 

3 CM. I, pp. 174, note 3, and 130, note 2. 

4 E.g. at CM. n, pp. 452 and 669; in, pp. 43, 57, 105, 112, 186, note 5, etc. 

5 E.g. at CM. n, pp. 624, 637, 645; and in, p. 161. 

6 CM. II, pp. 635-6; I have italicized Matthew's additions to the text of 
Roger. 7 CM. in, p. 199. 8 CM. in, p. 194. 

3 33 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

added by Matthew enliven the narrative of Roger Wendover; 
and we must, I think, regard them as literary, rather than 
historical, 'improvements'. Of these latter, however, there are 
many examples. A number of small factual details, such as the 
insertion of a name or a date, 1 and a large number of short 
annalistic entries, sometimes from sources not used by Roger, 
are added. 2 Besides these, Matthew added a good many docu- 
ments to Roger's text, 3 and on one occasion he inserted in the 
margin of AB a more accurate version of a document given by 
Roger in the text. 4 Another important type of historical ' im- 
provement' is the addition of a number of fairly long pieces 
describing an event or relating a story, such as the description 
of William Rufus's death and the account of Henry Fs speech 
to the nobles in no6. 5 As the text approaches his own time, 
Matthew contributes more and more of these insertions, usually 
on the basis of information given him by people he knew. The 
story of Simon of Tournay, for instance, was told to Matthew by 
Nicholas of Farnham, bishop of Durham, 6 and much seems to 
have been added on the information of Hubert de Burgh. 7 
Sometimes Matthew has a different account of an event from 
that of Roger, and he adds his own account into the margin of 
AB without any attempt to integrate it with Roger's. 8 

We have examined, in some detail, the actual relationship of 
the chronicles of Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris. Although 
it is true that Matthew's Chronica Majora is more than a mere 
continuation of Roger's Flores Historiarum, it is also true that 
Matthew owed much more to Roger than a mere source for 
the first part of his chronicle, for, besides the content, which, 
up to the annal for 1236, is almost wholly Roger's, the form, 
scope, and technique of Matthew's Chronica Majora are all 
based on Roger's work. As to the relationship of the two men, 
we know nothing certain, except, what is clear from a study of 
their chronicles, that Matthew learnt his profession, as a his- 
torian, from Roger Wendover. 

1 E.g. at CM. in, pp. i and 112; n, p. 495. 

2 For these, see below, pp. 103 ff. 

3 E.g. at CM. 11, pp. 607-10 and ni, p. 34. 

4 CM. i, p. 348, note 2. 5 CM. n, pp. 112-13 and 130-1. 
6 CM. n, pp. 476-7. 7 See above, p. 13. 

8 E.g. CM. in, pp. 28 ff. 



CHAPTER III 

THE HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP OF 
THE HISTORICAL MANUSCRIPTS 

IT is only recently that the problem of Matthew Paris's hand- 
writing has been thoroughly investigated, and a definite con- 
clusion reached. 1 It is unnecessary, here, to recapitulate the 
detailed evidence, but it ought, perhaps, to be pointed out that 
my study of Matthew's handwriting led me to the conclusion 
that Sir Frederick Madden identified it correctly, and that Sir 
Thomas Duffus Hardy did not. Since this paper was published, 
I have come across a further piece of evidence which I had 
previously overlooked, that the Corpus Christi College, Cam- 
bridge, manuscript of the Chronica Major a (E) is Matthew's 
autograph. In one place 2 Matthew describes himself as ( scriptor 
huius libri', but the scribe of the fair copy, British Museum 
Cotton MS. Nero D v (C), normally an accurate copyist, has 
altered this to 'confector huius libri'. At another point, too, 3 
Matthew's reference to himself as * huius paginae scriptor i' has 
been altered by the scribe of C to 'compositori'. It appears 
from this that the word scriptor (and presumably the verb scribo] 
had the definite meaning of * writer' or 'scribe'; and that when 
Matthew refers to himself in this way, as he frequently does, 4 
he means that he is actually writing. 

The Historia Anglorum has always been accepted as Matthew's 
autograph; to this, unless the evidence and conclusion of my 
paper on Matthew Paris's handwriting be discredited, must now 
be added the text of the Chronica Major a from 1213 onwards; 
the text of the Flores Historiarum from 1241 to 1249; t ' ie Liber 
Additamentorum\ and the Abbreviatio Chronicorum in fact all 
the more important historical works usually attributed to 
Matthew Paris. As we shall have occasion to mention these 

1 In my paper c The Handwriting of Matthew Paris ', Trans. Camb. Bill. 
Soc. I (1953). 2 CM. v, p. 129 and note 3. 

3 CM, v, p. 136 and note 3. 

4 See Vaughan, ' Hand writing of M. Paris ', loc. cit. p. 385, and CM. v, pp. 201 
and 317. Sometimes he refers to himself as compositor , as at HA. in, p. 40. 

35 3-s 



MATTHEW PARIS 

works frequently in the pages which follow, a brief description 
of some of them will not be out of place here. 

(1) Chronica Majora: see above, p. 21. 

(2) Historia Anglorum: in B.M. Royal MS. 14 C vii (jR); 
the text extends from 1066 to 1253 and is based on that of 
the Chronica Majora. 

(3) Flores Historiarum up to the annal for 1 249 : the earliest 
existing manuscript is number 6712 in the Chetham Library, 
Manchester (Ch). This is the work previously ascribed to 
'Matthew of Westminster', and is not to be confused with the 
Flores Historiarum of Roger Wendover. It has been edited by 
Luard for the Rolls Series, and I refer to this edition with the 
letters FH, 

(4) Abbreviatio Chronicorum: in B.M. Cotton MS. Claudius 
D vi; based for the most part on the Historia Anglorum. The 
text extends from 1000 to 1255. It was edited by Madden in the 
third volume of his Historia Anglorum^ but, to avoid confusion, 
I shall refer to this edition with the letters AC. 

We may now turn to examine the evidence for the authorship 
of these works. Matthew's authorship of the Chronica Majora 
from 1236 to 1253 kas never been doubted; nor has it ever been 
suggested that he did not write the Historia Anglorum; but there 
has been no unanimous agreement about his authorship of the 
Chronica Majora from 1254 to 1259, the Abbrematio Chroni- 
corum, and the Flores Historiarum, The question of the 
authorship of the last part of the Chronica Majora need not 
detain us long. Only Hardy has raised a voice against Matthew's 
authorship of it, 1 and his view was refuted by Liebermann, who 
pointed out that he had misunderstood the meaning of the word 
ascribere in the colophon, 2 and went on to show convincingly 
that Matthew was indeed the author of the final section of the 
Chronica Majora. A suggestion put forward recently by 
Denholm- Young takes a modified view of the theory that 
Matthew did not himself write this part of the Chronica Majora. 3 

1 Hardy, A Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the History of 
Great Britain and Ireland, in, pp. 154-5. 

2 Liebermann (ed.), MGH,SS. xxvm, p. 78; and *Bericht uber Arbeitcn 
in England. . . ' in Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft ftir alter e deutsche Geschichts- 
kunde, IV (1879), p. 21. 

8 Denholm- Young, Handwriting in England and Wales, p. 52, 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

He suggested that the colophon to the Chronica Major a (Plate i, 
and above p. 7), linked to the fact that the last eight leaves of 
the manuscript are not in Matthew's hand, might lead to the 
conclusion that the author of these eight leaves was not Mat- 
thew himself, but his scribe, who perhaps wrote them up from 
Matthew's notes. But this theory appears to misinterpret the 
colophon in much the same way as did Hardy, and to ignore the 
explicit words ' up to this point wrote the venerable man, brother 
Matthew Paris': 'hucusque perscripsit venerabilis vir frater 
Matheus Parisiensis.' 

Matthew's authorship of the other two historical works men- 
tioned above, the Abbreviatio Chronicorum and the Flores His- 
toriarum, has been questioned by Liebermann and Luard respec- 
tively. 1 The objections of both are based on the assumption that 
these works contain too many absurd blunders to have been 
written by Matthew Paris. In fact, however, many blunders 
occur in the Chronica Major a and the Historia Anglorum, which 
show that Matthew, both when composing and when copying 
or abridging, frequently makes careless mistakes of just the kind 
that Luard and Liebermann supposed him incapable of. Many 
examples could be cited from the Historia Anglorum of faulty 
constructions ; 2 omissions of a verb or other important word ; 3 
copying blunders such as navigavit ' for negavit ' and ' Oxoniam ' 
for 'Exoniam'; 4 and the omission of a line through homoeo- 
teleuton in the exemplar. 5 More serious mistakes also occur; 
for instance, Matthew summarizes a bull of Gregory IX with 
the words 6 * Summa : de discordia Templi et Hospitalis ' ; yet the 
bull contains no mention of any dissension between the two 
Orders. In the Chronica Majora, too, errors are frequent, as, 
for instance, when Matthew writes 'comitis pontificis', ap- 
parently for 'comitis Pontivi'. 7 Elsewhere, he makes the king of 
Navarre and count of Champagne two different people, and in 

1 Liebermann (ed.), MGH,SS. xxvm, pp. 101-2 and Luard (ed.), FH. I, 
pp. xxxviii-xxxix. 

2 E.g. at HA. I, pp. 38, note 3, and 129, note i. 

3 E.g. at HA. I, p. 229, note 3; in, pp. 21, note i, and 128, note i. 

4 HA. i, pp. 14, note 3, and 254, note 3. 

5 HA. I, p. 323, note 4. 6 HA. n, p. 368. 

7 CM. in, p. 328; see Powicke, King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 
i, p. 1 60, note 2. 

37 



MATTHEW PARIS 

another place he treats the count of Louvain and duke of Bra- 
bant in the same way. 1 Sometimes a verb is carelessly omitted; 
on one occasion a passage is repeated through homoeoteleuton ; 
Aragon is written for Navarre; and the bishop of Carlisle is said 
to have been consecrated 'on St Agatha's day', when in St 
Agatha's church' is meant. 2 But it would be most unfair to 
begin a study of Matthew Paris's works with a list of his errors: 
I cite these few merely to show that he was quite capable of 
making them, and that, if the Abbreviatio Chronicorum and the 
Flares Historiarum are to be excluded from the Parisian corpus, 
some other objection to them will have to be found. 

There is much positive evidence, quite apart from the fact 
that the Abbreviatio Chronicorum is mainly, and the Flores 
Historiarum partly, autograph, that Matthew was the author of 
both these works. In the Abbreviatio, for instance, he refers to 
himself as 'huius opusculi compositor'. 3 This is in fact copied 
from the Historia Anglorumf but it seems unlikely that it would 
have been retained in the Abbreviatio had Matthew not also 
been the compositor of that work. The system of signa, which he 
uses in the Chronica Majora and the Historia Anglorum in 
reference to documents transcribed elsewhere, 5 is also used in 
the Abbreviatio a fact which affords further evidence that he 
was its author. Again, several quotations used elsewhere by 
Matthew occur in the Abbreviatio: for instance, a line from 
Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Nova Poetria* which is used twice in the 
Historia Anglorum? and a line of Ovid 8 which occurs in both 
the Historia Anglorum^ and the Chronica Majora. The play on 
words, which is so characteristic a feature of Matthew's other 
historical works, 11 is common also in the Abbreviatio: we find, 
for instance, 'molliti et melliti'; 12 'duris ac diris'; 13 'plures et 

1 CM. m, p. 335 (see note 4) and iv, p. 21, note 2. 

2 CM. iv, pp. 13, note i, 79, note i, and 645, note i. 

3 AC., p. 304. 4 in, p. 40. 

5 See below, pp. 65 ff. and an. 6 AC., p. 244. 

7 ii, p. 276, and ni, p. 83. 8 AC., p. 228. 

I, P- 454- 10 iv, p. 6n. 

11 See below, p. 127. 

12 AC., p. 232; they occur together elsewhere at CM. m, p. 331 ; iv, pp. 61, 
221, 374; v, p. 14; HA. I, p. 15. 

18 AC., p. 233; they occur together elsewhere at CM. iv, pp. 238, 400; 
HA. i, p. 369. 

38 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

pluries' ; l 'reticere quam recitare'. 2 Even more significant is the 
occurrence in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum of some of Matthew's 
favourite allusions, such as 'nodum quaerentes in [sjcirpo' 3 and 

* in arcum pravum ' ; 4 as well as phrases which he very frequently 
uses, such as: 'novit Ille qui nihil ignorat'; 'in arcto positus'; 

* patulis rictibus inhiantes ' ; ' minus quam deceret aut expediret * ; 
'haec iccirco dixerim'; 'tractatus exigit speciales'; and 'inter 
duas molas contriti': 5 all of which occur frequently in the 
Chronica Majora and the Historia Anglorum. Many of these 
phrases are, of course, common enough in other medieval 
writers, but the appearance of so many of them in the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum is very good evidence for Matthew's authorship of 
this work; and, if we take into account the other evidence men- 
tioned above, we must surely conclude that Matthew Paris was 
its author as well as its scribe. 

Professor Galbraith was the first to put forward evidence to 
show that Matthew was the author of the Flares Historiarum up 
to the annal for 1249, an d n i s evidence is all the more important 
in that it is wholly drawn from the printed text, and is therefore 
independent of Madden's attribution of the Floras Historiarum 
to Matthew Paris, which was based on the handwriting of the 
Chetham manuscript. Galbraith cites two instances in the 
Chronica Majora where a quotation is used by Matthew, and 
shows that each of these quotations is used in the Flores in 
reference to quite different events, but under an identical 
mental stimulus. 6 As he puts it: 'The same kind of stimulus 
extracts the same quotation'; and he adds in his Appendix a 
number of other instances of the use of an identical expression 
in a different context, but under a similar mental stimulus, in 
the Chronica Majora or the Historia Anglorum and the Flores 

1 AC., p. 224; they occur together elsewhere at CM. in, pp. 407, 532; 
iv, p. 211. 

2 AC., p. 278; it also occurs at HA. n, p. 240. 

3 AC., p. 256 ; cf. Terence, Andr. v, iv, 38 ; it occurs in the Chronica Majora 
at iv, p. 246 and v, pp. 277, 371 and 635. 

4 AC., p. 169; see Ps. Ixxvii, 57; it occurs in the Chronica Majora at in, 
p. 409; iv, pp. 69, 171, 479; v, pp. 52, 128 and 183. 

5 At p. 202, pp. 208 and 267, p. 229, p. 310, pp. 229 and 260, p. 199, and 
p. 234, respectively. 

6 Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, pp. 32-3; the quotation 
which follows is from p. 33. For his Appendix, see pp. 45-6. 

39 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Historiarum. Galbraith's evidence can easily be amplified: one 
of the quotations which he mentions, from Ovid, occurs three 
times in the Chronica Major a and once in the Historia Anglorum, 
and is, indeed, one of Matthew's favourites. 1 Again, a note on 
the word Friday, which Matthew adds in two places in the 
Chronica Majora to the text of Roger Wendover, occurs in 
a different context, but almost identical words, in the Flores 
Historiarum? The play on words, which we have already noticed 
in connexion with the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, is a feature, too, 
of the Flores Historiarum. Thus we find 'valeo' and f volo >3 and 
'exaudire' and c audire' 4 used together, as frequently also in the 
Chronica Majora. 5 Moreover in the Flores Historiarum we find 
some of the very same phrases and allusions which we noted in 
the Abbreviatio, such as: 'versus in arcum pravum'; 6 *in arcto 
positus'; 7 'secus quarn deceret aut expediret'; 8 'haec iccirco 
dixerim'; 9 and 'tractatus exigere(n)t speciales', 10 all of which 
occur frequently in the Chronica Majora and the Historia 
Anglorum\ as well as 'rationis trutina ponderahat', 11 'felix 
suscepit incrementum', 12 c etsi de aliis taceamus', 13 'trahunt 
ab alto [or immo] suspiria', 14 and 'luce clarius', 15 which are 
all characteristic of Matthew Paris. Another remark which 
occurs in the Flores is: *ne laeta impermixta tristibus in hoc 
mundo eveniant', 16 which appears in slightly different words on 
a number of occasions in Matthew's historical writings; for 
example, in the Chronica Majora: 11 *ne laetitia huius mundi 
eveniat mortalibus impermixta.' 

There is one important piece of external evidence for 
Matthew's authorship of the Flores Historiarum. The anonymous 
Winchester monk of the late fourteenth century who wrote the 
chronicle in the Book of Hyde cites Matthew Paris as his source 
with the words: *ut scribit Mattheus Parisiacensis', 18 and he 

1 Ovid, Metam. iv, 472; it occurs at CM. iv, pp. 6 1, 122; v, p. 55; HA. I, 
p. 189. z CM. I, pp. 343, note i, and 403; FH. i, p. 217. 

3 n, pp. 292, 350. 4 n, p. 293. 

5 For instance, 'volo' and 'valeo 1 , at CM. iv, pp. 210, 423, 486, 559 and 
636; *exaudire' and 'audire', for instance, at CM. ni, p. 482; iv, p. 99; v, p. 4. 

6 II, pp. 36, 103. 7 n, p. 4. 8 n, p. 180. 

a n, p. 279. 10 n, pp. 48, 72, 133, 259. n, p. 350. 

12 n, p. 3 1 1- 1S n, p. 353- u n, pp. 14, 278. 15 n, p. 277- 

16 FH. ii, p. 48. Cf. FH, n, p. 187, HA. I, p. 230, and below, p. 189 note i. 

17 CM. v, p. 731. 18 Edwards (ed.), Liber monasterii de Hyda, p. 261. 

40 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

also cites the Flores Historiarum: l Haec omnia habentur in Flores 
Historiarum', 1 in reference to some passages of which the editor 
of the Book of Hyde, misled perhaps by the phrase Flores 
Historiarum', points out Roger Wendover as the source. We 
might indeed easily suppose that they derive either from Roger's 
Flores Historiarum or from Matthew's Chronica Major a, but a 
careful comparison of these extracts with the manuscripts of 
Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris shows that they are taken 
from the work under discussion, that is from the Flores Histo- 
riarum formerly attributed to * Matthew of Westminster' and 
found in the Chetham manuscript number 6712, and not from 
the Flores Historiarum of Roger Wendover. The author of the 
chronicle in the Book of Hyde uses this work, calls it the Flores 
Historiarum, and attributes it to Matthew Paris. Although he 
probably wrote more than a century after Matthew's death, his 
testimony is quite explicit, and, when the internal evidence is 
also taken into account, we can surely no longer remain in doubt 
as to the authorship of the Flores Historiarum up to the annal 
for 1249: it was written by Matthew Paris. 

There is another work of general historical interest which 
ought to be included in the Parisian corpus; for, though it is not 
possible to prove that Matthew composed it himself, it was 
certainly written under his supervision. This is the short 
chronicle in B.M. Cotton MS. Vitellius A xx, 2 which is headed 
by Matthew Paris: 'Cronica excerpta a magnis cronicis S. 
Albani a conquestu Anglie usque deinceps'. Matthew wrote 
some of the text at the beginning of the chronicle, as well as 
a number of corrections and additions in the margins or between 
the lines. It extends from 1066 to 1246, and the manuscript in 
which it is written was given to Tynemouth Priory by Ralph of 
Dunham, prior from 1252 to 1265. 

So far we have discussed the authorship of works of general 
historical interest; but we must turn now to two works of 
domestic interest to the abbey of St Albans: the Vitae duorum 

1 Edwards (ed.), Liber monasterii de Hyda, p. 265. 

2 Ff. 77a-io8b; see Vaughan, 'Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Camb. 
Bibl. Soc. I (1953), p. 39i, and the references to Madden given there. See 
also below, pp. 115-16 fT. 

4 1 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Off arum and the Gesta Abbatum. The first of these consists of 
two separate Lives, that of Offa I, a fourth-century ruler of the 
Angles, and that of Offa II, king of Mercia in the latter part of 
the eighth century. The Lives are linked together by the promise 
of Offa I to found a monastery, which remained unfulfilled until 
his descendant Offa II founded St Albans. 1 Luard thought that 
the Vitae Offarum could not have been written by Matthew 
Paris, but that it was the work of a St Albans monk writing, 
probably, towards the end of the twelfth century. 2 Both 
Chambers and Rickert agreed with him, 3 and indeed this 
theory as to the date and authorship of the Vitae Offarum has 
been generally accepted ever since. Professor Wilson, for 
instance, in his little work The Lost Literature of Medieval 
England, refers to the Vitae Offarum as written by an anonymous 
twelfth-century St Albans monk. 4 In the very same year, 
however, as the publication of Luard' s first volume of Matthew 
Paris's Chronica Major a (1872), containing his view that the 
Vitae Offarum was the work of a twelfth-century St Albans 
monk, there appeared a doctoral dissertation by Ludwig 
Theopold, on the sources for the history of eighth-century 
England, in which the theory was advanced that the Vitae 
Offarum was written by Matthew Paris, 5 Unfortunately, how- 
ever, Theopold's work has been ignored by later students of the 
Vitae Offarum. I propose here to examine, first, Luard's argu- 
ments against Matthew's authorship of this work, and to show 
that they are without foundation; and then to put forward 
evidence, based partly on that of Theopold, to show that the 
Vitae Offarum was in fact written by Matthew Paris. 

In support of his theory that the Vitae Offarum was written 
by a twelfth-century monk of St Albans, Luard cites what he 
took to be conclusive evidence that the Vitae Offarum was not 
written by Matthew Paris. In the course of the description of 

1 For a fuller discussion of the Vitae Off arum, see below, pp. 189 ff. 

2 CM. I, pp. Ixxix-Ixxx and xxxii-xxxiii. 

a Chambers, Beowulf \ p. 34, note 3; Rickert, *Old English Offa Saga*, 
Mod. PhiloL n (19045), p. 30, and note 5. 

4 Wilson, Lost Literature, pp. io~n. 

5 Kritische Untersuchungen uber die Quellen zur angelsdchsischen Geschichte 
des achten Jahrhunderts, pp. iizffi. Liebermann (ed.) MGH,SS. xxvin, 
pp. 078, also supposed Matthew to have been the author of the Vitae 
Offarum. 

42 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

Offa's visit to Rome, the Vitae Offarum begins a paragraph with 
the words: 'Dinumerata denique pro distractione pratorurn 
pecunia, a loco rex progreditur.' 1 This passage also occurs in 
Roger Wendover. In manuscript A of the Chronica Major a the 
*D' of 'Dinumerata' was originally omitted in order that an 
illuminated initial could be inserted, 2 but this was in fact never 
carried out, and Matthew, going through the manuscript, cor- 
rected the word to 'Innumerata', and added 'soluta' to make 
up the sense, not realizing that the true reading was 'Dinu- 
merata'. This, thought Luard, affords *a proof that Paris could 
not have been the author of the Life of Off a'. 3 But the text of 
the Vitae Offarum in Matthew's Liber Additamentorwn is written 
out in his own hand, so that, at one time at any rate, he was 
perfectly well acquainted with the correct reading of this passage, 
and Luard' s argument from this blundering attempt at cor- 
rection, that Matthew was ignorant of the text of the Vitae 
Offarum and therefore could not himself have written it, loses 
all its force. Moreover, in other manuscripts Matthew frequently 
makes blunders very similar to this one, even when he is copying 
or abridging from a manuscript written and composed by him- 
self. 4 Although the invalidity of this piece of evidence allows 
us to reconsider Matthew as a possible author of the Vitae 
Offarum, Luard' s other evidence, if valid, rules him out alto- 
gether, for he maintained that the Vitae Offarum was used by 
Roger Wendover, and, if this is so, it could hardly have been 
written by Matthew Paris. 

The Vitae Offarum and Roger Wendover's Flores Historiarum 
have a certain amount of matter in very similar words, which, 
if neither has copied from the other, must have been derived 
from a source common to them both. This matter consists in 
the main of a detailed account of the invention and translation 
of St Alban by Off a; the consequent foundation of St Albans 
and Offa's journey to Rome; and the martyrdom of St Aethel- 
bert. In Roger Wendover's version of the story of the murder 
of St Aethelbert, Aethelbert travels to Mercia on his own account 
to seek the hand of Offa's daughter in marriage, whereas in the 
Vitae Offarum Aethelbert is summoned to Mercia by Offa, 

1 Wats, p. 2,g. 2 CM. I, p. 359, and note 4. 

8 CM. i, p. Ixxx. 4 See above, pp. 37-8. 

43 



MATTHEW PARIS 

against the wishes of his queen, Quendrida, with the object of 
a matrimonial alliance. 1 While Roger's version of this story 
agrees closely with both the lives of St Aethelbert printed by 
M. R. James, 2 the Vitae Off arum differs considerably from them : 
a fact which shows that Roger's version could not have been 
derived from that in the Vitae Off arum. Immediately after his 
account of the murder of Aethelbert the author of the Vitae 
Off arum describes Offa's grief and the exile of his wicked queen 
to a remote spot where, after some years, she was robbed and 
thrown into her own well by some thieves. We are then told of 
the burial of Aethelbert at Lichfield, of the neglect of his body, 
and of its subsequent translation to Hereford. The writer then 
explains that, since Aethelbert had no children, his kingdom of 
East Anglia fell into Offa's hands; and goes on to describe the 
Council of Chelsea. 3 Roger Wendover describes Offa's grief in 
words different from those used in the Vitae Offarum', mentions 
that he did not eat for three days in exactly the same words as 
the Vitae Offarum', and then, passing over the next two para- 
graphs in the Vitae Offarum, concludes his sentence with a 
mention of Offa's expedition to East Anglia, partly in the same 
words as the Vitae Offarum. He then returns to the account of 
Aethelbert with a description of his burial, after some neglect, 
at Hereford, in words almost identical with those of the Vitae 
Offarum, though beginning half-way through a paragraph of 
that work. Had Roger been using the Vitae Offarum itself, he 
would surely not have deviated from its text in this extraordinary 
manner. So far as the account of St Aethelbert is concerned, we 
can indeed be sure that Roger has not, in fact, used the Vitae 
Offarum at all. 

The account of Offa's journey to Rome is often verbally 
identical in Roger Wendover and the Vitae Offarum,^ but, here 
again, Roger is evidently not using the Vitae. Both Roger and 
the author of the Vitae, for instance, have the chapter-heading : 
*Ut rex Off a Romam pergens pratum emerit peregrinis', yet 
whereas Roger describes this in his text, the author of the Vitae 

1 CM. i, pp. 354-5, and Wats, p. 23. 

2 James, 'Two Lives of St Acthelbert*, E1IR. xxxn (1917), pp. 222-44. 

3 Wats, p. 25. Roger Wendover describes the same events at CM. r, 
p. 355. 4 CM. I, pp. 358-9, and Wats, pp. 28-9. 

44 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

Off arum does not mention Offa's gift of the land to pilgrims. 
A comparison of the accounts of the invention of St Alban and 
the foundation of St Albans in the Vitae Off arum and in Roger's 
Flores Historiarum yields no evidence that Roger is using the 
Vitae] 1 and indeed it seems much more probable that the Vitae 
is here taken from Roger Wendover, for the account in the 
Vitae is altogether fuller and more elaborate. Further evidence 
that Roger did not use the Vitae is afforded by the fact that, while 
they both include a list of bishops with their sees, originally 
taken from William of Malmesbury, Roger has * Halardus Helm- 
hamensis et Tidfert Domucensis' nearly correctly, but the Vitae 
Off arum has 'Haraldus Helmamensis et Tedfordensis'. 2 Had 
Roger Wendover really had the text of the Vitae Off arum before 
him, he would surely have made full use of it. Yet he does not 
mention Offa I, nor any of the legends concerning Offa II, 
except the obviously local tradition of his burial by the Ouse. 
Nor does he use the detailed description in the Vitae of the 
first Danish attack on England, which turns the story into an 
encomium of Offa: instead he scrapes together a meagre account 
of this from Henry of Huntingdon and William of Malmesbury. 3 

There is, indeed, every indication that Roger Wendover did 
not use the Vitae Offarum\ and consequently it seems likely that 
it did not even exist when he wrote his Flores Historiarum. This 
conclusion allows us to reconsider the whole question of the 
authorship of the Vitae Offarum, for we need no longer attribute 
it to a contemporary or even precursor of Roger Wendover. It 
also reopens the question of the sources of the Vitae, which will 
be discussed in a later chapter, 4 where I hope to show that the 
historical material in the Vitae Offarum is derived from Roger 
Wendover's Flores Historiarum, but was actually taken from 
Matthew Paris's own manuscript of the Chronica Majora (A). 
Here we are concerned only with the problem of the authorship 
of the Vitae, but, before we go on to examine Matthew Paris's 
claims, we must consider an alternative possibility that has been 
put forward. 

Miss Rickert, agreeing with Luard that the Vitae Offarum was 

1 Wats, pp. 26-30, and CM. i, pp. 356-61. 

2 CM. i, p. 345, and Wats, p. 22. 

3 CM. i, p. 353; cf. Wats, p. 22. 4 Below, pp. 191 ff. 

45 



MATTHEW PARIS 

written before Matthew Paris's time, advanced the theory that 
it was written by the author of the chronicle attributed to John 
of Wallingford. 1 It is true that this writer states that he knows 
more about Offa than he describes in his chronicle, and pro- 
mises to recount it at a later date when he has investigated the 
truth of the matter. 2 This perhaps refers to Offa's part in the 
murder of Aethelbert, about which the anonymous author con- 
fesses his ignorance. That he could not have been the author of 
the Vitae Offarum has been shown by Theopold, who pointed 
out that he knew far more about the historical Offa and his place 
in history than the author of the Vitae ; 3 and it may be added 
that the critical outlook of the anonymous chronicler is quite 
different from the rather credulous tone of the Vitae. 

Before we discuss the evidence for Matthew's authorship of 
the Vitae Offarum, it is worth noting that there is nothing 
inherently improbable about this attribution. Indeed we know 
that Matthew was keenly interested in Offa of Mercia; 4 that 
much of the material used in the Vitae Offarum was available 
to him; and that some of it, such as Charlemagne's letter to 
Offa, 5 was used elsewhere by him. Furthermore, the earliest 
text of the Vitae is written into the Liber Additamentorum in 
Matthew's own hand, and there is a reference, before the close 
of its text, to other material in this manuscript. 

We have already noticed, in our discussion of the authorship 
of the Flores Historiarum and the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, that 
Matthew frequently uses certain characteristic phrases. Now 
although the Vitae Offarum is a very short work, several of these 
phrases, such as 'felix suscepit incrementum', 6 'tractatus exigit 
speciales', 7 4 ex immo (or alto) trahens suspiria' 8 and *ut decuit 
et expedivit', 9 occur in it, and their presence goes some way 
towards proving that Matthew wrote it. Furthermore, in the 
Vitae Offarum, we find exactly the same play on words as we 

1 Rickert, 'Old English Offa Saga', Mod. PhiloL n (1904-5), pp. 29-39. 

2 Gale (ed.), Historiae. . .Scriptores XV, p. 530; see p. 194 below. 

3 Theopold, Kritische Untersuchungen, p. 113. 

4 Theopold, Kritische Untersuchungen, p. 114. Matthew has written notes 
about Offa on odd leaves in A and the Liber Additamentorum. 

5 Copied by Matthew into the margin of his Chronica Majora (A) from 
B.M. Royal MS. 13 D v (text of William of Malmesbury), whence, too, the 
copy in the Vitae Offarum was taken. 6 Wats, pp. 5, 10, 20. 

7 Idem, pp. 5, 14. 8 Idem, pp. 6, 26. 9 Idem, p. 22. 

4 6 



HANDWRITING AND AUTHORSHIP 

noted above in the Abbreviatio and the Floras ; and sometimes 
even the same pairs of words, such as 'volo' and 'valeo' 1 and 
'mellitus' and 'mollitus', 2 as well as other pairs of words used 
in an identical way, such as 'potenter' and 'prudenter' 3 and 
'subactis' and 'subtractis'. 4 Other phrases commonly used by 
Matthew Paris which occur in the Vitoe Off arum are 'infausto 
sidere', 'quamvis mulier non tamen muliebriter', 'parvipen- 
dentes immo vilipendentes', 'singultibus sermonem prorum- 
pentibus', 'in arcto constituti', 'in ore gladii' and 'nee censeo 
praetereundum'. We find, too, in the Vitae Off arum, some of 
Matthew's favourite colourful words, such as 'formidolosus', 
'truculenter', and 'muscipula', as well as one of his most 
frequently used quotations from Ovid, introduced with his 
usual words c juxta illud poeticum 5 . 5 

Besides these stylistic and literary parallels between the Vitae 
Off arum and Matthew's accepted works, there are some striking 
parallels in the accounts of battles. Indeed in this respect 
Matthew's descriptive powers seem to have been rather stereo- 
typed, as the following examples show. 

Account of a battle from the Vitae Offarum. 6 

Et congressu inito cruentissimo . . . perstrepunt . . . tubae cum lituis, 
et clamor exhortantium, equorum hinnitus, morientium et vulnera- 
torum gemitus, fragor lancearum, gladiorum tinnitus, ictuum 
tumultus, aera perturbare videbantur. . .irruit [Offa] truculenter, 
gladium suum cruore hostili inebriando . . . [Brutum] sub equinis 
pedibus potenter praecipitavit. 

Account of a battle from the Historia Anglorum. 7 

. . . congressum ineunt cruentissimum. Incipit igitur jam con- 
flictus, extrahuntur gladii sanguine hinc indeque inebriandi, reson- 

abant aeneae cassides malleis ferreis Fragor hastarum, tinnitus 

gladiorum, gemitus percussorum, equorum tumultus compressorum 
. . . aera usque ad nubes commoverunt .... Nonnulli . . . sub equorum 
pedibus conculcantur .... 

Account of a battle from the Chronica Majora. 8 

. . .et initum certamen in cruentissimum bellum suscitarunt 

Clamor congredientium bellatorum, gemitus morientium, tinnitus 

1 Wats, pp. 4, 19. 2 Idem, p. 17. 3 Idem, pp. n, 17, 22. 

4 Idem, p. 5. 5 Metam. iv, 472, see above, p. 40 and note i. 

6 Wats, p. 3. 7 i, p. 124- 8 in, p. 48. 

47 



MATTHEW PARIS 

armorum, hmnitus equorum . . . ictuum fulgurantium frequens mal- 
leatio ipsum aera tumultibus repleverunt. Tandem post multa hinc 
inde cruenta certamina. . .. 

If this evidence has not convinced the reader of Matthew's 
authorship of the Vitae Off arum, more can be found, of which 
the most conclusive is, perhaps, the expression in it of Matthew's 
characteristic outlook and prejudices, and the way in which the 
text of its main source is amplified in a manner identical with 
Matthew's treatment of the text of Roger Wendover in his 
Chronica Majora. Thus of Offa I it is said that, like the best 
princes, he did not wish to resist the desires of his nobles ; and 
of Offa II that he sent gifts to Pope Adrian because he knew of 
the greed of the Romans. 1 We find, too, that the author of the 
Vitae Offarum adds to the text of his source an etymological 
note or a remark glorifying St Albans, in just the way that 
Matthew added to Roger's Flores Historiarum in his Chronica 
Majora? If we add to this evidence the fact mentioned above, 
and discussed in a later chapter, that the historical material in the 
Vitae was taken from Matthew's own manuscript of the Chronica 
Majora, we can hardly doubt that the Vitae Offarum ought to be 
added to the corpus of historical works written by Matthew Paris. 

The Gesta Abbatum has been generally accepted as the work 
of Matthew Paris, and there is no need to put forward the 
evidence for his authorship in detail. His own manuscript, 
written by himself, with many corrections and marginal addi- 
tions, is to be found in his Liber Additamentorum (ff. 30 on). 
Its text abounds with phrases characteristic of him, and with 
expressions of his feelings about Rome and other matters, and 
it contains several references to his other manuscripts. Like the 
Chronica Majora, it incorporates the work of a predecessor, but 
we may conveniently defer our discussion of the relationship of 
Matthew Paris and Adam the Cellarer until we review Matthew's 
work in the field of domestic history. 

1 Wats, pp. 6 and 21. 

2 For instance, at Wats, p. 30, he has added the words * quod interpretatur 
volens bonum' to the source's mention of Abbot Willegod; and at p. 28 we 
find the source interpolated as follows: 'Tractarent de conventu mona- 
chorum. . .atque coenobio constituendo et magnifice ac regaliter privilegiando; 
ubi protomartyris regni sui, imo totius Britanniae vel Angliae . . . ' (cf. CM. I, 
P- 358). 

4 8 



CHAPTER IV 

THE RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

OF THE 'CHRONICA MAJORA', THE 

'HISTORIA ANGLORUM', AND THE 

'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

IN this chapter we shall be concerned with the three most 
important of Matthew Paris's historical productions: the 
Chronica Majora, the Historia Anglorum and the Liber 
Additamentorum. These are now divided between four manu- 
scripts : A and B, containing the text of the Chronica Major a 
up to the annal for 1253 ; J?, containing the last part of the text of 
the Chronica Major a and the whole of the Historia Anglorum; 
and British Museum Cotton MS, Nero D i, the miscellaneous 
collection of documentary and other material generally known 
as the Liber Additamentorum}- The problem of the relationship 
and chronology of these manuscripts is an important one, and 
its solution is made possible only by the work of H. R. Luard 
and Sir Frederick Madden, each of whom, besides their excel- 
lent editions of the Chronica Major a and the Historia Anglorum 
respectively, provided in their prefaces detailed and illuminating 
studies of Matthew Paris's historical manuscripts. Neither of 
them, however, tried to explain exactly how these manuscripts 
were related to each other, though they assumed that the 
Historia Anglorum was abridged by Matthew Paris from the 
text of his Chronica Major a in A and B. In 1941, however, Sir 
Maurice Powicke published a paper on the compilation of 
Matthew's Chronica Major a, in which for the first time an 
attempt was made to establish the relationship of the existing 
manuscripts of the Chronica Major a, the Historia Anglorum and 
the Liber Additamentorum. Powicke maintained that the text of 
the Historia Anglorum up to the annal for 1249 was written 
before AB, and that B itself, at any rate from the annal for 1235 

1 For the Chronica Major a, see above, pp. 21-2; and, for the Historia 
Anglorum, above, p. 36. 

4 49 VHP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

onwards, was a fair copy of the Chronica written in or after 
I257- 1 Three years later, in a lecture delivered at Glasgow, 
Professor Galbraith showed that Powicke's evidence that B was 
written as late as 1257 was unsound, and he gave reasons for 
supposing that Madden was right in thinking that the Historia 
Anglorum was derived directly from the actual manuscript B. 2 
In the same year, Powicke published a revised version of his 
paper, 3 in which he accepted Galbraith' s criticism of his theory 
as to the date of B, but still maintained that it was a late tran- 
script of the Chronica Major a made about the year 1255. 
Needless to say, this modern controversy concerning the rela- 
tionship of Matthew's historical manuscripts has been of great 
help in the present study. Although my conclusions differ 
greatly from those of Powicke, his arguments and evidence have 
been of as much assistance to me as Galbraith' s criticism of his 
conclusions; and, without the help of the work of these two 
scholars, the present study would probably not have been 
possible. 

It was unfortunate that, when Sir Maurice Powicke wrote 
his paper on the compilation of the Chronica Majora, the 
problem of Matthew's handwriting had not been solved, nor, 
I believe, were the manuscripts available to him at that time. 
In my study of Matthew's handwriting, I came to the con- 
clusion that Madden was right in believing that almost the 
whole of B is autograph ; 4 but Powicke believed it to be a tran- 
script written by a scribe. Furthermore he states: '^4, and the 
first part of B, to the middle of the year 1213, are in the same 
hand . . . ' ; 5 but had the manuscripts been available he would 
surely have seen at once that Madden and James were right in 
attributing this part of the Chronica Major a to several scribes 
(one of whom, as Madden pointed out, was Matthew Paris 

1 This first version of Powicke's paper was published in Modern Philology, 
xxxvin (1940-1), pp. 305 ff. 

2 Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, pp. 26-9; HA. I, 
p. liii. 

8 In Volume xxx (1944) of the Proceedings of the British Academy, 
pp. 147-60. 

4 Vaughan, c Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Carnb. Bibliog. Soc. I 
(1953), P- 39o; see HA. I, p. Ivii. 

5 Powicke, * Compilation of the Chronica Major a ', Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(i944)> P- 151- 

50 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

himself). 1 Powicke was likewise mistaken in his statement about 
B that 'The continuation [that is, B from the annal for 1213 
onwards] in another hand, proceeds from the middle of a 
sentence without a break, and continues smoothly to the end'; 
and he goes on to say that this part of the manuscript ( announces 
itself as a copy made in the course of a short period'. 2 In fact, 
from the point in the annal for 1213 where the handwriting 
changes, onwards, the text by no means proceeds smoothly in 
the way we should expect of a fair copy, but as follows: 

ff. 35a-46a, written by Matthew Paris; 

ff. 46a~49a, written by a scribe; 

ff. 49b~5oa, written by another scribe; 

ff. 5ob-54b, written by Matthew Paris; 

ff. 55a-6ib, written by the first scribe mentioned above; 

ff. 6ib-mb, written by Matthew Paris; 

f. ii2a-b, written by a third scribe; 

f. ii2b to the end, written by Matthew Paris. 

Speaking of this manuscript, Sir Frederick Madden says: 3 
' These pages exhibit the variations in the hand of the author at 
different periods, neater and closer at first, and looser and more 
irregular towards the close' ; and I think there can be no doubt 
that this is so. Far from being a copy executed in a single short 
period, B is an autograph manuscript over the writing of which 
Matthew must have spent a number of years. A glance at 
Plates ii and in shows the contrast between his writing in the 
early part of J3, and in the later part; indeed the difference is so 
great as to make it seem possible, until a close examination 
reveals the similarities, that the handwriting of these folios is the 
work of different scribes. The general palaeographical features 
of the manuscript show that its writing covered a period of 
years. There are frequent changes of ink, marginal additions 
and drawings, erasures and alterations in the text, added pages 
(for instance ff. n, 12 and 34) and so on; all of which give the 
impression that the book was at Matthew's side for a long period, 
and that it was added to and worked at by the author during 
several years. 

1 HA. I, pp. liv, Ivii-lviii; James, Catalogue ofC.C.C.C. MSS., i, pp. 51, 54- 

2 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ loc. dt. p. 152. 

3 HA. I, p. Iviii. 

CI 4-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

The structure of the manuscript is too complex to be ascer- 
tained exactly, but I have tried to show all that I have been able 
to discover about it in the accompanying diagram (fig. 3). An 
examination of this diagram shows, I think, that the manu- 
script is much more likely to be the result of several years' work 
by the author than a fair copy written at one time. It should be 
noted, too, that there is a striking variation in the size of the 
leaves of the manuscript, which would scarcely be likely to 
occur in a fair copy. From about the beginning of quire 12 on- 
wards the leaves become steadily shorter until those of quires 
15 and 1 6, which are a full quarter of an inch shorter than the 
leaves of the first eleven quires. Ff. 212-15 are longer, but the 
succeeding leaves are again short, up to quire 21, when they 
revert to their former size, and remain so to near the end. 

Matthew, we know, at first intended to finish his chronicle 
at the end of the annal for 1250, and at this point in the Chronica 
Major a' 1 he takes leave of the reader with an elaborate termina- 
tion which includes these verses : 

Terminantur hie Matthaei 
Cronica : nam jubilaei 

Anni dispensatio 
Tempus spondet requiei. 
Detur ergo quies ei, 

Hie, et caeli solio. 

And the couplet: 

Siste tui metas studii, Matthaee, quietas, 
Nee ventura petas quae postera proferet aetas. 

The text in J5, however, continues beyond this point without an 
obvious break, and without any further comment, to the end 
of the annal for 1253. Now if B really is the autograph and 
original manuscript of the Chronica Major a, written by Matthew 
Paris over a period of years, we should naturally expect to find 
some sign of a break in the writing of the manuscript at the 
point where he himself tells us that he at first laid down his pen. 
Powicke found no sign of such a break, and he says: 

If it [that is B] were not a fair copy of the whole chronicle up to 
the year 1253, a break at 1250, where Matthew brings his work to 

1 v, pp. 197-8. 

52 



32 

34 



11(2) 



in (3) 



iv (4) 



Preliminary matter 



a-h: a later 
insertion replacing 
some lost leaves 



11-12: inserted 
later by Matthew 
Paris 



34: inserted later 
by Matthew Paris 



40: a half leaf 



'(5) 



vi (6) 



vn( 7 ) 



iii iii 



VII! (8) 

Fig. 3. Diagram to show the structure of B. Quires 1-8. 



53 



104, 116: a bifolium oow 
lost Luard (CM- m, pp. 
397, n. 2, and 407, n. i) 
notes these two leaves as 
torn out of the MS. 



IX (9) 



X(IO) 



137 

138 . 



135: 2 half leaf 






xn (12) 



ig. 3. Quires 9-17. 



164 
165 



XXVII (I 4 ) 



"45 



XIV (15) 



187 



IT 



194 ' 



200 1- 

n: 



xv (i6) 

3=j="" =a-' 






IL 



2 



H 
H 



1248 



54 



228 



--' 9. 

.-li A 



--!. H 



xvii (18) 



256 



1252 



XX (21) 



; J 

W2 '-- 



a-b: a later insertion 
replacing a lost leaf 



XVIII (I9J 



xix (20) 




Conrasum est, et habet 
xiiii folia 



Fig. 3. Quires 18-23. 

Fig. 3 . The arrangement of the leaves in each quire is shown diagrammatically, 
with the folio numbers on the left. Matthew's quire numbers are given below 
the diagram of each quire, in the place where they occur in the manuscript; 
and his numbering of the leaves, together with the symbols he uses to 
distinguish the different quires, is given on the right. It will be seen that 
this numbering is neither consistent nor methodical, and the leaves of many 
of the quires are not numbered at all. I have not always been able to deter- 
mine the exact arrangement of the leavesespecially in the case of quire 17. 
I have marked the leaves added after Matthew Paris's time, a, b, etc. All the 
quire and leaf numbers, as well as the symbols, seem to have been executed 
by Matthew himself; and the comments in quire 22 are in his hand. The 
numbers vii-x, in this quire, are written in plummet in the inner, lower 
corners of the verso of each leaf, not, as elsewhere, in ink in the centre of the 
lower margin. The only annal which begins at the beginning of a new leaf is 
that for 1252. 



55 



MATTHEW PARIS 

a stately close, would have been inevitable, but in the manuscript 
this conclusion is written by the scribe currents calamo on his way 
to the actual termination at the year I253- 1 

In fact, however, a careful examination of the manuscript 
shows that there was a break in the writing at the end of the 
annal for 1250, although it is by no means obvious. 

The quires of A are numbered throughout the manuscript on 
the last leaf of each quire, in red, and almost certainly by 
Matthew himself. Those in B are numbered in a similar way, 
in red, but with blue ornamentation surrounding the figures. 
A careful examination shows that these quire numbers in B are 
not the original ones, for in almost every case up to and including 
quire number xvin, traces of an earlier numbering, in red, are 
visible, either under or near them. A magnifying glass reveals 
that the vermilion, which was used for these numbers, cracks 
and peels off the parchment very easily, and does not stain it in 
the same way as ink, so that the task of erasing the first set of 
numbers must have been an easy one ; and it is hardly surprising 
that in the case of two of the quires (vi and vm), no trace of the 
original number has survived. Sometimes, however, the remains 
of the earlier number are quite easily visible, as with quires II 
and in. Fortunately for us, Matthew, when he was renumbering 
the quires in this manuscript, inadvertently omitted to alter the 
number of the fourteenth quire, which, consequently, retains 
its original number, xxvii, and disturbs the sequence of quire 
numbers, which run xm, xxvii, xiv. This number xxvn is quite 
unlike the other numbers in B, all of which have blue ornamenta- 
tion round them, but it is identical with those in A. Further- 
more, if we count the quires from the start of A, the fourteenth 
quire of B is the twenty-seventh in all, a fact which proves con- 
clusively that Matthew originally wrote A and B as one book, 
AB. The original set of quire numbers in AB extended, so far 
as can be judged, only up to and including number xvin in B; 
for there is no sign that numbers xix and xx have been written 
over earlier, erased numbers; and the last two quires are not 
numbered at all. The quires in jB, then, were probably renum- 
bered before quires xix and xx had been numbered, and before 

1 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(1944), p. 152. 

56 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

the last two quires were added. Now the text of the annal for 
1250 ends on the penultimate leaf of quire xix (f. 243 a), and 
it seems, therefore, very likely that Matthew originally ended 
AB with the annal for 1250, leaving the last leaf of the last quire 
blank, and unnumbered. He then apparently decided to divide 
this bulky volume in two, renumbered the quires in J5, and, as 
he proceeded with his continuation of the text over the remaining 
blank leaf and on to an additional quire, numbered these last 
two quires xix and xx. 




(a) p. 174 of A to f. 243 a of B 




(b) f. 243 b of B to the end 

Fig. 4. Diagram to show the change in the arrangement of the page 
heads in AB at the end of the annal for 1250. 

There is, however, some much more direct evidence of a 
break in the writing of B at the end of the annal for 1250. From 
p. 174 of A up to f. 243 a of B (the page on which the text of the 
annal for 1250 ends), the rubric headings at the top of each page 
are decorated with blue coil and line work; but from f. 243 b to 
the end of B these headings have no blue decoration, and are 
arranged differently across the openings (see fig. 4). The identity 
of the ornamentation in the two books shows that it was executed 
when they still formed one volume : it is just the kind of decora- 
tion which an author would add (it was executed by Matthew 
himself) as a finishing touch to a completed manuscript. 1 The 

1 It should be noted that this decoration begins on the same page (174 of A) 
as the annal for 1066; the explanation probably being that it was carried out 
at the time (in 1250) when Matthew began to abridge the Historia Anglorum, 
the text of which begins in 1066, from AB. 

57 



MATTHEW PARIS 

fact that it ends on the very same page as the annal for 1250 
shows that, when it was carried out, the text of AB ended at 
that point, and that Matthew at first intended to leave it thus. 
It was only later, when he had continued his chronicle beyond 
the year 1250, that he added the second set of rubric headings 
from f. 243 b onwards. 

A further piece of evidence for a break in the writing of AB 
at the end of the annal for 1250 ought to be mentioned, though 
its value is doubtful. On the fly-leaf at the end of what is now A, 
there is a note in Matthew's hand which reads: 'Cronica ab 
origine mundi usque ad annum domini millesimum. . . 
. . .simum; videlicet usque ad mortem henrici ii regis anglie.' 
Between ' millesimum' and * videlicet* the original reading 
of the note has been erased, and Matthew has rewritten some 
words on slips of vellum stuck over the erasure. In the first part 
of this erasure there is room for about eight letters, but unfor- 
tunately the first reading is illegible and the slip of vellum on 
which the second was written has disappeared. In the second 
part of the erasure, however, both readings appear to have been 
-simum. What is the significance of this altered note? When was 
it written, and why did Matthew find it necessary to alter it? 
Certainly the date of the termination of the chronicle has been 
altered, and the words c videlicet usque ad mortem henrici ii' 
appear to have been added when the alteration was made, and 
to refer to the second, rewritten date. It is hard to explain why 
this second date should end with the letters -simum. A in fact 
ends at the end of the annal for 1188, and Henry's death is 
recorded at the beginning of B, under the year 1189. Neither 
of these dates ends with the letters -simum y but Matthew perhaps 
wrote the approximate date 1190, and then qualified it with the 
remark about Henry IPs death. Be this as it may, the second 
version of this note certainly refers to A ; and the most plausible 
explanation of the alteration of the date is that what is now the 
fly-leaf of A was at one time the fly-leaf of the combined manu- 
script AB, and that the note originally referred to the chronicle 
in this combined manuscript. If this was so, the original date 
could hardly have been 1253, since it ended with the letters 
-simum. The words ducentesimum quinquagesimum', however, 
would fit in, and it therefore seems probable that this note 

58 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

originally read: 'Cronica ab origine mundi usque ad annum 
millesimum ducentesimum quinquagesimum', and referred to 
AB as originally finished by Matthew up to the annal for 1250. 
Evidently, when AB was divided, the leaf on which this note 
was written was removed to the end of A, and the note altered 
accordingly. 

A more convincing piece of evidence for a break in the writing 
of B at the end of the annal for 1250 is the fact that the text of 
C ends at this point. 1 There is no doubt that C was copied from 
the actual manuscript B, and, since it was copied by a scribe, 
there is no reason why its text should have broken off at the end 
of the annal for 1250, unless the text of its exemplar likewise 
ended at that point. The text of C extends from 1189 to 1250, 
and it was evidently designed by Matthew as a fair copy of the 
second part of his Chronica Majora as he at first intended to 
leave it. It is thus very probable that, when it was copied, the 
text of its exemplar extended over the same years. AB was no 
doubt divided soon after its text up to 1250 was completed, 
and C copied before Matthew had begun to continue B beyond 
the annal for 1250. 

This rather prolonged discussion has led us to the conclusion 
that Matthew wrote A and B as one book, and that this book, 
AB, was the earliest and original manuscript of his Chronica 
Majora, the text of which at first ended with the annal for 1250. 
The evidence just advanced, for a break after the annal for 1250 
in the writing of the present manuscript B, clinches this point, 
and confirms the conclusion reached in Chapter 11, that AB was 
the actual manuscript in which Matthew first made his revisions 
of the chronicle of his predecessor, Roger Wendover. 

We may now approach the difficult problem of the date of AB. 
Plehn pointed out that, under the year I239, 2 Matthew alludes 
to the unfortunate deaths of the brothers Gilbert and Walter 
Marshal, and that the latter did not in fact die until November 
1245. From this he concluded that the annal for 1239 ' m & was 

1 C is what I call B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D v, Part II. See below, 



p. no. 

2 CM. in, p. 524. 



59 



MATTHEW PARIS 

written after November I245- 1 This gives us a terminus a quo for 
the writing of Matthew's original section of the Chronica Major a 
in B (1236 on): it could hardly have been begun much before 
1245. There is no evidence as to the date of the writing of the 
earlier part of the Chronica Major a, adapted from Roger Wend- 
over (Creation to 1236). Up to the annal for 1213 this was 
carried out, as we have seen, by scribes under the direction of 
Matthew Paris, and it may well have been written in a compara- 
tively short time; so that it seems possible that AB was not 
begun until about 1240 or even later. 

In the annals after 1245 Matthew frequently lagged, in J3, 
a year or more behind the occurrence of the events he describes ; 
for instance, the annal for 1248 was written in or after 1249, 
and in the course of the annal for 1249 t^ 161 " 6 are references to 
events which took place in I25O. 2 It was perhaps Matthew's 
visit to Norway in 1248-9 which made him so behindhand, but, 
if this is so, he must have worked extremely hard during 1249-50, 
for we have conclusive evidence that he had brought the text of 
his chronicle right up to date by the end of 1 250 or early in 1 25 1 . 
The Emperor Frederick II died on 13 December 1250, and 
Matthew mentions this event three times in the Chronica 
Major a? It is significant that the death of the famous emperor, 
who figures so largely in the pages of the Chronica Major a, is 
not recorded in the text of the annal for 1250, but only in the 
margin. It is noticed again in the text of the annal for 1251 
among entries recording the events of February 1251, in words 
which show that the news of it did not reach Matthew until late 
January or early February of that year. The third mention of 
Frederick's death is at the end of Matthew's description of the 
marvellous events of the last half century with which he 
originally concluded his Chronica Majora, and which follows 
the end of the annal for 1250. Here we find the laconic state- 
ment: 4 'Obiit insuper stupor mundi Frethericus, die Sanctae 
Luciae, in Apulia.' These words are clearly out of place in the 

1 Plehn, *Der politische Charakter von Matheus Parisiensis ', in Staats- 
und socialwissenschaftliche Forschungen, xiv (1897), p. 135; he gives other 
evidence for this conclusion, pp. 1345. 

2 See CM. v, pp. 77 and 88. 

3 CM. v, pp. 190 (margin of 1250 annal), 196, and 216 (1251 annal). 

4 v, p. 196. 

60 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

context, and a glance at the manuscript shows that they are 
written, over an erasure. They occupy one line at the top of 
column two on f . 243 a of J3, and the line which was erased in 
order to make way for them has been rewritten at the foot of the 
preceding column. The explanation of their curious position in 
the text of the Chronica Major a is, simply, the convenience of 
insertion here. It is inconceivable that Matthew would have 
omitted this important piece of news from the text of his 
chronicle, had it been available to him at the time of writing, 
and we must conclude that he had already completed the annal 
for 1250 and brought his chronicle to its elaborate close in jB, 
before the news of the emperor's death reached him, that is to 
say, before January or early February 1251. It is not possible to 
ascertain when exactly Matthew took up his pen to continue the 
text of B beyond f. 243 a; but in the course of the annal for 125 1 
there are two allusions which show that it was not before I252. 1 
In the rest of B, and in R, Matthew seems again to have been 
writing a year or two after the events he records. 

Our conclusions about B show that Sir Maurice Powicke was 
mistaken in his belief that it was a copy of the Chronica Major a 
written about the year 1255. His theory, too, that the Historia 
Anglorum was, in the main, written before B is likewise mis- 
taken, for we know that it was not begun until i25o: 2 the year 
in which Matthew was busy completing the text of AB. How 
long Matthew took to write the Historia Anglorum we do not 
know, but it is probable that the penultimate annal, that for the 
year 1252, was not written before 1255, since in copying from 
B an allusion to Innocent IV as 'iste papa praesens' 3 Matthew, 
in the annal for 1252 in the Historia Anglorum, omits the word 
'praesens 5 , which suggests that, by the time he wrote these 
words into the Historia Anglorum, Innocent IV was no longer 
'the present Pope' (he died in December 1254). The writing of 
the Historia Anglorum, then, probably extended over the years 
1250-5. 

There can be no doubt that the Historia Anglorum was almost 

1 CM. v, pp. 236 and 239. 

2 On the first page of the Historia Anglorum (i, p. 9) Matthew remarks: 
* Nee usque ad tempora haec scribentis, videlicet annum gratiae MCCL est 
inventus rex Angliae titulo sanctitatis insignitus.' 

3 CM. v, p. 355, HA. in, p. 128. 

61 



MATTHEW PARIS 

entirely copied, or rather abridged, from the actual manuscripts 
A and 5; but, as this is an important conclusion, and one 
directly contrary to Powicke's thesis, I must, at the risk of being 
tedious, give some detailed evidence of its accuracy. 

(i) In A, between the annal for 1066 and the end, Matthew 
has made many small alterations to the text, which are followed 
in the Historia Anglorum. Thus : 

Original reading Matthew's altered Reading of the 

of A reading of A Historia Anglorum 

Normanniam Northanhumbriam Northambriam 1 

inter praeter praeter 2 

continentiam abstinentiam abstinentiam 3 

castellis catallis catallis* 

In Bj too, Matthew has made similar alterations, which are 
followed in the Historia Anglorum. On f . 5 1 b, for instance, he 
has altered 'balistarios' to * regales', and 'urbem' to urbi j : the 
Historia Anglorum has 'regales' and 'urbi'. 5 

(z) In the annal for i2oo 6 a line is omitted in B through 
homoeoteleuton in the exemplar, a mistake which was not due 
to Matthew himself, since he did not write this section of the 
text of B. In copying this passage into the Historia Anglorum 
Matthew noticed that there was an error and added some words 
in order to make up the sense : 7 he did not write in the missing 
line. It is clear that, in the exemplar of B (6), two lines must 
have ended with the same syllables (in this case, of the words 
' monasterium ' and 'ministerium'). The line must have been 
present in this manuscript, for it occurs in O and W. 8 If the 
Historia Anglorum had been copied from Z>, Matthew would 
surely either not have made the error of omitting the line, or 
he would have omitted it without realizing that he had done so. 
The fact that he made up the sense proves that he noticed that 
the line was missing in his exemplar; and B is the only manu- 
script in which this line is omitted. 

1 1094; CM. n, p. 35, note 2; HA. I, p. 47. 

2 1135; CM. n, p. 161, note 7; HA. I, p. 249. 

3 1178; CM. n, p. 305, note i; HA. I, p. 406. 

4 1 1 88; CM. n, p. 330, note 5; HA. I, p. 446, and note i. 

5 HA. n, pp. 213 and 211. 6 CM. n, p. 467. 

7 HA. n, p. 88; see also CM. n, p. 467, note 6. 

8 See fig. 2 above, p. 29. 

62 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

(3) In the course of the annal for 1217 in 5, Matthew inserts 
the word 'nisi' into a sentence (f. 50 b), because his scribe had 
mistakenly omitted the word ' cum ' ; and this correction is found 
in the text of the Historia Anglorum. 1 The nisi reading is peculiar 
to fi, and was due to a scribal error in it; the other manuscripts 
have the reading cum? 

(4) In the annal for 1222 a piece of direct speech is added by 
Matthew in the margin of B (f . 58 a), and marked to be inserted 
in the text. In the Historia Anglorum* it is incorporated into the 
text in the exact place pointed out in B. Many other examples 
of this could be cited. 

Although the Historia Anglorum is for the most part derived 
from AB, up to the annal for 1191 Matthew sometimes used 
another manuscript for it (possibly i), perhaps at times when A 
or B was being copied by the scribe of C or the Flores Historiarum. 
Here are some examples of the Historia Anglorum following the 
manuscripts of Roger Wendover against A and B y which make it 
clear that some other manuscript was in use: 

(1) Annal for ii5i. 4 The source (Robert de Monte), O, and 
W all have ' etiam hi ' ; as also the Historia Anglorum. But A 
has 'quidem'. 

(2) Annal for n62. 5 Aline omitted in A through homoeo- 
teleuton is in O, PF, and the Historia Anglorum y in identical 
words. 

(3) Annal for iigi. 6 Ralph de Diceto the source, O, and W 
all have 'quasi'; as also the Historia Anglorum; but this is 
omitted in B. 

These examples show that Matthew sometimes used one of 
the manuscripts of Roger Wendover (either OW or b) for the 
Historia Anglorum; he also occasionally used C, for Madden 
notices an entry in the Historia which was certainly taken from 
this manuscript, 7 and there are probably other examples of its 
use. In general, however, it is quite certain that Matthew 
abridged the Historia Anglorum from the text of his Chronica 
Majora in A and B. 

1 ii, p. 206. 2 CM. m, p. 15, note 8. s 11, p. 251. 

4 CM. ii, p. 186, note 6; and HA. I, p. 289. 

5 CM. n, p. 220, note 2; and HA. i, p. 319. 

6 CM. ii, p. 373, note 2; HA. n, p. 22. 7 HA. n, p. 119, note 5. 

63 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Another problem concerning the relationship of B (as well 
as C) and the Historia Anglorum now demands our attention. 
Throughout B there are marginal notices in Matthew's hand, 
consisting usually of a short phrase or single word such as vacat, 
offendiculum or impertinens y pointing out passages in the text 
which ought to be omitted, or which, at any rate, Matthew 
evidently considered offensive or unnecessary. Powicke main- 
tained that these directions do not refer to the Historia Anglorum, 
but, in so far as they are genuine instructions and not mere 
comments, to C. He says : l 

Occasionally a marginal note added later in B and followed by 
a sign reads 'impertinens Anglorum historiae usque hue', suggesting 
that it was intended as a direction to omit certain passages from the 
shorter history. Investigation shows, however, that notes of this 
kind were added in a most capricious way and also that the writer was 
not thinking of any particular book, for he wrote in other places 
f pertinens historiae Wallensium, indirecte tamen Anglorum usque 
ad hoc signum', and 'pertinet historiae Scotorum'. Moreover the 
variant 'impertinens Anglis usque hue' also appears. ... In so far 
as (these marginalia) . . . are directions, they were intended for the 
guidance of the scribe who made Nero D v, the copy of A and B. 

Professor Galbraith took an opposite view. He says : f . . . the 
plain inference is that these notes were made on the Corpus MS. 
[B] as a guide in the compilation of the Historia Anglorum.' * 
Apart from rather vague comments, often in a single word, 
these directions in the margins of B fall into two groups. In one 
group the wording is usually 'vacat quia offendiculum', * offen- 
diculum vacat', or 'cave quia offendiculum', and the letters are 
usually written in red and spaced out vertically in the margin 
against the offending passage of text. 3 In the other group the 
marginal directions always contain the word 'impertinens', 
frequently followed by the phrase ( Anglorum historiae', and 
the limits of the passage thus referred to are defined by means 
of signs. The passages referred to in the first group are invariably 
offensive either to the king (usually), or to the pope (occasionally) ; 

1 Powicke, c Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ inProc. Brit. Acad. xxx 

(1944)7 PP. 156-7- 

2 Galbraith, Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 29. 

3 Other passages are marked, simply, offendiculum, but these directions 
seem to have no especial significance. 

6 4 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

whereas those referred to in the second group of marginal 
directions are inoffensive, and are usually concerned with affairs 
on the Continent or in Wales or Scotland; or with legendary 
matter, prodigies and visions. I have counted thirty-three 
marginal directions of the first group between the annals for 
1199 and 1247 in , and twenty of the passages thus indicated 
are either omitted, or written in the margin, in C. The scribe 
of C, therefore, evidently took some notice of these directions. 
Sometimes he began to copy out the offending passage in his 
text, then crossed out what he had written and wrote the whole 
passage in the margin. In one place in B 1 a passage beginning 
in the middle of a sentence is marked in the margin ' vacat, non 
quia f alsum sed provocans ' ; and the text of C breaks off abruptly 
at this point. Of the forty-seven passages in B marked with the 
other type of marginal direction that having the word imper- 
tinens and a sign to delimit the impertinent passage which I 
have counted, thirty-nine are entirely omitted in the Historia 
Anglorum, and the other eight severely abridged. Furthermore, 
not a single one of these passages is omitted by the scribe of C. 
It is thus evident that, while the first type of marginal direction 
(vacat quia offendiculum etc.) was designed for the scribe of C, 
the second type (impertinens etc.) was written into the margins 
of B by Matthew to remind him of certain passages in the main 
chronicle which could well be omitted from the Historia 
Anglorum on the grounds of irrelevance. 

So far we have found nothing to make us alter our conclusion 
that AB is the earliest manuscript of the Chronica Major a\ that 
it was completed up to 1250 early in 1251 ; and that the Historia 
Anglorum was taken from it. The latter point has been confirmed 
by our examination of the marginal directions in B. Sir Maurice 
Powicke, however, based his conclusions about the relationship 
of B and the Historia Anglorum partly on the evidence from 
Matthew's references to documents in these manuscripts. 
Throughout the latter part of the Chronica Major a, both in B 
and in R (B.M. Royal MS. 14 C vii), there are numerous 
references to documents as being in the Liber Additamentorum. 
The earliest of these in the text of B is on f. 2i2b, 2 in the course 

1 CM. in, p. 381. 

2 CM. iv, p. 619. The reference is actually to the 'liber literarum' (sic). 
5 65 VHP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

of the annal for 1247. From here onwards references to the 
Liber Additamentorum in the text are of frequent occurrence, 
and, as most of them are provided with a signum which is 
usually still to be found in the Liber Additamentorum next to the 
document referred to, there can be little doubt that these 
references are to the existing leaves of the Liber Additamentorum. 
In one case this is certain, for, under the year I252, 1 a document 
is said in B to be in the Liber Additamentorum ' in cedulis margini 
insitis' ; and it is still to be found there, on a strip of parchment 
attached to one of the leaves. 

Why did Matthew copy out his documents in full into B until 
he reached the annal for 1247, and then suddenly begin to keep 
them separate as a kind of supplement to his chronicle? The 
answer to this question seems to be that he grew tired of the 
work of transcription, and perhaps also found that the texts of 
the documents in B were adding unnecessarily to the length of 
that manuscript. The diagram facing this page (fig. 5) shows 
the number of references to the Liber Additamentorum in the 
text of each annal of the Chronica Majora, and the number of 
documents copied out in full, between the annals for 1235 and 
1259. Now in the five annals 1242-6 Matthew copied out fifty- 
nine documents in full into B, whereas in the five annals 1248-52, 
out of a total of thirty-nine documents, only eighteen are copied 
out in J5, and the remainder are referred to as being in the Liber 
Additamentorum. This, I think, shows that Matthew thought of 
creating the Liber Additamentorum, probably as a labour-saving 
device as well as to shorten B, while he was actually writing that 
manuscript. The Liber Additamentorum, in fact, seems to have 
originated as a gradually growing collection of documents which 
Matthew had omitted from B] and not, as Powicke thought, as 
a collection of documents which gradually dwindled as its con- 
tents were copied into J3. 2 This conclusion is confirmed by the 
presence, in B, before the annal for 1247, of a number of 
marginal references to the Liber Additamentorum. Had the 
Liber Additamentorum already been in existence while Matthew 
was writing the earlier part of B (up to the annal for 1247), 

1 CM. v, p. 312. The reference is in the margin of B. 

2 Powicke, ' Compilation of the Chronica Major a J , Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(1944), p. 153. 

66 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

he would surely have inserted his references to it in the text. 
No doubt the documents concerned were at first omitted from 
B because Matthew thought he could dispense with them; but 
when, later, he conceived the idea of a special supplement of 
documents, he would naturally include them in it, and go back 
in B writing references to them in the margin in the appropriate 
places. 



20 1 




l'O ij>- 'oo \a\ I 

CO-CM CM <M 



Fig. 5. Diagram to show the number of documents per annal written out in 
full in B (white) ; and the number of references to documents as being in the 
Liber Additamentorum (shaded). 



Seven documents are referred to in the margins of B before 
the textual references to the Liber Additamentorum begin during 
the annal for 1247. In the case of three of these documents, the 
reference is a straightforward one to the Liber Additamentorum, 
and requires no further discussion, but the references to the 
other four documents need detailed examination. The first of 
these documents is said in one place to be ' at the end of the book ' ; 
but later on in B it is referred to as being 'in the Liber Addita- 
mentorum'^ In the case of the second document, there are again 
two references in the margins of B. In the first the document is 
said to be 'at the end of the book', but these words have been 
partially erased; and in the second the document is said to be 
'in the book which is a continuation of this one' ('qui huic est 
continuandus'). 2 The third document is said to be 'in the book 

1 CM. m, pp. 233, note 5, and 620. 

2 CM. iv, pp. 400, note 4, and 427. 



6 7 



5-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

of letters ' and also * in the Liber Additamentorum ', but the words 
'in the book of letters' are on an erasure, and the words 'in the 
Liber Additamentorum' have been added to the reference later. 1 
In the case of the last of these documents the reference is to ' the 
end of the book', and has been run through with a pen. 2 The 
only possible conclusion from these altered references seems to 
be that the documents they refer to were at one time at the end 
of J5, and that they were later removed from that manuscript 
and kept in a separate volume called the Liber Additamentorum. 
We seem to be arriving at a complicated situation. Apparently 
Matthew started a supplement of documents while he was 
writing the annal for 1247 in J3, and yet, later, when he wrote 
these marginal references into B, he seems to have given up the 
Liber Additamentorum and to be keeping his documents at the 
end of B. Later still, it appears that he resuscitated the Liber 
Additamentorum and had to alter his references to the 'end of 
the book' into references to the Liber Additamentorum. 

The Liber Additamentorum still exists, and we cannot do better 
at this juncture than to turn to it to see what light it throws on 
the meaning of these references, and, consequently, on its own 
origins. The first document in our group of four is written out 
on an independent bifolium bound up near the end of the Liber 
Additamentorum with some odd leaves and matter not originally 
belonging to it. It has perhaps been misplaced. The other three 
documents now occupy ff. 87-88 b of the Liber Additamentorum, 
where they follow each other in the order they are referred to 
in By near the beginning of a homogeneous group of documents 
extending over two separate quires of the Liber Additamentorum 
(12 and part of what is now 13), from f. 85 to xoob. 3 The 
documents extend continuously over these leaves, except for 
a break between ff. 97 and 98, where a new quire now begins, 
and where the continuity of the text is also interrupted. But 
a note on f. 94 a, in which Matthew directs the reader to a 
document on f. 99 with the words 'verte v folia sequential 
shows that all the documents now on ff. 85-ioob of the Liber 
Additamentorum are probably in the same order in which they 
were originally written by Matthew. This whole group of docu- 

1 CM. rv, p. 518, and notes 3 and 4. 2 CM. iv, p. 586, note 2. 
3 For this group of documents, see below, pp. 83-4. 

68 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

ments might therefore easily have been removed from the end 
of B and inserted in the Liber Additamentorum. It comprises 
every document referred to in B up to (and including) the annal 
for 1250 as being in the Liber Additamentorum, with the excep- 
tion of the first document in our group with altered references 
which, as we saw, is now at the end of the Liber Additamentorum 
and evidently misplaced; one document which is no longer to be 
found in the Liber Additamentorum^ and three referred to in the 
margins of B, the references to which were evidently inserted 
after 1250. The documents in this group are written into the 
Liber Additamentorum in roughly chronological order and extend 
in date from 1242 to 1250; there is not a single document in the 
group of later date than 1250. Furthermore, these documents 
were evidently written out either in or before 1250, as the 
following statement in Matthew's hand on f. 99 shows. 1 

It can therefore be gathered from this and other letters that, by 
the grace of God, the most Christian King of the French, Louis. . .in 
the year of our Lord 1250 has become (factus est) lord of Damietta, 
Babylon, Cairo, Alexandria and the transmarine shores. Those who 
persevered in this most glorious battle and in the hardship of the 
journey are universally considered fortunate; and the prayers for 
him which were offered up to the Lord are believed to have had 
a glorious outcome. 

This passage must have been written before the news of the 
disastrous failure of Louis's expedition had reached Matthew 
Paris, and soon after the arrival of the letters which announced 
his success, that is in 1249-50 ; 2 and, since it forms part of the 
text of f. 99 of the Liber Additamentorum^ near the end of our 
group of documents, we can be sure that they were written out 
in or before 1250. This conclusion points to the probability that 
the present ff. 85-100 of the Liber Additamentorum were 
originally at the end of J3, and it is not surprising, therefore, 
to find on the lower margin of the verso of f. 100 an erased quire 
number written in exactly the same style as those now in B, with 
the number in red, surrounded with blue decoration, which 
might well have been xx. Now if these documents had been 
added to B when that manuscript was completed up to the end 

1 CM. vi, p. 169. 2 See CM. v, pp. 118 and 138; and 147. 

6 9 



MATTHEW PARIS 

of the annal for 1250, they probably would have been given the 
quire number xx, since, as we have seen, the annal for 1250 ends 
on the penultimate leaf of quire xix. It seems, therefore, that 
when Matthew had completed AB up to this point, and divided 
it into two, he attached this quire of documents to the end of J9; 
and presumably it remained there until he decided to continue 
the text of his Chronica Major a beyond the annal for 1250. 

We are now in a position to attempt to describe the writing of 
B and the early history of the Liber Additamentorum. While he 
was writing the annal for 1247 in B, Matthew evidently decided 
to keep a separate appendix of documents. In his first reference 
to this appendix, he called it the liber liter arum] 1 but after this 
it is invariably called the Liber Additamentorum. When he had 
finished AB up to 1250, the point where he intended to bring 
his Chronica Majora to a close, Matthew added his ornamental 
rubrication at the top of the pages, from 1066 up to the end 
(1250). Soon after this, however, he decided that the single 
volume AB was too bulky. He therefore separated it into two ; 
renumbered the quires in J3; and added his appendix of docu- 
ments after the last quire of B. Among these documents were 
several dating from before 1247, which he had not referred to in 
the text of jB; and it must have been at this time that Matthew 
went back and added references to them in the margins of B 
before the annal for 1247^ Since he had just added them to the 
end of B, it is only natural that, instead of referring to them as 
being in the Liber Additamentorum in the same way as the 
references to documents in the text of B from 1247 onwards, 
he referred to them as being 'at the end of the book'. It is 
natural, too, that he should not trouble to alter the textual 
references to the Liber Additamentorum, since, though the docu- 
ments were now at the end of 5, he probably still thought of 
them as constituting a Liber Additamentorum. When he decided 
to take up his pen and continue B after 1250, Matthew had to 
remove the documents from it; and it was this removal which, 
no doubt, caused him to alter the marginal references to 

1 Sic; CM. iv, p. 619. 

2 See above, pp. 66-7. While the textual references to the Liber Addita- 
mentorum, 1247-50, are copied into C, those in the margin before 1247 & re 
not, no doubt because they were inserted after the transcription of C in 
c. 1250. 

70 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

documents at the end of the book into references to the Liber 
Additamentorum, and in two cases to add new references to this 
effect. 1 To this removal, too, was due the final appearance of 
the Liber Additamentorum as a separate, independent volume. 
When he wrote the annal for 1251 into 5, and had finally 
removed his appendix of documents from it, Matthew could 
well refer to the Liber Additamentorum^ as he does during this 
annal, with the words : ' sed ea in libro Additamentorum, ut hoc 
volumen deoneretur, annotantur.' 2 

We must now take leave of J3, and turn our attention again to 
the Historia Anglorum, which contains a number of references to 
documents both 'in libro Additamentorum' and 'in cronicis 
majoribus S. Albani', though without the signs which are used 
so extensively in B. Sir Maurice Powicke supposed that none 
of the references in the Historia Anglorum before the annal 
for 1249 referred to the actual manuscript B. He was led to 
this conclusion by the fact that, in the course of the annal for 
1249 i n t ' ie Historia Anglorum, a document is said to be in the 
Chronica Major a at a certain sign; and the sign and the docu- 
ment are still to be found there, while none of the earlier 
references in the Historia Anglorum to documents in the Chronica 
Majora is provided with signs. 3 Powicke also noticed that a 
number of documents said in the Historia Anglorum to be in the 
Liber Additamentorum are no longer to be found there, but are 
in the text of B ; and he concluded from this that the documents 
were in the Liber Additamentorum when the Historia Anglorum 
was written, but were removed thence later when Matthew 
copied them into B. But, as we have seen, Powicke was wrong 
in supposing that most of the Historia Anglorum was written 
before B y and we must find some other explanation of these 
apparently erroneous references. Owing to the fact that very 
many of the references in the Historia Anglorum to documents 
elsewhere have been erased and altered by Matthew, an analysis 
of them is bound to be incomplete. Wherever possible, however, 
Madden made out the original reference, as well as the subse- 
quent one which Matthew frequently added on a piece of vellum 

1 See above, pp. 67-8. 2 CM. v, p. 229. 

3 For this and what follows, see Powicke, ' Compilation of the Chronica 
Majora' ', Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx (1944), pp. 153-5. 

71 



MATTHEW PARIS 

stuck down over its predecessor. Out of a probable total of 
eighty explicit references to other manuscripts in the text of the 
Historia Anglorum, sixty-six have been altered into vague general 
references of the type 'in libris plurimorum', 'in libris mul- 
torum', 'in libris religiosorum', 'in multis locis Angliae 5 , 'in 
aliquibus Aquilonarium rotulis', 'in original! 5 , 'in rotulis scac- 
carii 5 , 'in rotulis vicecomitum', 'in autentico papae', etc. Of 
these altered references, ten were originally to the Chronica 
Major a: namely, 'in majoribus cronicis S. Albani', 'in historia 
magna huius opusculi', 'in magnis cronicis S. Albani', etc.; 
and twenty-seven to the Liber Additamentorum, namely, 'in 
libro additamentorum', 'in libro suplementorum vel addita- 
mentorum', etc. 1 

It is impossible to explain this wholesale alteration of specific 
references to the Chronica Major a and the Liber Additamentorum 
on the grounds that the references were correct when first made, 
but became incorrect when the documents referred to were 
transferred by Matthew from the Liber Additamentorum into J3, 
because (quite apart from the fact that B was written before the 
Historia Anglorum) among those so altered were at least ten 
correct references to documents as being in the Chronica Majora, 
and at least six correct references to documents in the Liber 
Additamentorum which are still there. This alteration of references 
to documents in the Historia Anglorum extends only to the annal 
for 1251. Before it Matthew referred the reader to the Liber 
Additamentorum or the Chronica Majora for a document when- 
ever he had an opportunity; after this annal many documents are 
mentioned in the Historia Anglorum but without any reference 
to where they can be found, and some are referred to in terms 
as vague as those used in the second set of references mentioned 
above. Matthew evidently changed his method of referring to 
documents before he had finished writing the Historia Anglorum, 

1 According to Powicke (' Compilation of the Chronica Majora ', Proc. Brit. 
Acad. xxx (1944), p. 153), Matthew referred to the Liber Additamentorum as 
' the book of many things, the book of very many things (liber plurimorum) 
and so on'. But in fact the Liber Additamentorum is always referred to as 
the liber additamentorum, the liber suplementorum, or the liber literarum. 
Perhaps Powicke mistook the phrases ' in libris plurimorum * and ' in libris 
multorum' for references to the Liber Additamentorum^ though they clearly 
mean 'in most people's books' and 'in the books of many people'. 

72 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

and probably while he was writing the annal for 1251. At this 
point he for some reason decided to give up referring explicitly 
to documents as being in the Chronica Majora or the Liber 
Additamentorum, and took the trouble to go back through his 
text erasing the explicit references wherever he found them. 
(He overlooked fourteen.) In this way he brought the Historia 
Anglorum into line with the Flores Historiarum, in Matthew's 
section of which there are some vague references to documents 
as being elsewhere ('apud S. Albanum', 'in regio thesauro', 
etc.), but no explicit ones. It is worth noting, too, that just the 
same kind of vague reference occurs in the Abbreviatio Chroni- 
corum. The alteration of these references in the Historia Anglorum, 
then, is of no significance in our discussion of the relationship 
of that work to B and the Liber Additamentorum ; it was carried 
out with the immediate object of expunging from the Historia 
Anglorum all the explicit references to Matthew's other manu- 
scripts. What the ultimate object was it is difficult to say, but 
it may not be mere coincidence that Matthew's expurgation of 
the Historia Anglorum, that is to say his erasure of many offensive 
passages and their replacement with milder or harmless ones, 
likewise ends in the course of the annal for I25I. 1 If, as is 
possible, these two series of alterations were made at the same 
time, then it seems likely that they were made for the same 
reason, and that Matthew intended to make the manuscript fit 
for someone outside St Albans, 2 for whom references to docu- 
ments in his other manuscripts would be useless. 

We may now proceed with our discussion of the original set 
of references to documents in the Historia Anglorum. The text of 
fifty of these can be ascertained with a reasonable degree of 
certainty, thirty-eight of which referred to the Liber Additamen- 
torum, and twelve to the Chronica Majora. Of the thirty-eight 
referring to the Liber Additamentorum (or liber suplementorum), 
about thirty refer to documents which are in fact in B, and 
which were undoubtedly in B when the Historia Anglorum was 
copied from it. What is the explanation of this curious fact? 
Either, it seems, Matthew intended, when he wrote the Historia 
Anglorum, to collect all these documents into the Liber Addita- 

1 See below, pp. 121-4. 

2 Madden (HA. m, p. xxxii) suggested the king. 

73 



MATTHEW PARIS 

mentorum at some later date, or the references to the Liber 
Additamentorum do not refer to the separate Liber Additamen- 
torum as we know it now, but to the actual manuscript B, of 
which, as we have seen, the Liber Additamentorum formed part 
at the time when the Historia Anglorum was copied from it. 
Now the first of these explanations seems most unlikely, for it 
implies that Matthew planned to make the Liber Additamentorum 
an independent work: a great collection of all his documentary 
material. Yet all the evidence points to its continued use as an ap- 
pendix of documents only, and certainly, if such an intention 
ever existed, it can only have been a momentary one, for Matthew 
continued using the Liber Additamentorum as an appendix to his 
main chronicle until shortly before his death, and there is no 
sign at all that he ever attempted to turn it into a grand collection 
of all his documents. On the other hand, the second possible 
explanation, that, at the time when he was writing the Historia 
Anglorum, Matthew thought of B, since the documents were 
then at the end of it, as his Liber Additamentorum, although 
prima facie equally fantastic, is supported by some quite sub- 
stantial evidence. In the early part of the Historia Anglorum, 
up to the annal for 1188, all the references are to documents 
as being 'in cronicis S. Albani 5 , 'in magnis cronicis', etc., and 
there is not one to the Liber Additamentorum.^ The documents 
thus referred to are all in A, the manuscript from which Matthew 
was copying, and which at this time was probably still joined 
to B; and we may assume from these references that he thought 
of the undivided AB as 'the great St Albans chronicle'. If 
we look at the Historia Anglorum from 1189 onwards, we find 
that all the recoverable references to documents in the text, 
between the annals for 1189 and 1246 inclusive, are to the Liber 
Additamentorum: there is not a single one to the magna cronica. 
Yet all the documents thus referred to are in B the very manu- 
script from which Matthew was copying when he wrote these 
references in the Historia Anglorum. It can hardly be a co- 
incidence that, in the early part of the Historia (up to 1 188), the 
references are to the 'Chronica Majora'; and in the part taken 
from B, to the Liber Additamentorum', while the documents 
referred to are all in A and B respectively, and it seerns that we 
1 One is possibly to the liber epistolarum; see HA. I, p. 345, note 6. 

74 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

must conclude that Matthew split AB into two while he was 
writing the Historia Anglorum, and that after this operation, 
S, since it contained his own continuation (1235-50) of the 
'St Albans chronicle', as well as his appendix of additional 
documents, to which he had already often referred as the Liber 
Additamentorum, was regarded as constituting the additional 
book itself. 

We have seen that, when Matthew decided to continue the 
text of B after 1250, he removed his additional documents from 
it, and made them into a separate Liber Additamentorum. Now 
this change is reflected in a change in the character of the 
references to documents in the Historia Anglorum. Let us 
imagine, for a moment, the actual process of writing the Historia. 
Matthew has before him the text of J3, to which he refers the 
reader from time to time as he abridges the Historia Anglorum 
from it, for documents which he does not trouble to copy out in 
full. Let us suppose, as we have given some grounds for sup- 
posing, that he is in the habit of referring to B as the * Liber 
Additamentorum'. Now when he arrives at the annal for 1247, 
he comes across, first of all, a marginal reference in B to a docu- 
ment as being in the Liber Additamentorum^ and, soon after- 
wards, he meets with the earliest references in the text of B to the 
Liber Additamentorum. He copied these references more or less 
word for word into the Historia Anglorum? They could be left 
unaltered, as references to the Liber Additamentorum, since the 
documents to which they referred were still in the end of B\ 
and in the course of the annal for 1248 in the Historia Anglorum 
Matthew still refers to documents in B as being in the Liber 
Additamentorum. Soon after this, however, he must have 
decided to continue the text of his Chronica Major a in J5, and 
he was forced to remove the additional documents from it, and 
to reconstitute them finally as a separate Liber Additamentorum. 
This entailed a radical change in his terminology, for he had to 
give up calling B the Liber Additamentorum. It is no doubt for 
this reason that, in the course of the annal for 1249 in the 
Historia Anglorum, we find a reference in the text (the first 
since before the annal for 1188 when A was the exemplar) 
'majoribus cronicis S. Albani'; and a sign is drawn in the 
1 CM. iv, p. 609. 2 in, pp. 22, note 7; and 27, note 3. 

75 



MATTHEW PARIS 

margin which is also found in the margin of B next to the 
document concerned. 1 But Matthew evidently had difficulty in 
remembering his new distinction between B and the Liber 
Additamentorum> for on two occasions in this same annal in the 
Historia Anglorum he mistakenly reverts to the old terminology, 
and calls B the Liber Additamentorum? In the second of these 
references his memory slipped badly, for it is to the very same 
document which he had already correctly said, earlier in this 
annal, 3 to be 'in cronicis majoribus', which we know, from the 
sign, to have meant the actual manuscript B. The remaining 
references in the Historia Anglorum are 'correct'; that is, those 
to the Liber Additamentorum refer to documents in the existing 
Liber (there are four or five in all), and the only reference to the 
Chronica Major a is to a document in B. To this last we ought to 
add two marginal references, no doubt inserted into the Historia 
after Matthew's change of terminology, in both of which a docu- 
ment in B is said to be in the Chronica Majora.^ 

Although this supposed change of terminology by Matthew 
appears perhaps rather far-fetched, it does seem to be the only 
hypothesis which fits all the evidence. It is borne out, too, by 
the fact that, in the case of one of the references to a document 
as being in the Liber Additamentorum when it was actually in J5, 
Matthew has later added the words ' vel in magnis cronicis ' ; and 
in the case of another, he afterwards inserted the words 'et 
cronicorum S. Albani' under the words f libro Additamentorum' 
of the original reference: in the book of Additamenta and 
St Albans chronicles'. 5 

The rather detailed discussions of this chapter may now be 
briefly summarized. Matthew first wrote out the Chronica 
Major a in AB, finishing its text at the end of the annal for 1250, 
early in 1251. During the writing of the last fpur annals, he had 
omitted a number of documents from the text, and referred to 
them as being in the Liber Additamentorum. When AB had been 
completed to the year 1250, he split it into two, altered the quire 
numbers in J3, and added the documents, to which he had been 

1 HA. in, p. 45, note 8. 2 in, pp. 47, note 5, and 53. 

3 HA. in, p. 45. 4 ii, pp. 440 and 494, note 4. 

5 HA. n, p. 500, note 5; and in, p. 16, note i. 

7 6 



RELATIONSHIP AND CHRONOLOGY 

referring as the Liber Additamentorum^ at the end of B. It must 
have been at about this time that C was copied, by a scribe, 
from B. Work on the Historia Anglorum had been started in 
1250, and probably proceeded slowly, as it was written by 
Matthew himself. Meanwhile some further references to docu- 
ments had been added to the margins of B before the annal for 
1247, and, since the Liber Additamentorum now formed part of 
B, these references were at first to 'the end of the book'; but 
they were altered to references to the Liber Additamentorum 
after Matthew had removed his documents from the end of J5, 
to make room for his continuation of the text of the Chronica 
Major a (125 1 onwards) in that manuscript. When this happened 
we do not exactly know, but it was probably in the years 1252-3, 
and not before the writing of the Historia Anglorum had reached 
the annal for 1249, f r > U P to then, in the Historia, B is referred 
to as the Liber Additamentorum. The most important conclusion 
that emerges is that the writing of the Chronica Major a in B 
and R, from about the annal for 1245 to the end, was throughout 
only a year or two behind events. Far from being a late copy, 
made at the end of Matthew's life, B is, at any rate from the 
annal for 1245 onwards, the author's original, autograph account 
of contemporary events. 



77 



CHAPTER V 

THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

IN the course of the preceding chapter much reference has 
been made to Matthew's Liber Additamentorum^ and we have 
seen that it began its life as a small group of documents at 
the end of B. The existing Liber Additamentorum contains many 
of the documents referred to by Matthew in his historical manu- 
scripts, as well as others which he does not mention elsewhere. 
It contains, too, a collection of St Albans charters and papal 
privileges; Matthew's Gesta Abbatum and Vitae Offarum; and 
much miscellaneous material. Owing to the fact that many of the 
leaves are no longer in their original quires, it presents a difficult 
problem for the palaeographer; but its structure is important 
because of the evidence it affords of the way in which this unique 
collection of historical material was gathered together, and, 
consequently, I have tried to set it out in diagrammatic form 
(see fig. 6). 

If we are to reconstruct this manuscript in anything like its 
original form, the first stage must be to rearrange the contents 
according to the late medieval foliation which still in part sur- 
vives. We know that this earlier foliation goes back to the 
fourteenth or early fifteenth century, because there are several 
references in British Museum Cotton MS. Tiberius E vi (the 
St Albans Liber Memorandorum) to a Liber de Gestis Abbatum, 
which give the. correct folio number for the earlier foliation of 
our Liber Additamentorum ; and these references occur on ff. 260- 
63 of the Liber Memorandorum, a section of the manuscript 
written c. 1400. We can omit, from our reconstruction, the 
group of folios 161-6 inclusive, since these were probably added 
to the manuscript in modern times. This quire certainly once 
belonged to some other book, for on f. 161 we have the signature 
of Sir Robert Cotton, which suggests that in his time this leaf 
prefaced some other manuscript in his possession; and in any 
case these leaves differ from those in the rest of the book in size 
and lay-out, and are foliated 2-6 in an early hand. Here, then, 

78 

















. 
















IV 


, 1 






V 


J L 


























2 




-- } 
















". 








! u 








IV 


J -1 


T 




.... 




J 
































3 






^ "1 









? Apparently three odd leaves 
stuck together 




38 : inserted later by 
Matthew Paris 



"El 



81: a fragment 



85 : once belonged 
to quire 12 



n T 




Erased quire 
number, perhaps 
once xx 



Fig. 6. Diagram to show the structure of the Liber 
Additamentorum. Quires 1-13. 



79 





J 




124, 125, 129: three 
leaves stuck together ; 
124-5 probably once 
a bifolium 



r6 4 
1 66 




164: a fragment 



169: a fragment 
not shown here 

172-4: odd leaves 
added in fourteenth 
century 



-o.v.o 

- o.vi.o 

- o.vii.o 

- o . viii . o 



175-8: fourteenth-century 
matter 



The remaining leaves are mostly 
odd ; many of them stuck together. 
188-91 make two bifolia and 193-4 
is a bifolium 



144 
H5, 



Fig. 6. Quires 14-25. 



Fig. 6. The foliation used in this diagram is that of Luard (CM. vi). The 
original arrangement of the quires has been much disturbed by subsequent 
rebinding, and in the diagram I have followed the present division into 
quires, though for the sake of clarity I have made more divisions than are 
really necessary: for instance, quires 16, 17, and 18 in the diagram might 
well be regarded as forming a single gathering. Up to f. 160, leaves over 
which the text runs continuously are linked by a vertical line running down 
the left of each quire diagram. In cases where two leaves have been stuck 
together to make a bifolium, the line representing the sheet of parchment in 
the manuscript is broken by dots. In many cases leaves stuck together in this 
way probably originally formed bifolia, which later came apart and then had 
to be repaired. Quire 23 did not originally belong to this manuscript (see 
above, p. 78). 

80 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

is a rough list of the contents of the Liber Additamentorum as it 
probably was in the fourteenth century, within a hundred years 
of Matthew's death. Luard's foliation, used in his edition of 
the Liber Additamentorum in volume vi of the Chronica Major a, 
is placed in brackets after the fourteenth-century foliation. 1 

1-25 (2-26) Vitae Offarum, with a short tract Cum Danorum 

rabies. 

27-39 (148-60) St Albans charters and papal privileges. 
4~73 (3~^3) P art I f the Gesta Abbatum, with some documents 

written on spare leaves at the end of the last quire. 
74-83 (64-73) P art M f the Gesta Abbatum, with documents of 

1255-7- 

84-115 (74-106) Documents of 1242-59. 
116-19 (171-4) Fourteenth- century matter. 
120-33 (107-20) Documents of 1252-4. 
134-41 (121-8) Miscellaneous documents, many of 1254. 
142-50 (175-83) Mostly fourteenth-century matter, with some odd 

leaves. 

151-3 (27-9) Tracts on St Alban etc. 
154-74 (129-47) Miscellaneous, including Matthew's tract on the 

St Albans gems etc. 

176-7 (167-8) The charges against Hubert de Burgh (1239). 
178 on (184 on) Miscellaneous, 

The next stage in our reconstruction of the original Liber 
Additamentorum is to omit all the fourteenth-century matter, as 
well as the odd leaves which have only fragmentary material, 
and which contribute nothing towards our knowledge of the 
structure and history of the manuscript. We may omit, too, 
the tracts on St Alban (ff. 27-9 of Luard's foliation), and divide 
the documentary material into more homogeneous groups. The 
Liber Additamentorum must have been arranged roughly as 
follows when Matthew died. 

Luard's 
foliation 

2-26 Vitae Offarum and Cum Danorum rabies. 
148-60 St Albans charters and papal privileges. 
30-63 Part i of the Gesta Abbatum, with attached documents. 

1 Luard (ed.), CM. vi, pp. 491-523, published a full description of this 
manuscript, and, in all the references to it in this book, his foliation, given 
there, is used. 

6 8l VHP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Luard's 
foliation 
64-73 Part II of the Gesta Abbatum, written in 1255, followed 

by documents in rough chronological order of 1255-7. 
74-84 Documents of 1256-9. 
85-100 Documents of 1242-50, written out in or before 1250. 

Ff. 167-8 perhaps once preceded f. 85. 
101-5 Miscellaneous documents of 1250 and 1256-7. 
107-20 Documents, mostly of 1252-4. A study of the references 

in the Chronica Major a shows that these documents 

were thus arranged when the text of the annal for 

1254 was written into R. 

1 2 1-8 Miscellaneous documents, including a number of 1254. 
129-36 Miscellaneous material of 1257, together with some later 

material added after Matthew's death. 
144-6 Matthew's tract on the gems etc. Once followed 63 ; 

moved when Part n of the Gesta Abbatum was inserted 

into its present position. 
167-8 The charges against Hubert de Burgh. 

We are now in a position to try to describe the way in which 
the documentary material in the Liber Additamentorum was put 
together. The Gesta Abbatum was written in two parts, the first 
of which extends from the beginning to the death of Abbot 
William in 1235. After this there follow some documents, 
written on the spare leaves remaining at the end of quire 8. 
The second part of the Gesta Abbatum begins on the first leaf of 
the next quire (f. 64). It consists of a short description of the 
abbacy of John of Hertford (1235-63), and the continuous text 
breaks down on f. 68 b, at a point where Matthew says: 1 

Moreover this Abbot John . . . has never, I say, since the time of his 
creation up to the twentieth year of his rule (in which year this page 
was written by Brother Matthew Paris, who does not presume to lay 
down the law (diffinire) concerning the future), alienated the posses- 
sions of his church. 

The text of part two of the Gesta Abbatum continues beyond 
this point in the form of short paragraphs recording isolated 
events, but it soon gives way to documents ; at first of domestic 
interest only, but, from 71 onwards, of general interest as well. 
These continue until f. 84, but in Matthew's hand only to f. 82. 

1 Wats, p. 145. 

82 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

The dates of the documents on these leaves, which follow 
straight on from the St Albans documents of various dates with 
which the second part of the Gesta Abbatum closes, are significant. 
They begin with the year 1255, and continue in rough chrono- 
logical order to f. 82, where the last of this group in Matthew's 
hand is the latest document written by him into the Liber 
Additamentorum^ dated March 1259. The last two leaves of the 
quire (f. 85 belongs to the next quire) have been used for some 
documents of 1258 not written by Matthew. Now these docu- 
ments, dating from 1255 to 1259, f^ 1 *! a homogeneous group 
collected and written into the Liber Additamentorum by Matthew 
between 1255 and his death; for they carry straight on from the 
concluding section of the second part of the Gesta Abbatum, 
which we know, from Matthew's statement translated above, 
was written in 1255. The only interloper in this series of docu- 
ments is one of 1252 on f. yob ; but an examination of the manu- 
script shows that this was inserted after the main series was 
written, and not by Matthew Paris. To this group of documents 
we must add those on ff. 129-39. These consist of a number in 
Matthew's hand, of 1257, and some others written into the book 
by his assistant, shortly after his death. As can be seen from 
fig. 6, Matthew's numbering of ff. 134-7 follows on from that of 
ff. 76-7 (though the leaf numbered o. iiii. o is not now to be 
found); and indeed it appears that the whole quire, ff. 129-43 
(some blank leaves, filled up in the fourteenth century, originally 
followed the documents on ff. 12939), was once connected with 
ff. 74-84. The group of documents, then, which Matthew wrote 
into the Liber Additamentorum between 1255 an< ^ ^ s death, 
extends over ff. 71-82 and 129-36; while the documents added 
to this group shortly after his death extend over ff. 83-4 and 
136-9. Although, owing to subsequent rearrangement of the 
manuscript, it is impossible to ascertain exactly how ff. 129-39 
were connected with ff . 74-84, it is very probable that all the docu- 
ments in this group were originally in rough chronological order. 
A second easily identifiable group of documents, extending 
over ff. 85-100, follows the one just described. The handwriting 
of this group looks earlier than that of most of the rest of the 
book; it is tidier and more controlled. The earliest document 
in this group dates from 1242, the latest from 1250, and most 

83 6-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

of the documents in it are of 1247-50. The arrangement is again 
roughly chronological. On the verso of the last leaf of the group 
(f. 100) is the erased quire number which has already been 
mentioned 1 as being apparently identical with those in J3, and, 
as we have seen, this group of documents contains almost all 
those referred to in jB up to the annal for 1250 as being in the 
Liber Additamentorum. It is, in fact, the group of documents 
added by Matthew to the end of B, which was later removed to 
form the documentary nucleus of the Liber Additamentorum. 

So far we have identified the first group of documents which 
went to make up the Liber Additamentorum, and the last. The 
documents of the intermediate years, 1250-4, are rather more 
difficult to arrange into well-ordered groups. One group seems 
to extend over S. 101-5, but the documents are not in any 
particular order, for the first few date from 1250, with one of 
1251, while there follow documents of various dates (1247-54) 
which are repeated elsewhere in the book, and then a series of 
documents of the years 1255-6, with one at the end dating from 
1257 which appears to have been added some time later. 
Following these, however, is a better defined group extending 
over ff. 107-20, mostly of 1252-4. Apart from one or two 
documents of earlier date, the chronological order of this group 
is only seriously disturbed by a document of 1255, but this has 
almost certainly been inserted later, and was not written by 
Matthew himself. Lastly, there is another group of documents 
on ff. 1 2 1-8, of rather miscellaneous date, though about half of 
them belong to 1254. 

The identification of these groups of documents shows that the 
Liber Additamentorum was not compiled in an entirely hap- 
hazard fashion, but that Matthew collected his documents more 
or less in chronological order, probably as he obtained them; 
and, apart from the group of documents written in or before 
1250,2 which was originally at the end of B y there is every 
indication that the documentary material inthe Liber Additamen- 
torum dates from after 1250. On the verso of f, 63, in the lower 
margin, is a pencil note in Matthew's hand which is now partly 
illegible ; but it is still possible to make out the words : * . . . abbatis 
Johannis'. This could be taken to imply that the second part of 
1 See above, p. 69. 2 See pp. 68-70 above. 

8 4 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

the Gesta Abbatum, which now begins on the next page, was not 
originally in this position. Indeed we know from other evidence 
that at one time the tract on the St Albans gems, etc., followed 
f. 63; for on f. 62 a Matthew says that some verses on Abbot 
William are written out three leaves further on, but they are 
now to be found on f. 145, where the tract on the gems begins. 
It is therefore very probable that the second part of the Gesta 
Abbatum, which Matthew was writing in 1255, together with the 
documents which he added to it dating from 1255 to 1259, had 
its original place in the book after the last group of documents 
mentioned above (ff. 121-8), which includes a number of 1254, 
and immediately before the other documents of 1257-9 on 
ff. 129-39. It seems likely that the '1254' group originally 
followed, as it still does, the group of documents dating from 
1252-4. The arrangement of the bulk of the documentary 
material, before Matthew moved the second part of the Gesta 
Abbatum and the documents attached to it, would thus have 
been as follows : 

ff. 85-100 Documents of 1 242-50, originally at the end of B. 

ff. 107-20 Documents of 12524. 

ff. 121-8 Miscellaneous documents, about half of 1254. 

ff. 64-84 Documents of 1255-9, preceded by Part n of 

and 129-39 the Gesta Abbatum. 

The Liber Additamentorum, then, was evidently a reasonably 
well-ordered collection of documents and extracts dating from 
c. 1244-59, which Matthew put together in the first place at the 
end of B, and which, after e. 1251-3, constituted a separate 
book which was added to steadily until his death; the documents 
being copied into it more or less in the order in which he 
obtained them. 

Besides documentary material, the Liber Additamentorum 
contains two historical works of domestic importance, the Gesta 
Abbatum and the Vitae Offarum. Although I shall postpone a 
general discussion of these until a later chapter, something 
ought to be said here about their date and relationship to 
Matthew's other manuscripts. In view of the fact that the 
Gesta Abbatum is nowhere mentioned in the Chronica Majora, 

85 



MATTHEW PARIS 

yet is referred to on a number of occasions in the Historia 
Anglomm, it would seem probable that, when AB was written, 
Matthew had not yet begun the Gesta Abbatum. This is confirmed 
when the text of the Gesta Abbatum is compared with that of 
AB, for we find a number of cases where it seems to be taken 
from AB 9 and occasionally one of Matthew's additions to Roger 
Wendover in AB has found its way into the text of the Gesta 
Abbatum. In the two following examples I have italicized 
Matthew's additions in AB. 1 

1 i ) Chronica Major a ; part of the annal for 1 2 1 4 : 2 ' Eodem tempore 
Johannes abbas ecclesiae sancti Albani, in die beati Kenelmi regis et 
martyris, decimo nono anno praelationis suae, plenus dierum, sanctitate 
et religione insignis, scientia ad plenum eruditus . . . .' 

The Gesta Abbatum : 3 * Transit igitur ab hoc mundo praenominatus 
abbas Johannes, de exilio videlicet ad patriam, de naufragio ad 
portum, anno domini MCCXIIII die beati Kenelmi regis et 
martyris . . . anno vero praelationis suae XIX, sanctitate et religione 
insignis, dierum plenus. . ..' 

(2) Chronica Major a; part of the annal for iziy: 4 'Quibus ita 
gestis dictus Falcasius cum suis praedonibus excommunicatis et 
spoliis nimis dampnosis, et captivis tractis turpiterque vinctis . . . .' 

The Gesta Abbatum: 5 f Et sic ipse Falco et sui complices cum 
captivorum numerositate quam secum trahebant, diversis praediis 
onerati . . . .' 

These parallels show that the first part of the Gesta Abbatum 
was not written until after the early part of AB. On the other 
hand, it was certainly concluded by 1250, for Matthew refers 
to the Gesta on a number of occasions in the Historia Anglorum? 
which he began in 1250; and a comparison of the two shows 
that the first part of the Gesta Abbatum was sometimes used in 
the writing of the Historia Anglorum. The second part of the 
Gesta Abbatum was, as we shall see, written in 1255. Again, 
there are striking parallels with AB, especially in the account 
of the election of Abbot John in I235, 7 which make it clear that 
the second part of the Gesta was also based in part on Matthew's 
Chronica Majora in AB. 

1 These were made while he was writing the text; see pp. 30-1 above. 

2 n, p. 576. 3 Wats, p. 112. * in, p. 12. 5 Wats, p. 119. 

6 HA. I, pp. 23, 228, 276, 291; n, p. 55. 

7 CM. in, pp. 307-8; Wats, pp. 135-8. 

86 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

In the Liber Additamentorum, the text of the first part of the 
Gesta Abbatum extends from S. 30 to 62 a, and it appears to have 
been written more or less currente calamo, apart from one leaf 
probably inserted later (f. 38), and a number of marginal addi- 
tions and corrections. On f. 62 the text breaks down into a 
number of isolated passages and transcripts of documents, which 
continue on to the next leaf. The character of the handwriting 
bears out our conclusion about the date of this part of the Gesta, 
for it appears to have been written before most of the rest of the 
Liber Additamentorum, that is, before 1250. The documents 
on ff. 62-63 b date from 1219 to 1251, and have been written 
on the spare leaves which remained at the end of the quire. 
Powicke says that the Gesta Abbatum was finished in I255, 1 but 
this statement needs some qualification, for, judging from the 
presence of the documents just mentioned, some of which have 
no connexion with St Albans, the first part of the Gesta seems 
originally to have been planned and written as a work complete 
in itself, ending at the end of the abbacy of William of Trum- 
pington (1235); and, as we have seen, it was finished before 
1250. It would not even be quite accurate to say that the second 
part of the Gesta Abbatum was finished in 1255, for the text, in 
the Liber Additamentorum, continues beyond Matthew's state- 
ment, already quoted, to the effect that he was writing in 1255. 
Judging from its brevity, however, and from the way in which 
it precedes documents of the years 1255 on, and probably once 
followed those of 1254, the whole of the second part of the Gesta 
would seem to have been written in the year 1255. 

In the course of the Gesta Abbatum Matthew on several 
occasions refers the reader to material elsewhere in the Liber 
Additamentorum, or in one of his other manuscripts. In his 
account of Warm's abbacy, for instance, he says that the papal 
bull Religiosam vitam eligentibus 'is written out above, in the 
present volume 5 ; 2 and it is in fact still to be found in the Liber 
Additamentorum among the other papal documents, which, as 
can be seen from our reconstruction of the original arrangement 
of the book, 3 were once between the Vitae Offarum and the 
Gesta Abbatum. There is a curious reference in the text of the 

1 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a' t Proc. Brit. Acad. xxx 
(1944), p. 155. * Wats, p. 95- 3 Above, pp. 81-2. 

87 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Gesta on f. 49 b, where the description of the invention of 
St Amphibalus is said by Matthew to be in a chronicle 'in this 
book'. 1 Powicke supposed that the chronicle in question was 
the Historia Anglorwn? but this is impossible, since this 
reference occurs in the first part of the Gesta, which was 
written before the Historia Anglorum. It is probable, in fact, 
that the chronicle 'in this book' was either a copy of Roger 
Wendover's Floras Historiarum, or AB itself; and, as it seems 
unlikely that Matthew would have kept his Gesta together with 
a manuscript of Roger Wendover's chronicle, we may con- 
clude that the reference is probably to AB. In the years leading 
up to 1250, evidently, Matthew kept his general and domestic 
histories together, or at least intended to do so, for this reference 
might represent an intention rather than a fact. 

The most puzzling reference in the Gesta Abbatum to another 
manuscript of Matthew's occurs in the text of the second part of 
the Gesta. In his account of the election of Abbot John of 
Hertford, Matthew refers us to some letters concerning it as 
being ' in hoc volumine ubi scilicet pingitur avicula'. The letters 
thus referred to are not now to be found in the Liber Additament- 
orum, but they have been copied out by Matthew into the text 
of jB, though there is no sign there of an avicula. 3 Powicke 
thought that when this reference was written, B had not yet been 
begun, and the documents referred to were in the Liber Addita- 
mentorum, but were removed some time later when they were 
copied into B* But we have seen that the second part of the 
Gesta was probably written in 1255, when the text of B up to 
1250 had long been finished; and, in any case, this part of the 
Gesta can be shown to be based in part on the text of A B. 5 I can 
only suggest that the documents referred to were in the Liber 
Additamentorum when Matthew made this reference to them, 
together with the sign of the 'little bird', but that they have 
since been lost ; like the copy of the agreement between St Albans 
and Westminster which we know was in the Liber Additament- 
orum until after Matthew's death, though there is no sign of 

1 Wats, p. 93. 

2 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Majora\ loc. cit. p. 156. 

3 Wats, p. 139, and CM. in, pp. 313-18. 

4 Powicke, 'Compilation of the Chronica Major a\ loc. cit. pp. 153-6. 

5 See p. 86 above. 

88 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

it there now. 1 There is another rather puzzling reference in the 
text of the first part of the Gesta Abbatum, in which Matthew 
says that the story of the recovery by Egwin of the bones of 
St Alban, which had been stolen by the Danes and removed by 
them to Denmark, is told above in the course of the history of 
Abbot Wlnoth. 2 If we turn back to f. 30 b, 3 we find no mention 
of this story in the text, but Matthew has added a few lines in 
the margin, directing the reader to the tract Cum Danorum rabies, 
where it is set out in full on ff. 25 b-26b. It is curious that the 
reference to this should be in the text, while the story itself was 
obviously added later, but an examination of the manuscript 
shows that the leaf on which this reference occurs (f. 38) has 
been inserted later by Matthew into the text of the Gesta. Two 
other references in the Gesta Abbatum ought to be mentioned, 
though I have not discovered to what they in fact refer. They 
are: 

(1) Concerning the knights of the Swan, *sed haec suo loco 
plenius conscribentur'. 4 

(2) Concerning the Cross of Josaphath, 'quae quadam 
prolixa narratione continetur in fine hums libri'. 5 

The only evidence for the date of the Vitae Off arum is 
Matthew's own statement near the end of its text. He says: 6 

. . .in quantum licet alicui abbati habere pontificalem dignitatem, 
prout tarn nova quam vetera instrumenta inde obtenta manifeste 
protestantur, quae in hoc libro, videlicet in sequentibus, annotantur. 
Gesta quoque abbatum omnium qui a tempore regis Off ani fundatoris 
ecclesiae Sancti Albani in eadem ecclesia extiterunt, usque ad annum 
gratiae millesimum ducentesimum quinquagesimum, similiter in 
praesenti volumine denotantur. 

The text of the first part of the Gesta Abbatum extends to 
1235, and that of the second part to 1255, so that this statement 
can hardly refer to either of them, and Matthew is evidently here 
thinking rather of the year in which he was writing than of his 
book on the abbots. The translation should therefore probably 
be '. . .the deeds of all the abbots from Offa until now [i.e. 
1250] are described in this book' ; and we may therefore tenta- 

1 It was copied thence by the continuator of the Gesta Abbatum, and is 

printed in GA. i, pp. 363-6. 2 Wats, p. 60. 3 Wats, p. 38. 

4 Wats, p. 46. 5 Wats, p. 126. 6 Wats, p. 31. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

tively conclude that the Vitae Off arum was completed in 1250, 
and added, in that year, to a book which already contained the 
papal privileges referred to by Matthew (which originally pre- 
ceded the Gesta}, as well as the first part of the Gesta Abbatum. 
Now was this book originally (that is, in or before 1250) a part 
of the Liber Additamentorum, or was it only added later into the 
Liber Additamentorum^ This is a difficult question to answer 
with any degree of certainty, but, from the reference to a 
1 chronicle in this book' which we discussed above, 1 it seems 
likely that the Gesta Abbatum was originally at the end of AB, 
and, if this were so, it is possible that the Vitae Offarum and the 
papal privileges (together no doubt with the charters that go 
with them) formed with it part of the collection of documents 
which, as we have seen, were kept at the end of B until Matthew 
conceived the idea of a separate Liber Additamentorum. 

It seems not unreasonable to suppose that, in the year 1250, 
when Matthew drew the text of the Chronica Majora to its 
intended close, he purposed at the same time to complete his 
other historical labours, and to combine the whole in a single 
manuscript, AB, containing the full text of his Chronica Majora, 
the additional documents referred to in its text but not copied 
out there, as well as his domestic histories and the documents 
concerning them. The references to the Gesta Abbatum in the 
Historia Anglorum do not cast serious doubts on this theory, for 
the words c cuius beneficia in libro de Gestis Abbatum, apud 
Sanctum Albanum habito, plenius describuntur' (i, p. 228), for 
instance, do not necessarily mean that the Gesta Abbatum was 
at this time a separate book, all on its own. In or before 1250, 
then, Matthew had probably gathered the material that was 
later to become his Liber Additamentorum at the end of his 
Chronica Majora in AB. To this original nucleus the docu- 
mentary material was evidently added by Matthew more or less 
continually from 1250 onwards until his death, during which 
time, probably c. 1252, it was finally separated fromS, to become 
the Liber Additamentorum as we know it now. This book became 
the repository for all kinds of rough notes, jottings, and even 
drawings, as well as much miscellaneous material; all of which 
reflect Matthew's catholic interests and inquisitive mind. 

1 P. 88. 

90 



THE 'LIBER ADDITAMENTORUM' 

Among other things, we find in the Liber Additamentorum a 
drawing of an elephant (f. i68b); an itinerary from London to 
Apulia(ff. i82b-i83a); a page of coloured shields (f. iyob); alist 
of ' farms ' belonging to St Albans (ff . 1 80 b-i 8 1 a) ; a drawing of 
a parhelion seen in the sky in 1233 (f. 185 a) ; and an outline map 
of Great Britain (f. i86b): all of them executed by Matthew 
himself. More material was added to the Liber Additamentorum 
after Matthew's death, and indeed from its origins until recent 
times it has been constantly added to and rearranged; and its 
present chaotic and haphazard appearance is by no means due 
entirely to Matthew Paris. As it was built up and used by him, 
the Liber Additamentorum was a reasonably well organized 
appendix to his main chronicle, consisting in the main of a 
collection of texts of domestic interest, followed by the docu- 
mentary material of general interest which he gathered together 
during the last ten or twelve years of his life. 1 

1 In the whole of the Liber Additamentorum there are less than half a dozen 
documents of general interest dating from before 1247. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM': SOME 
MANUSCRIPT PROBLEMS 

MATTHEWPARIS'S Flores Historiarum presents us with 
yet another series of intricate manuscript problems, 
which we must try to unravel. 1 Though many manu- 
scripts of this work are extant, only two concern us here, for all 
the others have been shown to derive from them. 2 These are 
the manuscript in Chetham's Library, Manchester, number 
6712 (which, following Luard, I shall call C&), and manuscript 
number 123 in the Library of Eton College (E). Up to the annal 
for 1294 E is a fair copy of the Flores Historiarum written by one 
scribe of c. 1300, and after this it has been continued by various 
scribes up to 1306. Ch, on the other hand, must be regarded as 
original, at least in part. Up to the annal for 1241 it was written 
by two St Albans scribes of c. 1250. From 1241 to near the end 
of the annal for 1249 ^ was written by Matthew Paris himself; 
and from 1249 to I2 ^S ^Y th er St Albans scribes of the mid- 
thirteenth century. From the annal for 1265 onwards it was 
written at Westminster. 3 In all the manuscripts of the Flores 
Historiarum the text is divided into two books, the first of which 
ends with the annal for 1066. Here we shall be concerned only 
with Book I, and Book n up to the annal for 1249, this being the 
part of the Flores for which Matthew Paris was responsible. 
Although both books are based on Matthew's Chronica Major a, 
they differ very much in character, for, while Book I is for the 
most part a full and exact copy of the Chronica Major a, Book II 
has been very much abridged and altered from it, although it 
includes a considerable amount of additional matter. Unfortu- 
nately Luard, in his edition of the Flores Historiarum^ only very 
inadequately carried out the task, which he set himself in his 
preface, 4 of distinguishing by means of large and small type 

1 For the authorship of the Flores, see above, pp. 39-41. 

2 FH. i, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv, and xvii. 

3 For Ch y see FH. i, pp. xii ff. ; and for E t i, pp. xv ff. 

4 FH. i, p. xlix. 

92 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

between the text of the Chronica Majora, as copied into the 
Flores, and the additional matter in the Floras which was not 
taken from the Chronica. This unfortunate failure has neces- 
sitated a complete collation of the printed texts of the Flores and 
the Chronica Majora, and it is on this collation, and not on the 
differences of type in Luard' s edition of the Flores, that the 
discussion which follows is based. 

The two books of the Flores Historiarum are so different in 
character that a separate discussion is demanded for each of 
them. Let us look first at Book i, which extends from the 
Creation up to 1066. A problem that confronts us immediately 
is the relationship of Ch and E. The text which these two manu- 
scripts share in common varies sufficiently from that of the 
Chronica Majora for us to be sure that they cannot have been 
taken independently from that work. 1 Either, then, they shared 
a common exemplar, in its turn derived from the Chronica 
Majora, or one of them was copied from the other. Ch could 
not have been copied from E, because E was written fifty years 
after Ch\ nor could E have been copied from Ch y for there are 
four separate lines missing in Ch through homoeoteleuton in the 
exemplar, all of which are present in J5. 2 Both Luard and 
Liebermann agreed that neither of these manuscripts could have 
been copied from the other, 3 and we must therefore conclude 
that they shared a common exemplar, which I shall call ChE* 

Having established the existence of a manuscript, ChE, lying 
behind Ch and E y we are now in a position to examine the 
relationship of ChE and the early part of Matthew's Chronica 
Majora in A. There are considerable differences, in Book I, 
between ChE and A, although they occur only in certain parts 
of the text. Up to about the annal for 231, ChE is a reasonably 
accurate copy of A, but with a number of additional passages, 
and a few small alterations. From about the annal for 231 to that 
for 567, and again between 619 and 633, there are many verbal 

1 As Luard apparently supposed; FH. i, p. xxxiv. 

2 At FH. I, pp. 157, note 4; 264, note 4; 281, and 544, note 2. 

3 FH. i, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv. 

* It should be noted that there was probably an intermediate manuscript 
between ChE and E (see below, pp. 101-2). Its existence, however, would 
not affect the present discussion. 

93 



MATTHEW PARIS 

differences between A and ChE, but only two material additions 
to ChE. One of these, the story of the miraculous appearance of 
the chrism at the baptism of Clovis, is inserted into the annal 
for 476, and the other, an abridgement of an entry in Roger 
Wendover omitted from A, under the year 352. 1 Between the 
annals for 633 and 1065 t ' ie texts of ChE and A are identical, 
apart from the usual scribal variations, but after the beginning 
of the annal for 1065, until the end of Book i, ChE is very much 
altered from the text of A. The character of the variations 
between ChE and A in the annals 231-567 and 619-33 is well 
shown when their texts are compared with that of their ultimate 
source. In the example which follows, I have italicized the 
alterations from A in ChE. 

The source, Geoffrey of Monmonth j s Historia regum Britanniae* 

Et si omnes istum liberare niterentur, ego eum in frusta conscin- 
derem. Insequerer namque prophetam Samuelem, qui cum Agag 
regem Amalech in potestatem tenuisset, conscidit ilium in frusta, 
dicens: sicut fecisti matres sine liberis, sic faciam hodie matrem 
tuam sine liberis inter mulieres: sic igitur facite de isto, qui alter 
Agag consistit. 

A. Part of the annal for 489? 

Etsi omnes istum liberare vellent, ego eum in frusta conciderem. 
Samuel namque propheta, cum Agag regem Amalech in bello 
cepisset, mactavit ilium in frusta, dicens, 'Sicut fecisti matres sine 
liberis, sic faciam matrem tuam hodie sine liberis inter mulieres; 
similiter facite de isto qui alter Agag existit/ 

ChE. Part of the annal for 489.* 

. . .et ait, frendens prae ira, 'Etsi omnes istum liberare vellent, ego 
eum in frusta concidam. Quid haesitatis, effeminati? Nonne Samuel 
propheta, cum regem Amalech in bello captum membratim concidisset, 
ait, Sicut fecisti matres sine liberis, sic faciam matrem tuam esse sine 
liberis hodie inter mulieres; similiter facite de isto altero Agag, qui 
multas matres suis orbavit filiis.' 

A comparison of these passages shows that, while the compiler 
of A has made a sober and more or less accurate paraphrase of 

1 See FH. i, pp. 240 and 188; for the latter, see also CM. i, p. 164, note 3. 

2 A. Griscom (ed.)> p. 406. 

3 CM. i, p. 221. * FH. i, p. 244. 

94 



THE C FLORES HISTORIARUM* 

his source, the author of ChE has produced, in the process of 
copying from A, a rather highly coloured and greatly ' improved ' 
version of this speech. The author of ChE was, of course, 
Matthew Paris. The way in which ChE has been altered from A 
in this part of Book i of the Flores Historiarum is characteristic 
of him, and is paralleled exactly by his treatment of Roger 
Wendover in the Chronica Majora, which we discussed in 
Chapter n. 1 Sometimes a minute alteration in ChE is identical 
with one made by Matthew to the text of Roger Wendover in A. 
For instance, in one place where the text of A had 'exulatus', 
Matthew has written 'vel exuP above the line. 2 In another 
place, where the word 'exulatusque' occurred in A, this has 
been altered, in ChE, into 'exulque'; 3 and elsewhere, the word 
'exiliatus' in A has been altered, in ChE, into 'exuP. 4 All the 
variations from A, in ChE, seem to be due to Matthew Paris, 
and it is likely that their curious distribution in Book I of the 
Flores Historiarum (231-567; 619-33; 1065-6) is due to the fact 
that Matthew himself wrote out these parts of the text of ChE, 
while the rest was left to a scribe. 

The excerpts printed above show that A and ChE are, in 
spite of their variations, versions of one and the same compilation ; 
and the fact that some of the errors which are common to them 
both occur also in O and W demonstrates the dependence of A, 
OW and ChE on a single ultimate exemplar. In one place, for 
instance, a passage is omitted, because of homoeoteleuton, in 
all these manuscripts; 5 and elsewhere they all have 'Orences- 
triam' for 'Cirencestriam', and 'Cnutoni' erroneously for 
'Tovio'. 6 Up to the annal for 1066, then, A, OW and ChE 
are merely different versions of Roger Wendover's Flores 
Historiarum. 

Let us look a little more closely at the relationship of these 
manuscripts. Book I of ChE is certainly derived from the actual 
manuscript A, for some of Matthew's alterations in A are copied 
into ChE. For example, in the annal for 261 ChE copies an 

1 See pp. 32 ff., above. 2 CM. I, p. 17, note i. 

3 In the annal for 241; CM. i, p. 138, and FH. I, p. 155. 

4 In the annal for 519; CM. i, p. 235, and FH. i, p. 260. 

5 CM. i, p. 203; see above, p. 32, note 3. 

6 CM. i, p. 502, note i ; FH. i, p. 549, note i (Luard does not point out 
that W also reads 'Orencestriam'), and CM. i, p. 516, note 3; FH. i, p. 564. 

95 



MATTHEW PARIS 

alteration wrongly made by Matthew in A because he misread 
that manuscript; 1 and again, in the annal for 386, another of 
Matthew's blundering attempts at correction is copied into ChE 
from A. 2 Throughout the text of Book i, ChE and A have a 
number of errors, variants and omissions in common, which 
show that the scribe of ChE had A before him while he wrote, 
and copied largely from it. But it is easy to show that he was 
not wholly dependent on A ; and, indeed, it is clear that he had 
access to a manuscript lying behind both A and OW. In the 
annal for 885, for instance, ChE has correctly, with William of 
Malmesbury (the source), 'in imperio Romanorum', while A and 
OPFhave 'in paganorum imperio'. 3 Again, in the annal for 490, 
A and OPT have 'grandi' wrongly for 'grandes', which ChE 
has. 4 In A 9 three separate lines are lost at different points 
through careless copying; but none of these is missing in ChE. 5 
There is one example, too, of a line lost through homoeoteleuton 
in manuscripts A, O and W, which is present in ChE Besides 
making use of A, then, the scribe of ChE used a manuscript 
lying behind all the others. This manuscript cannot have been 
the exemplar of A and OW, which we have called b, 7 for ChE 
avoids mistakes common to A and OW, which they must have 
copied from b. We have, therefore, to postulate another manu- 
script, the exemplar of b and part-exemplar of ChE, which I shall 
call a. In Book I of the Flores Historiarwn the manuscripts are 
thus related as shown in fig. 7. 

We saw in Chapter n that &, since its text extended at least to 
the annal for 1228, was probably a manuscript of Roger Wend- 
over's Flores Historiarwn, and not an earlier compilation. But 
what of <2? This, it seems, could have been a manuscript of some 
early compilation called the Flores Historiarum and perhaps 
extending only to 1066, which was used by Roger Wendover as 
the basis for the early part of his chronicle, and used again by 

1 CM. I, p. 141, note 2; FH. i, p. 159, note 4. 

2 CM. i, p. 171, note i; FH. i, p. 195. 

3 CM. i, p. 420, note i, and FH. i, p. 462. 

4 CM. i, p. 222, note 5, and FH. I, p. 245. 

5 CM. i, pp. 232, 315 and 477; FH. i, pp. 257, 352 and 524. 

6 CM. i, p. 300 and FH. i, p. 334. The line, not noticed by Luard, is 
'diebus tribus, et cessavit sedes anno uno, mensibus sex'. 

7 See p. 28 above. 

9 6 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

Matthew Paris in the preparation of ChE. But we cannot em- 
bark here on an examination of the sources of Roger Wendover. 
What is important for us is to note that Matthew made two 




Fig. 7. Diagram to show the relationship of the manuscripts of Book I of 
Matthew's Flores Historiarum to those of Matthew's Chronica Majora and 
Roger Wendover's Flores Historiarum. 

separate versions of the compilation used by Roger, one in AB, 
and the other in Book I of ChE. 

So far we have limited our discussion to Book I of the Flores 
Historiarum, the text of which extends from the Creation to 
1066. Book II presents a very different series of problems, for 



MATTHEW PARIS 

its text is quite different in character from that of Book I, 
which follows the Chronica Majora more or less closely. In 
Book n, however, as in Book I, Ch and E continue to share, in the 
main, the same text, and it is clear that their relationship remains 
the same: they are derived from a common exemplar, ChE. As 
with Book I, so with Book n, it is certain that Ch was not copied 
from E, for the latter was written fifty years after the former. 
Nor can E be derived from Ch, for, in the course of the annal 
for I2I2, 1 E has the date 'quinto', correctly, while Ch has 
'septimo'; and, elsewhere, Ch has a passage taken word for 
word from the Southward Annals, except for the last word 
'intimaverunt', while E ends the same sentence, as does the 
Southwark Annals, with the word ' nunciaverunt '. 2 Again, in the 
course of the annal for 1217 a long passage is omitted in Ch 
through homoeoteleuton, but it is present in E? Many more 
examples could be cited to show that E is not derived from Ch, 
and there is thus no doubt as to the continued existence, in 
Book n, of their common exemplar. I shall continue to call this 
ChE, although it is by no means clear that it formed part of the 
manuscript containing Book I of ChE. It is difficult to be sure 
how far the text of this exemplar extended. It seems very 
likely, however, that from the annal for 1241, when Matthew 
takes up the pen in CA, 4 that manuscript is no longer copied 
accurately from an exemplar, and the fact that E follows 
Matthew's text very closely until the annal for 1244 seems to 
show that it is here derived from Ch. At one point there is a 
marginal addition in Ch which is in the text of E, and, elsewhere, 
Ch has 'vi* interlined, and this also occurs in the text of E. 5 
Although the evidence is slight, then, it seems likely that the 
text of ChE extended only to the point in Ch where Matthew 
took up his pen near the end of the annal for 1241. 

In Book n of the Floras Historiarum there is no sign of the 
use of the manuscript which I have called a, but, owing to the 
very abbreviated nature of the excerpts from the Chronica 
Majora in this part of the Flores, we cannot be sure that it was 

1 PH. n, p. 142. 

2 FH. 11, p. 106, note 3; B,M. Cotton MS. Faustina A viii, f. 135 b. 

8 FH. II, pp. 164-5; see p. 164, note 4. 4 FH. n, p. 250, note i. 

5 FH. n, pp. 266, note 4, and 272, note 2. 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

not used. Certainly AB was used, and indeed it is clear that 
Book ii of ChE, like Book I, is mainly derived from Matthew's 
Chronica Majora in AB. In one place, for instance, while O 
and W have 'Ivo' correctly, A has 'suo', and ChE 'suho'; 1 
and, elsewhere, O and IF have 'capiuntur' while A and ChE 
have 'capti sunt 5 . 2 Furthermore, in the course of Book n, ChE 
often, though by no means always, incorporates Matthew's 
corrections in AB into its text. Besides AB, the fair copy of B, 
which I have called C, seems to have been used in the prepara- 
tion of ChE, perhaps at times when B was not available for 
copying. Thus, in one place, C and ChE have 'Cisterciensem' 
against all the other manuscripts, which read correctly ' Certes- 
iensem'; 3 and, in another place, Luard was able to show that 
C was the exemplar of ChE.* But, even in the part of the text of 
ChE where C was used, B was not abandoned for long, for, 
while the examples just cited, of the use of C, occur in the 
annals for 1198 and 1209, it is certain that B was used in the 
annals for 1204 and 1205, and again in the annal for I22i. 5 In 
the section of Ch which Matthew himself wrote the exemplar 
was By as may be seen in the course of the annal for I242, 6 where 
the phrase * de scuto xx solidis', which is not in C, is introduced 
into the text of Ch from the margin of B. 

Much use has been made, in the preceding pages, of the 
symbol ChE, to denote the common exemplar of Ch and E. 
These two manuscripts, however, are by no means identical, 
and we must turn now to consider their differences. In Book I, 
Ch has two entries concerning Westminster which are not in E, 7 
and E has some passages from the Historia Miscella and other 
sources, 8 as well as some corrections, which are not found in Ch. 
In Book n, the differences between these two manuscripts are 
more extensive. There are a few passages which are in E but 
not in Ch, and these seem to be additions in E rather than 

1 CM. n, p. 34, note i, and FH. II, p. 25, note 8. 

2 CM. n, p. 328, note 4, and FH. n, p. 98. 

3 FH. n, p. 120, note i ; CM. n, p. 450, note i. 

4 FH. n, p. 138, note 5. 

5 See FH. n, pp. 129, 130 and 172, where evidence to this effect is found. 

6 FH. II, p. 258. 7 FH. I, pp, 566-7 and 579-8o. 
8 For instance, FH. i, pp. 47-5 3 and m-i3- 

99 7-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

omissions in Ch. The copy of King John's charter of submission 
in E appears to be one of them. 1 A number of variations 
between Ch and E occur, in which E appears to have a shortened 
version of the corresponding passage in Ch', but it is difficult 
to ascertain whether these variations are due to amplification 
from the text of ChE by the scribe of Ch, or to abridgement in E. 
The former, however, seems more probable, in view of the 
interesting fact that on a number of occasions the version in E 
is found in identical words in the short chronicle in British 
Museum Cotton MS. Vitellius A xx, which I have already men- 
tioned, 2 and which I shall here call V. Owing to the damaged 
state of V, it is often difficult to collate these passages, but the 
version of part of the annal for 1 1 19 in E is certainly the same as 
that in F, and part of the annal for 1128, which is not from AB, 
is given in the same words in E and V? After the annal for 
1134 the text of V is no longer similar to that of the Flores 
Historiarum, and no more parallels are found. The explanation 
of these passages common to E and V seems to be that they 
were in the text of ChE, but that Ch has been amplified in the 
process of copying, while E has not. This certainly seems to have 
happened in the annals I22O-2, 4 where there are a number of 
passages in Ch which are neither in E nor AB, and which were 
therefore probably added in the course of writing by the scribe 
of Ch, no doubt under the supervision of Matthew Paris. 

Ch, as we have seen, contains a number of entries relating to 
Westminster which are not taken from AB, and which, since 
they do not appear in E, were probably not in ChE. Besides 
the two Westminster entries in Book I of Ch, there are a number 
in Book ii. 5 Now Ch was sent to Westminster in or soon after 
I265, 6 an d the fact that it actually went there removes any 
doubts which might have been entertained about these West- 
minster entries: Matthew must have had the book especially 
written for Westminster. It is probable that he intended to 

1 FH. ii, pp. 145-6. 

2 Above, p. 41. See also below, pp. 115-16 ff. 

8 FH. n, pp. 47, note 5 (1119), and 53, notes 3, 4 and 6 (1128). See v, 
f. 8oa-b. 

4 FH. n, pp. 170-5. 

5 FH. n, pp. 106, 122, 231, 289, 314 and 321. 

6 FH. I, p. xiii. 

IOO 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

finish the manuscript near the end of the annal for 1249, f r he 
closes his section of the text at this point with the couplet: 1 

Cernis completas hie nostro tempore metas, 
Si plus forte petas, tibi postera nunciet aetas. 

For some reason, however, it was not sent at once to West- 
minster, but kept at St Albans. Later two scribes finished the 
annal for 1249, an d started that for 1250, abridging from J5. 
This part of the text of Ch was evidently written some years 
after that written by Matthew, for, whereas in the preceding 
annals the original text of B is copied into Ch, here Matthew's 
edited text of B has been followed, and, as we shall see, it was 
probably not until 1257 or later that Matthew carried out his 
large-scale editing of the text of B. 2 Later still another scribe, 
the last who wrote at St Albans, copied into Ch the text of 
Matthew's Abbreviatio Chronicorum until its close in the middle 
of the annal for 1255. He then abridged the annals 1256-9 from 
the Chronica Major a ; and continued up to 1265 from the original 
continuation of Matthew's Chronica Major a, which was once at 
the end of the third volume, J?. 3 This last block of annals seems 
to have been written currente calamo by a scribe who was 
perhaps instructed to bring the manuscript up to date ready for 
its dispatch to Westminster, where the text from 1265 onwards 
was written, and where the manuscript remained for the rest of 
the Middle Ages. 

Luard called E the 'Merton manuscript' because it contains 
a series of marginal entries concerning the priors of that house. 4 
But none of these is in the text, and, out of four entries con- 
cerning Merton in the text of Ch, all of which were presumably 
in the text of the exemplar CM, only two have been copied 
into E, 5 so that it seems unlikely, in fact, that E was originally 
a Merton manuscript. So far, in this chapter, we have assumed 
that the actual manuscripts Ch and E derived from a common 
exemplar, ChE. But there are reasons for supposing that an 

1 FH. ii, p. 361. 

2 For the annals 1249-50, see FH. n, pp. 361 ff. Luard shows that the 
edited text of B was used for these annals, FH. n, p. 361, note i. For the 
editing of B, see below, pp. 117 iff. 3 See pp. 10-11 above. 

4 FH. i, pp. xv-xvi. 

5 FH. n, pp. 46 and 51. Those omitted are at FH. 11, pp. 81 and 88. 

IOI 



MATTHEW PARIS 

intermediate manuscript, e, existed, between ChE and E. 1 E is 
a fair copy written by one scribe c. 1300, and we can hardly 
suppose that this scribe, writing at that time, would have taken 
his text up to 1241 from ChE\ for the annals 1241-4 from Ch\ 
and for the annals 1244-59 from Matthew's Chronica Major a in 
AB and R work which must surely have been carried out at 
St Albans and then gone to Westminster to copy the annals 
from 1265 onwards from the later parts of Ch. It is far more 
likely that a manuscript e was written at St Albans in the middle 
years of the thirteenth century, and that the scribe of E took the 
first part of his text (probably up to 1264) from this manuscript, 
and the later part, from 1265 onwards, from Ch or a manuscript 
related to it. If we suppose this to have been the case, it is 
possible to explain the sudden abandonment of C/E, by the scribe 
of e, during the annal for 1244, on the supposition that he was 
working at St Albans just at the time (c. 1265) when Ch was 
sent to Westminster. However, this is not the place to pursue 
the intricate problems presented by the post-Parisian section of 
the Flores Historiarum, and it should be noted that the presence 
or absence of e, intermediate between ChE and J?, cannot affect 
the argument of this chapter that Ch and E (at any rate up to 
1241) are derived from a common exemplar, taken, in its turn, 
from Matthew's Chronica Majora. 

We showed, in Chapter in, that Matthew was the author of 
the Flores Historiarum up to 1249; an< ^ we have now examined 
the relationship of the manuscripts of the Flores and Matthew's 
other historical manuscripts. One problem, however, remains : 
when was the Flores Historiarum written? Book i of ChE incor- 
porates only a few of Matthew's corrections and alterations in A, 
and none of his longer additions, so that we may be sure that 
it was copied soon after the early part of A, up to 1066, was 
written. Unfortunately we know little or nothing about the date 
of this part of A, but it was probably not begun until c. I24O, 2 
and we may therefore perhaps date Book i of the Flores His- 
toriarum to c. 1240-5. Book II of the Flores, on the other hand, 
could hardly have been written before 1250, since it occasionally 
has readings from C, the fair copy of the Chronica Majora made 
in or soon after 1250 ; 3 and it was probably completed by 1257, 

1 See fig. 7, above, p. 97. 2 See pp. 59-60 above. 3 See p. 59 above. 

I O2 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM* 

when, as we shall see in the next chapter, Matthew seems to have 
made his expurgatory alterations to the text of B, for these are 
not followed in the Flares Historiarum. Book n (up to the end 
of the annal for 1249), therefore, probably dates from c. 1250-5. 
The two books of the Flores Historiarum thus differ considerably 
in date, as well as in character, and it seems possible that the 
Flores, as we know it now, was built up out of two quite separate 
works : a version of the main chronicle of Roger and Matthew 
extending to 1066; and a severe abridgement of Matthew's 
Chronica Majora, together with much additional material, made 
some time later, and extending from 1066 to 1249. 

There is one text which, owing to its close connexion with 
Book n of the Flores Historiarum, may conveniently be discussed 
here. This is a series of short entries of an annalistic nature, 
which occurs in the Chronica Majora, the Flores Historiarum, 
and in the short chronicle V\ and which I shall call Matthew's 
'new material' . In the Chronica Major a, much of it has been 
added by Matthew in the margins of AB between the annals for 
1066 and 1223, and many of these entries are written in a pale 
brown ink and a cursive hand, giving the impression of having 
been written more or less at one time. Most of the new material 
is incorporated into the text of Book II of the Flores Historiarum, 
but, on the whole, this is done very clumsily, and in a way that 
allows it to be readily distinguished from the rest of the text, 
for the most part abridged from AB. Sometimes it is inserted 
at the start of the annal, as in 1196, where Matthew begins the 
entry with some excerpts from the new material, and, when these 
are finished, goes back to AB and copies thence, so that the 
phrase f Rex Anglorum fuit ad Natale apud . . . ', which normally 
begins the annal in AB, appears half-way through it in the 
Flores. 1 Elsewhere the process is altered, and the new material 
is inserted in a block at the end of the annal, or, sometimes, 
during the course of it. The new material is also found in part 
of the short chronicle V, between the annals for 1066 and 1134. 
It occurs, too, in the Historia Anglorum and in C, but in these 
manuscripts it can be shown to be derived directly from the 
margins of AB. 

1 FH. n, p. 114. 

I0 3 



MATTHEW PARIS 

The sources of the new material are difficult to identify 
accurately, except where well-known works such as William of 
Malmesbury's Historia Novella and Ralph de Diceto's Abbre- 
viatio Chronicorum are used. Part of the new material is taken 
from these, as well as from Robert de Monte and perhaps Henry 
of Huntingdon, but much of it was taken from monastic annals 
which are no longer extant in their original form. From the 
number of entries concerning Reading, for instance, Luard 
deduced that a manuscript from that house was used; but this 
manuscript is not now known to exist. 1 Again, Luard noticed 
that a Southwark manuscript had been used, which he thought 
was that actually existing in the Cottonian collection under the 
press-mark Faustina A viii. This contains a thirteenth-century 
chronicle, apparently written contemporaneously by the canons 
of Southwark, the text of which ends in 1240, and which is 
generally known as the Southwark Annals* In fact, however, 
the Southwark manuscript which was used in the compilation 
of Matthew's new material was evidently not Faustina A viii 
itself, but a source of the chronicle in that manuscript, as a 
comparison of these two extracts shows : 

The annal for 1113 in Faustina A viii, f. 132. 

Tamisia exiccata et maxim' [sic] miliaria duobus diebus. Cometa 
mense. Radulphus archiepiscopus factus. 

Part of the new material added in the margin of A. 3 

Quarto kalendas Aprilis Tamisia exiccata est et mare [per] duo- 
decim miliaria, per duos dies. Radulfus episcopus Rofensis eligitur 
ad archiepiscopatum Cantuariensem, sexto kalendas Maii . . . cometa 
quoque apparuit mense Maii 

A similar situation is found when the text of the Coggeshall 
chronicle is compared with the new material: all the evidence 
points to the independent use of a common source rather than 
the derivation of one from the other. As Powicke long ago 
pointed out, 'it is impossible to prove that even Matthew Paris 
knew Coggeshall after H95'. 4 

1 CM. II, p. xxix; the Southwark manuscript is noticed on the same page. 

2 On this see Tyson, * Annals of Southwark and Merton', Surrey Arch. 
Coll. xxxvi (1925), pp. 24-57. 3 CM. n, p. 141. 

4 Powicke, 'Roger Wendover and the Coggeshall Chronicle*, EHR. xxi 
(1906), pp. 292-3, note 25. 

104 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

We cannot, however, pursue here the problem of the origins 
of Matthew's new material, for there is much research still to be 
done on the thirteenth-century monastic annals, and a number 
of texts (including the Southwark Annals) still need editing. 
But from whatever sources it was compiled, it seems clear that 
the new material was used independently by Matthew in AB and 
ChE. That is to say, even though, as we have shown, ChE was 
undoubtedly abridged from AB, the new material, which is 
written into the margins of AB, was not copied thence into 
ChE. In the course of the annal for 1 106, for example, Matthew 
wrote into the margin of A an entry concerning the institution 
of canons at Southwark, but he mistakenly wrote 'Salisbury' 
for 'Southwark': yet ChE and the Southwark Annals give 
'Southwark' correctly. 1 Again, in the course of the annal for 
1179, Matthew has 'Wudestoc' wrongly for 'Wenloc' in the 
margin of A ; but ChE and the Southwark Annals give ' Wenloc' 
correctly. 2 Moreover, there are some entries from the new 
material in the margins of AB, which do not appear at all in 
ChE: for instance, those added to the annal for 1198, which 
occur also in the Southwark Annals? If we examine the new 
material in the chronicle V, we find a similar situation, for it 
was apparently not copied into V from the margins of AB, nor 
from ChE', nor is the new material in AB or ChE taken from 
that in V. For the year 1091, for instance, the Southwark Annals 
record a strong wind; and the entry, though not in A, is in ChE, 
in similar words, but without the date, and embroidered in 
Matthew's usual fashion. This entry is also in V, which gives 
the date correctly, as in the Southwark Annals* 1 In another 
place V has phrases from Diceto which are neither in A nor in 
ChE, 5 and in the course of the annal for 1070, where both ChE 
and V have a description of the plundering of the monasteries by 
William the Conqueror, taken from Diceto, the account in 
V includes two lines or more ad verbum with Diceto, which are 
not in ChE. 6 Furthermore, errors in ChE are often avoided in V: 
for instance in the annal for 1120, where A and V have 'Maii' 

1 CM. n, p. 133, note 3; FH. n, p. 39; Faustina A viii, f. 132. 

2 CM. n, p. 309; FH. n, p. 91 ; Faustina A viii, f. 134. 

3 CM. n, pp. 450-1. 

4 V, f. 78 b; Faustina A viii, f. 131 b; FH. 11, p. 22. 

5 In the annal for 1067, V, f. 77a. 6 V, f. 77a; FH. n, p. 4. 

105 



MATTHEW PARIS 

and ChE has, wrongly, * Aprilis'. 1 That the new material in ChE 
cannot have been taken from V is evident from the annal for 
1073, where Fhas 'presente' for 'presidente' of AB and ChE y 
and 'detrudi' for CAE's 'intrudi'. 2 

We must conclude, then, that the new material was copied 
independently, but from a common exemplar, into F, ChE and 
AB. There is some evidence that this common exemplar was 
written in a continuous chronicle form, and that the Floras 
Historiarwn of Roger Wendover, rather than the Chronica 
Major a of Matthew Paris, was used in its compilation. The annal 
for 1 104, for instance, is composed of some extracts altered from 
Roger Wendover, a sentence from the Southwark Annals, and 
another from an unidentified source; and it occurs in almost 
identical words, and with the separate entries in the same order, 
in V and CM 1 . 3 It seems, in fact, to have been copied directly, 
in both these manuscripts, from the new material. As for the 
use of Roger Wendover in the new material, we find that in F, 
between the annals for 1066 and 1134, there is only one point 
where the text seems to incorporate a reading from A, but there 
are several examples of V reading with OW against A: for 
instance, in the annal for 1 1 1 2, where V and OIF have the word 
'suorum', which is omitted in A 4 

If the new material really was compiled in part from Roger 
Wendover, it was probably written at St Albans ; and we cannot 
preclude the possibility that it was written by Matthew Paris, 
and that, since it was based in part on Roger Wendover instead 
of on his Chronica Majora, it represents Matthew's earliest 
historical activity. Be this as it may, he certainly made use of 
the new material, though he failed to integrate it fully into any 
one of his chronicles. He seems to have used it first as a basis 
for F; but it was abandoned when the writing of that manuscript 
reached the annal for 1134. In the Flores Historiarum not all 
of it was used, and it is incorporated in a rather clumsy fashion; 
and in AB it is incomplete, and only added in the margins. This 
muddled use of his material reflects a certain lack of system in 

1 V, f. 8oa; FH. n, p. 48; CM. n, p. 149, and note i. 

2 V, f. vya; FH. n, p. 6; CM. n, p. u. A has 'retrudi'. 

3 V, f. 79 a; FH. n, p. 37; CM. n, p. 126. 

4 V, f. 79b; FH. n, p. 42; CM. n, p. 140, note i. 

106 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

Matthew Paris, but we must remember that some of these manu- 
scripts were evidently written contemporaneously. If this were 
not so, it would be virtually impossible to explain the curious 
fact that, while the new material is copied independently into 
ChE and the margins of AB, both AB itself and C, the fair copy 
of B, were used in the writing of ChE. In fig. 8 I have tried to 




Fig. 8. Diagram, to show Matthew's use of the new material in his historical 
manuscripts. The dotted lines indicate the relationship of the texts; the 
continuous lines show the derivation and use of the new material. 

show how the new material was used in Matthew's historical 
manuscripts. This diagram no doubt appears complicated; but 
we are dealing with a complicated situation. It is quite possible, 
for instance, that while Matthew was copying the text of ChE 
from AB, he had the new material before him, and copied it into 
ChE, at the same time adding it to the margins of his exemplar 
AB. 

107 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Although our discussion, in this chapter, of Matthew's Flores 
Historiamm and his new material cannot be regarded as exhaus- 
tive, we are now in a position to try to describe his activities in 
connexion with these two works, and to fit them into our picture 
of the writing of the Chronica Major a^ the Historia Anglomm, 
and the Liber Additamentorum. Matthew's historical activities 
seem to have reached a peak in 1251, at about the time when he 
brought his Chronica Majora to its intended close in AB with 
the annal for 1250. He had already begun work, in 1250, on the 
Historia Anglorum, which he wrote out himself; and it must have 
been at this time, that is in 1250-1, that his scribe made the fair 
copy of B which I have called C. While this work was in progress, 
a new book, the Flores Historiamm, evidently began to take 
shape. This was probably a composite work, Book I of which 
a version of the Paris-Wendover compilation extending only to 
1066 was apparently already in existence by 1250. To this, 
probably in or soon after 1250, Matthew began to add Book n, 
which was in the main abridged from AB, though much addi- 
tional matter was incorporated into it. The bulk of this additional 
matter in Book n of the Flores Historiamm was apparently 
copied from the collection of monastic annals which I have 
called the new material, part of which (1066- i 134) had probably 
already been used in the short chronicle V. We do not know 
exactly when Matthew decided to add most of this new material 
into the margins of AB, but it must have been soon after the 
completion of AB to 1250, for it has been copied thence into 
both C and the Historia Anglorum. It seems that Matthew must 
have gone ahead, writing the new material into the margins of 
AB, while work on Book II of ChE was still in progress, for, by 
the time the writing of ChE had reached the annal for 1198, 
C was sometimes being used as its exemplar, instead of AB. 
Book II of the Flores Historiamm (in ChE) was perhaps not 
written out by Matthew himself, but he must have supervised 
its compilation. Its text seems to have ended in the annal for 
1241, and it seems possible that it was left unfinished until 
Matthew had Ch copied from it. Ch was written specially for 
Westminster, and Matthew himself continued its text from 1241 
to near the end of the annal for 1249. 

It must be admitted that this theory, as to the writing of 

108 



THE 'FLORES HISTORIARUM' 

Matthew's historical manuscripts, is an extremely tentative one, 
and, in particular, it should be noted that the chronology of 
some of them is uncertain. Matthew's scribe, for instance, 
may have finished copying C from B very soon after AB was 
completed to 1250. If this was the case, Book n of ChE could 
be dated earlier: indeed it might even be possible to claim that 
it was finished, and much of Ch copied from it, by 1251-2. 
Different interpretations, too, can be put on our evidence con- 
cerning Matthew's use of the new material. Our conclusions, 
then, must remain provisional ones; but it is hoped that the 
discussions of this chapter have thrown some light on the 
relationship of Matthew's historical manuscripts and on his 
methods as a historian, even if only to illuminate their 
complexity. 



109 



CHAPTER VII 

MATTHEW PARIS'S HISTORICAL WORKS: 
ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

MATTHEW'S various historical works are perhaps best 
regarded as editions of his main chronicle : the Historia 
Anglorum and Book 11 of the Flores Historiarum are 
abridged editions of the Chronica Majora, and the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum is an abridged edition of the Historia Anglorum. 
Even the Chronica Majora itself can be regarded merely as a 
'new edition* of Roger Wendover's chronicle. In each of these 
abridgements Matthew introduced alterations and additional 
material, so that each of them has some independent value of 
its own. Before we review these different works, however, it is 
worth looking for a moment at the Chronica Majora itself. There 
is no evidence that Matthew ever produced a fair copy of the 
early part of its text (up to 1188), for the first part of British 
Museum Cotton MS. Nero D v (a copy of A) dates from about 
fifty years after his death. He did, however, produce a fair copy 
of the text of the Chronica Majora from 1189 to 1250, which is 
now the second part of Nero D v, and which I have called C. 
C was copied by a scribe from B, probably in or shortly after 
1250, and many of Matthew's marginalia in B are incorporated 
in its text. Some of the errors and inconsistencies of B are 
avoided in C: for instance, a passage inadvertently repeated in B 
is only copied once into C. 1 On the other hand, many of J3's 
errors are transcribed unaltered into C, and its scribe made no 
serious or systematic attempt at correction. 2 Matthew wrote very 
few marginalia into C, and he seems to have lost interest in it 
once it was copied, so that it remains to this day a more or less 
untouched copy of his Chronica Majora as he originally intended 
to leave it. If we are thinking in terms of editions, C was the 
first edition of the Chronica Majora. B, on the other hand, was 
Matthew's actual working manuscript, into the margins of which 

1 CM. ii, p. 351, note i. 

2 See Luard's remarks on the scribe of C, CM. i, p. xii. 

110 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

he added new information, alternative readings and corrections; 
and to the text of which he went on adding until the end of the 
annal for 1253, after which he embarked on the third volume of 
the Chronica Majora, which I have called R. 

We must not be too ready to assume, from its title, that the 
Historia Anglorum was designed as an 'English History ' in 
contrast to the general European history in the Chronica Major a. 
In fact, Matthew himself refers to the Chronica Majora as the 
'historia anglorum', and, in writing it, he evidently thought of 
himself as writing what was essentially a history of England, 
even though it contained a great deal of Continental history. 
In the course of the annal for 1244 in the Chronica Majora he 
begins his paragraph describing the pope's attempts to get 
David, prince of North Wales, into his power, with the words: 1 
' Nor do I think it irrelevant to my matter, or inapposite (imper- 
tinens), or indeed wholly unconnected with the history of 
England (historiae regni Angliae penitus inutile), to elucidate for 
our posterity. . ..* And, in the course of the 1249 annal, 2 he 
says that an enumeration of all the crusaders killed in Cyprus 
would be f historiae Anglorum impertinens'. Further on in the 
Chronica Majora* he excuses himself for including an account 
of the battle of Walcheren, with the words: 'Nee haec in 
cronicis Anglorum collocassem. . .nisi. . . '; and, shortly after- 
wards, 4 he explains that he is confining himself *ad ea quae 
Anglicam contingunt historiam'. Matthew, then, evidently 
thought of his Chronica Majora as a history of England, and we 
need not therefore attach any special significance to the phrase 
'historia anglorum 5 in the prologue to the Historia Anglorum, 
nor to its occurrence in several places in the text, where it, or 
something similar, is evidently used in the same sense as in the 
passages quoted above from the Chronica Majora. Thus, in the 
Historia Anglorum Matthew justifies his account of the siege 
of Nicaea with the words : 5 * Nee mihi videtur a materia croni- 
corum et historiarum super eventibus Angliae confectarum 
alienum, si. . . *; and he leaves the subject of the crusade and 
returns to Henry I, with the phrase: 'Redeuntes autem ad 
Anglorum historiam'. 6 In one place in the Historia Anglorum 1 

1 CM, iv, p. 316. 2 V, p. 92. 3 V, p. 438. 4 V, p. 440. 
5 i, p. 79. 6 HA. i, p. 188. 

Ill 



MATTHEW PARIS 

he omits some letters (which are given in the Chronica Majora), 
*ut difficile et diffusum foret in hiis cronicis, quae tantum 
statum regni Angliae debent describendo manifestare, plenius 
enucleare'; and in the course of the annal for 1249 ^ e excuses 
himself for omitting the names of the crusaders killed in Cyprus 
with the same words as in the Chronica Major a^ 'Anglorum 
historiae impertinens'. 1 

It appears probable that Matthew, in the course of writing his 
Chronica Major a, found it hard not to include every item of news 
which came to hand, and that he was aware of the irrelevance, to 
English history, of much of his material. It was, it seems from 
the passages quoted above, his intention all along to confine 
himself to English affairs, or at least to matters connected with 
England. But in the Chronica Majora he had failed to do this, 
and it may well be that he embarked on the Historia Anglorum 
with the idea of trying to rectify this failing by drastic abridge- 
ment, especially of material which, on reflexion, he considered 
irrelevant to English history. The marginal directions which he 
wrote into AB for his own use in writing the Historia Anglorum 
bear this out: 2 the description of the Albigensian crusade is 
marked in the margin of B? 'Utile, sed impertinens historiae 
Anglorum' ; and the accounts of the council at Bourges and the 
siege of Avignon in 1226 are marked in the margin of J3, 4 
'Impertinens ad Anglicam historiam'. These passages are 
drastically abridged in the Historia Anglorum, and there are 
many others like them, marked in AB in a similar way (usually 
with signs to delimit them), and omitted or much abridged in 
the Historia Anglorum. The formula varies, and sometimes 
throws more light on Matthew's intentions. We find, for instance : 
c Haec plus pertinent ad imperatorem quam ad historiam 
Anglorum'; and 'Pertinens historiae Walensium, indirecte 
tamen Anglorum'. 5 

But if Matthew was determined, in writing the Historia 
Anglorum) to omit a great deal of the material in the Chronica 
Majora which was irrelevant to the history of England, he was 
also determined to abridge throughout; and the Historia 
Anglorum shows a marked desire for brevity. Of the 160 docu- 

1 in, p. 66. * See above, pp. 64-5. 8 CM. n, p. 554, note 4. 

4 CM. m, pp. 105 and 114. 5 CM. in, p. 145 and iv, p. 316. 

112 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

ments written out in full in B, only five are copied into the 
Historia Anglorum. One document, Matthew confesses, is 
copied into the Historia because it is short: '. . .in haec verba. 
Quae, quia sunt brevia, hie duximus ea annotanda'; 1 and 
another, on the double excuse of brevity and relevance: 'Quae, 
quia breves et multum operantur ad praesentem materiam, hie 
notantur'; 2 but the lengthy account of the Evesham monk's 
vision in the Chronica Major a is omitted in the Historia ' quia 
narratio prolixa est ' . 3 The Historia Anglorum, then, is an abridge- 
ment of the Chronica Majora designed to be confined more 
particularly to English affairs. It is successful as an abridge- 
ment, but contains a great deal of matter not strictly relevant to 
English history. As in the Chronica, so in the Historia, Matthew 
evidently found it impossible to confine himself purely to the 
affairs of his own country. 

The Historia Anglorum, especially in its earlier part, 4 contains 
a certain amount of matter not in the Chronica Majora, and it 
incorporates in its text a considerable part, though by no means 
all, of the new material which Matthew added into the margins 
of AB. Towards the end, and especially during the last few 
annals, the Historia Anglorum is very much abridged, and, in 
comparison with the Chronica Majora, it is lifeless and dulL In 
parts its text degenerates into a mere series of laconic entries, 
of the type familiar in the lesser monastic chronicles of the time, 5 
and there is very little of the lively descriptive narrative so 
characteristic of the Chronica Majora. There are, however, some 
signs of an attempt, on Matthew's part, to arrange his material 
more systematically, for he has tried to collect all the obituary 
notices of each annal together at the end, 6 and sometimes the 
entries are rearranged in the Historia Anglorum in a more logical 
order. The text of the Historia ends with the annal for 1253, and 
it seems that Matthew must have lost interest in it some time 
before it was finished, no doubt because he was still engrossed 
in the recording of contemporary events. 

Some time after 1250 (very likely after 1255), Matthew com- 

1 i, p. 347. 2 i, p. 355. 3 n, p. 60. 

4 See HA. in, pp. xxxv ff. 

5 See, for instance, HA. in, pp. 119 and 126. 

6 I.e. in the annals for 1242, 1245, 1246 and 1247. 

8 113 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

piled the Abbreviatio Chronicorum. The text of this short work 
extends from 1000 to 1255, an d remains unfinished. Up to 
the annal for 1066 it is derived from Roger Wendover or the 
Chronica Major a, with some additional material from Henry of 
Huntingdon and others. 1 From 1066 to 1250 it is abridged from 
the Historia Anglorum, but with occasional passages from the 
Chronica Major a', 2 and from 1251 onwards it is abridged partly 
from the Chronica Major a and partly from the Historia Anglorum, 
the last two annals being taken wholly from the Chronica. 
Matthew seems to have made no effort, in the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum, to confine himself to English history, and it is 
difficult to know with exactly what motive it was written. It is 
headed simply: Haec est Abbreviatio compendiosa Cronicorum 
Angliae', 3 and perhaps it should be regarded as just another 
attempt on Matthew's part to produce an abridged version of 
his main chronicle. There is little new material in the Abbre- 
viatio, and many of the passages in it which are not derived 
from the Historia Anglorum or the Chronica Majora are mere 
expressions of opinion, adding nothing new of a factual nature. 
Minor alterations from the text of the Historia Anglorum are not 
infrequent in the Abbreviatio: for instance the papal legate is 
blamed for fomenting the quarrel between Archbishop Edmund 
and his monks, while in the Historia Anglorum this is said to 
have been due to the devil. 4 

Although we have already discussed Book n of the Flares 
Historiarum at some length in the previous chapter, it ought, 
for the sake of completeness, to be mentioned here. Owing to 
the additional material it contains, the Flores is, apart from the 
Chronica Majora, probably the most interesting of Matthew's 
historical works. It seems to have been designed as a popular 
edition of the main chronicle: one manuscript of it (Ch) was 
certainly written especially for Westminster. The tone of Book II 
of the Flores is vigorous and colourful, and much of it is charac- 
teristic of Matthew's best writing. It is markedly anti-papal, 
and it is interesting to note that, although it seems to have been 
written with a view to general publication, it is the only one of 

1 See HA. in, pp. 156-7. 

2 For instance, at AC. pp. 253, note 5, 304, note 6, and 313. 

3 AC. p. 159. * AC. p. 277, and HA. n, p. 411. 

114 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

Matthew's more important historical works which has not been 
expurgated by him after it was written. 

The shortest of Matthew's abridged editions of the Chronica 
Majora is the chronicle in British Museum Cotton MS. Vitellius 
A xx, which I have called V. 1 Its text extends from 1066 to 
1246, and, up to the annal for 1134, it is, as we have seen, com- 
piled from Matthew's new material. The next section of the 
text of F, from 1 135 to 1214, is in part abridged from Matthew's 
Chronica Majora in AB, and some of Matthew's additions and 
alterations in the margins of AB are copied into it; but there 
are some variants which show that a manuscript of Roger 
Wendover was also used. The annal for 1215, in V, consists of 
a series of documents which together take up nine pages 
a large proportion of the chronicle's total length of thirty-one 
pages. 2 The first of these documents is Magna Carta. Up to 
chapter 25, F J s text of this document is similar to that of 
Matthew Paris in 5, and it is vitiated in the same way by the 
omission of some passages (which have, however, been supplied 
in the margins of B, and also of F; all those in B and some of 
those in F being in Matthew's hand) and by the introduction 
of other passages from the 1225 re-issue of Magna Carta. From 
chapter 25 onwards, however, F has the text of the 1215 charter 
correctly, instead of the garbled version found in Roger Wend- 
over and Matthew Paris. Innocent Ill's grant of free elections 
to the church follows Magna Carta in F; and, after it, the list 
of barons who swore to support the charter. 3 Both these docu- 
ments occur also in B and the Liber Additamentorum, and the 
text of the former in F seems to have been taken from the same 
source as was used by Matthew for his other copies of it. Next 
follows a complete text of ' John's Forest Charter', which is in 
fact Henry Ill's Forest Charter of 1225; this document is 
corrupt and incomplete in B and in the manuscripts of Roger 
Wendover. 4 After this Forest Charter, F continues with a com- 
plete and uncorrupt copy of the 1225 reissue of Magna Carta, 5 
the only copy of this document in any of Matthew's manu- 

1 See p. 41 above, where I have printed the title. 

2 The documents take up ff. 93b~ioza of V. 

3 F, ff. 97-8. 4 F, ff. 98-9; CM. n, pp. 598-602. 
5 F, ff. 99-101 b. 

115 8-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

scripts; and this is followed by a copy of the Coronation Charter 
of Henry I, 1 which is given twice in Matthew's Chronica Major a. 
It is noteworthy, in connexion with these documents in V, that 
they are less corrupt than any other copies given by Matthew 
Paris, and that they are independent of those in B. From 1216 
to the end of V in 1246 the text seems to have been abridged 
from J3, but there is some evidence that a manuscript of Roger 
Wendover was also used up to the annal for 1235. V, therefore, 
though a work of minute size when compared to the others so 
far reviewed, is of considerable interest, both for the copies of 
documents which it contains, and on account of its variety of 
sources ; for this little chronicle has been compiled not only from 
the Chronica Major a> but also from Roger Wendover 's Flores 
Historiarunty Matthew's new material, and at least one other 
source. 

There is one work, quite different in character from any of 
those so far discussed, which we ought to mention: this is 
Matthew's genealogical chronicle, which he calls in A (L ivb): 
'Cronica sub conpendio abreuiata a fratre M. Parisiensi'. It is 
not an abridgement of any particular manuscript, but a brief 
chronicle of the kings of England from Alfred onwards. The 
names of the kings, sometimes accompanied by drawings of 
them, are written in central medallions, and their children are 
shown in small medallions below. In general scheme it is very 
like the illustrated versions of Peter of Poitier's universal 
chronicle, and indeed Matthew may well have based it on 
manuscript number 96 in the Library of Eton College, which 
was probably executed at St Albans during his lifetime. 2 The 
subject-matter of Matthew's genealogical chronicle of the kings 
of England is brief and unimportant. He wrote several different 
versions of it, for that in A (f. ivb and p. 285) differs considerably 
from that in B (S. iiia-b); and that in the Abbreviatio Chroni- 
corum 2 ' differs from them both. Copies and versions of this 
chronicle are very numerous, and it was evidently a popular 
work. John of Wallingford included it in his collection of 
historical material, 4 and another nearly contemporary copy has 

1 V, ff. ioib-io2. 2 See below, p. 225. 

8 Brit. Mus. Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, ff. 6b-8a. 
4 Brit. Mus. Cotton MS. Julius D vii, ff. s6b~59b. 

116 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

been preserved in the form of a separate parchment roll, with 
Merlin's prophecies written out on the verso. 1 

It cannot be denied that Matthew Paris was an extremely 
unsystematic worker, and he seems to have been constantly 
striving to improve on what he had written. Besides producing 
a number of shorter versions of his main chronicle, he fre- 
quently went back over his manuscripts, making additions and 
corrections, and, especially towards the end of his life, erasures 
and alterations. These latter represent an attempt at a systematic 
expurgation of his manuscripts on a far larger scale than that 
carried out, for instance, by William of Malmesbury. Matthew 
is a remarkably outspoken writer, and he seems to have realized, 
as early as 1250, that many of the offensive comments, scandalous 
reports and bitter complaints, in reference especially to the 
king, which adorned the text of his Chronica Major a^ ought not 
to be reproduced in a fair copy. He therefore went through J5, 
pointing out in the margins with the word vacat, or something 
similar, the passages to be omitted by the scribe of the fair copy. 2 
He did not, however, go through B very systematically, and many 
passages just as offensive as those marked vacat were left un- 
noticed. Moreover the scribe of C, the existing fair copy of jB, 
frequently included passages marked vacat in his text, and most 
of those he noticed are only relegated to the margin, instead of 
being omitted altogether. All but three of the twenty passages 
either omitted from, or written into the margin of, C, because 
they are marked vacat in B, cast aspersions on King Henry III. 
It is difficult to understand the object of this partial expurgation, 
unless Matthew was planning to produce an expurgated version 
of his Chronica Majora, perhaps for the king himself, which was 
to have been copied from C, the scribe being instructed to omit 
the marginalia in that manuscript. Be this as it may, it was not 
for several years that Matthew again resorted to expurgation, 
and this time it was B itself which suffered. 

In the Chronica Majora the expurgation extends in B and 
R from the annal for 1241 up to that for 1257. Up to 1250 the 
text of all the passages either erased or altered in B is preserved 

1 Gerould, 'A text of Merlin's prophecies*, Speculum, xxm (1948), 
pp. 102-3. 2 See pp. 64-5 above. 

117 



MATTHEW PARIS 

for us in C; but after this annal the original reading is lost, and 
consequently we cannot always be sure of the nature of the 
offending remarks. The work of expurgation is neither systema- 
tically, nor very thoroughly, carried out. There is none at all, 
for instance, in the annals for 1251 and 1252, nor before the 
annal for 1241. Even between 1241 and 1250 the expurgation 
was far from thorough, and Matthew seems to have worked at 
it patchily and more or less at random. If we take Luard's 
fourth volume of the Chronica Major a^ which includes the annals 
1240-7, we find that passages either rewritten or simply erased 
occur (apart from a few solitary ones) in well-defined groups; 1 
and that, outside these groups, many passages are left which are 
just as offensive as some of those expurgated. 2 Even in those 
parts of B in which these groups of expurgated passages occur, 
where we might expect to find the work of expurgation 
efficiently carried out, it is not. Had Matthew set about his 
work more thoroughly, for instance, he would surely not have 
left the words 'and the papal Charybdis devoured all his goods' 
untouched, at the end of a paragraph whence the words * inspired 
by manifest avarice', in reference to the pope, have been 
expunged as offensive. 3 Although this work of expurgation is 
evidently due to Matthew himself, his scribe rewrote a number 
of passages for him. 4 In B (1241-53), nineteen passages of more 
than a line in length are erased with nothing substituted, and 
thirteen have been erased and rewritten, four by Matthew and 
nine by his scribe. In British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii 
(J?; 1254-9), where not a single passage has been merely erased, 
three passages of more than a line in length have been rewritten 
by Matthew, and nineteen by his scribe. The largest number of 
such passages expurgated in any one annal occurs in that for 
1254 (twelve), and the second largest in 1255 (four). Towards 
the end of B the editing diminishes in frequency, so that in the 
last five annals (1249-53) only three passages of more than a line 
have been erased, and only one of these is rewritten. The scribe 
who helped Matthew with the rewriting of these passages is the 

1 At pp. 101-5, 206-11, 254-65, 396-410, 5<>9~i4> 553-65 and 604-19. 
For some of the solitary passages, see pp. 279, 360, 425 and 639. 

2 See pp. 9, 137, 547 and 577-8 etc. 3 CM. iv, pp. 604-5. 
4 For instance at CM. iv, pp. 360, 509 and 510. 

118 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

same as the one who finished for him the texts of the Chronica 
Majora, the Historia Anglorum and the Abbreviatio Chronicorum y 
and he appears to have been called in to help only towards the 
end of Matthew's life. 1 This suggests a late date for the expurga- 
tion of the Chronica Major a, and the fact that it extends up to the 
annal for 1257, and that there is no noticeable change in the tone 
of the Chronica Major a right up to its close, supports this sug- 
gestion. A comparison of the Historia Anglorum and the 
Chronica Majora shows that the former was copied before the 
editing had been carried out in the latter, and this fact, too, 
points to a late date for the expurgation of B and R. Moreover, 
the presence of a number of passages erased (as well as the 
tearing out of a whole leaf at one point), 2 but with nothing 
substituted, makes it probable that the work of editing has been 
left unfinished. It seems, in fact, to have been carried out at the 
end of Matthew's life (1258-9), and to have been begun with 
the annals after 1253, in R. Matthew seems to have expurgated 
this part of his Chronica Majora first, and then to have turned 
to the earlier part of its text, in J3, beginning at the annal for 
1241, and working unsystematically through the succeeding 
annals, until death overtook him in the midst of his labours. 

An analysis of those expurgated passages whose original 
reading is ascertainable shows that they included both abusive 
words and phrases, and factual material presented in a scurrilous 
or tendentious manner. Apart from a few erasures of single 
words and phrases, and omitting also the erased chapter- 
headings, I have counted sixty-one edited passages in the 
Chronica Majora. Of forty-three of these it is possible to be 
certain of the nature of the offence in the original version: 
fifteen were offensive to the papacy; twelve to Archbishop 
Boniface; nine to the king; three to the friars; and one each to 
Richard of Cornwall, Robert Grosseteste, the papal legate in 
Norway, and the king's mother. It seems likely, as pointed out 
above, that Matthew intended to rewrite most of the passages 
which have been merely erased. No doubt, for instance, the 
leaf describing Archbishop Boniface's activities on Visitation, 
which he tore out altogether, would have been replaced by 
another with a milder account of this ; and the same is probably 
1 See above, p. 10, and note 3. 2 See CM. v, pp. xii-xiii. 

119 



MATTHEW PARIS 

true of the offensive passage against the friars, which he erased, 
but did not rewrite. 1 But in some cases single words, such as 
*turpiter', 'enormiter', 'indecens', 'falsum', etc., or offensive 
chapter-headings, such as ' Fratres Predicatores et Minores fiunt 
theolonarii papae', 2 have been erased apparently without any 
intention of substituting milder ones. Where a passage has 
been erased, and another substituted, a comparison of the 
two versions is often illuminating. Sometimes the second read- 
ing is a toned-down version of the first, as in the following 
example: 3 

First reading: But the king, realizing the hidden snares and detesting 
the greed of the Roman court 

Second reading: But the king, realizing that a thing of this kind was 
harmful to that church, and likewise to others 

But frequently the second, edited reading has a quite dif- 
ferent emphasis from the first. For instance, in one place in 
the Chronica Majora* Matthew at first described Archbishop 
Boniface as *a man. . .insufficient for such a dignity, when 
compared to his predecessors the archbishops of Canterbury, in 
learning, manners, and years . . . ' ; but he later erased this, and 
wrote instead: 'a man of tall stature and elegant body, the uncle 
of the lady Eleanor, the illustrious Queen of England. . .'. 

Sometimes the second passage contradicts what was said in 
the first. For instance, Matthew originally put into the mouth 
of a French noble the statement that King Henry III unjustly 
hanged Constantine FitzAthulf; 5 but this has been erased, and 
in the passage substituted for it the noble is made to state 
explicitly that the king knew nothing about it! On several 
occasions, too, the second passage has no connexion whatsoever 
with the first: thus Matthew's description of Boniface's oppres- 
sion of the Canterbury monks in 1244* is altered into an account 
of the bishop of Winchester's reception by the king. 

Matthew's expurgation of the Historia Anglorum was much 
more thorough and effective than that of the Chronica Major a. 
It begins with the early thirteenth-century annals, and continues 

1 For the torn-out leaf, see above, p. 119, note 2. For the attack on the 

friars: CM. iv, pp. 279-80. 2 CM. v, p. 73. 3 CM. iv, p. 102. 

* iv, p. 104. 5 CM. iv, p. 206. 6 CM. iv, p. 360. 

1 2O 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

nearly up to the end. There are some passages, mostly in the 
margin, which have been erased, and nothing substituted; but, 
apart from these few, the expunged passages in the Historia 
Anglorum have been replaced with milder ones, written either 
on the erasure itself, or on a piece of vellum pasted down over 
the original passage. All the expurgation in the Historia 
Anglorum^ save for one passage in the annal for 1252 which was 
rewritten by his scribe, 1 was carried out by Matthew himself. 
As in the Chronica Majora, most of the expurgated passages 
were of a kind calculated to give offence to pope, king, or 
archbishop, but the editing in the Historia Anglorum is on a 
bigger scale altogether than that in the Chronica Majora. The 
account of John's reign, for instance, is altered slightly in tone 
by a large number of minute alterations, as when ' collection! ' 
is substituted for ' extorsioni ', or * iracundiam ' for ' tyrannidem \ 2 
In the annals for 1244-50 so many passages have been expur- 
gated and others substituted, that the whole character of this 
part of the Historia Anglorum has been altered and toned down. 
The alterations are often minute, but subtle; and Matthew 
seems to have gone through the whole manuscript very care- 
fully. In every case Madden did his best, usually with success, 
to read the earlier, expunged passage, but in cases of simple 
erasure and rewriting over the erasure this was often impossible; 
and we have to guess at the nature of the alteration when we 
find, for instance, William of Valence described, on an erasure, 
as *vir elegans et generosus'. 3 Often a comparison with the 
Chronica Majora will help to establish the original reading in the 
Historia Anglorum. In his account, for instance, of the baptism 
of Edward, the eldest son of Henry III, Matthew records that 
Otho, the papal legate, baptized the child, and continues, a little 
clumsily: *ubi praesens extitit archiepiscopus Cantuariensis 
Edmundus*. In the Historia Anglorum, where this sentence 
occurs, the words 4 ubi' and 'extitit' are on erasures, and the 
original reading must have been, as in the Chronica Majora, 
'licet praesens esset archiepiscopus': a subtle piece of editing! 4 
The scope and technique of Matthew's expurgation of the 
Historia Anglorum are noteworthy, and throw a great deal of 

1 HA. m, p. 127. 2 HA. n, pp. 102, note i, and 108, note 3. 

3 HA. n, p. 421. 4 HA. n, p. 422, and CM. in, p. 540. 

121 



MATTHEW PARIS 

light on his mentality. Here is an example, where the second 
passage was pasted down over the first on a slip of vellum, so 
that Madden was able to print them both, which shows him at 
work in a way characteristic of the expurgation in both the 
Historia Anglorum and the Chronica Majora. 

First version: 1 At this time the Dominicans and Franciscans 
diligently busied themselves in their now lucrative preaching, and, 
working hard on behalf of the crusade to the extent of making them- 
selves hoarse with vociferation and preaching, they bestowed the 
Cross on people of every age, sex, and condition, including invalids. 
But on the following day, or even immediately afterwards, receiving 
back the Cross for whatever price, they absolved those who had 
taken it from their vow of pilgrimage, and collected the money into 
the treasury of some powerful person. To simple people this seemed 
unseemly and ridiculous, and the devotion of many was cooled, for 
it was being sold like sheep for their fleeces; and out of this no small 
scandal arose. 

Second version: 2 ' At this time the Dominicans and Franciscans, 
as well as others expert and learned in the art of preaching, busied 
themselves with their sermons, and, sowing useful seed in God's 
field, they produced manifold fruit. And in order that Christ's faith- 
ful should not be deprived of the advantage of the indulgence which 
they promised to those who took the Cross for the crusade, they 
courteously received a redemption according to the means of each, 
so that, with the help of God's great munificence, a ready will might 
be reckoned as good as the deed. For it was considered that women, 
children, and invalids, as well as poor and unarmed people, would 
be of little use against the armed multitude of infidels. 

In some cases the substituted passage describes something 
quite different from what was at first related. One passage 
casting aspersions on Archbishop Boniface, 3 for instance, is 
pasted over with a vellum slip, on which Matthew wrote some 
innocuous remarks describing Henry IIFs request for prayers 
to be made for a male heir, suggested, no doubt, by the next entry 
in the Historia Anglorum, which recorded the birth of his son. 
Covering up his many attacks on Boniface seems to have taxed 
Matthew's ingenuity, for another of them is pasted over with a 
harmless but apparently entirely fictitious meteorological entry ! 4 

1 HA. m, pp. 51 and 52, note 3. z HA. m, pp. 51-2. 

3 HA. ii, p. 499. 4 HA. n, pp. 489-90. 

122 



ABRIDGEMENT AND EXPURGATION 

The editing of the Historia Anglorum was evidently not 
carried out in a hurry, and one passage at least has been rewritten 
twice: first, on an erasure (and also with a plummet in the lower 
margin), and afterwards on a slip of vellum stuck down over 
the text. 1 After the middle of the annal for 1251 in the Historia 
Anglorum there is no further editing, 2 though there are one or 
two harsh passages which perhaps ought to have been edited. 3 
The cessation of the expurgation during the annal for 1251 
makes it likely that it was carried out before Matthew finished 
writing the Historia Anglorum. Unfortunately, however, there 
is very little evidence as to its date, and we can only conclude, 
tentatively, that it was carried out towards the end of Matthew's 
life, and probably during the years 1256-9. 

A number of passages in the Historia Anglorum are marked 
with red letters in the margin vacat y or vacat quia offendiculum, 
in just the same way as passages in B were pointed out for 
omission in C; 4 and it seems probable that these notices were 
intended as a guide to Matthew (or a possible scribe) in the 
writing of the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, for a number of passages 
marked in this way are omitted in that work. A careful com- 
parison of the texts of the Historia Anglorum and the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum shows that, up to about the annal for 1243, tne 
Abbreviatio was abridged from the original, unaltered text of 
the Historia, while from this point onwards it seems to derive 
from the expurgated, altered text. 

Why did Matthew Paris expurgate his works in this way? 
In the case of his fair copy of the Chronica Major a in C, the 
expurgation was, in the main, limited to passages offensive to 
the king. It was carried out while that manuscript was being 
written, probably c. 1250, and we have suggested that its object 
was perhaps to produce a fair copy of the Chronica suitable for 
presentation to the king. 5 Now Madden thought that the expur- 
gation of the Historia Anglorum was perhaps carried out with 
this object in view. 6 It is a fact that the sudden cessation of the 
expurgation during the annal for 1251 in the Historia Anglorum 

1 HA. n, p. 455, note 4. 

2 Save for one passage rewritten by Matthew's scribe at in, p. 127. 

3 See e.g. HA. in, pp. 125-9. 4 See above, pp. 64-5 and 117. 
5 Above, p. 117. B HA. in, p. xxxii. 

123 



MATTHEW PARIS 

coincides with the cessation of a series of explicit references to 
documents in Matthew's other manuscripts. Up to the annal 
for 1251, these references have nearly all been altered into 
vague, general ones, while, after the 1251 annal, vague general 
references occur in the text. It does seem possible, as we sug- 
gested above, 1 that the expurgation and the alteration of the 
references to documents were undertaken with the same end: to 
make the book suitable for someone outside St Albans, perhaps 
the king. If so, the intention was certainly never carried out, for, 
on f. 6b of the Historia Anglorum, there is an inscription in 
Matthew's own hand recording his gift of the book to St Albans. 
Luard suggested that the editing of the Chronica Major a may 
have been carried out by Matthew for fear of giving offence to 
the king: for Henry III was a frequent visitor to St Albans. 2 
But this is hardly an adequate explanation, for Matthew was 
already well known to the king in 1247, and Henry visited 
St Albans at least five times between 1250 and 1256; yet the 
Chronica Majora was probably not expurgated until 1258-9. 
It seems much more likely that the expurgation of the Chronica 
Majora was a product of advancing years : the result of a resolve, 
on Matthew's part, to try to correct some of his extravagances, 
many of which he must have realized were unjust and unde- 
served. The thought of approaching death perhaps led him to 
soften his animosity towards old friends like the king and public 
figures like Archbishop Boniface; and he may have been im- 
pelled, by a fear of Divine Judgement, to expunge or tone down 
his most violent attacks on the papacy. Qualms of conscience 
may well have afflicted a Benedictine monk who had recorded 
that 'the papal court stinks to the high heavens 5 , 3 and who had 
cast so many aspersions on his king and archbishop. Be this as 
it may, it is certainly fortunate for us that this expurgation was 
unsystematically carried out, and, at any rate in the Chronica 
Majora, never finished; for, had it been more thorough and 
complete, Matthew might never have earned his well-deserved 
reputation for outspokenness, nor left some of his more vigorous 
and colourful prejudices on record for posterity. 

1 P. 73- 2 CM. iv, pp. xii-xiii. 3 CM. iv, p. 410. 



124 



CHAPTER VIII 

MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 



T: 



FHE large corpus of historical material which Matthew 
Paris has left us includes five works of general interest: 
the Chronica Majora, Historia Anglorum, Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum, Flores Historiarum and the Liber Additamentorum; 
but the last of these is in effect only an appendix or supplement 
to the Chronica Majora. Compared to the Chronica Majora, 
their source, the Historia Anglorum, Abbreviatio Chronicorum 
and the Flores Historiarum are of only incidental value, and our 
study of Matthew Paris as a writer and chronicler will therefore 
be based on the Chronica Majora. As a historian, in the sense 
of one who studies the past, Matthew is of little significance, for 
his efforts at historical research were limited to the collection 
of some annalistic material, and the composition of the Vitae 
Offarum, a work which contains a number of absurd historical 
blunders as, for instance, the statement that the first St Albans 
monks came from the abbey of Bee in Normandy 1 and which 
betrays, on the part of its author, a very slight knowledge of the 
historical Offa of Mercia. The real importance of Matthew's 
writing lies in his detailed account of the events of his own 
lifetime. He drew the Chronica Majora to its intended close 
in 1250 with these words: 2 'Here ends the chronicle of Brother 
Matthew Paris, monk of St Albans, which he has written down 
for the use of posterity and for the love of God and St Alban, 
lest age or oblivion efface the memory of modern events.' 

Evidently his primary object was the recording of contem- 
porary events, and he did this in fuller detail than almost any 
other medieval writer. His own section of the Chronica Majora 
extends from 1236 to 1259, an d almost the whole of this, 
amounting to some 300,000 words, has survived in autograph. 
It includes accounts of events in England, Wales, Scotland, 
France, Germany, Italy, the Iberian peninsula, Denmark, 

1 Wats, p. 30. Bee was founded in 1039, some 250 years after St Albans. 



I2S 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Norway, and the East; indeed, it seems that Matthew con- 
sidered no information irrelevant, in spite of the fact that he 
thought of his chronicle, primarily, as a history of England. 
He well understood the importance of supporting and ampli- 
fying his narrative with documentary material, and he has 
preserved copies, in the Chronica Majora and the Liber Addita- 
mentorum, of some 350 documents of all kinds. Of these, about 
100 are of domestic (St Albans) interest only. Among those of 
general interest are about forty royal letters and writs; some 
twenty letters of Frederick II ; and about sixty papal documents. 
Matthew Paris, on account of the scope and size of his chronicle 
alone, is unique among medieval English chroniclers. 

Matthew's Latin style is vigorous, forceful, and direct: there 
is no artificial elegance about it, and little conscious artistry. 
It is blunt and straightforward, yet often lively and colourful. 
Although it is the rough, unpolished, downright writing of a man 
of limited intelligence and fixed ideas, yet it is always vivid and 
expressive. It is individual enough to be easily recognizable, 
and N. Denholm- Young noted the interesting fact that, even in 
his use of the cursus, Matthew is peculiar. 1 His style is rather 
stereotyped, and he tends to be repetitive in his use of certain 
phrases, biblical and classical allusions, descriptive epithets, and 
the like. Some of these recur over and over again, so that their 
presence can be used to demonstrate his authorship of doubtful 
works. 2 Here are some of the phrases and allusions of which he 
was particularly fond: 



seminarium discordiae 

zelo justitiae 

in ore gladii 

quod est inauditum 

secus quam deceret 

dignum duximus huic libro 

inserere 

versus in arcum pravum 
patulis rictibus inhiantes 
in magna cordis amaritudine 



felix suscepit incrementum 
novit Ipse qui nihil ignorat 
quorum numerum longum foret 

explicare 
ab alto (or immo) trahens 

suspirmm 

sicut sequens sermo declarabit 
nee censeo praetereundum 
immo potius 
haec iccirco dixerim 



1 Denholm-Young, Handwriting in England and Wales, p. $2. See also 
Browne, British Latin Selections, pp. xxxviixxxviii. 

2 See Chapter in above, pp. 38 ff. 

126 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

nimis moleste ferens ne mundus iste prospera sine 

in triste praesagium adversis impermixta 

tractatus exigeret speciales negotium martis 

libra rationis trutinare torvo vultu (or oculo) 

infausto sidere pedibus equinis 

ut plura paucis perstringamus parvipendendo immo potius 

in arcto positus vilipendendo 

factus de rege tirannus nodum in scirpo quaerere 

ut viderentur Apostolorum si scriberentur taedium audien- 

tempora renovari tibus generarent 

quasi a sends ultimae conditionis 

In vocabulary, too, Matthew tends to be repetitive, and to use 
the same, often rather colourful, words over and over again, 
such as : 

cruentus saginari quisquiliae 

inhiare ridiculosus truculenter 

subsannare procaciter vindemiare (pecuniam) 

vispilio muscipulum impudenter 

Neologisms and unusual words or phrases also occur, for 
instance: ' Romipedes ' ; 'clericulus'; and 'Fretherizare'. 

A characteristic feature of Matthew's style is his love of play 
on words, frequently expressed by the use of pairs of words of 
similar form but different meaning. Some of the commonest 
of these are: 'mellitus' and 'mollitus'; 'misertus' and 'misera- 
tus j ; 'durus 5 and 'dims'; 'doto' and 'dito'; 'plures' and 
'pluries'; 'volo' and 'valeo 5 . 

As with vocabulary, so with imagery Matthew tends to be 
limited in resources and repetitive; and the following metaphors 
occur many times : 

like birds in a net 

like a thorn in the eye 

as if between two millstones 

clearer than light 

like sand without lime 

like a mountain torrent 

The metaphor from Isaiah, of the splintering staff which pierces 
the hand, is very frequently used; as well as that from the 

127 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Psalms of the vineyard without a wall, pillaged by passers-by. 1 
England is often likened to an inexhaustible well ; and when one 
thing or person is superior to another, the relationship is com- 
pared to the superiority of St Albans over the other English 
abbeys, or of St Alban over the other English saints. Matthew's 
imagery often reflects his interest in natural phenomena of all 
kinds. In this connexion, the following metaphors are among 
the most striking : 

like blind men feeling along a wall 2 

like throwing a bone to a crowd of dogs 3 

like bees coming out of a hive 4 

like a cuckoo supplanting its foster-parent 5 

like a mouse in a sack 6 

like a bladder in frosty weather 7 

like pouring cold water into a boiling cauldron 8 

Matthew has the usual medieval repertory of biblical and 
classical quotations; the latter perhaps taken from a Florilegium. 
He delights in misquoting a line from a Latin poet to suit his 
own purposes; for instance he quotes Lucan: 9 

. . . omnisque potestas 
Impatiens consortis erit. . . 

and gives an alternative version with 'superbus' instead of 
' potestas '. He seems to have been much pleased with this emen- 
dation, for he uses it on three more occasions in the Chronica 
Majora, and once in the Historia Anglorwn. Some of the 
classical quotations are repeated up to six times. Ovid is the 
most frequently cited author, with thirty-two quotations in all ; 
Horace comes next, with eleven; Juvenal follows with six; and 
Lucan, Claudian and Virgil are each quoted three times. Of 
late classical and medieval authors Matthew quotes from 
Justinian; Abdias's apocryphal Ada Apostolorum; Bernard 
Sylvester's Cosmographia; Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Nova Poetria 
(four times) ; and Henry of Avranches and Gervase of Melkeley . 

1 Isa. xxxvi. 6, and Ps. Ixxix. 13. 2 CM. v, p. 532. 

8 CM. v, p. 357. 4 FH. n, p. 281. 
5 AC. p. 322. 6 FH. n, p. 283. 
7 CM. v, p. 31. 8 HA. n, p. 405. 

9 Lucan, Phars. i, 93-4; CM. v, p. 77. 

128 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

He was interested in verse, and is particularly fond of epitaphs 
and topical verses. About ten of the former are given in the 
Chronica Majora, some, perhaps, taken from his own collection 
of verse in University Library, Cambridge, MS. Dd xi 38.* 
Biblical quotations are frequent in all Matthew's historical 
writings, but they are unevenly distributed through the Bible, 
and an analysis of them would probably reflect Matthew's bibli- 
cal interest and knowledge. Thus, Luard notices thirty-eight 
quotations from Psalms; twenty-four from Matthew; seventeen 
from Luke; nine from Isaiah; five each from Acts, Kings, 
Proverbs and Galatians; and four each from Peter, Job, Exodus 
and Timothy. Of historians, Matthew knew and used the great 
twelfth-century writers William of Malmesbury, Henry of 
Huntingdon, Florence of Worcester, Robert de Monte, Geoffrey 
of Monmouth, and Ralph de Diceto ; 2 and he made use of later 
monastic annals from Southwark, Reading, Coggeshall, Caen 
and probably Ramsey. Other twelfth-century works mentioned 
in the Chronica Majora are Peter Lombard's Sentences ; Peter 
Comestor's Historia Scholastica\ z and a work by William of 
Tyre on the marvels of the East, which included an account of 
the capture of Antioch and Jerusalem. 4 

As a writer, Matthew is endowed with considerable descrip- 
tive and anecdotal powers; with a talent for recording conversa- 
tion in direct speech ; and with a remarkable flair for the observa- 
tion and description of incidental details. Furthermore, he has 
an interest in human beings and in the ordinary episodes of 
daily life, which is a rare and valuable quality among medieval 
chroniclers. Notices of curious and interesting detail, which 
show his eager curiosity in everything about him, as well as his 
powers of observation, are very common in Matthew's writings. 
We are given a detailed account of the metal point used at the 

1 See below, p. 260. 

2 The copies of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Diceto used by 
Matthew still exist: the former two in B.M. Royal MS. 13 D v, and the 
latter in Royal 1 3 E vi. See Vaughan, ' Handwriting of M. Paris ', Trans. Camb. 
Bibliog. Soc. I (1953), p. 391. 

3 The MS. used by Matthew was, presumably, B.M. Royal MS. 4 D vii, 
which contains examples of his handwriting : see Vaughan, ibid. 

4 HA. i, p. 163. On Matthew's knowledge of historians and classical litera- 
ture see Marshall, 'Thirteenth-century culture as illustrated by Matthew 
Paris', Speculum, xiv (1939), PP- 466-71. 

9 129 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

end of a lance, in connexion with the accidental killing of a 
knight during a tournament; the monks' practice of examining 
the stars in order to discover the right time for Matins is men- 
tioned incidentally; and an invasion of curious birds which 
broke open the apples in the abbey orchard in order to eat the 
pips is recorded in I25I. 1 The details provided in the account 
of the latter leave no doubt that the birds were crossbills, a 
species which periodically invades the British Isles in large 
numbers from north-east Europe. Matthew's writings are by 
no means devoid of human interest and sentiment. For instance, 
after his account of the king's departure for Gascony in 1253, 
he continues: 2 'The boy Edward, who had been kissed and 
embraced repeatedly by his weeping father, stood on the beach 
crying and sobbing, for he would not go away while the billowing 
(sinuosa) sails of the ships were still in sight.' 

Of Matthew's failings, as a chronicler, one of the most obvious 
is his carelessness. Many errors, some of language, some due to 
faulty copying, and some of a historical nature, are to be found 
in his writings. A characteristic error of language, due to care- 
lessness, occurs in the annal for 1253 f tf 16 Chronica Major a? 
where he has forgotten, half-way through a sentence, how he 
had begun it, so that the construction is altered and nonsense 
made of the whole passage. A common mistake of this kind is 
the inadvertent omission of the verb, 4 or some other vital part 
of a sentence. Matthew is just as careless when copying as he is 
when composing. Lines are frequently lost through homoeo- 
teleuton, and single words are often copied wrongly, as 
'venerabilem' for 'verbalem', 'specialiter' for 'spiritualiter', 
and 'cotidie' for 'custodie'. 5 Of the many historical blunders 
which are due to carelessness, we may note the writing of 
'Aragon' for 'Navarre', 'Henricus' for 'Ensius', 'tertio' for 
'quarto', and 'Maii' for 'Martii'. 6 If Matthew's work is care- 
less, it is also undisciplined and unsystematic. Not one of his 
manuscripts is a final fair copy : in all of them, marginal additions 
and corrections show that he went back constantly to re-read, 

1 CM. v, pp. 319, 422-3, and 254-5. 

2 CM. v, p. 383. 3 v, p. 367, note i. 

4 See, for instance, CM. iv, p. 550, and v, p. 100. 

5 CM. vi, p. 486; p. 478; iv, p. 413, note 2. 

6 CM. iv, p. 79, note i ; p. 124, note i ; and v, pp. 638, note 2; 431, note 3. 

130 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

revise and amplify what he had already written. Additional 
information, not in the Chronica Majora, is to be found in the 
Historia Anglorum, Floras Historiarum, and even the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum. A fault common to all these works, which demon- 
strates Matthew's lack of order and control, is the frequent 
repetition, whether of isolated entries, 1 or of a whole series of 
entries ; 2 and sometimes an entry is made in the margin, as if to 
remedy an omission in the text, when it has already been 
entered there. 3 

Matthew's carelessness makes him an inaccurate, and there- 
fore frequently unreliable, writer, but his reliability can only be 
properly assessed by an examination of his veracity. He himself 
was certainly conscious on occasions of his duty to record the 
truth, for in one place he expatiates on the difficulty of doing 
this : ' The lot of historians is hard indeed, for, if they speak the 
truth, they provoke man, and if they record falsehoods they 
offend God.' 4 Elsewhere in the Chronica Major a we find the 
incidental remark 'lest I should insert something false in this 
book ', which shows, at any rate, that he recognized his obligations 
in this respect. 5 There is, too, a note written with a plummet 
in the margin of f. 244 of B, which reflects his regard for 
accuracy ; for, in reference to a certain Guido, mentioned in the 
text, he writes: ' Dubium si Guido vel Galfridus.' On the other 
hand, Matthew's pious statements about his intentions cannot 
be accepted at their face value. In reference to the pope, for 
instance, he makes a thoroughly hypocritical remark: 'The 
Lord, Judge of all judges, will judge if he has done well. . .for it 
is not my business to judge papal actions.' 6 In the very next 
annal, however, we find, in reference to a papal letter obtained 
by the bishop of Hereford, the exclamation: 'Alas! For shame 
and grief! These and other detestable things emanated at this 
time from the sulphurous fountain of the Roman church.' 7 

In fact, Matthew certainly sometimes allows himself con- 
siderable licence in the reporting of facts. We have seen how, 
when he went through his manuscripts striking out the offensive 

1 E.g. at CM. iv, pp. 8 and 47-8. 

2 Six entries are repeated in the 1257 annal in the Chronica Major a. 

3 E.g. at CM. iv, p. 207, and note 3. 

4 CM. v, pp. 469-70. 5 CM. v, p. 262. 
6 CM. v, p. 459. 7 CM. v, p. 524. 

131 9-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

passages and substituting milder ones, he sometimes concocted 
an apparently fictitious entry to replace the erased passage, 1 
A careful examination of his copies of documents convicts him 
of occasionally tampering with their texts, even to the extent of 
deliberate falsification, although he evidently understood the 
importance of documents as historical evidence, and had a great 
deal of respect for them. In one place, for instance, he goes out 
of his way to point out that he was copying from an original 
letter, to which twelve seals were appended. 2 But the possibility 
of tampering with the texts of the documents he was copying 
was always there; and to this standing temptation Matthew 
from time to time unfortunately succumbed. In the Chronica 
Majora, for instance, he copied from Roger Wendover the text 
of an imperial letter written from Jerusalem, describing 
Frederick's recovery of that city. But when he came to tran- 
scribe this letter into the Flores Historiamm, he could not resist 
the temptation of adding to it the following fictitious report of 
the emperor's troubles on his return: 3 

But, because in this world bitter things are invariably mixed with 
sweet, when we were returning to our Empire the way being with 
difficulty open we crushed our enemies, who were supported to our 
detriment by our father the pope, and managed to put a stop to their 
sedition. Had not this business recalled us in great haste, the state of 
the church would, by the grace of God, have been consolidated and 
wonderfully improved. 

At the end of the annal for 1237 in the Chronica Majora 
a group of four letters has been inserted, written in fact in 1232, 
which passed between Pope Gregory IX and the patriarch, 
Germanus, of Constantinople; and there are a number of 
material additions to the texts of the patriarch's two letters, 
though those of the pope are left untouched. 4 Matthew begins 
with the insertion into the patriarch's first letter of a long 

1 See above, p. 122. 2 CM. iv, p. 344. 

3 CM. in, pp. 173-6; FH. n, pp. 197-8; the passage translated is from. 
FH. n, p. 198. 

4 These letters are at CM. in, pp. 448-69; Luard collates them with the 
copies in the Vatican, VI, pp. 482-5; and I have collated them with the 
copies in the Red Book of the Exchequer t ff. 184 ff. The passage translated is 
from CM. iv, p. 452, and I have used the translation of Giles, Matthew 
Paris's English History, I, p. 102. 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

passage aimed at the pope, part of which runs thus: * And, that 
we may arrive at the very pith of the truth, many powerful and 
noble men would obey you, if they did not fear the unjust 
oppressions, the wanton extortion of money which you practise, 
and the undue services which you demand of those subject to 
you/ Having taken the plunge, so to speak, with this long inter- 
polation, Matthew proceeds to make some minor literary im- 
provements to the text of his exemplar ; and, warming to his task, 
he inserts more than a (printed) page of additional matter into 
the patriarch's second letter, nearly all of which is directed 
against the Roman church. The patriarch is made to address the 
cardinals thus: 1 'It has given rise to offence in our minds, that 
you gape after earthly possessions whencesoever you can scrape 
them together, and collect gold and silver. . .you compel king- 
doms to be tributary to you. . .you multiply money by traffic ' 

This unscrupulous tampering with the texts of documents 
leads us to suspect Matthew of wilful falsification on occasions 
when we should find a scribe guilty only of carelessness: for 
instance, at the beginning of his text of Innocent Ill's famous 
letter to the English prelates Matthew omits the words in 
Christo films' from the phrase 'carissimus in Christo filius 
J(ohannes) rex'. 2 We must be careful, however, not to go too 
far in accusing Matthew of faking his documentary material, 
for in fact his texts of documents, though marred by frequent 
errors, are only occasionally embellished with fanciful improve- 
ments ' of his own, and material interpolations of more than 
a few words are even rarer. In his Ford lectures, A. L. Smith 
claimed that the glaring inconsistencies in Matthew's version 
of Grosseteste's letter complaining of papal abuses are matched 
by similar inconsistencies in letters circulated * as from the pen 
of' the Emperor Frederick II. 3 He implied that Matthew had 
either fabricated or very seriously tampered with the text of 
the Grosseteste letter, and that many of his texts of imperial 
letters had been treated in the same way, though not perhaps by 

1 CM. in, p. 459. I have again used Giles's translation, Matthew Paris's 
English History, I, p. 107. 

2 30 March 1215; CM. n, p. 607, note 6. 

3 Smith, Church and State in the Middle Ages, pp. 103 ff. The authenticity 
of this letter was first questioned by Jourdain in Excursions historiques, 
PP* r 55~7 and I 7- For Matthew's copy of it, see CM. v, pp. 389-92. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Matthew himself. This, however, is not the case, for Matthew's 
text of Grosseteste's letter is almost identical with that in the 
Red Book of the Exchequer, and Professor Thomson has demon- 
strated its authenticity; 1 and there are actually very few inter- 
polations or alterations in the texts of his copies of imperial 
letters. 2 

Owing to his occasional indulgence in unscrupulous falsifica- 
tion Matthew can never be relied on in his treatment of historical 
material. When he repeats a good story, the second version often 
differs considerably from the first. Thus his account of an 
unnamed cardinal's vision of Innocent IV's judgement is greatly 
improved and elaborated when it is retailed on the second 
occasion, and definitely attributed to Alexander IV. 3 Professor 
Galbraith has shown how Matthew sometimes went so far as 
to use the same story twice in reference to two different people. 4 
Perhaps the most blatant example of his abuse of historical 
material is his account, during the annal for 1244 in the Chronica 
Majora, of the demands of Master Martin, the papal emissary, 
and the English prelates' reply to them; for a long passage is 
taken word for word from Roger Wendover's description of the 
legate Otho's demands and the prelates' resistance to them, in 
1226, the only serious alteration being the substitution of 
'Master Martin' for Roger's 'Master Otho'. 5 

Matthew, then, has something of the forger in him. He is 
neither systematic nor thorough in his fraudulence, but his 
sporadic tampering with documentary sources, and misuse of 
historical material, as well as his many errors, make him basically 
unreliable as a historical source. In his inaccuracy and occasional 
deceit or wilful misrepresentation Matthew is by no means 
exceptional. He may be a little more fraudulent than most other 
medieval chroniclers, but I doubt if he can be singled out as 

1 Writings ofR. Grosseteste, pp. 212-13 ; see the Red Book of the Exchequer, 
ff. I96b-i97a. 

2 The only material interpolation I have discovered is that printed above, 
p. 132. For Matthew's treatment of the text of Magna Carta in his Chronica 
Major a, see CM. n, pp. xxxiii-xxxvi. 

3 CM. v, pp. 471-2 and 491-3. 

4 Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, p. 36, note i. See also Smith, 
Church and State in the Middle Ages, p. 177, where he points out that 
Matthew puts identical words about the pope into the mouths of two 
different people. 5 CM. m, p. 103, and iv, pp. 374-5. 

134 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

either more or less careless : certainly he should not be described, 
as he has been, as 'the most careful writer of his age'. 1 

Before we go on to examine Matthew's outlook and prejudices, 
there are one or two small points affecting his general veracity 
which may conveniently be mentioned here. Although he is 
well known for his habitual outspokenness, and frequently 
expresses his own opinions directly, his attacks on king and 
pope are more often put into the mouths of others. Thus it is 
certain c holy and religious men* who are disgusted with the 
pope; and 'many discerning men* are said to have feared that 
the spread of the Dominican Order would upset the ancient 
equilibrium of the Church. 2 In this way Matthew conceals his 
own opinion and at the same time pays himself a discreet compli- 
ment; though sometimes, no doubt, these opinions did represent 
a section of contemporary 'public opinion'. Current rumours 
are often explicitly reported, some of which, like that of an 
imminent Danish invasion of England or the conversion of the 
Mongol Khan to Christianity, turned out later to be false. 3 
It is evident that Matthew, in his eagerness to collect informa- 
tion of all kinds, tended to be uncritical in recording it, and this 
no doubt accounts for a number of the strange tales and curious 
anecdotes which adorn his chronicle. A large part of the 
Chronica Majora was probably written down more or less 
directly from oral reports, 4 and some of Matthew's acquaintances 
seem to have been only too willing to contribute matter redound- 
ing to their own merit to the famous chronicle. Professor 
Knowles points out that ' public men . . . realized that their share 
in events could best be preserved for posterity by judicious 
conversations at St Albans'. 5 The most prominent of these, 
apart from the king, was Earl Richard of Cornwall, who took the 
trouble, for example, to inform Matthew of the cost of his 
religious foundation at Hayles, and to add a pious aspiration 

1 Collins, * Documents of the Great Charter', Proc. Brit. Acad. xxxiv 
(1948), p. 259. German historians of the thirteenth century have noted 
Matthew's unreliability, especially in Continental affairs: see, in particular, 
Felten, Papst Gregor IX, pp. 6 and 363, and notes; and Kempf, Geschichte 
des deutschen Retches wdhrend des grossen Interregnums, pp. 269-73. 

2 CM. in, p. 574, and iv, p. 511. 3 CM. iv, p. 9, and v, p. 87. 

4 A list of Matthew's informants is given above, pp. 13-17. 

5 Knowles, Religious Orders, I, p. 294. See also Hunt, Diet. Nat. Biog. 
XV, p. 207. 

135 



MATTHEW PARIS 

which the chronicler duly noted down. 1 When we consider the 
worth and reliability of the Chronica Major a, it is important to 
remember that some of it, at least, was contributed in this way 
by the leading men of the time, who no doubt often exaggerated 
their own part in affairs. 

On the whole, Matthew is careful with chronology, and few 
events and documents are badly misdated. Information seems to 
have been entered up on rough drafts more or less as he received 
it, and copied thence into the Chronica Majora, so that an 
approximate chronological order was usually achieved. Professor 
Cheney has recently shown that there is no reason to suppose 
that the famous Taper Constitution' of 1244, which Denholm- 
Young had attributed to 1238, is misplaced in the Chronica 
Major a'^ and in fact it is only very occasionally that an event or 
document is inserted under the wrong year. 3 In the dating of 
events within the year, however, the Chronica Majora is often 
unreliable. Thus the Dominican Chapter of 1250 is described 
as meeting 'about the Feast of the Nativity of St John the 
Baptist', that is, c. 24 June; but later in the same paragraph it is 
said to have met * about Pentecost', c. 15 May, in I25<D. 4 It is 
worth noting that Matthew's numbers are no more reliable than 
those of most medieval chroniclers. On f. 170 a of the Liber 
Additamentorum, for instance, he says that in the campaign of 
1244 the king of Scotland had 500 knights and 60,000 foot- 
soldiers; but in the Chronica Majora this is altered to 1,000 
knights and 100,000 foot-soldiers. 5 

If, when considering Matthew's trustworthiness and veracity 
as a chronicler, we have to make extensive allowances for his 
frequent acceptance of verbal reports, for his inclusion of 
rumours and current opinion, as well as for his periodic dis- 
regard for historical accuracy, we must make even larger 
allowances for his grievances, beliefs, and prejudices; for these 

1 CM. v, p. 262. 

2 Cheney, 'The Paper Constitution preserved by Matthew Paris', EHR. 
LXV (1950), pp. 213-31, and Denholm-Yotmg, 'The Paper Constitution of 
1244 \ ibid. LVIII (1943), pp. 401-23. 

3 For instance, CM. iv, pp. 386-9 should be under the year 1245. See 
also p. 132 above. One document in LA is misdated by ten years through 
careless copying: see Powicke, 'Writ for enforcing watch and ward, 1242', in 
EHR. LVII (1942), p. 469. 

4 CM. v, p. 127. 5 CM. vi, p. 518, note i ; iv, p. 380. 

136 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

colour his whole work. Among English writers, Matthew stands 
out in front of the curtain of medieval anonymity as a real 
person, and in his Chronica Majora his outlook on life, pre- 
judices, and interests, as well as his personality, are all revealed 
in a manner unusual among chroniclers of his age. He refers 
to himself by name on six occasions in the Chronica Majora^ 
either as 'Brother Matthew Paris', 1 or simply 'Matthew, the 
writer of this ', 2 or even on one occasion as ' dominus Matthaeus 
Parisiensis monachus ecclesiae Sancti Albani'. 3 The words 
'monachus ecclesiae Sancti Albani 5 provide a key to the under- 
standing of his whole outlook on life, for this was in a large 
measure based on his own material interests as a monk, and on 
those of the small aristocratic community of which he was proud 
to be a member. 4 In the Gesta Abbatum the convent is invariably 
supported against its abbot; and the apparent moral judgement 
of each abbot is in reality a purely material one, based on the 
abbot's treatment of, and value to, the convent; he is praised, 
for instance, if he gives a rent to the convent for the improve- 
ment of its beer or kitchen. 5 In sympathy with his own position, 
Matthew always supports aristocratic corporations similar to 
his own against those exercising power over them: he takes the 
side of the canons of Lincoln against their bishop, the monks 
of Canterbury against their archbishop, 6 and even the barons 
against the king. This, of course, is a question of sentiment 
rather than of political theory, but it affects his habits of mind 
in just the same way as his zealous devotion to and enthusiasm 
for his own Order. The extravagant praises he bestows on Hugh 
Northwold, bishop of Ely the only bishop at the time who 
was a Benedictine monk 7 and his sympathy for the abbots of 
Westminster and Bardney in their quarrels with Grosseteste, 8 
are due, in the main, to his patriotic feelings as a Benedictine. 
In the Chronica Majora the Cistercian monks of Pontigny are 

1 v, pp. 129-30. 2 v, p. 201. 3 v, p. 369. 

4 See Plehn, 'Der politische Charakter von Matheus Parisiensis', Staats- 
und socialwissenschaftliche Forschungen, xiv (1897), pp. 42-5. In the whole 
of what follows I am much indebted to this work. 

5 See, on this, Coulton, Five Centuries of Religion, in, p. 192. 

6 CM. m, pp. 527 ff. 

7 CM. v, pp. 454-5; see Gibbs and Lang, Bishops and Reform, 1215-1272, 
pp. 9-10. 8 CM. iv, pp. 151 and 246. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

criticized for cutting off the arm of St Edmund, and it is implied 
that the Benedictines would never have done such a thing: 1 
'Many people, considering how carefully the bodies of saints 
are venerated in the churches of the Black monks, deplored the 
fact that the body of so respected a saint should repose in a 
Cistercian church. ' 

Apart from the Augustinian canons, who perhaps escaped his 
diatribes on account of their early foundation, Matthew dis- 
approves of all religious orders other than his own. The 
Dominicans and Franciscans are often bitterly attacked, 2 and 
the appearance of new orders of friars like the cruciferi and the 
Bethlehemites calls forth a derogatory remark on the confusion 
caused by new and unknown orders. 3 Matthew, incidentally, is 
more favourably disposed towards the Hospitallers than towards 
the Templars, whom he considered proud, ambitious, and 
worldly. 4 

Matthew's material interests are paramount, too, in his 
attitude towards the important contemporary movements for 
Church reform. He does not understand the significance of 
the efforts of men like Archbishop Boniface and Robert Grosse- 
teste, and he frequently criticizes their visitations, especially of 
Benedictine houses, for their thoroughness and efficiency. 5 
Matthew, indeed, though he is prepared to admire the sanctity 
of the monks of earlier days, 6 is against any attempt at inter- 
ference with the privileged social existence of the monks of his 
own day, and his idea of what a visitation ought to be must have 
been similar to that which took place at St Albans in i25i; 7 
which seems to have been little more than a social visit, with 
ample warning, by the prior of Hurley, the sub-prior of 
St Augustine's, Canterbury, and a papal chaplain. In spite of 
his habitual support of chapters against royal interference in the 
election of bishops, Matthew was quite out of touch with the 
ideas of some of the leading churchmen of his day on the subject 
of the independence of the Church from secular interference. 
Here, again, it is sentiment and prejudice which mould his 

1 CM. v, p. 113. 

2 For instance, at CM. iv, pp. 279-80, 511-12, 599-600, etc. 

3 CM. iv, pp. 393-4, and v, p. 631. 

4 CM. iv, pp. 167-8. 5 See for example CM. v, pp. 226-7. 
6 CM. v, pp. 243-4. 7 CM. v, pp. 258-9. 

138 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

attitude rather than informed opinion. He seems to approve of 
Henry Ill's prohibition of Grosseteste's proposed inquisition 
into the morals of his diocese ; l and he does not complain of the 
king's interference in Grosseteste's dispute with his chapter. 2 
His opposition to royal interference in episcopal elections is 
arbitrary and conventional, and often bears little relation to the 
realities of the situation. Sometimes his indignation is aroused 
because a foreigner is appointed, or a religious rejected; more 
often it is due to the appointment by the king of a curialis; 
and when the monks or canons themselves elect one of the 
latter, Matthew adds a conventional surmise that this was 
because they feared the king would oppose any other person. 3 
Matthew's view of the State, often referred to as his ' con- 
stitutional' attitude, seems also to be based on his own material 
interests and those of his house. All forms of taxation are 
violently opposed and invariably regarded as mere royal extor- 
tion, even when the tax has been agreed to by the universitas 
regni. For instance, we are told that Henry III * extorted' (fecit 
extorqueri) a scutage in 1242, whereas in fact this had been 
agreed to by the barons. 4 Matthew's hatred of taxation leads 
him to oppose other aspects of government as mere tyrannical 
interference on the part of the king, and both forest inquisitions 
and itinerant justices are bitterly complained of. The latter are 
regarded merely as royal financial agents, 5 and Matthew refers 
to a sum of money raised by Henry III in 1254 w ^h th e wor( is 
1 . . .whatever he could extract from the rapines of the itinerant 
justices'. 6 He complains, too, of the royal administration of 
vacant bishoprics, and regards the government's inquiry into 
weights and measures in 1256 purely as a device for raising 
money. 7 From this ingenuous disapproval of almost all forms 
of governmental activity Matthew no doubt derived his view of 
a monarch chosen and controlled by his barons: the royal 
extortions must somehow be checked. His political outlook was 
evidently in some respects extremely superficial. His most pro- 
found thought on the constitutional struggle of his day is the 

1 CM. iv, pp. 579-80. 2 CM. iv, p. 156. 

3 See Gibbs and Lang, Bishops and Reform, p. 89. 

4 CM. iv, p. 227; Plehn, 'Der politische Charakter von Matheus Parisi- 
ensis', loc. cit. pp. 623. 

5 CM. iv, p. 34 6 CM. v, p. 458. 7 CM. v, pp. 594-5- 



MATTHEW PARIS 

precept which, having once got hold of, he blindly adheres to, 
that the king should take the advice of his natural counsellors. 
He did not understand the significance of the struggle for power 
which was going on during his lifetime between the barons 
and the king. His account of the events of 1258, for instance, 
shows that he was neither so well informed, nor so conscious 
of the significance of what was going on, as the Burton annalist. 1 
So far as one can judge from his description of the 'Parliament' 
at Oxford, its only interest for him was in the successful expul- 
sion of Henry Ill's Poitevin councillors, and the appointment 
of Hugh Bigod as justiciar. 2 Elsewhere Matthew describes 
how the corrupt practices and illegal extortions of the sheriffs 
were to be heavily punished, but he does not connect this with 
the baronial plan of reform. 3 Indeed it is clear that Matthew 
understood very little of the nature and significance of the 
baronial reform movement, and still less of the events of 1258. 
On the other hand, his interest in political issues cannot be 
denied, and he evidently had some idea of what constituted a 
community, and what was meant by representation. In one 
place he quotes the well-known maxim 'what touches all should 
be approved by all ' ; 4 and elsewhere he claims that, if the bishops 
had united together and sent a representative to Rome, all would 
have been well. 5 It is interesting to find that he seems to regard 
the monarchy as elective, a belief which demonstrates a certain 
grasp of political theory. Thus he alters Roger Wendover's 
statement that the barons c crowned' Henry III to 'raised him 
up ' ; 6 and he makes Hubert Walter state, at the coronation of 
King John, that he had been made king as the result of popular 
choice. 7 

Matthew's view of the Church in general, and of the papacy in 
particular, is similar to, and apparently based on the same feelings 
as, his view of the State. 8 All methods of raising money on 
behalf of the pope are considered extortionate; and almost all 
forms of papal interference in England are condemned as 

1 But it is fair to note that Matthew was at this time an old man, no doubt 
with failing powers. 

2 CM. v, pp. 697-8. 3 CM. v, p. 720. 4 CM. v, p. 225. 

5 CM. v, p. 532. 6 CM. m, p. i, c exaltant'. 7 CM. n, pp. 454 if. 

8 For what follows see Plehn, 'Der politische Charakter von Matheus 
Parisiensis', loc. cit. pp. 94 ff. 

140 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

obnoxious and oppressive. Matthew is bitterly hostile to papal 
provisions; he thinks it disgraceful that England should be a 
papal fief; and he maintains that, just as the barons should resist 
royal demands, so the bishops should resist those of the pope. 
His hostility to the papacy is neither the result of rational con- 
sideration, nor of informed opinion, but of resentment and 
prejudice. It is expressed in the form of comments on papal 
extortion, avarice, simony, rapine, gluttony, licentiousness and 
temporal ambition, which occur so frequently as to become 
purely conventional; as well as in the form of mere abusive 
language. As with the king, so with the pope, almost every 
piece of governmental activity is interpreted as an attempt at 
extortion. Gregory IX' s decretal that illegitimate priests must 
get a papal dispensation to hold a benefice, the absolution of 
would-be crusaders from their vows, and the dispatch of papal 
legates and others to England are all regarded as mere devices 
for raising money. 1 Matthew was always ready to report adverse 
rumours about the papacy, and to retail any scandalous stories 
which he heard. He reports that many people believed that the 
Cahorsin money-lenders were supported by the pope; 2 and he 
tells a story, in the form of a sermon by one of the cardinals to 
the citizens of Lyons, to the effect that the papal court had done 
a great deal of good while it was in Lyons, for it had converted 
the three or four brothels in the town when it first arrived there 
into one large brothel stretching right across it. 3 It is interesting 
to note that, in spite of all his disparagement of the papacy, 
Matthew on one occasion, when he is describing the schismatical 
Greek church (as we shall see, the Greeks were one of his betes 
noires), becomes a staunch supporter of papal supremacy, with 
only one slight qualification: 4 'But that pillar of the church, 
the lord pope, the true successor though not quite the perfect 
imitator of St Peter, remained firm.' 

Although many of Matthew's prejudices were evidently due 
to his monastic status, his nationality also played an important 
part in moulding his attitude. 5 His hatred of authority, for 

1 CM. in, pp. 328 and 374; iv, pp. 84 and 284-5. 

2 CM. m, p. 331. 3 CM. v, p. 237. 4 CM. in, p. 519. 

5 I use the word nationality in its widest sense, for it is not certain that 
Matthew was English by blood. 

141 



MATTHEW PARIS 

instance, is a typically English prejudice rather than a Bene- 
dictine one. 'England', he says in his genealogical chronicle, 1 
'is the queen of all islands/ The English are considered superior 
to all other peoples, and foreigners are treated with a charac- 
teristically English contempt. Among them, the especial objects 
of Matthew's dislike are the French, Poitevins, Welsh, Greeks, 
and Flemings. He refers to the 'habitual insolence' of the 
Greeks ; 2 those * wily traitors ' the Poitevins ; 3 the pride and envy 
of the French; 4 and the 'filthy ignoble Flemings'. 5 At first 6 
the Welsh are described with opprobrium, and are called savage 
and faithless ; but later their resistance to the English is admired : 
'Like the Trojans, from whom they are descended, they fought 
firmly for their ancestral laws and liberties/ 7 For the queen's 
relatives, Poitevins, Proven9als, and Savoyards, who came over 
to England after Henry's marriage in 1236, Matthew has feelings 
of hatred and disgust which seem to have increased in intensity 
as he grew older. Thus, in the part of the Chronic a Major a 
before the annal for 1252, they are accused of coming to England 
to fatten themselves at the expense of the natives ; 8 of bringing 
over their female relatives for the purpose of making advan- 
tageous marriages with the English nobility; 9 and, in one case, 
of borrowing some horses from the abbot of Faversham and 
omitting to return them. 10 Later they are called 'the scum of a 
terrible rabble', 11 and we are told that they swarmed all over the 
city of London in company with other foreigners, ' committing 
adulteries, fornicating, brawling, wounding, and murdering'. 12 
Other typically English prejudices of Matthew Paris are against 
civil servants, lawyers, and theologians. Lawyers are said to 
rise to fame much too quickly for the good of their souls; 
students are denigrated because they study law with an eye to 
future emoluments; and theologians are criticized for daring to 
inquire into the impenetrable secrets of the Almighty. 13 Mat- 
thew's healthy dislike of civil servants is reflected in a passage 
where he complains severely about the satellites regis, and con- 
cludes his diatribe against them with the remark that there were 

1 A y f. ivb. a CM. in, p. 386. 3 CM. iv, p. 205. 

4 CM. v, p. 76. 5 HA. n, p. 170. 6 CM. m, p. 385. 

7 CM. v, p. 639. s in, p. 388. 9 iv, p. 598. 

10 v, pp. 204-5. n v, p. 597. 

13 CM. V, p. 428, and iv, pp. 280-1. 

142 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

so many of these petty tyrants in England that the country 
seemed to have reverted to Anglo-Saxon times! 1 Although he 
was prejudiced against the Cahorsin money-lenders 2 in spite of 
the fact that, on occasion, he made use of their services, 3 
Matthew, to his credit, had no very deep-seated prejudices 
against the Jews, perhaps because of his sympathy for them as 
victims of royal extortion. 4 

The significance of the various prejudices which we have 
enumerated lies in the light they throw on Matthew's whole 
outlook. This, it becomes clear, was limited, deep-rooted, and 
thoroughly partisan. Matthew was a bigot: he not only allows 
his own opinions to colour his historical writings, but introduces 
them on every possible occasion. Moreover, since he was 
endowed with a vigorous imagination and had a developed 
appreciation of the value of 'news', the Chronica Major a is 
a colourful subjective account of current events rather than 
a sober history. We may perhaps be generous enough, in conse- 
quence, to extend to him the licence usually accorded to 
journalists, instead of judging him with the criteria normally 
applied to historians, but we must never forget, when we use the 
Chronica Majora as a historical source, that it can by no means 
be relied on for an accurate description of events. What it does 
tell us is what Matthew thought happened, or, more often, what 
Matthew wants us to think happened. 

The character and content of Matthew's chronicle, then, are 
determined, and in many ways restricted, by his prejudiced 
outlook. But although he looked at things in a very limited way, 
he looked at almost everything; and his manifold interests and 
passionate curiosity have made the Chronica Majora a kind of 
chronological encyclopedia of almost universal scope. Matthew 
made no attempt to organize his chronicle, as, for instance, did 
William of Malmesbury, in the form of a coherent narrative 
covering a period of years: instead, he collected all the informa- 
tion he could obtain, and recorded it in rough chronological 
order. It has been said of him that the centre of his world was 
his own house of St Albans, but, if this be taken to imply narrow 
parochialism, then we must deny the statement. It is true that 

1 CM. v, p. 595. 2 CM. in, pp. 328-9. 3 See above, p. 4. 

4 See CM. in, p. 543, and iv, p. 260. 

143 



MATTHEW PARIS 

his usual metaphor for superiority is the relationship of St 
Albans to the other English abbeys, that his outlook on life was 
moulded by his monastic status, and that events at St Albans 
were more important to him than those, say, in France; but, by 
and large, he takes a wider view of things than we should expect 
of a monk. His interest in and knowledge of foreign affairs, for 
instance, has frequently been pointed out as exceptional. 1 Some 
of the great variety of subjects treated in the Chronica Majora 
coincide, as we should expect, with Matthew's prejudices, and 
much of it is consequently taken up with accounts of * parlia- 
ments ' ; of the relation of king and barons ; of royal demands for 
money, whether from the barons, the bishops, or the citizens of 
London; and of the doings of royal emissaries, wicked sheriffs, 
and the like. Much, too, is concerned with the struggle of empire 
and papacy; with papal interference in England and other 
countries; and with episcopal elections and royal interference 
in them. Again, Matthew takes especial care to record Bene- 
dictine * news', such as quarrels of abbots with their monks; 
quarrels among monks in Benedictine houses ; and statutes of 
provincial chapters. He concerns himself, too, with his own 
house of St Albans, and much of the Chronica Majora is conse- 
quently taken up with accounts of domestic events. 2 Some of 
Matthew's interests, however, seem to run contrary to his pre- 
judices. It is to his credit, for instance, that, in spite of his 
dislike of foreigners, he was curious about the beliefs and way 
of life of non-Christians. He included in his chronicle a lengthy 
description of the Mohammedans, excerpted from some literary 
source; 3 and he collected a great deal of information about the 
Mongols, or, as he calls them, Tartars. 4 Much space is, of 
course, devoted to the usual medieval phenomena, such as 
freaks, prodigies, portents, comets and marine monsters. The 
weather receives a good deal of attention, and each annal is 
usually concluded with a meteorological summary. Heavy falls 
of snow, hard frosts, thunderstorms, floods, and droughts are 
all described, often in considerable detail. Many curious pieces 
of information, the result of Matthew's catholic interests and 

1 For instance, by Gairdner, Early Chroniclers of Europe, pp. 244 and 253. 

2 On this, see below, p. 185. 3 CM. in, pp. 34361. 
4 See CM. iv, pp. 76-8, 270-7, 386-9, etc. 

144 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

great curiosity, are to be found in his Chronica Majora. There is, 
for instance, an account of the blood-drinking alliance of the 
Galloway chieftains, 1 and of the introduction of Greek numerals 
into England; 2 and the discovery of tin in Germany is men- 
tioned. 3 Matthew was evidently fascinated by etymologies, and 
many of these often, in the best medieval tradition, highly 
improbable occur in the Chronica Major a. The word ' Cahor- 
sin', for instance, is derived from causantes (cheating) or 
capientes (taking), and ursini (bearish); and Athens from 
a-thanatos (without death). 4 

The Chronica Major a betrays, on the part of its author, a 
rather mercenary outlook on life. Sums of money are mentioned 
on every possible occasion, and marginal notices about them are 
common there, as well as in the Liber Additamentorum. In the 
Chronica^ for instance, we are informed of the amount paid by 
Henry III to various Poitevins in 1243 ; 5 of the annual sum paid 
to Italians from English benefices ; 6 of the sum of the convent 
of Westminster's debts on the death of its abbot in I24&; 7 
and of the amount of Louis IX's ransom in i25o. 8 Matthew's 
mercenary attitude seems to be reflected in his account of the 
provincial chapter of the Benedictines in 1249, for he records 
the decision of the chapter to order a daily collect to be said on 
behalf of the king and queen in all Benedictine houses, and adds : 
* though he [the king] made no allowance to them for this pur- 
pose'. This monetary interest is of great value to the historian, 
for it led to the recording, on nine or ten occasions in the 
Chronica Majora, of the price of bread, as well as, on one 
occasion, the price of wine. 10 There are some remarkable notices 
about trade in the Chronica Majora. We learn, for instance, 
how, for fear of the Mongols, the merchants of Gothland and 
Frisia did not make their annual journey, in 1238, to Yarmouth, 
for the herring fishery ; u and of Frederick IPs merchants sailing 
as far as India. 12 Merchants returning from Boston to London 
must have proved useful contacts, for on two occasions they 
gave Matthew information about floods in Frisia and further 

1 in, p. 365. z v, pp. 285-6. 3 iv, p. 151. 

4 in, p. 331, and v, p. 286. 5 iv, p. 254. 

6 iv, p. 419. 7 iv, p. 586. 8 v, p. 309. 

9 CM. v, p. 81. 10 v, p. 46. n in, p. 488. 



145 



MATTHEW PARIS 

east. 1 He notes, too, the effect of war on the Gascon wine trade, 2 
and on the Cistercian wool exports. 3 

Of the leading men of his day, both in England and on the 
Continent, Matthew has much to say, and his vigorous likes and 
dislikes are often expressed in the form of praise and blame. 
He also permits himself to pass judgement on historical figures 
like Harold and William the Conqueror; the former being 
a perfidious traitor and a proud tyrant, and the latter a pious, 
just and magnificent conqueror, though he too is accused of 
tyrannical practices. 4 Matthew's views about King John are 
well known: he is greedy and libidinous, wicked, cruel and 
tyrannical 5 Indeed, for Matthew, he is a personification of all 
the vices. Henry III receives only slightly better treatment, and 
it is a remarkable fact that, though Matthew knew him per- 
sonally, and was honoured and befriended by him more than 
once, 6 his ideas about Henry remained inimical and offensive. 
No doubt much of the opprobrium which he heaps on Henry 
is an inevitable result of his political prejudices: any king who 
tried to govern at all would be bound to incur Matthew's wrath, 
for he strongly disapproved of all the activities of government 
except that of hanging thieves. 

Henry, according to Matthew, was avaricious in the extreme, 
tyrannical, weak-minded, and perfidious ; he enjoyed flattery and 
practised favouritism; he was contemptible in his subservience 
to the pope and in his military expeditions to Gascony; he was 
an enemy and plunderer of the English Church, who preferred 
his queen's foreign relatives to his own natural counsellors. This 
picture of Henry III will not bear close examination. Take, for 
instance, his supposed avarice. Matthew calls him 'a vigilant 
and indefatigable searcher after money', 7 and a new Crassus, 8 
and is constantly inveighing against his greed. But he goes too 
far when he claims that it was avarice (as well as the devil) which 
prompted Henry to dispatch letters of credit to the pope to 
enlist his aid in the acquisition of the kingdom of Sicily for his 
son Edmund; 9 and that it was avarice which inspired him to cut 

1 CM. iv, p. 240, and v, p. 453. 2 CM. v, p. 277. 3 CM. v, p. 439. 
4 For Harold, see HA. I, pp. 5-6 and 8; and for William, HA. I, pp. 7, 8, 
and 12-13. 5 See e.g. FH. n, pp. 136-7. 

6 See above, pp. 3-4. 7 CM. v, p. 55. 8 CM. v, p. 274. 

CM. v, pp. 458-9. 

146 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

down his court expenses! 1 In the annal for 1254 Matthew 
describes how the king, stranded in Gascony, sent home for 
assistance; 2 and the chapter is given the absurd heading: 
'A crafty injunction for extorting money.' Matthew, like many of 
his contemporaries, had no idea of the expenses of government. 
Henry III may well have been avaricious, but an examination 
of Matthew's statements alone would never lead us to this con- 
clusion. We might just as well argue that, because someone 
denounces the tax-collectors as a greedy set of rascals, the 
government is avaricious. We are more likely to conclude that 
the criticism is extremely superficial; which is certainly true of 
Matthew's criticism of Henry III. Even when this has some 
foundation in fact, it is impossible to assess its value, for 
Matthew's strictures are repeated so often that they become 
stereotyped and conventional. He frequently accuses the king 
of plundering vacant bishoprics and abbeys, and this no doubt 
happened on occasions, but what significance can we attach to 
his description of Henry 'laying his greedy hands' on the pro- 
perties of the see of Bath, and carrying off what plunder he 
could? 3 Or to his account of how Henry deliberately prolonged 
the vacancy in the archbishopric of York in order to extract the 
maximum amount of money from the see? 4 It is evident that 
these detractions are a product of Matthew's grudge against 
the king rather than of a critical examination of his actions. 
The absurdity of many of his remarks about the king is illus- 
trated by his comment on the occasion when Henry sent Simon 
Passelewe round to some of the larger Benedictine abbeys to try 
to borrow money on his behalf: 5 It was clear, from this, how 
eagerly the king desired to damage the Church irretrievably.' 
On the whole, Matthew's picture of Henry is a vicious, spiteful 
caricature, and not the least spiteful remark made about him is 
the comment that, had he not redeemed his evil deeds by con- 
stant and liberal almsgiving, his soul would have been seriously 
endangered. 6 

Matthew seems to have been fascinated by the character and 
career of the Emperor Frederick II. Although he criticizes him 

1 CM. v, p. 114. 2 CM. v, pp. 423-4. 

3 CM. v, p. 3. 4 CM. v, p. 516. 

5 CM. v, p. 683. 6 CM. m, pp. 522-3- 

147 10-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

for his cruelty, tyranny, and pride, 1 he has much sympathy and 
even admiration for him. With evident relish, he tells the story 
of the French priest whose conscience would not allow him to 
obey the papal injunction to excommunicate the emperor, and 
who consequently excommunicated whichever of them was the 
offending party; and Matthew is pleased to be able to record 
that, while the pope punished him for his ' scurrilous levity', the 
emperor sent him some valuable gifts. 2 His enthusiasm for 
Frederick was not based on ideological considerations Matthew 
never thought out the implications of the imperial-papal 
struggle but it seems to have been due to the fact that he 
thought of Frederick as, like himself, a victim of, or at least 
a sufferer from, the activities of the papacy. After 1245, how- 
ever, Matthew's enthusiasm waned rapidly, mainly, as A. L. 
Smith pointed out, 3 because Frederick published, in that year, 
his plans for the expropriation of the church : a direct threat to 
Matthew's material interests as a monk. It is interesting to find 
that, after Frederick's death, he became a staunch supporter of 
Conrad, and he describes how the hostility, threats, and insults 
of the pope, as well as poison, contributed to his death. 4 
According to A. L. Smith, Matthew contributed a great deal 
to the growth of the legend of Frederick II as an appalling, 
mysterious, and romantic figure. 5 It is true that this is the 
impression we get in reading the Chronica Majora, but it is not 
so much due to Matthew himself, as to the reports and rumours 
about Frederick which he records, and which show that the 
legend of Frederick had already begun to develop. Rather than 
accuse Matthew of deliberate falsification, we ought to admit 
that here, at least, he is a useful guide to contemporary feeling. 
Towards Earl Richard of Cornwall, Henry Ill's brother, 
he is reasonably well disposed, though he criticizes him for 
raising money by means of the redemption of crusaders' vows, 6 
and for being on rather too friendly terms with the pope. 7 

1 CM. ill, p. 496; and iv, pp. 353-4 and 648. 

2 CM. iv, pp. 406-7. 

3 Smith, Church and State in the Middle Ages, pp. 176-7. 

4 CM. v, p. 460. 

5 Smith, Church and State in the Middle Ages, p. 169. 

6 CM. iv, pp. 133-4 and 629-30; v, pp. 73-4 and 146. 

7 CM. iv, pp. 561 and 577-8; v, p. 112. 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

Of Simon de Montfort he has little to say, but he regards him 
as a naturalis and not an alienigena, and sympathizes with him 
in his quarrels with Henry III. 1 He admired Bishop Grosseteste 
and revered him as a saint; 2 approving of his criticism of the 
papacy, though he strongly disapproved of his harsh methods of 
visitation. On several occasions he uses Grosseteste as a mouth- 
piece for airing his own prejudices, especially against the papacy, 
and in one place against the friars. 3 Matthew has much praise 
and sympathy for Hubert de Burgh; and he admired, among 
others, Edmund Rich and John Blund; Richard Fishacre and 
Robert Bacon; and Blanche, queen of France. His especial 
Mtes noires were Boniface of Savoy, archbishop of Canterbury 
and a foreigner; Fawkes de Breaute, an enemy of St Albans 
described as a * bloody traitor 5 ; 4 and King Henry III. 

It is worth noting that Matthew uses the word martyr' in 
a very loose sense. Thus William FitzOsbert, the leader of the 
London revolt of 1196, who was caught and hanged, was, 
according to Matthew, a martyr to the cause of truth and the 
poor; the Winchester monks imprisoned by the royal ' satellites' 
in 1241 obtained thereby the 'palm of martyrdom'; and the 
unfortunate messengers who first arrived in France with news 
of Louis IX's defeat and capture in 1250, and who were put to 
death as rumourmongers, were also, according to Matthew 
Paris, martyrs. 5 His awards of martyrdom are often useful as a 
guide to his sympathies : Archbishop Sewal of York, for instance, 
is said to have earned martyrdom on account of his persecution 
by the pope. 6 

In his highly developed prejudices, and in the lively picture 
he gives us of contemporary persons and events, Matthew is 
exceptional among medieval chroniclers; but his view of history 

1 CM. v, pp. 289-90. 

2 At any rate after his death. CM. v, pp. 490-1. 

3 For Matthew's view of Grosseteste, see especially CM. v, p. 389 note i, 
where he calls the famous letter complaining of papal abuses 'optima 
epistola 5 ; v, pp. 226-7, where Matthew deplores his tyrannical visitation of 
Ramsey; and v, pp. 400-9, where he puts his prejudices against the pope 
and friars into Grosseteste's mouth. Jourdain, in Excursions historiques, 
pp. 155 and 16971, wrongly supposed that some of the passages about 
Grosseteste in the Chronica Majora were not due to Matthew Paris himself, 
but were later interpolations. * CM. v, p. 323. 

5 CM. n, p. 419; iv, p. 160; and v, p. 169. 6 CM. v, pp. 678-9. 

149 



MATTHEW PARIS 

and his understanding of the significance of events are typical 
of them. He was a firm believer in the miraculous and in the 
validity of portents. Earthquakes and thunder were a presage 
of future events and a sure sign of Divine wrath and the 
approach of the end of the world. 1 The disturbed state of the 
elements is constantly connected with the turbulent state of 
human affairs. 2 Of the latter Matthew takes a pessimistic view: 
the world, he thought, was in a chaotic state, and England was 
no exception. 3 Like most medieval chroniclers, he tends always 
to take a moral view of history, attributing the bad state of 
affairs to the vices and failings of human beings: ' Neither the 
threats of the Bible nor the chaos of the elements affect the greed 
and ambition of miserable mortals.' 4 Events are explained in 
the usual manner of medieval chroniclers : the tragic failure of 
Louis IX's crusade in Egypt was due, Matthew believed, to 
God's exasperation with the pride of Louis's brother, Robert of 
Artois, or with the pope and the crusading leaders for financing 
the project with money extorted from the poor. 5 Floods, 
Matthew surmises, were probably due to God's anger with the 
pope. 6 On the rare occasions when God is left out of Matthew's 
explanation of events, some human personality, often the king 
or the pope, is introduced in his place. Matthew frequently 
fails to understand the motives of those concerned in events, and 
his occasional guesses at what was going on are often absurdly 
far from the truth: he supposes, for instance, that the object of 
the Castilian embassy in 1255 was to extract money from the 
king of England, though in fact it was the arrangement of a 
marriage alliance. 7 

Matthew's naive and ingenuous view of events is especially 
apparent in the annual summaries with which he concludes 
his account of each year. These are stereotyped and conventional, 
the effect of the year on the different countries being described 
with one or two adjectives only. Here is a typical example of one 
of these annual summaries, describing the year I244: 8 'And so 
the year passed. . .most inimical to the Holy Land, turbulent 

1 CM. v, pp. 187 and 198-9. CM. iv, p. 603, and v, p. 47. 

2 CM. iv, pp. 85, 568, 603, etc. 3 CM. v, p. 625. 4 AC. p. 299. 
5 CM. v, pp. 134 and 165; 170-2. r> CM. v, pp. 175-7. 

7 CM. v, p. 509, and note i. 8 CM. iv, p. 402. 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

in England, dangerous for the kingdom of France, causing 
suspicion in the Church and confusion among the Italians/ 
For no ascertainable reason, we find that, in the Historia An- 
glorum^ the year is said also to have been * pecuniae emunctivus ' 
in England. The adjectives applied to each country in these 
summaries are nearly always chosen from among the following : 
'inimicus', 'suspectus', 'hostilis', *inf amis', 'cruentus', 'noci- 
vus', 'turbulentus' and 'periculosus'. With one exception 
1245 is said to have been ' augmentativus ' for France, 2 pre- 
sumably because of its acquisition of Macon and Provence in 
that year they are adverse and deprecatory, and they reflect 
Matthew's pessimistic outlook on the world, as well as his 
inability to grasp the real significance of events. 

Few principles guided Matthew in his choice of what to 
include in his history and what to omit: reticence, though often 
expressed, is seldom practised. He refuses, however, out of 
reverence for the Holy Church (he assures us), to expatiate on 
the rapacity of the papal nuncio Martin; 3 and he declines to 
describe the crimes of Robert Bugre and the charges against 
Gilbert Marshal in I24O 4 probably because he did not know 
what they were, rather than, as he tells us, because he con- 
sidered it better not to enumerate them. Matthew's object in 
writing history was largely didactic and monitory, as is the case 
with the great majority of medieval chroniclers. He tells us in 
one place that he has included a story about a wicked sheriff in 
his chronicle in order to demonstrate God's disapproval of 
tyranny, 5 and elsewhere he says: 6 

It is indeed an excellent thing to perpetuate notable events in 
writing, for the praise of God and in order that posterity should be 
instructed by reading, how to avoid those things which deserve 
punishment, and how to engage in the good things which are 
rewarded by God. 

Posterity, in fact, has been tricked, rather than instructed, by 
Matthew Paris; tricked by the scope of his writings and by 
sententious platitudes such as these into accepting the thirteenth 

1 n, p. 498. 2 CM. iv, p. 503. 

3 CM. iv, p. 416. 4 CM. in, p. 520, and iv, p. 4. 

5 CM. v, pp. 580-1. 6 AC. p. 319- 



MATTHEW PARIS 

century as he saw it, and into regarding him as the greatest 
historian of his age, instead of the quidnunc that he was. But how 
has posterity treated Matthew Paris? And what was his influence 
on succeeding medieval chroniclers? The history of the St Albans 
historical school has been admirably surveyed by Professor 
Galbraith, 1 and a few remarks will suffice here. The Gesta 
Abbatum, Matthew's autograph manuscript of which remained 
for more than a hundred years the standard, if not the only, 
work on the subject, 2 was copied, abridged, and continued, at 
the end of the fourteenth century. His Chronica Majora, as 
Galbraith showed, was continued almost without break well 
into the fifteenth century, and served as a model and inspiration 
for Thomas Walsingham, the other great St Albans historian, 
who used it in the compilation of his Ypodigma Neustriae? 
St Albans was unique, among English Benedictine houses, in 
producing a historical school which lasted until nearly the end 
of the Middle Ages, long after the tradition of historical writing 
in other houses had died away; and this was largely due to 
Matthew 5 s commanding influence on succeeding generations of 
St Albans monks. 

Outside his own house, Matthew exercised considerable 
influence through one work: the Flores Historiarum. This was 
copied and recopied, and continually brought up to date. It 
was a minor work, derived from the Chronica Majora, but 
incorporating a considerable amount of new material. It rapidly 
became one of the most popular history books of the age, and 
copies were soon circulating throughout England. Luard 
notices nineteen manuscripts in the introduction to his edition 
of the Flores Historiarum, nearly all of the fourteenth century; 
and more can be added to his list, especially if we include 
abridgements such as that in British Museum Harley MS. 5418, 
ff. 17-76 b. The Flores Historiarum was the basis of a number of 

1 St Albans Chronicle, pp. xxvii-lxxi. 

2 His Liber Additamentorum was referred to as the Liber de Gestis Abbatum 
as late as c. 1400: see above, p. 78. 

3 Ed. Riley; see, for instance, pp. 133 and 136. Madden, HA. I, p. xxxviii, 
mistakenly derives these passages from the Historia Anglorum, It is worth 
noting that a compilation from the Historia Anglorum and Chronica Majora 
was made at St Albans in c. 1420-30: the MS. is described by Madden, HA. 
i, pp. Ixvi-Ixix. 

152 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

later chronicles, such as the Annales Londonienses and Paulini\ 
and it was used, for instance, by Richard of Cirencester in his 
Speculum Historiale, and by the compiler of the Liber de Hyda. 
Only the latter mentions Matthew by name in connexion with his 
extracts from the Flores Historiarum^ and Matthew's influence 
on later medieval writers was exercised either anonymously, 
or else under the pseudonym * Matthew of Westminster' 
the fictitious author to whom his Flores Historiarum was 
soon attributed, and under whose name it went until the last 
century. 

The Chronica Major a never seems to have passed into general 
circulation, and, though two copies of the section up to 1188 
were made after Matthew's death, only one copy (C) is known 
of the second part of his chronicle, made in his lifetime, and 
extending only to the annal for 1250.2 The Chronica Majora 
seems to have been used, towards the end of the thirteenth 
century, by the Bury St Edmunds chronicler John Taxster, 
and it was certainly used by Thomas Wykes and the Osney 
chronicler at about the same time. Wykes acknowledges his 
debt to Matthew, among others. 3 In his edition of the Flores 
Historiarum, Luard printed some extracts from 'the chronicles 
of Reginald of Wroxham' which he found in one of the manu- 
scripts of the Flores, and which, since they contained some 
passages also in Matthew Paris, and were apparently written by 
a parson of Wroxham who died in 1235, Luard thought might 
be a hitherto unknown source of Matthew Paris. 4 In fact, 
however, collation shows that these extracts have been taken 
from Matthew Paris's writings, and not vice versa, so that the 
parson Reginald and the chronicler must have been two different 
persons. Whoever he was, the chronicler Reginald of Wroxham 
wrote before 1304, and he seems to have been the only medieval 
chronicler outside St Albans to use both the Chronica Majora 
and the Historia Anglorum. The latter was also used, in the 
fifteenth century, by the author of the Breviarium Chronicorum, 
probably the Winchester monk Thomas Rudbourne ; 5 and it was 

1 See above, pp. 401. 

2 The two copies of the first part of the Chronica are B.M. Cotton MS. 
Nero D v, Part I, and B.M. Harley MS. 1620, both written late in the 
thirteenth century. 3 See p. 20 above. 

4 FH. i, pp. xxiii and liii-lvii. 5 HA. I, p. xxxix, and note i. 

153 



MATTHEW PARIS 

extensively drawn on, and annotated by, the sixteenth-century 
historian, Polydore Vergil, 1 The authors of two chronicles 
published in the Rolls Series are said by their editors to have 
used Matthew Paris's writings: Luard thought that Bartho- 
lomew Cotton had used both Roger Wendover and Matthew, 2 
and Sir Henry Ellis supposed that John of Oxenedes was well 
acquainted with the writings of Matthew Paris. 3 Actually both 
Cotton and Oxenedes used a chronicle written by John of 
Wallingford, Infirmarius of St Albans and a friend of Matthew 
Paris, which was almost entirely abridged from Matthew's 
Chronica Major a and Historia Anglorum, and there is no evidence 
that either of them knew Matthew's works at first hand. The 
Flares Historiarum, then, was the only one of Matthew's writings 
to be well known and widely used in medieval times. Only a 
handful of later writers knew anything of his other works, and it 
is indeed extraordinary that the Chronica Majora, the fullest 
and most detailed of all medieval English chronicles, was 
virtually unknown outside St Albans during the latter part of 
the Middle Ages. 

A hundred years after the invention of printing, the first 
editions of Matthew Paris' s historical works were published by 
Archbishop Matthew Parker. In 1567, he edited the Flores 
Historiarum under the name 'Matthew of Westminster', and, 
in 1570, having discovered another manuscript in the mean- 
while, he brought out a second edition. A year later, he published 
his edition of the Chronica Majora, which was reprinted at 
Zurich in 1589, and again in 1606. Although these editions are 
inaccurate, and entirely inadequate by modern standards, 4 it 
was a great achievement of Parker's to make Matthew Paris's 
chronicle available to the reading public, even in the corrupt 
form in which he printed it. The new edition of the Chronica 
Major a which appeared in 1640 was evidently a direct result of 

1 See HA. I, p. xli. 2 Historia Anglicana, p. xxxvii. 

3 Chronica Johannis de Oxenedes, p. ix. 

4 Loyalty to my college, of which Matthew Parker was a former Master, 
would make it painful for me to expatiate on the liberties he took with the 
texts of his manuscripts; but this is happily unnecessary, since it has already 
been done by Madden, HA. I, pp. xxxiii-xxxvii; Luard, CM. n, pp. xxii- 
xxviii and FH. i, pp. xliii-xlviii; and Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, in, 
PP- 399-4I4- 

154 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

Parker's work. Indeed it was originally intended to be a mere 
reprint of Parker's edition, and its editor, Dr William Wats, 
who was chaplain to Prince Rupert, did not begin work on it 
until the text up to the annal for 1188 had been printed off. 
Wats' s edition, though far from perfect, was a definite advance 
on Parker's. It was reissued twice (Paris, 1644; London, 1684), 
and was not superseded until Luard undertook in 1869 to re-edit 
the whole of the Chronica Majora for the Rolls Series. Arch- 
bishop Parker had intended to publish Matthew Paris's Historia 
Anglorum, but (fortunately, Madden thought!) never proceeded 
further than a transcript, 1 and the Historia Anglorum was not 
printed until 1866-9, when Sir Frederick Madden edited it in 
three volumes for the Rolls Series, adding also the Abbrematio 
Chronicorum. This edition was an important landmark in 
medieval studies, for it is one of the finest of all those published 
in the Rolls Series, and it set a standard of careful accuracy and 
profound scholarship which has seldom been equalled since. 
The last work of Matthew Paris to be critically edited was the 
Floras Historiarum, which, though not attributed to Matthew 
Paris, was published by Luard in 1890, also for the Rolls Series. 
To these two scholars, Madden and Luard, all succeeding 
students and users of Matthew Paris must acknowledge a debt 
of gratitude. 

The gratitude of many a student of Matthew Paris, including 
myself, is also due to the two translators of the Chronica Majora. 
It is a remarkable fact that, by the middle of the last century, 
Matthew's Chronica Majora had been translated into both 
French and English; and even more remarkable, perhaps, that 
it was the French translation which appeared first. This fine 
work, entitled Grand Chronique de Matthieu Paris, was carried 
out by A. Huillard-Breholles in 1 840-1. 2 The English transla- 
tion was undertaken by J. A. Giles, and appeared in 1852 in 
Bohn's Antiquarian Library; the publishers of which also pro- 
duced, in 1853, a translation of the Flores Historiarum by C. D. 
Yonge. 

1 HA. I, p. xxxvii. 

3 It is perhaps worthy of remark that Baudelaire had read this edition of 
Matthew Paris, and one of his poems is based on a story related in the 
Chronica Majora, see P.-L. Faye, * Baudelaire and Matthew Paris', French 
Review, xxiv (1950) pp. 80-1. 

155 



MATTHEW PARIS 

It is as a chronicler that Matthew Paris has chiefly excited the 
interest of scholars, and this chapter would be incomplete with- 
out at least a brief survey of recent Matthew Paris studies. These 
were inaugurated by Sir Frederick Madden in the prefaces to 
Volumes I and in of his edition of the Historia Anglorum. 
Until the appearance of this work, knowledge of Matthew Paris 
had been hazy and inexact: Giles, for instance, thought that 
Matthew died c. 1273, an< ^ ^ e was even a ^l e to print the text of 
Matthew's chronicle up to that year! 1 Although many of Mad- 
den's views were not accepted by later scholars, my studies have 
led me to conclude that, in the main, and especially on the 
question of Matthew's handwriting, Madden was right. 2 He 
collected together all the ascertainable facts about Matthew 
Paris, and produced an excellent account of his historical and 
other activities, which has remained the basis for all later studies 
of Matthew Paris. Madden also identified the handwriting of 
Matthew Paris; described the autograph manuscripts, some of 
which he himself discovered; and was the first modern scholar 
to attribute the Flares Historiarum to Matthew Paris. Within 
a few years of the publication of the Historia Anglorum, Sir 
Thomas Duffus Hardy published the third volume of his 
catalogue of English historical sources, in which he dissented 
entirely from Madden on the question of Matthew's hand- 
writing, and denied the attribution of the Flores Historiarum 
to Matthew Paris. It is curious that later scholars have in 
general accepted Hardy's conclusions rather than Madden's, 
for, while Hardy was primarily an archivist, and spent most of 
his active life in the Record Office, of which for many years he 
was head, Madden's interest had always been in manuscript 
books, and, after nine years as Assistant Keeper at the British 
Museum, he served as Keeper of Manuscripts for thirty years. 
His knowledge of manuscripts has seldom, if ever, been rivalled ; 
yet Luard, whose prefaces to the different volumes of the 
Chronica Major a were published between 1872 and 1883, agreed 
with Hardy on the identification of Matthew's handwriting, and 
the denial of Matthew's authorship of the Flores Historiarum. 
Luard's prefaces marked a great advance in Matthew Paris 
studies, for he gave an excellent account of the character of the 

1 Giles, Matthew Paris's English History, i, p. vi. z See p. 35 above. 

156 



MATTHEW PARIS THE CHRONICLER 

Chronica Major a, and of Matthew's historical methods; of the 
sources used by both Roger Wendover and Matthew ; and of the 
relationship of these two writers, whose chronicles he for the 
first time clearly distinguished by the use of two different types. 
The appearance of Madden's and Luard's editions of Matthew 
Paris made possible a much more full and accurate estimate of 
Matthew Paris as a chronicler, and, during the next half century 
or so, the emphasis of Matthew Paris studies shifted from the 
critical investigation of manuscript and related problems to 
more general accounts of Matthew himself, and of his position 
in medieval historiography. The first of these was that of James 
Gairdner, published in iSjg. 1 His account, though short, was 
scholarly and penetrating, unlike that which Augustus Jessopp 
contributed to the Quarterly Review in 1886, which was neither. 2 
'We have in Matthew Paris', wrote Jessopp, 'an instance of a 
born historian, one who never consented to be a mere advocate, 
taking a side and seeing only half the truth of anything: but 
a man gifted with the judicial faculty.' The article on Matthew 
Paris in the Dictionary of National Biography, written by W. 
Hunt, which appeared in 1895, is an excellent and balanced 
account, based largely on the work of Madden and Luard. In 
his Ford Lectures, published in 1913, A. L. Smith broke new 
ground with a stimulating and lively account of Matthew Paris 
the chronicler, in which he exposed some of Matthew's failings, 
and described how his record of events was coloured by his own 
feelings and prejudices. Meanwhile, Matthew Paris had excited 
the interest of German scholars, and Felix Liebermann included 
a detailed study of him and his writings in the introduction to his 
excerpts from the Chronica Majora relating to Germany, pub- 
lished in i888. 3 Like Hardy and Luard, he disputed Madden's 
identification of Matthew's handwriting and his attribution of 
the Flores Historiarum to Matthew. In spite of his careful 
researches, Liebermann added very little to the work of Madden 
and Luard; but a great advance was made by H. Plehn, who, 
in 1897, published an important work entitled Der politische 

1 Early Chroniclers of Europe, pp. 243 fT. 

2 Reprinted in Studies by a Recluse, pp. 1-65; my excerpt is from p. 53. 

3 These excerpts were translated into German by Grandaur and Watten- 
bach, in the series, * Geschichtschreiber der deutschen Vorzeit', 1890. 

157 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Charakter von Matheus Parisiensis, in which he put Lizard's 
edition of the Chronica Majora to excellent use in giving an 
account, albeit a little too methodical and coherent, of Matthew's 
political outlook. 

Matthew Paris received little notice from English scholars 
after the work of Smith at the beginning of the century, until 
in 1927 Professor Claude Jenkins published his vivacious and 
entertaining little book on the early St Albans chroniclers, in 
which, incidentally, he struck a nice compromise between Mad- 
den and Hardy on the question of Matthew's handwriting. In 
recent years the controversy between Madden and Hardy has 
been paralleled by a controversy between Powicke and Galbraith. 
In a paper contributed to Modern Philology in 1941 Sir Maurice 
Powicke suggested that Matthew Paris may have lived on after 
1259, and inaugurated an entirely new line of study by attempting 
to outline the relationship and chronology of Matthew's historical 
manuscripts. This paper was severely handled by Professor 
Galbraith, 1 who maintained that Matthew Paris did die in 1259, 
and contested Powicke's belief that the Historia Anglorum was 
written before manuscripts A and B of the Chronica Majora. 
Galbraith made a penetrating comparison of Roger Wendover 
and Matthew Paris, and, against Hardy, Liebermann, Luard, 
and the rest, resuscitated Madden' s belief that Matthew was the 
author of the Flores Historiarum, supporting his view with con- 
vincing evidence. Apart from two short papers contributed to 
the English Historical Review, in which Denholm- Young main- 
tained that Matthew Paris had inserted an important constitu- 
tional document in the wrong place in his chronicle, and Professor 
Cheney (rightly, I think) maintained that he had not, 2 no critical 
studies of Matthew Paris have appeared since the second World 
War. Professor Knowles, however, gave an excellent short account 
of Matthew Paris in his book The Religious Orders in England? 

All these studies of different aspects of Matthew Paris have 
been of inestimable value in the writing of this book, and if 
I have been lucky enough to see slightly further than my pre- 
decessors, I have done this, as Bernard of Chartres and his con- 
temporaries did, only by clambering on to their broad shoulders. 

1 Roger Wendover and Matthew Paris, published in 1944. For more on this 
controversy, see p. 50 above. 2 See p. 136 above. " Published in 1948. 

158 



CHAPTER IX 

MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

So far we have been concerned with Matthew Paris's 
historical works, but he was active also in the field of 
hagiology. His saints' lives fall into two groups: those 
written in Latin, and those written in Anglo-Norman verse. So 
far as is known, he wrote only two Latin biographies, those of 
the archbishops Stephen Langton and Edmund Rich, Only 
a part of his life of Langton has survived, in the form of three 
separate fragments. Sir Frederick Madden pointed out that 
one of these was preserved on the verso of a leaf attached to the 
end of British Museum Cotton MS. Vespasian B xiii. 1 Later 
Liebermann identified, in the Liber Additamentomm, the two 
other fragments of this life, one of which contained some of the 
text immediately preceding that of the Vespasian fragment, and 
the other the rest of a paragraph left unfinished at the end of the 
Vespasian fragment. 2 Liebermann prefaced his edition of these 
fragments with an excellent discussion, but he thought that 
none of them was in Matthew's hand. I cannot agree with him 
about this, for a careful examination of the handwriting of these 
fragments has convinced me that all three were written out by 
Matthew himself. This is not true, however, of the matter on 
the recto of the Vespasian fragment (a letter of the abbots of 
Waltham and Bury St Edmunds dated 12 November 1253) an d 
on the verso of f. 196 of the Liber Additamentorum (a document 
of 1252), none of which is written by Matthew. Neither Madden 
nor Liebermann discussed the question of the authorship of 
this Life of Langton in any detail; but there can be no doubt that 
they were right in attributing it to Matthew Paris. The style is 
his, and several of his characteristic phrases appear, such as: 
'quasi inter duas contritus molas' (pp. 323-4); 'frendens denti- 

1 F. issb: see HA. in, p. Hi, note 6. 

2 F. 1 96 a, and a separate leaf attached to f. 1960. Liebermann (ed.), 
Ungedruckte angle-norm. Geschichtsquellen, p. 318; he prints the text on 
pp. 323-9. The references in parentheses which follow are to this edition. 

159 



MATTHEW PARIS 

bus' (p. 324); 'patulis rictibus' (p. 326); and 'que speciales 
exigunttractatus' (p. 328). The Liber Additamentorum is referred 
to in Matthew's usual way: '[qui] legere desiderat, librum 
Additamentorum annalium, que apud Sanctum Albanum sunt, 
adeat inspecturus' (p. 328); and, as Liebermann pointed out, 
both the Chronica Major a and the Historia Anglorum have been 
used in the life. Matthew's authorship is confirmed by the 
mention of Gervase of Melkeley as a source of information 
(pp. 326-7), for Matthew used some of Gervase's verses, and 
cites him by name, in his Chronica Major a ; 1 and by the marginal 
comment, so characteristic of Matthew: 'Nota piam decep- 
cionem' (p. 326). 

Matthew's Life of Langton is hagiographical rather than 
biographical, though it was evidently not written with the object 
of securing papal canonization. 2 The surviving fragments (which 
fit together into a continuous whole) describe an incident on 
Langton' s journey to Rome, when he cured a maniac of his 
madness; his visit to Innocent III and the cardinals in Rome; 
his preaching in various parts on his return journey; and the 
translation of St Thomas Becket in 1220. The whole extends 
over only five printed pages, but, even in this small fragment, 
the general character of the work is revealed. As Liebermann 
noticed, Matthew here puts to good effect the use of dialogue, 
personal anecdote, and hyperbole: three literary devices which 
are effectively employed in his historical writings. Although 
Matthew cites Gervase of Melkeley as a source, and Powicke 
thought that he might have been one of Langton's clerks, 3 and 
therefore a reliable informant, he has made no attempt, in his 
Life of Langton, to adhere to the historical facts, even in the 
version of them already given in his Chronica Major a. Thus, in 
the Life, Langton is said to have incurred the wrath of Innocent 
III by refusing to pay the tribute to Rome, whereas neither in 
the Chronica Major a nor in the Historia Anglorum is there any 
mention of this; and the Chronica Majom's explanation of the 
origin of the dispute between Langton and Innocent, in the 
encroachment by the papal legate upon the rights of Canterbury, 

1 CM. iv, p. 493; and HA. n, p. 232. 

* Liebermann (ed.)> Ungedruckte a.-n. Geschichtsquellen, p. 323. 

3 Powicke, Stephen Langton, p. 103. 

1 60 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

is not mentioned in the life. 1 Again, whereas in the Life Langton 
is said to have been summoned to Rome ' sub terribili commin- 
acione', on account of his opposition to the tribute, in the 
Chronica Major a and the Historia Anglorum he is said to have 
gone to Rome of his own accord, to defend his refusal to ban 
the Magna Carta barons. Langton's relationship with the pope 
is further falsified in the Life by the attribution to Innocent of 
an inveterate hatred for him; and history is also disregarded 
when Langton is said to have been allowed to return at once to 
England from Rome, for in the Chronica Major a Matthew states 
that his suspension was confirmed while he was there, and that 
he was not allowed to return to England until peace was made 
between the barons and the king. 

In this biography Matthew portrays Stephen Langton as 
a staunch representative of the kingdom of England, firmly 
opposing the payment of tribute to Rome, and standing out 
against foreign influence. He is made to enshrine and represent 
that national feeling against Rome which seems to have been 
a more real sentiment in England in the forties and fifties of 
the thirteenth century than in Langton's time, and which was 
shared, as we have seen, by Matthew himself. Besides his 
relationship with the papacy, Langton' s piety and holiness and 
his skill as a preacher and theologian are revealed in the sur- 
viving fragment of Matthew's life; and to the description of 
Langton' s preaching after his visit to Rome Matthew adds the 
remark that he was the equal, in theology, of Augustine, 
Gregory, and Ambrose (p. 328). It is a pity that more of 
Matthew's Life of Stephen Langton has not survived, but 
fortunately his Latin hagiography can be studied in his Life of 
Langton's successor, Edmund Rich, which has come down to 
us in its entirety; and to this we may now turn. 

Matthew refers, in his Chronica Major a, to a Life of St Edmund 
written by himself. He says: 2 

On the strength of the statements of this man [Richard Wych, 
bishop of Cbichester], and of the friar, Master Roger Bacon, O.P., 
Dom Matthew Paris, monk of St Albans, wrote the Life of the 

1 Liebermann (ed.), Ungedruckte a.-n. Geschichtsquellen, pp. 319-20, where 
this and what follows is discussed. 

2 V, pp. 369-70. 

II l6l VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

above-mentioned St Edmund. . .which he who desires to see can 
find at St Albans 

Shortly after this, in the Chronica Majora, Matthew mentions 
this Life again, 1 and says that it contained also the miracles of 
Richard Wych. The identity of this Life of St Edmund has, 
however, only recently been established. In his biography of 
St Edmund, published in i893, 2 the Reverend W. Wallace 
printed as an appendix three Lives of Edmund, one of which, 
from British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vi (ff. 123-156!}, 
written in the fourteenth century), he attributed to a Canterbury 
monk, Eustace. He thought that Matthew's Life was no longer 
in existence. Five years after the appearance of Wallace's book, 
the Baroness Paravicini published a biography of Edmund, in 
the introduction to which she claimed that the Life in Cotton 
MS. Julius D vi, printed by Wallace but attributed by him to 
Eustace, was in fact that of Matthew Paris. Davis, Baker, Legge 
and Lawrence have all accepted her attribution. 3 

Wallace's attribution of the Julius Life of Edmund to Eustace 
of Canterbury was based on conjecture, for the only fact he 
discovered which seemed to make Matthew's authorship un- 
likely was the occurrence of the first person in the description 
of events at which Matthew Paris was certainly not present. 4 
This objection to Matthew's authorship of the Julius Life was 
removed by Paravicini and Baker, who pointed out that the 
first person could easily have been incorporated into Matthew's 
Life from some Canterbury source he was following. 5 The 
positive evidence for Matthew's authorship is entirely con- 
vincing. Paravicini noticed the general similarity of style and 
treatment in the Julius Life and the Chronica Majora. The 
vigorous dialogue and vivid, lively narrative of the Julius Life 
is indeed characteristic of Matthew Paris ; and Paravicini showed 

1 v, p. 384. 2 The Life of St Edmund of Canterbury. 

3 Davis, 'An unpublished Life of Edmund Rich', EHR. xxn (1907), 
p. 91; Baker, 'La Vie de S. Edmond', Romania, LV (1929), pp. 336-41; 
Legge, Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters (1950), p. 27; Lawrence, 'Robert of 
Abingdon and Matthew Paris', EHR. LXIX (1954), p. 410. 

4 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, pp. 8-9; see pp. 558, 580, etc., for the 
occurrence of the first person. 

5 Baker (ed.), 'Vie de S. Edmond', loc. cit, p. 338; for the references to 
Paravicini which follow, see the introduction to her St Edmund of Abingdon. 

162 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

that the sources used in it include those which Matthew tells 
us he used for his Life of St Edmund. She printed two 
passages from the Julius Life in her introduction and compared 
them with similar passages in the Historia Anglorum, and she 
likewise compared a passage from the Julius Life concerning 
Edmund's private seal with Matthew's very similar description 
of it in his Liber Additamentorum. Furthermore, she found that 
two quotations from Ovid occur both in the Julius Life and in 
Matthew's Chronica Major a, and that one of them is introduced, 
in the Julius Life, with the same words as in the Chronica Major a^ 
and the other in very similar words. 1 The second of these 
quotations actually occurs three times in the Chronica Majora 
and twice in the Historia Anglorum ; indeed it is one of Matthew's 
favourites. 2 Paravicini also noticed that the author of the Julius 
Life had the same habit of playing on words as Matthew Paris, 
and she might have gone on to cite some of Matthew's typical 
pairs of similar words which are to be found in the Julius Life, 
such as 'dura' and 'dira 3 , 'leviter' and 'leniter', valuit' and 
'voluit', and 'ponens' and 'exponens'. 3 Paravicini's evidence 
of stylistic similarities can be further amplified: compare, for 
instance, the phrase in the Life, 'nee est fraudatus a desiderio 
suo', with the phrase from the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, nec 
est a suo desiderio fraudatus'; 4 or f ad instar fluvii qui ex 
torrentibus pluvialibus suscipit incrementum' of the Julius 
Life with *ad instar fluminis quod ex torrentibus suscipit 
incrementum * of the Chronica Majora. 5 Again, many of the 
phrases characteristically employed by Matthew Paris in his 
historical writings occur also in the Julius Life; for instance: 
'ab alto (or immo) trahens (or ducens) suspiria 5 ; 6 'Haecidcirco 
scripserim'; 7 'felix suscepit incrementum 5 ; 8 'luce clarius'; 9 
'sicut sequens sermo declarabit'; 10 and 'speciales tractatus 

1 Paravicini, St Edmund of Abingdon, p. xxxviii. 

2 Ovid, Remed. Amor. 119: CM. in, p. 483; iv, p. 158; v, p. 662; HA. ir, 
pp. 396 and 405. 

3 See above, pp. 38-40; 46-7; and 127. 

4 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 550; AC. p. 281. 

5 Wallace, ibid. p. 578; CM. v, p. 17. 

6 Wallace, ibid. pp. 566, 573, 

7 Ibid. p. 543. 8 Ibid. p. 546. 

9 Ibid. p. 550. 10 Ibid. pp. 555, 573. 

163 **-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

exigerent'. 1 We can thus be quite sure that the Life of Edmund 
in Cotton MS. Julius D vi is a copy of the one written by 
Matthew Paris. 

C. H. Lawrence has recently shown that Matthew's Life was 
based on a collection of materials made at Pontigny and ex- 
tracted from the letters and documents of the canonization 
process. He shows, too, how Matthew has added to and altered 
his source in his characteristic way; and he gives a list of the 
longer passages which Matthew did not derive from his source. 2 
These include a certain amount of documentary material, such 
as a long statement by Robert Bacon; a letter and a sermon 
of St Edmund; a letter of Richard Wych; and the bull of 
canonization. Others are probably based on information given 
to Matthew by Robert Bacon and Richard Wych, and Lawrence 
conjectures that the additional information about Edmund's 
family and childhood was given to Matthew by Robert of 
Abingdon, Edmund's brother. Though documents and personal 
information account for a number of Matthew's additions to his 
source, others have been taken from his own historical works. 
The description of Edmund's consecration in the Life is very 
close to thatinthe Chronica Majora^ and an addition of Matthew's 
to Roger Wendover's chronicle is incorporated into the text of 
the Life, 3 so that it seems very likely that the Chronica Majora 
was used in its composition. On the other hand, in the course of 
the account in the Life of the quarrel between the archbishop 
and his monks, there are some very close parallels with the 
Historia Anglorum^ If we compare the passages concerning 
Edmund in the Chronica Majora and the Historia Anglorum 
with the corresponding passages in the Life, we find that, when 
the Historia Anglorum differs from the Chronica Majora^ it is 
invariably closer to the Life. Now since the Historia Anglorum 
is for the most part derived directly from the Chronica Majora, 
it is probable that these divergences of the Historia Anglorum 
from its exemplar are due to the fact that the Life of Edmund 

1 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 556 ; see also above, pp. 39, 40, and 126-7. 

2 Lawrence, * Robert of Abingdon and Matthew Paris*, EHR, LXIX (1954), 
pp. 413-15, For the source of Matthew's Life, see pp. 410-12, and for the 
probable connexion between Robert of Abingdon and Matthew, pp. 416-17. 

3 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 555; CM. in, pp. 272 and 244. 

4 Wallace, ibid. p. 565; HA. n, p. 411. 

164 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

was written after the Chronica Major a, but before the Historia 
Anglorum was abridged from it. Had the Life been written 
after the Historia Anglorum, it would be difficult to explain why 
the text of the Historia, normally close to that of the Chronica 
Majora, varies from it where St Edmund is mentioned, and 
comes, at these points, very close to the text of the Life. 

Paravicini pointed out that since Matthew's Life of Edmund 
includes a letter of Richard Wych describing the translation of 
St Edmund on 9 June 1247, it must have been written after 
then; 1 and Lawrence noted that, since Blanche of Castile is 
referred to as still living, it must have been written before her 
death in 1 253.2 Paravicini noticed, further, that in the Historia 
Anglorum Matthew referred to the bull of canonization as being 
'in libro Additamentorum', but that this was later altered to 
'in libro de vita ipsius' : Lawrence concluded from this that the 
Life was not written until after this part of the Historia Anglorum? 
The bull of canonization thus referred to is still in the Liber 
Additamentorum, and we cannot therefore argue that the reference 
was altered because the document was removed thence into the 
Life, and the first reference thus made inaccurate. Further- 
more, there are many references in the Historia Anglorum which 
have been altered in a similar way to this one; and we have seen 
that Matthew evidently worked through the text systematically, 
altering the explicit references to actual manuscripts at St Albans 
into vague general ones. 4 The alteration of this reference in the 
Historia Anglorum cannot therefore be used as evidence for the 
date of the Life, and we must fall back on the evidence noted 
above, and conclude that it was written between 1247 and 1253, 
and probably nearer 1247 than 1253, since, as we have seen, it 
seems to have been written before the Historia Anglorum. The 
only other hint as to its date is the fact that Matthew tells us 
that it was written with the help of Richard Wych and Robert 
Bacon, and his words suggest that information was supplied 

1 Paravicini, St Edmund of Abingdon, p. xxxii; see Wallace, Life of St 
Edmund, p. 583. 

2 Lawrence, ' Robert of Abingdon and Matthew Paris ', EHR. LXIX (1954), 
p. 417, note 4; see Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 571. 

3 HA. m, p. 13, note 4; Paravicini, St Edmund of Abingdon, pp. xxxviii- 
xxxix; Lawrence, 'Robert of Abingdon and Matthew Paris', loc. cit. p. 417. 

4 See pp. 72-3 above. 

165 



MATTHEW PARIS 

verbally to him by these two. 1 If this was so, he must have been 
collecting material for his Life of Edmund before Bacon's death 
in 1 248,2 which adds to the probability of an early date, nearer 
1247 ^an 1253. 

In his Life of Edmund, Matthew treats his source in much the 
same way as, in his Chronica Major a, he treated the text of Roger 
Wendover's chronicle. Many small alterations of a stylistic kind 
are made, as well as short additions reflecting Matthew's opinions 
and attitude of mind. 3 In his longer interpolations, too, Matthew 
expresses his characteristic feelings, sometimes more forcibly 
than in the Chronica Majora. In describing the baptism of 
Henry Ill's son Edward, for instance, Matthew says in the 
Chronica Majora that he was baptized by the papal legate Otho, 
'though he was not a priest', and 'though the archbishop was 
present'. 4 In the Life, Matthew's resentment that the heir to 
the throne should be baptized by a mere papal legate is expatiated 
upon, and a sharp contrast is drawn between the Englishman 
and the foreigner: 5 

When the king's son and heir was baptized, Otho, then legate, was 
chosen to baptize him: a deacon and a foreigner, of poor character 
and inadequate theological knowledge; instead of the archbishop of 
Canterbury and primate of all England, who was present: a priest 
and an Englishman, of excellent character and even sanctity, and 
a celebrated teacher and scholar .... 

Characteristic of Matthew, too, is his statement in the Life 
that Edmund was only elected archbishop 'after many royal 
and papal vexations'; and the insertion of a piece of direct 
speech, in which Edmund is warned that, if he does not accept 
the archbishopric, the king will intrude some unworthy alien. 6 
Whereas in the Chronica Majora Matthew tends to take the side 
of the monks in their quarrel with Edmund, 7 in the Historia 
Anglorum and the Life he remains neutral, or even sympathizes 
with the archbishop. There are other differences between the 

1 See pp. 161-2 above. 2 Which he records at CM. v, p. 16. 

3 See Lawrence, ' Robert of Abingdon and Matthew Paris ', EHR. LXIX 
(1954), PP- 413-14. 4 CM. in, pp. 539 and 540. 

5 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 569. 
e Ibid. p. 554; see also p. 139 above. 
7 See especially in, p. 527, 

1 66 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

account of Edmund in the Chronica Majora and that in the 
Life, the most striking of which is in Matthew's treatment of the 
legate Otho. Although he is described in one place as an 
adversary of Edmund, 1 on the whole Matthew takes a fairly 
favourable view of Otho in the Chronica Majora. In the Life, 
however, he is systematically hostile: Otho is said to have 
annulled Edmund's acts in an intolerable manner, 2 and the 
reader is given to understand that it was the persecution of the 
legate and others which drove Edmund into exile, whereas in 
the Chronica Majora 3 his departure is construed as a protest 
against papal exactions. 

The Life, of course, is a purely hagiological work, designed 
to praise St Edmund and demonstrate his sanctity, whereas the 
Chronica Majora gives a more factual account of him, with the 
emphasis on his part in politics rather than on his personal 
sanctity. Extravagant praise of Edmund is, however, a noticeable 
feature of the minor historical works written after 1250, especially 
of the Floras Historiarum, where he is referred to as * a man of 
wonderful sanctity and gentleness' whose fame after his death 
spread through the whole of cisalpine Europe. 4 The Flores 
Historiarum, like the Historia Anglorum, seems to have been 
written after the Life, and it is interesting to find in it an account 
of the curing of the pope's illness by the archbishop shortly 
before he was canonized, 5 which is not in the Life, and which 
Matthew perhaps only heard about after the Life had been 
written. He did not attempt, in the Life, to collect all the 
available material about St Edmund, though he has added to 
his source a considerable amount of historical information 
already recorded in the Chronica Majora. On the whole, the 
Life lacks the bitter attacks on king and pope which are so 
common in the Chronica', and it is by no means the political 
biography we might have expected from the pen of Matthew 
Paris. Controversial issues are for the most part avoided, and 
though Edmund is represented as a much persecuted man, 
Matthew is careful not to enlarge on these persecutions, nor to 
attack the persecutors. So far as the Life is concerned, he is not 

1 iv, p. 72; the statement at in, p. 480 is in the margin and was no doubt 
added later; see note 4. 2 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 568. 

* FH. n, pp. 213 and 274. 5 n, pp. 314-15. 

167 



MATTHEW PARIS 

being hypocritical when, speaking of the archbishop's tribula- 
tions, he says that they were caused by some of the great men 
of the kingdom, and adds: 'Whom I do not think, on account of 
reverence for the pope and king, it would be decent or safe to 
contradict by name/ I Matthew's Life of Edmund is probably 
the fullest and most reliable of the contemporary lives, and 
Wallace was undoubtedly right in basing his own biography on 
it. For the most part it is a balanced and accurate, though rather 
fragmentary, account; in which Matthew's political passions, as 
well as his prejudices, are subdued in the interests of the central 
theme, the sanctity of St Edmund. 

There exists a group of saints' Lives in Anglo-Norman verse, 
which have been attributed to Matthew Paris; and Dr Legge, 
in her book Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters? devotes a chapter 
to ' Matthew Paris and his Fellows ' in which she accepts them as 
Matthew's work, though without any detailed discussion of the 
evidence for his authorship of them. This I shall attempt to 
supply here, both for the sake of completeness, and because no 
coherent discussion of the authorship of all these Lives has yet 
been undertaken. The Lives in question are four in number: 

(1) Alban : St Alban, including also St Amphibalus ; in Trinity 
College, Dublin, MS. E i 40, ff. 29-50. The text and the illustra- 
tions which accompany it are executed by Matthew Paris. 

(2) Edward: St Edward the Confessor; in Cambridge Uni- 
versity Library MS. Ee iii 59. Written and illustrated (not by 
Matthew Paris) about the middle of the thirteenth century. 

(3) Thomas: St Thomas Becket, a fragment. Text and 
illustrations as Edward. 

(4) Edmund: St Edmund Rich; in the Welbeck Abbey 
MS., ff. 85b-ioo; written in the second half of the thirteenth 
century. 

Professor R. Atkinson published an edition of Alban in 1876. 
He thought that the poem was written in Matthew's own hand, 
and that it was probably also composed by Matthew. Some 

1 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 570. 

z Dr Legge has admirably discussed the place of these poems in Anglo- 
Norman literature as a whole, as well as their general character and signi- 
ficance; and I have, in consequence, limited the present discussion to topics 
not fully discussed by her. 

168 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

of the inadequacies of Atkinson's edition were pointed out by 
Gaston Paris in a review contributed to Romania in the same 
year, 1 and many more in an elaborate study of the language and 
versification of the poem by Suchier, which also appeared in 
1876* Suchier thought that it would never be possible to 
establish whether or not Alban was Matthew's own work; and 
Uhlemann, in his study of the phonology and morphology of 
the poem, 3 contributed nothing to the question of its authorship, 
except for the suggestion that the legends to the pictures were 
probably not written by the author of the text. Matthew's 
authorship of Alban was doubted by Menger, 4 but M. R. James 
came to the conclusion that it was not only composed by 
Matthew, but also written by him, thus upholding the opinion 
of the editor of the poem, Atkinson. His theory about the 
authorship of Alban was linked to that concerning another of 
the Lives, Edward, and it appeared in his introductions to the 
facsimile editions of the manuscripts containing these two Lives, 
published in 1924 and 1920 respectively. 5 Until the appearance 
of James's facsimile edition of the manuscript, no one had 
thought of attributing Edward to Matthew Paris. Its editor, 
Luard, 6 believed that it had been written by a Westminster 
monk; and this theory was elaborated in a dissertation published 
by R. Fritz in 19 io. 7 To Alban and Edward James added a third 
Life which he attributed to Matthew Paris, Thomas. A frag- 
ment of this had been found and published by Paul Meyer in 
i885. 8 Meyer was uncertain of its authorship, but he compared 
it with Edward, and thought the illustrations similar to those 
of Alban. James was thus able, in 1920, to put forward a 
coherent theory for Matthew's authorship of Alban, Edward, 
and Thomas, but he thought that Edmund was irretrievably lost, 
for the copy of it which apparently once existed in British 

1 Romania, v (1876), pp. 384-9. 

2 Suchier, Uber die Matthaeus Paris zugeschriebene l Vie de Seint Auban*. 

3 In Romanische Studien, iv (1880), pp. 543-626. 

4 Anglo-Norman Dialect (1904), p. 27. 

5 Lowe and Jacob (edd.), Illustrations to the Life of St Alban; James (ed.), 
La Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei. 

6 Luard (ed.), Lives of Edward the Confessor, i, pp. 1-315. 

7 Fritz, Uber Verfasser und Quellen der altfranzosischen Estoire de Seint 
Aedward le Rei, pp. 13-20. 

8 With facsimiles (Socie'te' des Anciens Textes Fran?ais, 1885). 

169 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Museum Cotton MS. Vitellius D viii had been destroyed in the 
Cottonian fire in 173 1. 1 Fortunately, however, Professor Baker 
discovered a copy of this Life at Welbeck Abbey, which he 
edited in 1929.2 

James's attribution of Alban, Edward, and Thomas to Matthew 
Paris was partly based on the statement of Thomas Walsingham 
which we have already had occasion to quote: 3 ' . . .Matthew 
Paris. . .who wrote and most elegantly illustrated the Lives of 
Saints Alban and Amphibalus, and of the archbishops of 

Canterbury Thomas and Edmund ' The phrase 'the Lives 

of Saints Alban and Amphibalus' no doubt refers to our Alban 
in Trinity College, Dublin, MS. E i 40, for the poem is called 
by Matthew Testoire de seint Auban. . .e de seint AmphibaP 
(f. 50 a), and includes a full account of Amphibalus. James 
thought that the text was in Matthew's hand, and he was in- 
clined to the belief that the illustrations were his work. In both 
these opinions my own studies have fully borne him out. 4 On 
the second fly-leaf of this manuscript are some notes in the 
handwriting of Matthew Paris which James translates as follows : 5 

(1) If you please, you can keep this book until Easter. 

(2) G., send, please, to the lady Countess of Arundel, Isabel, that 
she is to send you the book about St Thomas the Martyr and 
St Edward which I translated and illustrated, and which the lady 
Countess of Cornwall may keep until Whitsuntide. 

(3) In the Countess of Winchester's book let there be a pair of 
images on each page, thus : . . . . 

The essentially private nature of these notes shows that the 
manuscript in which they were written was Matthew's own. 
The third note is in reference to a series of verses, arranged down 
the page in pairs, on twelve different saints, and the images were 
perhaps designed to preface a psalter. 6 The second note is more 

1 James (ed.), Estoire de St Aedward le Rei, p. 18. 

2 In Romania, LV (1929), pp. 332-81. 

3 Above, p. 19. 

4 See Vaughan, 'Handwriting of M. Paris*, Trans. Canib. Bibliog. Soc. 
I (rQSS)* and below, p. 221. 

6 James in Illustrations to the Life of St Alban, pp. 15-16. 

6 See, for instance, British Museum Royal MS. 2 B vi, a psalter which is 
prefixed with a series of pictures arranged in pairs, which include a number 
of saints, executed at St Albans in Matthew's lifetime. See below, p. 224. 

170 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOtOGIST 

interesting, for it shows that Matthew had translated and illus- 
trated the Lives of SS. Thomas and Edward, apparently in one 
book. 'Translated' means, of course, turned from Latin into 
Anglo-Norman. 

It cannot be mere coincidence that the manuscripts of Alban, 
Edward and Thomas are so similar in date, size, format and 
style of illumination. Alban, however, which is Matthew's auto- 
graph, differs from the other two in a number of ways. The 
surviving leaves of Thomas are larger than those of Edward, and 
the scribes are different in the two manuscripts, and neither of 
them is Matthew himself. It is thus most unlikely that either 
Edward or Thomas ever formed part of the single volume men- 
tioned by Matthew in his fly-leaf note in Alban. On the other 
hand they are, to judge from the script and the style of illumina- 
tion, very close copies of Matthew's original, and obvious 
products of the scriptorium of St Albans during his lifetime. 1 

James was by no means content with the evidence so far 
discussed, and he went on to examine the textual similarities 
between the Lives he knew: Alban, Edward, and Thomas. 2 He 
pointed out that each is a close rendering of a Latin original; he 
pointed out, too, that Edward and Thomas are both written in 
octosyllabic couplets, usually with three columns on each page, 
though sometimes with only two ; and that Alban and Thomas 
have Latin legends to the pictures as well as those in Anglo- 
Norman which Edward also has. James discovered seventy- 
five marked coincidences of vocabulary between Edward and 
Thomas, and 585 between Edward and Alban. The verbal 
parallels between these poems (including the newly discovered 
Edmund) certainly help to demonstrate their common author- 
ship, though not enough of Thomas has survived to provide 
useful material in this respect. Here are some of the more 
striking parallels : 

Edmund, 1. 905 : ke parveue et estuee 

Edward, 1. 3276: Li fa purveue e estuee 

Edmund, 1. 330: Ne prisa vaillant une pume (see also L 1280) 

Edward, 1. 559: Ne. . .vailant une pume (see also 1. 4470) 

Edmund, 1. 874: a chief de tur 

1 For the illustrations of these manuscripts see below, pp. 221-2. 

z For what follows see James (ed.), Estoire de St Aedward le Rei, p. 26. 

171 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Edwardy 1. 398 : au chef de tur (see also 1. 4090) 

Albany 1. 562: au chef de tur 

Edmund, 11. 718-20: espanir. . .cum fet rosee en matinee 

Edward, L 141 : u de Us e rose espanie 

Albany L 1070: beus ke. . .n'est lis espani (see also 1. 1721) 

Edward, L 561 : Ne preisent vailant un bittun 

Alban^ L 334: Ne prise mes valiant un butun 

Edwardy 1. 719: Pur trestut For k'est a Damas 

Albany L 1497 : pur tut Tor de Damas 

Edwardy 1. 2154: De quor entent e ben escute 

Albany L 104: Auban ben 1'escute e entent i de quor (see also L 175) 

Edwardy 1. 3502: Plus clers ke solailz de midiz 

Albany L 1060: ke plus ert clers ke solailz de midi 

The verbal parallels between these poems are not limited to 
phrases and metaphors. There is, for instance, a passage in 
Alban mentioning various illnesses, which is very similar to 
passages in Edward and Edmund^ and there is one parallel 
between Edmund and Edward which might by itself be con- 
sidered to afford sufficient evidence of their common authorship : 

Edmund Sa char, le mund (et) Fenemi (L 14) 
Sa char. . .par chastete (11. 15-16) 

Le mund par humilite (L 17) 

E si descunfist le diable (1. 19) 

Par son penser espiritable (L 20) 

Bien dei de lui escrivre estoire (L 23) 

E son nun mettre en memoire (1. 24) 

Edward ki lur char, diable e mund (1. 21) 

venquirent. . . (1. 22) 

Sa char venquis par chastete (L 29) 

Le mund par humilite (1. 30) 

E diable par ses vertuz (1. 31) 

Dunt vus escrif e vus translat (1. 35) 

Pur refreschir sa memoire (1. 38) 

So far our argument may be summarized as follows. We 
know, from his own statements, as well as those of Walsingham, 
that Matthew Paris illustrated and wrote in Anglo-Norman the 
Lives of Alban and Amphibalus, Edward, Thomas, and Edmund. 
We have identified his original manuscript of Alban in the 
library of Trinity College, Dublin; and we have seen that our 

1 Cf. Alban, 11. 148 ff.; Edward, 11. 4426 ff.; and Edmund, 11. 1946 ff. 

172 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

manuscripts of Edward and Thomas were probably produced at 
St Albans in Matthew's lifetime. They are both, it seems, * first 
copies' of Matthew's original. Furthermore, we have shown 
that there are a number of textual similarities between the 
poems, which points to their common authorship. On the 
strength of this evidence alone we might well attribute Alban y 
Edward> Thomas and Edmund to Matthew Paris. In the case of 
Edmund, however, there is further convincing evidence pointing 
to Matthew Paris. Professor Baker noted the following significant 
facts about this poem: 1 

(1) It is dedicated to Isabel, countess of Arundel (who had 
borrowed from Matthew his copy of Thomas and Edward, see 
p. 170 above). 

(2) The author had written the Life of Edmund in two 
languages, and the source of Edmund is Matthew's Latin Life of 
St Edmund. 

(3) The author's name was Matthew (1. 1692 : ' Faz ge Maheu 
en livre mettre'). 

The question of the authorship of Edward requires some 
further discussion, for Luard, followed by Fritz, maintained 
that it was written by a Westminster monk. Luard suggested 
this because the author in one place calls St Peter (1. 2022) 'le 
suen seigneur e le nostre' ; 2 and Fritz developed the theory with 
an elaborate and curious series of arguments. He did not, 
however, accept Luard's single piece of evidence, for he thought 
that the word 'nostre' might easily have been used in a vague 
general sense. 3 Fritz pointed out that the centre of interest of 
the poem is Westminster Abbey, of which the author clearly had 
a detailed knowledge, for he adds to his source a long descrip- 
tion of it (11. 2290-323). In the course of his account of the 
legend of the fisherman who rowed St Peter across the Thames 
for the dedication of the abbey church, the author of the poem 
says that the fisherman caught salmon in his nets, though his 
source mentioned only fish. From this Fritz deduced that the 
author of the poem knew the legend in more detail than was to 

1 Baker (ed.), 'Vie de S. Edmond', Romania, LV (1929), PP- 336-41- 

2 Luard (ed.), Lives of Edward the Confessor, I, pp. x-xi. 

3 Fritz, Uber Verfasser und Quellen der altfranzosischen Estoire de Seint 
Aedward le Rei, p. 19, note i ; for what follows, see pp. 15-19. 

173 



MATTHEW PARIS 

be found in his source, and that he must therefore have been 
a monk of Westminster. Again, Fritz claimed that the author 
of the poem, since he says in one place, when copying from a 
document, that the original is before him in two languages, 
must have been writing in the scriptorium at Westminster, 
where the document in question, which concerns Westminster, 
would have been preserved. 1 Finally, Fritz noted that the author 
talks about the 'Beus maneres, terres e bois' of the monastery, 
while the source mentions only ' possessions' ; and he cited this 
as additional evidence that he was a monk of Westminster. 

None of these arguments is convincing. Matthew Paris knew 
Westminster well and had been there at least once; 2 and his 
mention of the ruined hall of William Rufus at Westminster 3 
demonstrates his personal knowledge of the place. He is, too, 
just the man to improve on his source by altering the word ' fish ' 
into something a little more exciting. The undoubted fact that 
the poem was written in connexion with an important event at 
Westminster (it is dedicated to the queen) could adequately 
account for the interest in, and glorification of, that house, 
which is so apparent in the poem. Furthermore, we should 
bear in mind the fact that Matthew Paris wrote a version of his 
chronicle, the Chetham manuscript of the Flares Historiarum, 
especially for Westminster, and took the trouble to insert into 
it a number of passages of Westminster interest only. 4 

I think it can be proved conclusively that Edward was written 
at St Albans. Although most of it is translated from Aelred of 
Rievaulx's Latin Life of Edward the Confessor, some passages 
have been taken from a historical source which Fritz identified 
as the ' St Albans compilation'. But in fact this historical source 
was Matthew's own Flores Historiarum. In this Matthew adds 
to the text of the 'St Albans compilation 5 in A the metaphor 
'quarum [hastarum] multitude ad instar hiberni grandinis 
volando', which occurs, slightly altered, in Edward, where it is 
said that arrows, stones and darts flew 'Espessement cum 
gresle en Marz'. 5 Again, in the Flores Historiarum, Matthew 

1 Fritz, op. cit. p. 17; Edward, 11. 2342-5. 2 See above, p. 3. 

8 HA. i, p. 165. * Above, p. 100. 

5 FH. i, p. 596, and Edward, 1. 4568; both are in reference to the battle of 
Hastings. 

174 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

says that when William counter-attacked at the battle of Hastings, 
he charged into the English ' quasi prora navis fluctus procellosos 
penetrando', while in Edward the same metaphor is applied to 
the English when they attacked the Normans: 'Cum fait 
dromunz wage en und Quant curt siglant en mer parfund.' 1 
The significance of William's fall on the beach, too, is elaborated 
in a similar way in the Flores Historiarum and in Edward? 
There seem to be only two possible explanations of these 
parallels : either the Flores Historiarum and Edward were written 
by the same author, that is, Matthew Paris; or the Flores 
Historiarum was used in the composition of Edward. The former, 
in view of the nature of the parallels, which are not due to 
straightforward copying, is the more likely explanation; but, 
even if we only accept the latter, we are forced to conclude that 
Edward was written at St Albans, for we know that the Flores 
Historiarum was not sent to Westminster until after 1265, and 
that Edward was already written before then. 3 

There is some internal evidence that Matthew was the author 
of Edward, for remarks characteristic of him frequently occur 
in it. We find, for instance, a dig at Stigand which is typical of 
him: *li simoniaus culvertz, Stigantz' (11. 3706-7) ; 4 as well as 
sentiments identical with those expressed in the Chronica Major a 
on the subject of Englishmen and foreigners in the government 
of the country; for in one place Edward is praised for handing 
over responsibility to his own subjects, of whose loyalty he 
could be quite certain, and not to 'stranges aliens'. 5 Elsewhere 
the author of Edward tells us something about himself which 
can surely only apply to Matthew Paris: 6 

Now I pray you, gentle King Edward, 
To have regard to me a sinner, 
Who have translated from the Latin, 
According to my knowledge and genius, 
Your history into French, 
That memory of thee may spread; 

1 FH. I, p. 595, and Edward, 1. 4557. 

2 Cf. FH. I, p. 591, and Edward, 11. 4529 ff. 
8 FH. i, p. xiii, and Fritz, op. cit. pp. 11-12. 

4 Cf. HA. i, p. 13. 5 Edward, 11. 2496 ff. 

6 Edward, 11. 3855-966; I have used Luard's translation, Lives of Edward 
the Confessor, I, p. 290. 

175 



MATTHEW PARIS 

And for lay people who letters 
Know not, in portraiture 
Have I clearly figured it 
In this present book 

It is scarcely likely that two different people translated and 
themselves illustrated a Life of St Edward towards the middle 
of the thirteenth century, and we may be certain, therefore, 
that this Life of Edward is the same as that referred to by 
Matthew in his fly-leaf note in the Dublin manuscript; 1 and 
that Matthew Paris was indeed the author of our four Anglo- 
Norman saints' Lives: Alban, Edward, Thomas, and Edmund. 

There is plenty of evidence, in Matthew's historical manu- 
scripts, of his concern with hagiology, and with these four saints 
in particular. We shall discuss his interest in St Alban in the 
next chapter, and we have already discussed in detail his Latin 
Life of Edmund. His interest in St Edward the Confessor is 
well shown in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum (p. 167), where he 
mentions several legends about the saint which are described in 
Edward] as well as in a note on the penultimate fly-leaf of A, 
which reads : Here one should consider carefully the exposition 
of the parable of Blessed King Edward when he was dying. 
Read [it] at the end of his history/ This remark, made in con- 
nexion with the genealogical chronicle on this page, refers to 
Edward's explanation of a vision, which is described in detail 
in Edward. It is worth noting, too, in connexion with Matthew's 
interest in St Edward, that there is a marginal note of his in the 
Gesta Abbatum 2 to the effect that, in the time of Abbot Robert 
of St Albans, Abbot Lawrence of Westminster caused the Life 
of Edward the Confessor to be written, as a result of a request of 
Henry II's. This is the Life by Aelred of Rievaulx the very 
one which was used as a basis for our Edward. Of St Thomas 
we read a great deal in the Chronica Majora, and Matthew has 
added some long passages about him to Roger Wendover's 
account. 3 Moreover, in his manuscript of the poems of Henry 
of Avranches Matthew has himself written out Henry's Latin 
verse Life of Thomas. 4 

1 See p. 170 above. 

2 Wats, p. 82. 3 CM. n, pp. 261, 278, etc. 
* University Library, Cambridge, MS. Dd xi78, rl. ib~29a. 

176 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

Matthew Paris, as we should expect, knew Anglo-Norman 
perfectly well and frequently used it. Thus nearly all the 
geographical and other notes on his maps and itineraries are in 
Anglo-Norman, as are some of his rough notes in the Liber 
Additamentorum. Sometimes a document is transcribed in 
Anglo-Norman, and in one place in the Liber Additamentorum 
Matthew writes out a heading in it. 1 Furthermore, there is some 
evidence that he was acquainted with French epic literature in 
general. Rene Louis surmised that Matthew may have known 
something of the poem Girart de Roussillon, since he marks 
Roussillon on his itinerary from London to Apulia, and is the 
earliest writer to localize this name. 2 In the Gesta Abbatum 
Matthew says of Roger de Thony that he was descended from 
those famous knights f qui a Cigni nomine intitulantur'; 3 a 
remark which seems to imply some knowledge of the epic 
literature concerning Le Chevalier au Cygne. In the Anglo- 
Norman poems themselves there is more evidence of Matthew's 
knowledge of literature, but it is interesting to find that, even 
without reference to them, Matthew appears to have been 
perfectly capable of writing in Anglo-Norman verse. 

The problem of finding a date for the writing and illustration 
of Matthew's Anglo-Norman saints' Lives is a difficult one, 
especially when we consider how busy he must have been, 
towards the end of his life, with his historical writing. It seems 
probable that Alban was written first, for the handwriting is 
tidy and controlled, and the illustrations seem to be earlier than 
the others attributed to Matthew Paris. 4 The handwriting is in 
fact considerably neater than anything in the historical manu- 
scripts, and there seems to be no reason why Alban should not 
have been written and illustrated in the third, or even the 
second, decade of the thirteenth century. If Alban was the first 
of Matthew's Anglo-Norman poems, Edmund was probably the 
last, for it is based on his Latin Life of Edmund, and must 

1 CM. vi, p. 165. 

2 Louis, De VHistoire a la Legende, in, p. 173. For Matthew's possible 
knowledge of the Roman de Renaud de Montauban, see B6dier, Les Legendes 
^piques, IV, p. 244, note I. 3 Wats, p. 46. 

4 See, for instance, Rickert, Painting in Britain, p. 119; see also below, 
pp. 227-8. Legge, Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters, pp. 21-3, argues that 
Alban is the earliest of the four poems. 

12 177 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

therefore have been written after 1247. * Indeed there is some 
evidence that it was not written until after 1253, f r tne reference 
to Queen Blanche in the Latin Life * quam constat esse muli- 
erem consilii magni' is altered in the Anglo-Norman life to 
'ke seinte fu et sage et franche', as if the queen's death had 
occurred in the meanwhile. 2 Thomas and Edward seem to have 
been written at about the same time, for they were originally in 
the same manuscript. 3 Both Luard and James thought that 
Edward was especially written to be presented to Queen Eleanor 
in connexion with some great Westminster event: soon after 
1241, thought James; and Luard favoured I245. 4 We shall 
therefore perhaps not be far wrong if we date Alban before 1240 ; 
Thomas and Edward fairly soon after 1240; and Edmund after 
1250, or even perhaps after 1253. 

The sources of these poems are in every case easily identifiable. 
Alban has been taken, often word for word, from William of 
St Albans's Latin Life of St Alban, the text of which, written out 
in Matthew's own hand, precedes the Anglo-Norman poem in 
the Dublin manuscript. Suchier showed that, in Alban, the 
Latin was frequently very closely followed, even sometimes in 
the order of words ; 5 and this is true of the other poems. Meyer 
pointed out that the source of Thomas was the well-known 
Quadrilogus, and he made a detailed comparison between it and 
the text of Thomas.* Edward is based on Aelred of Rievaulx's 
Latin Life of Edward the Confessor, but Matthew's Floras 
Historiarum, as well as, in one place, Henry of Huntingdon, 
were also probably used. 7 Edmund is a literal translation from 
Matthew's own Latin Life of St Edmund. Thus in each of these 
poems (with the partial exception of Edward) a single Latin 
source is followed more or less closely, though with minor 
additions and alterations of the type usual with Matthew Paris, 
and with occasional longer additions. These additions are some- 

1 See above, p. 165. 

2 Wallace, Life of St Edmund, p. 571 ; Edmund, 1. 1408. Queen Blanche 
died in 1253. 3 See p. 170 above. 

4 James (ed.), Estoire de St Aedward, p. 17; Luard, Lives of Edward the 
Confessor, I, p. xi. Fritz agreed with Luard, Vber Verfasser der Estoire de 
Seint Aedward, p. 12. 5 Suchier, Uber die Vie de Seint Auban, pp. 8-9. 

6 Meyer (ed.), Vie de Saint Thomas, pp. viii-xxvi. 

7 See pp. 174-5 above, and Fritz, tJber Verfasser der Estoire de Seint 
Aedward, pp. 21 fF. 

178 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

times lyrical passages ;* sometimes explanatory ; 2 and sometimes 
political. 3 Frequently a metaphor or a proverb is added to the 
source, and direct speech is introduced as a literary device to 
increase the dramatic intensity. The occasional slight variations 
between Edmund and its Latin source are of interest because 
both were written by Matthew. In Edmund, the papal legate 
Otho's hostility to Edmund is expatiated upon at greater length 
than in the Latin Life, and the archbishop's flight is linked more 
closely with Otho's machinations. 4 Furthermore, the Canter- 
bury monks are explicitly exonerated from their part in the 
quarrel with Edmund, and are said to have been deceived by 
malicious advisers, or, as Matthew calls them, 'legistres faus'. 5 
In all these poems certain proverbs, phrases, and allusions 
occur, which show, I think, that Matthew's Anglo-Norman 
poetry was influenced by the epic conventions of his day; and 
that he knew something of contemporary vernacular literature. 
Thus, in Thomas, two well-known proverbs are added to the 
source : 6 

leaf 4, 11. 59-60 : De dons mals doit horn le mendre Eslire . . . 

11. 60-1 : meuz nus vaut atendre Ke d'estre hastifs e engres 

Another proverb occurs in Allan (1. 1314): cist se fert ki ne 
veit*. Of the stock literary phrases, au chef du tur' is the 
commonest, 7 and many others occur. In Alban, for instance, 
we find the following: 

1. 69 : n'a pl(ace ne liu)s ci k'a Teuue de Rin 

1. 1264: . . .de ci k'a Burdele 

1. 1825: pur tut For Costentin 

1. 1497: pur tut For de Damas 8 

1. 734: ki par autres est garniz, cist beu se chastie 

Literary allusions, too, are not uncommon in these poems. 
Thus, in Edward, Harold is criticized, and it is said of him that: 

11. 4497-8 : D'el hestoires n'enquert, n'en ot 
Ne d'ancienne geste un mot 

1 E.g. Alban f 11. 104-6; Edmund, 11. 229-32, etc. 

2 E.g. Edmund, 11. 1976-7; Edward, 11. 3955-74. 

3 E.g. Edmund, 11. 1355-80; Edward, 11. 2496 ff. 

4 Edmund, 11. 1355-80. 5 Edmund, 11. 1191 and 1199-1200.. 

6 Meyer (ed.), Vie de Saint Thomas, p. xxiv, and note i. 

7 See pp. 171-2 above. 8 See p. 172 above. 

179 12-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

A similar remark is made in Edmund, though this time in 
praise of its subject: 

11. 331-2: Romanz d'Oger u (de) Charlemeine 
Ne preisa il une chasteine 

There seem to be three allusions, in these poems, to a Brut 
of some kind: 

Alban, L 1836: en Teille ke cunquist Brutus e Cornelin 
1. 1832: passerai Mun Giu, le roiste munt alpin 
Edward, 11. 786-7 : Venant en la cumpanie 
Brut e la chere hardie 

Matthew had evidently read something of the epic literature con- 
cerning Duke Richard of Normandy, and probably also the Roman 
de Rou\ as may be seen from the following passage in Edward 

(U- 4S77- 8 3) : Reis Rou, ki as coups de lance 
Descumfist le rei de France 
E la mata enmi sa terre 
Par force de bataille e guerre. 
E dues Richard k'apres li vint 
Ki li diable ateint e tint 
E le venquit e le lia 

It is interesting to note some of the historical and mythical 
figures introduced into these poems. In Alban we find Apollo, 
Phoebus, Diana, Neptune, Pallas, Jupiter, Tetim (Tethys?), 
and Pluto; and in Edward, Priam, Menelaus, and Julius Caesar. 
In Edmund (11. 521-3) Matthew tells us that, when the saint 
gave up secular studies, he abandoned Plato and Ptolemy 
a remark which perhaps tells us more of Matthew's ignorance of 
secular studies than of his ' stock-in-trade ' of literary characters. 

The language and versification of these poems are characteristic 
of thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman verse. In Thomas, for 
instance, which, like Edmund and Edward, was written in octo- 
syllabic rhyming couplets, there are many lines of seven or nine 
syllables, and the same variation occurs in the other two poems. 
In these three poems, the same rhyme is frequently used for 
four or even six lines in succession another common feature 
of thirteenth-century Anglo-Norman verse. Alban is unlike the 
other poems, for it is written in laisses. Alexandrines are here 
the norm, but Matthew often uses ten- and even fourteen- 

180 



MATTHEW PARIS THE HAGIOLOGIST 

syllabled lines, usually for literary effect and to avoid monotony. 
It is curious that he should have used the old epic metre for 
Alban y and the new romance metre for the other three poems; 
but this is perhaps explicable ori the assumption that Alban was 
the first of Matthew's ventures into Anglo-Norman verse. 1 He 
was bound by few rules of grammar and syntax, and he often 
confuses subject and object, or fails to distinguish between the 
singular and plural of the second person of the personal pro- 
noun. It is interesting to note that Meyer made a careful study 
of the phonology of Thomas, and came to the conclusion that 
the author was certainly born in England. 2 

There is nothing beautiful or stylish about Matthew's Anglo- 
Norman verse: it is the characteristic doggerel of his day. Nor 
does he seem to have taken very much trouble with the texts of 
these poems, for even in the autograph Alban careless errors 
abound. On the other hand, the illustration of the manuscripts 
was evidently carefully and systematically executed. As Dr 
Legge pointed out, they were designed (except perhaps for 
Alban) for the laity, 3 and so the pictures were of paramount 
importance, and their subject-matter is explained by means of 
rhymed legends. These poems are closely related to Matthew's 
historical writings, and they fit into our general picture of his 
interests and activities ; but they also show us a new aspect of 
him, as the successful producer of illustrated hagiological litera- 
ture designed for his friends among the lay aristocracy. Alban 
seems to have been produced for Matthew's own house ; Edward, 
however, is dedicated to Queen Eleanor; and Edmund to Isabel 
of Arundel. Unfortunately the dedication of Thomas is lost. It 
appears from his fly-leaf notes in Alban 4 that Matthew ran a kind 
of circulating library among his aristocratic friends all of whom 
were apparently women which specialized in illustrated, verna- 
cular hagiology. New light is thus thrown on Matthew Paris, 
for we find that the pessimistic enemy of the world revealed in 
the historical writings is quite capable, not only of mixing with 
the secular aristocracy of his day, but also of making a contribu- 
tion to its rather specialized culture. 

1 See p. 177 above, 

2 Meyer (ed.), Vie de Saint Thomas, pp. xxvii-xxviii. 

3 Legge, Anglo-Norman in the Cloisters, p. 29. 4 See p. 170 above. 

181 



CHAPTER X 

MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC 

HISTORIAN 

I. THE 'GESTA ABBATUM' 

MATTHEW'S most important contribution to the 
domestic history of St Albans is his Gesta Abbatum, 
the autograph text of which, written in two parts, 
survives in his Liber Additamentorum}- This was printed by 
Wats in 1639, though with numerous errors, without distin- 
guishing the marginalia from the text, and with no attempt to 
describe the sources used. Another edition of the Gesta 
Abbatum was carried out by HL T. Riley for the Rolls Series 
in 1867-9; but this was printed from Thomas Walsingham's 
manuscript, written c. 1394, with little reference to the text of 
Matthew's manuscript, with an incomplete and inaccurate col- 
lation of Wats's text, and, again, with no attempt to describe 
the sources. 

In the upper margin of the first leaf of Matthew's text of 
the Gesta Abbatum is a note in his own hand which reads : 2 
'According to (secundum) the ancient roll of Bartholomew the 
clerk, who for a long time had been servant to Adam the Cellarer, 
and who kept this roll for himself from among his writings 
(scriptis suis), choosing this one alone.' The implication of this note 
seems to be that Matthew Paris based at any rate the earlier part 
of his Gesta Abbatum on an ' ancient roll ' written by Bartholomew 
the clerk, which had probably either been in the possession of 
Adam the Cellarer, or had been dictated by him to Bartholomew ; 
and it is only natural that the roll in question should have been 
attributed to Adam the Cellarer, a well-known twelfth-century 
monk of St Albans. There is no record, however, of a clerk, 
Bartholomew, connected with Adam the Cellarer; but a 'Bar- 
tholomeus clericus' signs a number of charters between 1230 
and 1247 immediately after Adam de Belvoir, the praepositus. 

1 See above, pp. 48 and 82 ff. 

2 B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D i, f. 3oa, printed in GA. i, p. xiv. 

182 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

It is possible that the praepositus was the same official as the 
extern cellarer or cellerarius curiae, and that this Adam and 
Bartholomew, contemporaries of Matthew Paris, are the ones 
mentioned in his note. Adam the Cellarer, however, has a much 
stronger claim to be the author of the 'ancient roll'. He began 
his career as cellarer on his return from Croyland, where he had 
been sent in 1138 to help his uncle Geoffrey, another St Albans 
monk, who became abbot of Croyland, in the reformation of 
that house, 1 and he held the office of cellarer at St Albans from 
c. 1140 until his death, which probably took place between 1167 
and H76. 2 His career is reflected in a striking manner in the 
text of Matthew's Gesta Abbatum. We know that he was engaged 
in litigation on behalf of the convent, and that he played an 
especially important part in the territorial transactions of the 
middle years of the twelfth century. Up to the end of the 
account of Robert's abbacy (1151-66), the whole emphasis of 
the Gesta Abbatum is on territorial acquisitions and litigation 
concerning them, and the long description of Abbot Robert's 
rule is almost entirely devoted to detailed, and often, it seems, 
eyewitness, accounts of lawsuits concerning land, in which 
Adam the Cellarer is a central figure. After the description of 
Robert's rule the character of the Gesta Abbatum alters radically. 
Although Simon, who succeeded Robert, was actively engaged 
in various territorial transactions, 3 not one of these is mentioned 
in the Gesta, and, in the rest of it, territorial transactions and 
litigation take their place beside many other topics. We find, 
too, that whereas the account of Abbot Robert, who ruled for 
fifteen years, occupies twenty-five printed pages, that of Simon, 
who ruled for sixteen, takes up only three. This change in the 

1 See Dugdale, Monasticon anglicanum, n, p. 101, and Wats, p. 69. 

2 Adam signs one undated charter of Abbot Simon (i 167-83. B.M. Cotton 
MS. Otho D iii, f. 73 col. 2), but the absence of his signature from several 
other of Simon's charters (for instance B.M. Cotton MS. Otho D iii, f. 115, 
of 1179, and Chatsworth cartulary, f. 64 b, of 1180), as well as the charter of 
1 176 disposing of the lands acquired by him (Chatsworth cartulary, ff. loa-b, 
printed in Dugdale, Monasticon, n, pp. 228-9; see Eyton, Court, Household 
and Itinerary of King Henry II, p. 204), points to his death during the first 
half of Simon's abbacy. Abbot Warin (1183-95) instituted his anniversary 
(Wats, p. 98). 

3 See, for instance, B.M. Cotton MS. Otho D iii, ff. 29 b, 3oa, 73a~74a, 
H5a, i67b and 177 a; Chatsworth cartulary, f. 64b; and B.M. Cotton MS. 
Julius D iii, f. 75 b. 

183 



MATTHEW PARIS 

content of the Gesta Abbatum coincides with a change in author- 
ship, for throughout the account of Simon's rule there are unmis- 
takable signs of Matthew's style, which, up to this point, appear 
only in a few passages evidently interpolated by him into the 
text of his source. We may surely conclude from this that the 
'ancient roll', which Matthew used for the early part of his 
Gesta, was closely connected with Adam the Cellarer, and was 
probably compiled under his auspices. 

Matthew seems to have used some other source besides the 
roll of Adam the Cellarer, for his text contains a considerable 
amount of repetition, and, in the course of the description of 
Abbot Ralph's rule, he has added in the margin another version 
of a passage in the text, and headed it: Additwn de alto rotulo. 1 
There are a number of other marginal additions in the early 
part of Matthew's Gesta Abbatum, some of which were no 
doubt taken from this 'other roll'. Fortunately for us, the 
passages which Matthew has added to the text of Adam's roll 
are usually readily identified, for they frequently include some 
of his favourite phrases and expressions, and they often inter- 
rupt Adam's narrative because they are carelessly inserted into 
it, sometimes in the wrong place. A good example is the story 
of Adrian IV's appointment of three bishops to examine into 
the claims of the convent of Ely to possess the relics of St Alban, 
which is inserted near the end of the account of Abbot Robert's 
rule, although the event it describes must have occurred (if it 
ever did occur) soon after Robert's accession. 2 Again, the 
description of the reformation of Croyland by St Albans monks 3 
is inserted into the account of Abbot Robert (1151-66), although 
it actually occurred in 1138. In copying his source, Matthew 
has made many alterations and additions of the sort we have 
noticed when discussing his treatment of sources in his other 
works. Thus he sometimes adds a quotation or an allusion; 4 
or introduces one of his usual phrases or characteristic com- 
ments. 5 He adds, for instance, to Adam's account of Abbot 

1 Wats, p. 65, omits the heading. The passage begins *Iste quoque 
Radulphus ', and ends *et creatus est'. 

2 Wats, pp. 88-9; see also below, p. 201. 3 Wats, p. 69. 

4 E.g. Wats, pp. 36 (Virgil, Aen. n, 646) and 47 (Terence, Andr. v, iv, 38). 

5 E.g. Wats, pp. 42 ('novit Ille qui nihil ignorat') and 53 ('felix suscepit 
incrementum'). 

184 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

Robert's gifts to various people when he was leaving Rome the 
words: 'sciens ipsos Romanos esse insatiabiles sanguissugae 
filios, pecuniae sitibundos'. 1 Of Matthew's longer additions to 
his source, apart from those concerning the relics of St Alban, 
which we shall examine later, the most noteworthy are one or 
two excerpts from Diceto; 2 accounts of Anselm's vision of 
William Rufus's death and the foundation of the nunnery of 
Sopwell; 3 some additional information about Nicholas Break- 
spear; 4 and the account of the reformation of Croyland already 
mentioned. 

From the account of Abbot Simon's rule (1167-83) up to 
nearly the end of that of Abbot John of Hertford (1235-63), the 
Gesta Abbatum seems to be an original composition of Matthew 
Paris. His description of Abbot Simon's rule is brief, but that 
of Warin's (1183-95) * s fuller, and is especially interesting for 
the account it contains of Warin's statutes, many of which 
Matthew transcribes in full. Of John de Cella (1195-1214) we 
have a most interesting account, and the picture of William of 
Trumpington's abbacy (1214-35) is detailed and fascinating. 
Matthew goes on to give us a very full account of the election 
of the next abbot, John of Hertford, in 1235. Soon after this, 
however, his Gesta Abbatum shrinks to a series of laconic entries 
which peter out c. 1255. But although Matthew tells us very- 
little, in the Gesta, of Abbot John of Hertford's rule, he included 
a detailed record of contemporary domestic history in his 
Chronica Major a^ which, from c. 1240 on, seems to have claimed 
most of his attention. Fortunately, too, he took the trouble to 
transcribe documents of domestic import into his Liber Addita- 
mentorum, so that Thomas Walsingham, who continued the 
Gesta Abbatum, was able to amplify his narrative of the abbacy 
of John of Hertford with transcripts of these documents, as well 
as with long and numerous extracts from the Chronica Majora. 

The sources of Matthew's section of the Gesta Abbatum need 
not detain us long, for he relied to a very large extent on his own 
experience and memory, and on the personal information pro- 
vided by the older members of his community. His description, 
for instance, of the artistic work carried on at St Albans in the 

1 Wats, p. 71. 2 Wats, pp. 50 and 74. 

3 Wats, pp. 53 and 58-9. 4 Wats, p. 66. 

185 



MATTHEW PARIS 

time of Abbot Simon no doubt derives from information given 
him by Master John, one of the goldsmiths concerned, whom 
Matthew knew personally. 1 Written sources were also used ; for, 
in the course of the account of Abbot William, Matthew in one 
place excerpts from a document which, he tells us, was written 
out by Abbot William himself; 2 and some of the marginalia in 
this part of the Gesta Abbatum* were taken from the St Albans 
manuscript of Diceto's history, which contains a number of 
additional annals written at St Albans and also used by Roger 
Wendover. 

Matthew's contribution to the Gesta Abbatum is notable for 
the variety of subjects treated. He tells us a great deal, for 
instance, about the improvements and alterations to the monastic 
buildings carried out by the abbots John de Cella and William 
of Trumpington. He describes how Abbot William installed 
oak beds in the dorter; restored the tower of the abbey church 
and roofed it with lead; repaired the aisle roofs; whitewashed 
the inside walls of the church; finished the new bays at the west 
end of the nave begun by his predecessor ; and built new cloisters 
connecting the various convent buildings. Matthew's section 
of the Gesta Abbatum is remarkable, too, for its notices of the 
chief local artists of the time and their works. Cups, chalices, 
copes, ornamental crosses and reliquaries are all noticed, and 
Matthew gives us a detailed description of the altar-pieces 
existing in the abbey in John de Cella's time (c. 1200), as well 
as the names of some of their artists. The most important of 
these were a small group from Colchester: Walter the Painter, 
his brother Simon, and Simon's son Richard. Among other 
things, Walter executed a magnificent rood-screen supporting 
a carving of the Crucifixion, with figures of SS. Mary and John. 
Richard painted the interior of Abbot John of Hertford's new 
guest-hall. 4 Books, too, are noted, often with valuable detail. 
Matthew tells us that Abbot Simon's books were kept in a 
painted cupboard near the tomb of Roger the Hermit, and that 
the documents concerning Abbot William's rule were kept in 

1 GA. i, p. 19. 2 Wats, p. 128. 

3 For instance the dedications etc., Wats, p. 119. The annals are printed, 
Liebermann (ed.), Ungedruckte a.-n. Geschichtsquellen, pp. 167-72. 
* Wats, pp. 108, 122 and 142. 

186 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

an oaken casket inside the big chest of charters. 1 He describes 
two Bibles executed in John de Cella's time, 2 one of which was 
prefixed with a painting of Christ in Majesty surrounded by the 
Four Evangelists by Walter of Colchester ; and the other with 
a painting of the Crucifixion. One of the books which he men- 
tions particularly, a copy of the Historia Scholastica acquired in 
the early years of the century by Prior Raymond, still exists, and 
includes some matter added by Matthew himself. 3 

Matthew's Gesta Abbatum is strongly coloured by his zealous 
devotion to St Albans. Litigation is seen as persecution of his 
house, and the temporal affairs of the house are measured in 
terms of acquisitions and losses. Richard Marsh, bishop of 
Durham, is described as 'an inexorable exactor of money', 
'drunk with the poison of satan', because he had demanded a 
sum of a hundred marks from the abbey on behalf of the king. 4 
Robert FitzWalter, involved in litigation with St Albans over 
the wood of Northaw, is likewise bitterly attacked; 5 and the 
sudden deaths in sordid circumstances of persecutors of the 
abbey, such as Falkes de Breaute and Ralph Cheinduit, are 
gloated over with relish, and regarded as personal triumphs of 
the avenging St Alban himself. 6 Innocent Ill's fourth Lateran 
Council, one of the most important councils of the Middle 
Ages, is criticized by Matthew because some of its provisions 
infringed the privileges of St Albans. 7 Matthew's 'constitu- 
tionalism' is a conspicuous feature of the Gesta Abbatum, and 
he invariably supports the convent against its abbot. During the 
years his history covers, a very real constitutional struggle was 
going on at St Albans over the question of the abbot's right to 
banish any monk he pleased to a distant cell; and Matthew 
gives us a very partisan description of this struggle. Of Abbot 
Warin, for instance, he says: 8 

He [Warin], together with his brother Matthew, the distrustful 
prior, in order that he might enjoy unquestioned authority, perse- 
cuted, dispersed, and followed with inexorable hate the whole 

1 Wats, pp. 91 and 128. 2 Wats, p. 108. 

3 B.M. Royal MS. 4 D vii; see Wats, p. 108. 

4 Wats, p. no. 5 Wats, pp. 104-5. 
6 Wats, pp. 119 and 144. 7 Wats, p. 141. 

8 Wats, p. 102. 

187 



MATTHEW PARIS 

nobility of venerable persons in the convent; so that juniors of five 
years* standing held the foremost positions, and those [of the seniors] 
who had remained dared not mutter against his tyranny. 

A very similar tale is told of Abbot John de Cella, who, Matthew 
feared, would have to answer for his dictatorial conduct at the 
Last Judgement. 1 The account of his rule includes an interesting 
and detailed description of the attempt made by some of the 
monks to impose on the next abbot a signed agreement not to 
send monks away from St Albans against their wishes. 2 This in 
fact came to nothing, since the new abbot, William, although he 
had been foremost among the 'constitutionalists' during the 
vacancy, went back on his word ; and in this he was supported 
by the papal legate, who appeared in chapter to remind the 
monks of the duty of canonical obedience to their abbot, and 
tore up the offending document in front of them. 3 If his 
sympathy with the monks against their abbot has led Matthew 
to describe this struggle in such fascinating detail, his constitu- 
tional feelings also led him to record with unusual care the 
various abbatial elections of this period, and this interest in 
elections is another noteworthy feature of his section of the 
Gesta Abbatum. Concerning Warm's election in 1183 Matthew 
notes that he was opposed by William Martel, the sacrist, who 
complained that Warin (who in fact suffered only from a squint) 
was completely blind; but he goes on to state the good con- 
stitutional principle that 'the opinions of one could not affect 
the fixed intention of the many'. 4 William of Trumpington's 
election in 1214 prompted Matthew to record in detail a con- 
versation held afterwards among some of the monks, from which 
it was clear that the king had put pressure on the electors : * it was 
not only the will of God that was at work in this election', com- 
ments Matthew meaningly. 5 The importance he attached to 
elections is most apparent in that of John of Hertford in 1235, 
for he gives a long and detailed account of it, supported with 
a group of some twenty documents relating to it. 6 

1 Wats, p. 113. 2 Wats, pp. 111-12. 3 Wats, p. 115. 

4 Wats, p. 94. 5 Wats, p. 114. 

6 Wats, pp. 133-41 ; for more on Matthew's interest in abbatial elections, 
see Vaughan, Election of abbots at St Albans in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries', Proc. Camb. Antiq. Soc. XLVII (1954), PP- 1-12. 

188 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

Many of the characteristic features of Matthew's historical 
writings are apparent in the Gesta Abbatum. Besides the usual 
phrases, 1 play on words, 2 and quotations, 3 we find him airing his 
usual prejudices : Richard Marsh, Matthew says, was not elected 
to the bishopric of Durham, but intruded by the king; 4 the 
pope's ministers and servants are described as hanging about 
'waiting for gifts with gaping mouths'; 5 and King John is said 
to have been the greatest tyrant born of woman. 6 Matthew's 
rather cynical, embittered attitude towards the papacy is well 
reflected in his remarks about the damage done to the tower of 
the abbey church by lightning. He says: 7 . . .twice the abbey 
church was struck by lightning and set on fire .... And just as 
it is useless to rely on privileges and indulgences of the saints, 
so the impression of the papal seal. . .which was fixed to the 
summit of the tower, was useless against the lightning. . . .' 

In sum, Matthew's Gesta Abbatum, though very short in 
comparison with his Chronica Majora, is an important and fasci- 
nating work, characteristic of him, and full of human interest, 
which served as a model and inspiration to his successors, who 
continued it up to the first half of the fifteenth century. 

ii. THE 'VITAE OFFARUM' 

We have already shown that the Vitae Off arum is an authentic 
work of Matthew Paris, and that it was probably written c. 1250. 
I have included it here, among Matthew's contributions to the 
history of St Albans, because it is, in essence, a work of domestic 
interest. The Lives of the two Offas, Offa of Angel and OfFa of 
Mercia, are linked together by the promise of Offa I to found 
a monastery, and the eventual fulfilment of this promise by 
Offa II, in the foundation of St Albans. The real object of the 
Vitae Offarum is to describe and account for the foundation of 

1 Wats, p. 91, c ab alto trahens suspirium'; p. 103, 'libra rationis trutinare' 
(cf. p. 112, 'rationis trutina*); p. 115, *Ne prospera in huius mundi fluctibus 
impermixta eveniant' (cf. p. 40 above); etc. 

2 Wats, p. ii3/necvolonecvaleo*;pp. 121, i29/misertusacmiseratus',etc. 
8 E.g. at Wats, pp. 92, 107 and 117, all of which occur elsewhere in 

Matthew's writings. 4 Wats, p. no. 

5 Wats, p. 138. 6 Wats, p. 128. 

7 Wats, p. 142. 8 See above, pp. 41-8; and 89-90. 



MATTHEW PARIS 

St Albans ; to emphasize its antiquity and connexion with royalty ; 
and to whitewash the character of the founder, Offa of Mercia. 

Although Offa I is described as king of England, the account 
of him shows that Offa of Angel is really meant. Matthew 
describes how Warmund, king of the West Angles, had an only 
son, Offa, who was at first blind and dumb, but whose faculties 
were later miraculously restored to him, so that he was able to 
lead an army to defeat the rebels who had conspired to seize 
his rightful throne. So far Matthew's account of Offa I agrees, 
in the main, with the accounts of Offa of Angel given by Saxo 
Grammaticus and Sweyn Aageson, and alluded to in Widsith and 
Beowulf. 1 The rest of Matthew's account is taken up with the 
story of Offa's marriage to the daughter of the king of York; of 
the loss of his wife and children through trickery; and of his 
subsequent recovery of them. This seems to be derived from 
a folk-lore theme having no connexion with either Offa. 2 
Matthew closes his Life of Offa I with a paragraph describing 
his vow to found a monastery, which remained unfulfilled for 
many generations. 

The early part of the Life of Offa II is very similar to the 
early part of Matthew's account of his ancestor. Tuinfreth and 
Marcellina have a son, Pinefred, who is blind and deaf from 
birth. Remembering the story of Offa I, they pray for his cure, 
promising, on his behalf, that, if cured, he will found the 
monastery which Offa I had neglected to found. He is cured, 
and, having defeated the rebel tyrant Beornred who had expelled 
his father from the kingdom, he rules over Mercia with the name 
of Offa II; his father Tuinfreth having resigned the kingdom 
to him. Offa then marries the wicked Drida, who had been 
exiled from France, and, after a series of campaigns which he 
fought against rival English kings and against Marmodius, king 
of Wales, he makes peace with Charlemagne, who had been 
supporting his enemies in England. Offa then settles down to 
rule England; transfers the archiepiscopal see to Lichfield; and 
drives off the first Danish invaders of the country. Matthew 
then describes in detail the murder of Aethelbert, king of East 
Anglia, by Offa's wicked queen Drida; her death and the burial 

1 Chambers, Beowulf, pp. 31-40; and Wilson, Lost Literature of Medieval 
England, p. 10. 2 Wilson, Lost Literature, p. 12. 

190 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

of Aethelbert; and the Council of Chelsea. He then goes on to 
describe Offa's miraculous invention of St Alban; his journey 
to Rome in quest of privileges for the new house, and its founda- 
tion and endowment on his return; and he concludes with an 
account of the burial of Offa by the river Ouse near Bedford. 
The historical or quasi-historical matter used in the Vitae 
Offarum seems to derive entirely from Roger Wendover. It 
might be supposed that the matter common to the Vitae 
Offarum and Roger Wendover was derived independently in 
each of them from the same source, and that this source was 
a tract on the foundation of St Albans by Offa of Mercia. That 
such a tract existed seems probable from passages in William of 
Malmesbury and Henry of Huntingdon ; for the former mentions 
some of the details of the invention of St Alban by Offa, and 
the latter his gift of St Peter's Pence to Rome. 1 But the matter 
common to the Vitae Offarum and Roger Wendover includes 
more than just the account of the invention of St Alban and the 
foundation of St Albans. It includes, for instance, a description 
of the transference of the archiepiscopal see from Canterbury to 
Lichfield, the martyrdom of Aethelbert, the Council of Chelsea, 
the area ruled over by Offa, and the death and burial of Offa. 
It is not difficult to show that it was Roger Wendover who 
laboriously gathered together this material from various different 
sources, to incorporate it into his Flores Historiarum\ and that 
Matthew Paris, when he came to use it in the Vitae Offarum, 
took it directly from Roger's chronicle. 2 Compare, for instance, 
the following passages from the source, Roger Wendover's 
Flores Historiarum and Matthew Paris's Vitae Offarum: 

The source, Henry of Huntingdon? s 'Historia Anglorum\ z 

Adrianus papa misit legates in Brittanniam ad renovandam fidem 
quam praedicaverat Augustinus. Ipsi vero honorifice a regibus et 
populis suscepti, super fundamentum stabile aedificaverunt, pulchre 
Christi misericordia cooperante. Tenuerunt autem concilium apud 
Cealchide, ubi lambert dimisit pattern episcopatus sui. 

1 Hamilton (ed.), Gesta pontificum, p. 316; Arnold (ed.)> Historia Ang- 
lorum, pp. 123-4. 

2 Theopold, Kritische Untersuchungen uber die Quellen zur angelsdchsischen 
Geschichte des achten Jahrhunderts, pp. nyfl., provides detailed evidence in 
support of this conclusion. 3 Ed. T. Arnold, p. 128. 

191 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Roger Wendover. 1 

Adrianus papa legates misit in Britanniam ad fidem, quam 
Augustinus praedicaverat, renovandam. Ipsi vero a regibus cum clero 
et populo honorifice suscepti super stabile fidei fundamentum pulchre 
aedificaverunt, Christi gratia cooperante. Tenuerunt autem concilium 
apud Chalchuthe, ubi Lambertus, archiepiscopus Cantuariensis, 
partem sui episcopatus archiepiscopo Lichesfeldensi resignavit .... 

Matthew Paris, ' Vitae Offarum'* 

Adrianus papa 3 legates misit in Britanniam, ad fidem quam 
Augustinus episcopus praedicaverat, renovandam et confirmandam, 
qui et verbis et operibus sanctae doctrinae et virtutum, populos 
adhuc rudes salubriter informarent. Ipsi igitur a rege et clero 
honorifice ac reverenter suscepti, super stabile fidei catholicae funda- 
mentum, sane ac prudenter, Christi cooperante gratia, aedificaverunt. 
Ut hoc autem sapientius, rite prosequerentur, tenuerunt consilium 
apud Chalcuthe, ubi etiam Lambertus archiepiscopus Cantuariensis, 
partem sui episcopatus archiepiscopo Lichfeldensi, sponte quam 
postulaverat, resignavit. 

A comparison of these three extracts shows that Roger's 
account is taken, almost word for word, from Henry's, while 
Matthew, enlarging and embroidering in his usual way, has 
taken his account from Roger, not from Henry. A more detailed 
examination of the manuscripts enables us to discover which 
manuscript of Roger's Floras Historiarum Matthew used for the 
writing of the Vitae Off arum : it was his own text of the Chronica 
Major a, in A. In one place, for instance, Luard points out that 
A has ' totis ' wrongly for c toto ' . The manuscripts of Roger Wend- 
over and the source, William of Malmesbury's Gesta pontificum, 
have 'toto' correctly, but * totis ' is also the reading of the Vitae 
Offarum, though this is not pointed out by the editor of the 
Vitae, Wats, who has corrected it to toto ' without giving us the 
reading of his manuscript. 4 Elsewhere, too, Matthew copies 
into the Vitae Off arum A's erroneous reading of * dominus' for 
1 dictis ' of the other manuscripts. 5 

The only considerable piece of historical matter in the Vitae 
Off arum which is not from Roger Wendover is the account of 

1 CM. i, p. 352. z Wats, p. 25. 

3 'papa': erased in the manuscript and consequently not in Wats's text. 

4 CM. r, p. 345, note 3 ; Wats, p. 22 ; and Hamilton (ed.), Gesta ponti- 

y p. 1 6. 3 CM. I, p. 357, note i ; and Wats, p. 27. 

192 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

Offa's campaign against Marmodius, and of the building of his 
famous dyke. 1 We can only speculate on the nature of the source 
of this account. Rickert has shown that the Marmodius of the 
Vitae Offarum was probably the Maredudd of the Welsh 
sources, whose death is recorded in 796 ; 2 and the existence of 
Offa's dyke shows that Matthew's story of Offa's Welsh cam- 
paigns has some basis in history. A written source was probably 
used, and Rickert thought that this was a border tradition of 
some kind, perhaps a ballad. The story of Offa II's early life has 
evidently been adapted from that of Offa I ; and the account of 
Offa II's wicked queen, Drida, as well as her name, appears to 
have been transferred from Offa I, whose legendary wife was 
the valkyrie Thryth. Just as a folk tale was used in the account 
of Offa I's queen, so, in the case of Offa II, a folk tale was used 
to explain the origins of Drida, who is discovered set adrift in 
an open boat on account of her crimes in France. The most 
important legendary source used by Matthew in the Vitae 
Offarum was evidently an account of Offa I which may have 
been an Old English epic whose text actually survived at 
St Albans, or only a floating mass of verbal tradition. The 
source material is so skilfully woven together in the Vitae 
Offarum that it is impossible to unravel it in detail, but it seems 
that, besides the historical material he derived from Roger 
Wendover, Matthew used a number of rather shadowy sources 
which included an epic poem about Offa I (which he used, too, 
in his Life of Offa II), a border tradition concerning Offa and 
Marmodius, and two popular folk tales. 

The writing of the Vitae Offarum marks the last and most 
important stage in the development of the story of the founda- 
tion of St Albans, and later writers were content to copy it 
without further amplification. 3 Of the development of the story 
before the writing of the Vitae Offarum little can be ascertained; 
but, as we have seen, its core was very probably a tract describing 
Offa's miraculous discovery of the tomb of St Alban, and his 
subsequent foundation of a monastery on the spot. The next 

1 Wats, pp. 16-19. 

2 Rickert, ' Old English Offa Saga', Modern Philol. u (1904-5), p. 324; see 
her paper, too, for what follows. 

3 In part only, in B.M. Cotton MS. Vitellius Axx, ff. 67-70; in full in 
Bute MS. 3, ff. 50-91, and B.M. Cotton MS. Claudius E iv, ff. 84-97. 

13 193 



MATTHEW PARIS 

stage is marked by the anonymous author of the chronicle 
attributed to John of Wallingford. He knows more about Offa 
than was recorded in the tract on the foundation of St Albans, 
and he says : ' I have heard many other things worthy of record 
about this man [Offa], which, when their veracity is sufficiently 

ascertained, I hope, with God's help, to explain elsewhere ' l 

He does not, however, know 'the truth' about the murder of 
Aethelbert, a deed which he, in common with other chroniclers, 
attributes to Offa. In Roger Wendover's Flores Historiamm we 
have a more developed stage in the legend, for here Offa is 
explicitly exonerated from 'the only stain on his glory 5 , 2 and 
the murder is attributed to his wicked queen Drida. Finally, in 
the Vitae Offarum, Matthew systematically converts the story 
of Offa of Mercia into an eulogy of 'pius fundator noster'. He 
is made the hero of the first battle against the marauding Danes ; 3 
he is praised for his humility, piety, and munificence; 4 and 
he is represented as making good the defaults of his ancestor 
in restoring the kingdom to its former extent and fulfilling 
the vow made by Offa I. The merits of the first Offa as a 
military leader and as the subject of a remarkable miracle are 
attributed also to the second Offa; while the faults of the second 
Offa are attributed either to his ancestor or to his queen. The 
skill with which Matthew has used the contrasts and parallels 
between the two Offas is noteworthy, and the way in which he 
has built up his story and linked its various elements in a com- 
mon glorification of St Albans and its celebrated founder also 
reflects considerable literary talent. Matthew was not especially 
interested in historical research (he much preferred to concen- 
trate on the recording of contemporary events), but his imagina- 
tion seems to have been fired by the career of Offa, and his 
curiosity, spurred on, no doubt, by the design of glorifying his 
house, led him to piece together all the information he could 
obtain, both legendary and historical. The result is a largely 
fictitious work of value both for the legendary matter preserved 
in it and for the light it throws on Matthew's skill as a story-teller. 5 

1 Gale (ed.), Scriptores XV, p. 530. 

2 Ibid. 3 Wats, p. 22. * Wats, p. 19. 

5 A brief glance at the Vitae Off arum suffices to demonstrate Matthew's very- 
slight knowledge of history ; one of its many blunders is noticed above, p. 125. 

194 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 
III. DOMESTIC HAGIOLOGY 

Matthew's hagiological activities have been described in a pre- 
vious chapter, but something remains to be said about his work 
on the hagiology of his own house. By his time the legend of 
SS. Alban and Amphibalus was already fully developed : William 
of St Albans had written the definitive prose Passio before the 
end of the twelfth century, 1 and Ralph of Dunstable had 
followed with a verse rendering of this. Matthew, however, 
was keenly interested in domestic hagiology. It was he, as we 
have seen, who finally wrote up the story of the foundation of 
St Albans by Offa of Mercia, and turned William's Life of 
St Alban into Anglo-Norman verse. In the Chronica Major a 
and the Gesta Abbatum his concern with domestic hagiology is 
very apparent: he amplified the existing account of Abbot 
Geoffrey's translation of St Alban in 1129; he amplified Roger 
Wendover's account of the invention of St Amphibalus in 1 178 ; 
and he gave a detailed description of the discovery of St Alban's 
original tomb in 1 257.2 But his pursuit of the subject is best 
reflected in his own collection of material concerning SS. Alban 
and Amphibalus, which is now manuscript E i 40 in the library 
of Trinity College, Dublin. This book contains Ralph Dun- 
stable's verse Life of St Alban (ff . 3-20) ; William's prose Life 
(ff. 20-28 b); Matthew's own Anglo-Norman verse Life (ff. 29- 
50) ; eight lessons for the feast of the invention and translation of 
St Alban (ff. 5ob~52b); a tract on the invention and translation 
of St Alban (ff. 5 3-62 b and 68b-69b); part of a tract on the 
miracles wrought by the relics of St Amphibalus (ff . 73-7) ; copies 
of the St Albans foundation charters (ff. 63-8) ; and other frag- 
ments. The Lives of Ralph and William, Matthew's Anglo- 
Norman poem, and the tract on the miracles of Amphibalus 
are all written out by Matthew himself, in a neat, early hand, 
and seem to be the earliest surviving examples of his hand- 
writing. 

Matthew has provided marginal rubrics for the texts of 
Ralph's and William's Lives, and he has also added, in the 
margins or between the lines of Ralph's verse Life, a number of 

1 Acta SS. Boll. June, IV, pp. 149 ff. 

2 Wats, pp. 59-61; CM. n, pp. 301-7; and v, p. 608. 

195 13-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

alternative readings in his characteristic manner. Thus, where 
Ralph has the words 'Dulcis amor', Matthew writes, above the 
word 'amor', *vel honor'; and elsewhere he writes 'vel futu- 
rabant' in the margin with reference to the line: * Ista figurabant 
scemate quodque suo.' 1 This is typical of him, and his treatment 
of William's prose Life is equally characteristic. Besides the 
addition of many marginal comments, often in red with a blue 
paragraph marker, he makes one or two explanatory comments 
in the margins in his usual manner. One of the more curious of 
his marginalia is on f. 22, where we read in a later hand con- 
trasting strangely with the young man's hand of the text: 'Hoc 
de libro Johannis Mansel: Erat [i.e. St Alban] nanque [sic] dux 
et magister militie tocius Britannie.' What this book was I have 
not been able to ascertain; but John Mansel was a leading 
councillor of Henry III, who figures prominently in the Chronica 
Major a^ and whom Matthew probably knew personally. Another 
curious marginal note, reflecting Matthew's interest in etymo- 
logies, occurs on f . 25 b : 4 Hoc apud Lichefeld euenit. Inde 
Lichfeld dicitur quasi campus cadauerum. Lich enim Anglice 
cadauer siue corpus mortui dicitur.' 

Matthew evidently took some trouble to furnish himself with 
a corpus of hagiographical material relating to his own house, 
and he was interested enough to work over his material and to 
suggest alternative readings, to add something here and there or 
to explain some obscurity, and even to correct his own text; for 
on f . 25 b he provides in the margin a line which he had at first 
carelessly omitted. It is worth noting, however, that he does not 
tamper with his source material as he does in his historical 
writings, for his text of William's life is copied accurately and 
preserved intact, the suggestions and comments being relegated 
to the margins. It seems that this is not to be explained on the 
assumption that he had more respect for his hagiological sources 
than for his historical ones, but rather because he wrote these 
lives while still a comparatively young man, and before he had 
developed his itch for alteration and improvement. 

One of the tracts in this manuscript, also written by Matthew 
himself, describes the miracles wrought by the relics of St 
Amphibalus after their translation by Abbot William of Trump- 
1 T.C.D. MS. E i 40 ff. 10 and 4. 

196 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

ington in I22O. 1 This must have been written after Abbot 
William's death in 1235, since he is referred to in the prologue 
as 'venerabilis memorie'. There is every reason to suppose that 
Matthew was the author, as well as the scribe, of this little tract. 
In the first place, there are some striking parallels between its 
prologue and the account of the translation of St Amphibalus 
in the Gesta Abbatum, this part of which we know to have 
been written by Matthew Paris. For instance, in the tract the 
feretory is said to have been moved (f. 73) 'de loco ubi antea 
collocatum fuerat, scilicet juxta magnum altare sancti Albani, 
ad locum ubi nunc positum est in medio videlicet ecclesie. . .', 
while according to the Gesta Abbatum 2 it was moved ' a loco ubi 
prius collocatum fuerat, videlicet secus majus altare juxta fere- 
trum sancti Albani, a parte aquilonari usque ad locum qui in 
medio ecclesie includitur'. Secondly, a number of phrases 
commonly used by Matthew Paris in his historical writings are 
to be found in this tract. For instance: 

f . 73 : dignum duximus commendare 
f. 74: temporis. . .evoluto curriculo 

misertus ac miseratus 
f. 74 b: torvo vultu 
f . 75 b : dignum memoria censemus recolendum 

The fact that this tract was probably composed, as well as 
written, by Matthew Paris throws further light on his interests. 
It seems that, in his early years, Matthew was much concerned 
with domestic hagiology, and we may surmise that the compila- 
tion of this manuscript, perhaps mainly in the years before 
c. 1235-40, reflects his early absorption in domestic matters. 
It was not till later, it seems, that Matthew embarked on a 
general history of his house, and on the recording of events in 
the world at large. 

Of the other tracts in Trinity College, Dublin, manuscript 
E i 40, the most noteworthy is that on the invention and transla- 
tion of St Alban, for this contains a long interpolation about 
King Offa written by Matthew himself, apparently fairly late in 
his life. The first part of the text of this tract, together with the 

1 Ff. 73-7 ; imperfect at the end: the only known copy. 

2 Wats, p. 122. 

197 



MATTHEW PARIS 

interpolation, is written out by Matthew in his Liber Addita- 
mentorum, and it has been copied thence into the Dublin manu- 
script by the scribe whom Matthew employed to write those 
parts of it not written by himself. 1 This interpolation, though 
based on the account of King Offa in the Chronica Majora, 
contains a reference to the Vitae Off arum: 'prout plenius in 
historia de Offa rege scripta continetur'. 2 Though Matthew 
evidently hoped to incorporate this interpolation into the 
* official' text of the tract on the foundation of St Albans, it is not 
in fact to be found in either of the later copies which survive. 3 
It is noteworthy, both in connexion with his known interest in 
King Offa, and as showing that, later in life at any rate, 4 he was 
quite prepared to interpolate passages written by himself into 
his source material, even when this consisted of a venerable and 
quasi-official account of the foundation of his own house. 

IV. THE RELICS OF ST ALBAN 

In the course of the early part of the Gesta Abbatwn there are 
a number of passages concerning the relics of St Alban which 
seem to have been interpolated into the text of Adam the 
Cellarer's roll by Matthew Paris, for they interrupt the narrative, 
and contain phrases or quotations typical of Matthew. The 
clumsiest of these interpolations 5 describes the pious fraud of 
Abbot Alfric of St Albans, who, fearing that the precious relics of 
St Alban might fall a prey to the marauding Danes, walled them 
up under the altar of St Nicholas, and, to 'make assurance 
double sure', sent the bones of a certain 'holy monk' to Ely for 
safe keeping, giving out that they were the genuine relics of 
St Alban. The threatened invasion, however, never took place, 
owing to the drowning of the Danish king which was mira- 
culously revealed to King Edward the Confessor as he was 
attending mass one day at Westminster. As soon as the danger 

1 Ff. 27b-29b of the Liber Additamentorum ; fT. 5 3-62 b and 68b-69b of 
the Dublin manuscript. The scribe left Matthew to fill in the proper names. 

2 Dublin manuscript, f. s8b. 

3 Bute MS. 3, ff. 34 ff.; B.M. Cotton MS. Claudius E iv, ff, 40 ff. 

4 It refers to the Vitae Off arum which was probably written c. 1250; and 
it is written, in the Liber Additamentorum, in an untidy, straggly, and there- 
fore probably late, hand. 5 Wats, pp. 43-4. 

198 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

was over, Alfric sent to Ely to demand the return of the relics, 
which had been there almost a year. The monks of Ely, however, 
determined to keep so precious a treasure, returned, not the 
bones which they had been sent, but another set. Alfric, when 
he received them, realized at once that the Ely monks were trying 
to catch him in just the pious trap he had so successfully set for 
them; but, to avoid scandal, he pretended to accept these bones 
as the genuine relics of the saint, while secretly recovering the 
real relics from the altar of St Nicholas, and placing them in 
a shrine in the centre of the church. The Ely monks kept their 
set of bones, firmly believing them to be those of St Alban. The 
story ends with the statement that King Edward was furious 
when he heard of the pretences of the Ely monks, but that he 
died before he had time to take action. 

Abbot Alfric of St Albans actually ruled from c. 970 until 990, 
when he became bishop of Ramsbury. In 995 he was made 
archbishop of Canterbury, and he died in 1005. His brother, 
Leofric, succeeded him as abbot of St Albans in 990, and ruled 
at least until 1007. According to the Gesta Abbatum, Leofric was 
succeeded by Leofstan, who died in 1066. In Matthew's auto- 
graph copy of the Gesta Abbatum the names Alfric and Leofric in 
the headings to the section of text concerning each abbot have 
been transposed, so that the account of Alfric's abbacy is headed 
Leofric, and that of Leofric's is headed Alfric. Owing to this 
error, Leofric was recorded as later becoming archbishop of 
Canterbury. Now Matthew knew quite well that it was Alfric 
and not Leofric who became archbishop, but, presumably 
because the names of the abbots did not occur in the accounts 
of their respective abbacies (except in the opening sentence), he 
was unaware of the mistaken transposition of their names. He 
therefore tried to put matters right by erasing the statement, 
under Leofric, to the effect that this abbot later became arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and substituting a remark to the effect 
that Leofric, elected archbishop of Canterbury, refused to accept 
the honour, asserting that his brother Alfric was more worthy 
of it. 1 In the course of the story of Abbot Alfric and the relics 
of St Alban, which is added to the account of Leofric's abbacy, 
wrongly headed Alfric, the abbot's name, Alfric, is mentioned 
1 Wats, p. 42; see the Liber Additamentorum, f. 3 2 a. 

199 



MATTHEW PARIS 

several times, a fact which proves that this story was inter- 
polated by someone who did not suspect the error of the trans- 
position of the abbots' names. It is found in Matthew's auto- 
graph manuscript, and we know that Matthew did not suspect 
the error of transposition. It is therefore highly probable that 
it was Matthew who inserted the story of Alfric and the relics 
into the text of the Gesta Abbatum. It is worth noting, in this 
connexion, that a quotation occurs in the course of this story 
which is also used in the Chronica Majora?- and that Matthew 
describes, in his Edward, the king's vision during mass mentioned 
in this story. 

This story of the pretended transference of the relics from 
St Albans to Ely has many absurd features: indeed it seems to 
be a mere clumsy fabrication. Matthew evidently knew that it 
referred to an Abbot Alfric, and therefore inserted it under 
Alfric \ and he must have invented the references to Edward the 
Confessor in an attempt to give the story some kind of historical 
context. There can be little doubt that the Ely claims to possess 
the relics of St Alban did originate in the actions of an Abbot 
Alfric of St Albans; but the Ely story is very different from 
Matthew's. According to the Liber Eliensis, this part of which 
was written about the middle of the twelfth century, an Abbot 
Egfrid of St Albans, who was a nominee of Stigand, fled to Ely 
from St Albans on the deposition of his patron in 1070, taking 
with him some of the relics of St Alban. 2 John of Tynemouth, 
in the first half of the fourteenth century, repeats this story, 
which he says he took from a book he found at Ely ; but he calls 
the abbot in question Alfric, and adds that when the new abbot of 
St Albans, Paul, supported by William the Conqueror, demanded 
the return of the relics, the Ely monks sent back a false set. 3 

There is, of course, no difficulty in deciding on the relative 
merits of these two stories. The Ely account and the version 
recorded by John of Tynemouth is fuller and evidently more 
accurate than that in the Liber Eliensis is far more credible; 
and it seems clear that the St Albans story of Alfric's trick has 

1 Ovid, Metam. in, 5, and ix, 408; CM. ni, p. 249. 

2 Stewart (ed.)> Liber Eliensis, p. 227. 

3 Horstmann (ed.), Nova Legenda Anglic, I, p. 36. This story is also found 
in B.IVL Cotton MS. Claudius E iv, f. 45 b, in a St Albans tract on the * false 
opinions * of the Ely monks, written at the end of the fourteenth century. 

2OO 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

been fabricated as a counter to the more authentic Ely story. 
Other passages seem to have been interpolated by Matthew in 
the Gesta Abbatum with a similar end in view. He inserts, for 
instance, into Adam the Cellarer's account of Abbot Robert's 
rule, 1 a description of how, while he was in Rome, Abbot Robert 
induced his old friend Nicholas Breakspear, then pope, to 
appoint a panel of bishops to inquire into the Ely monks' claim 
to possess the genuine relics of St Alban. This commission is 
said to have taken evidence on oath from twelve senior Ely 
monks, who admitted that they did not possess the relics. There 
is little doubt that this story has been invented, no doubt in an 
attempt to meet the claims of Ely to possess the relics. Two 
documents of Adrian IV, dating from 1156, mention the fact that 
St Alban's bones were at St Albans, as if this was generally 
known and undisputed; 2 there is no evidence, apart from this 
account, that the investigation ever took place; and it seems 
most unlikely that the Ely monks would have admitted that 
their claims were false, even under oath. 

We must now interrupt our discussion in order to describe 
another incident in the curious history of the relics of St Alban, 
this time quite certainly recorded by Matthew Paris. 3 According 
to this story, a party of Danes, at the time of their invasions of 
England, carried off the bones of St Alban and took them to the 
Benedictine monastery of Odense. The bones were, however, 
later recovered by an enterprising monk of St Albans called 
Egwin. He entered the monastery of Odense, was made a monk 
there, and, after several years, was at last promoted to the post at 
which he had been aiming, that of sacristan. As sacristan he 
had charge of the relics, and it was a comparatively simple matter 
for him to choose a dark night, creep down to the feretory, and 
bore a hole through it. He removed the bones of the saint 
through this hole, and covered up his traces by filling it in 
carefully. He then put the bones in a box especially prepared 
for the purpose, and kept them under his bed until he found 
a merchant who agreed to convey what Egwin ingenuously 

1 See above, p. 184. 

2 Holtzmann (ed.) Papsturkunden in England, m, nos. 100 and 102. 

8 He tells us so himself. The story is described on ff. 2,5 b-26b of the Liber 
Additamentorum, and printed in GA. I, pp. 12 ff. 

2O I 



MATTHEW PARIS 

described as 'a parcel of books' to the abbey of St Albans. The 
chest was joyfully received by the abbot and brethren, and the 
merchant presently returned to Denmark with news of its safe 
delivery. Once Egwin knew that his task at Odense was accom- 
plished, he went to the abbot and complained of homesickness, 
brought on by advancing age. The unsuspecting abbot, taking 
pity on the English sacrist, who, after years of faithful service, 
wished once more to see his native land, gave him leave to 
return. Matthew ends his account with a list of his informants 
a group of St Albans men who had been in the service of the 
king of Denmark. 

Although this story is not to be found in the text of the Gesta 
Abbatum, a marginal reference shows that Matthew meant it 
to be inserted into the account of Wlnoth's abbacy during the 
middle years of the ninth century. In spite of Matthew's blunder 
over its date, the story has a core of truth behind it. The Vita et 
Passio S. Canuti, written early in the twelfth century by the 
Englishman Aelnoth, describes how Cnut removed some of the 
relics of St Alban from England, and deposited them in the 
newly founded monastery of Odense in Denmark. 1 There is 
early evidence for the dedication of the church at Odense to 
St Alban, since the Chronicon Roskildense records the martyrdom 
of Cnut in the church of St Alban there; 2 and the cult of 
St Alban even survived into the present century, for W. R. L. 
Lowe found a 'St Albans Mineral Water Manufactory', a 
pleasure steamer called 'St Alban', and a 'St Albans Market' 
there, 3 Cnut was in England in 1070 and 1075, but in 1075 he 
achieved only a fleeting pillage of York minster. In 1070 he was 
actually at Ely, and took part in the sack of the neighbouring 
monastery of Peterborough. Cnut, in fact, almost certainly 
removed some relics of St Alban from England in 1070, and the 
house whence he removed them was evidently not St Albans, 
but Ely. Matthew's story of the recovery of the relics by Egwin 
is probably due to a confusion with Hugo Candidus's account 
of the recovery by Ywar, the sacrist of Peterborough, of the 

1 Langebek (ed.), Scriptores rerum Damcarum, in, pp. 368-72. 
* Chronicon Roskildense (ed. M. C. Gertz) in Scriptores minores historiae 
Danicae, i, p. 24; see also J0rgensen, Helgendyrkelse i Danmark, pp. 17 ff. 
3 Lowe, 'The cult of St. Alban abroad', Hertfordshire Post, 13 July 1910. 

202 



MATTHEW PARIS THE DOMESTIC HISTORIAN 

relics of St Oswald, 1 which had been removed from Peter- 
borough by Cnut in 1070, and likewise taken to Odense. 2 No 
doubt Matthew's informants assumed that the monastery con- 
cerned was St Albans, because the relics, or some of them at any 
rate, were those of St Alban. 

There is no sign, in the Gesta Abbatum, of the Ely story of an 
abbot of St Albans called Alfric (or Egfrid) fleeing to Ely in 1070 
with the precious relics of St Alban. Instead Matthew Paris 
describes the flight of the first post-Conquest abbot, Fretheric, 
to Ely in 1077, as a result of his enmity with William the Con- 
queror, and explicitly states that he went by leave of his convent 
with only a few books, some clothing, and other necessaries 3 
a remark which shows that this part of the account of Abbot 
Fretheric was written with the express design of combating the 
Ely claims to possess the relics. The story of Abbot Fretheric's 
flight to Ely is almost as absurd as that of Abbot Alfric' s pious 
fraud, for it is most unlikely that an abbot of St Albans would, 
were he really hostile to William the Conqueror, have remained 
abbot until as late as 1077, and then fled to Ely. On the other 
hand, we have already seen that there is much to be said for the 
Ely account of what happened. The reason there given for the 
flight of the abbot of St Albans to Ely, that he was a nominee of 
Stigand, seems to be the true one, for we know that, among other 
benefices, Stigand held the abbey of St Albans on the eve of the 
Conquest. 4 Furthermore, Domesday Book records that, at the 
time of the Conquest, Stigand was in control of at least two of 
the abbot of St Albans's manors. 5 The truth seems to have been 
that Leofstan, who died in 1065, was succeeded as abbot of 
St Albans by a nominee of Stigand's called Alfric; that this 
Alfric left St Albans for the safe recesses of Ely on the deposition 
of his patron in 1069 or 1070; and that he was succeeded at 
St Albans by Fretheric. It seems clear that Alfric did take some 
of the relics of St Alban with him to Ely, and that some of these 
were soon afterwards removed by Cnut to Denmark. 

1 Mellows (ed.), Chronicle of Hugo Candidus, p. 82. 

2 In later times the church at Odense claimed to possess relics of St Oswald 
as well as of St Alban; Lowe, * Cult of St Alban abroad', loc. cit. 

3 Wats, p. 49. 

4 Stewart (ed.), Liber Eliensis, p. 219. 

5 Victoria County History, Herts, iv, p. 372, note 61. 

203 



MATTHEW PARIS 

We cannot perhaps be sure that Matthew Paris alone was 
responsible for the various stories devised at St Albans to 
explain away, and demonstrate the falsity of, Ely's claims to 
possess the relics of St Alban. Nor can we always distinguish 
between what is due to deliberate falsification, and what to 
ignorance. It is clear, however, that there was a certain amount 
of conscious fabrication, and that much of it was the work of 
Matthew Paris. He seems to have suppressed altogether from 
the history of his house the offending Abbot Alfric, and to have 
tried to account for the Ely story of the flight of an abbot of 
St Albans to their house, by making out that it was another 
abbot, Fretheric, who had fled, some years later, and for a quite 
different reason, to Ely, and without taking any relics with him. 
But it was not enough merely to account for the story of the 
flight of an abbot to Ely: the existence of the Ely monks' claims 
had still to be explained. And so, it seems, Matthew fabricated 
the story of the pious fraud of Abbot Alfric, which had the merit 
of explaining how the Ely claims had originated, and yet showing 
them to be false. The story related by Matthew, of the recovery 
of the relics from Denmark by Egwin, was probably not the 
result of deliberate falsification on his part, for it seems likely 
that he was ignorant of Cnut's removal of St Alban' s and other 
relics from Ely, and that he merely recorded the story as it was 
told him by his informants, and guessed that it referred to the 
first period of Danish invasion in England, the ninth century. 
His treatment of the history of St Alban's relics seems to have 
been inspired far more by devotion to his house than by any 
regard for historical accuracy, and we need not be surprised to 
find that he was prepared to use his literary skill and fertile 
imagination in order to substantiate the claims of his own house 
to possess the relics of its patron saint, at the expense of historical 
truth and even to the extent of deliberately inventing * facts * and 
of suppressing one abbot entirely from the records. 



204 



CHAPTER XI 

MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

SIR Frederick Madden was one of the first to draw attention 
to MatthewParis's artistic work. He attributed the drawings 
in the historical manuscripts to Matthew, as well as some 
of those in British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vii and Royal 
MS. 2 B vi. 1 Sir Thomas Duffus Hardy, however, supposed 
that the drawings enumerated by Madden were the work of 
several different hands, one of which might have been Matthew's, 
and he remarked, in particular, that the drawings of the elephant, 
made in or soon after 1255, were much too vigorous in execution 
to be the work of Matthew Paris, who must by then have been 
an old man. 2 It is curious that, whereas in the controversy over 
the identification of Matthew's handwriting later scholars fol- 
lowed the sceptical Hardy rather than Madden, on the problem 
of the identification of his drawings and paintings they have 
tended to follow Madden. Thus both Harry Fett and A. Lind- 
blom accepted Madden 5 s attribution of the drawings in the 
historical manuscripts to Matthew. Fett also attributed the 
paintings in Cambridge University Library MS. Ee iii 59 
(Edward) to Matthew, but Lindblom disagreed about this, 
though he thought that the illustrated Apocalypse in Trinity 
College, Cambridge, as well as some of the paintings in British 
Museum Royal MS. z A xxii, might have been executed by 
Matthew. 3 These two scholars engaged in a controversy over 
Matthew's position in the development of Norwegian art in the 
Middle Ages. Both agreed that a panel painting of St Peter 
formerly at Faaberg was very closely connected with Matthew 
Paris, and was perhaps his own work, but Fett thought that 
a number of other paintings in Norway showed the influence of 
Matthew Paris, and regarded him as the father of medieval art 

1 HA, in, pp. xlviii- xlix, especially p. xlviii, notes 3 and 4. 

2 Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, m, pp. Ixx-lxxii; for one of the drawings, 
see below, Plate xxi (a). 

3 Lindblom, Peinture gothique en Suede et en Norvege, pp. 128-32 and 184. 
He sums up the controversy between himself and Fett, with references. 

205 



MATTHEW PARIS 

in Norway. Lindblom contested this strongly, and maintained 
that Matthew's influence was only apparent in the Faaberg 
St Peter, and that in any case this was not important for the 
subsequent development of painting in Norway. He made some 
interesting remarks about Matthew's style, which he thought 
rather conservative, especially in the treatment of drapery by 
means of short, rather stylized folds. In 1916 and 1917 W. R. 
Lethaby contributed a series of articles on ' English Primitives' 
to the Burlington Magazine. He too followed Madden in attri- 
buting the marginal and other drawings in the historical manu- 
scripts to Matthew himself, and he thought that the Faaberg 
St Peter was very likely a painting executed by Matthew and 
taken over to Norway by him. He noticed that the drapery in 
this painting is decorated with groups of three red dots charac- 
teristic of Matthew, and that the parallel lines across the sleeves, 
so typical of Matthew's drawings, occurred in it. 1 

A great advance was made in the study of Matthew's artistic 
works during the years after the Great War. In 1920 the Rox- 
burghe Club brought out a facsimile edition of Cambridge 
University Library MS. Ee iii 59 (Edward), the paintings in 
which are similar in some respects to those attributed by 
Madden to Matthew Paris. In 1924, Lowe and Jacob published 
a facsimile of Matthew's illustrated autograph Alban in Trinity 
College., Dublin, MS. E i 40; and finally, in 1926, the Walpole 
Society published excellent collotype reproductions of nearly 
all the important drawings and paintings attributed to Matthew 
Paris and not already published. The presiding genius behind 
this work was M. R. James, for it was he who wrote the intro- 
ductions to all three of these important facsimile editions. 
Although he nowhere committed himself to a definite statement, 
James made it clear that he thought the drawings in the manu- 
scripts of the Chronica Major a and the Historia Anglorum (A, B, 
and R), a number of those in the Liber Additamentorum, as well as 
those in the Trinity College, Dublin, manuscript of Alban, had 
a very strong claim to be the work of Matthew himself; and he 
thought that the paintings in British Museum MS. Royal 
aAxxii, and the Faaberg St Peter, were at any rate very 
closely connected with him. He attributed two of the drawings 

1 Lethaby in Burlington Magazine, xxxi (1917), p. 193. 
2O6 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

in British Museum MS. Cotton Julius D vii to Matthew Paris 
or his school, and also those in the surviving leaves of the 
illustrated copy of Matthew's Thomas. He believed that Mat- 
thew had perhaps designed the illustrations in the Cambridge 
Edward, but did not himself execute them; nor did he think that 
Madden was right in attributing the paintings in British Museum 
Royal MS. 2 B vi to Matthew Paris. 1 

Subsequent historians of art have usually based their discussion 
of Matthew Paris on the work of James. Millar, for instance, 
followed James, and so did Borenius and Tristram. 2 The latter 
pointed out that the Faaberg St Peter is painted on oak, whereas 
indigenous Norwegian paintings of similar date are invariably 
on pine: an additional reason for believing that this painting 
was taken over to Norway by Matthew Paris. Saunders thought 
that Matthew probably had several monks working under or 
with him, and that many of the drawings attributed to Matthew 
were not actually his. 3 Hermannsson, in his book on medieval 
Icelandic manuscripts published in 1935, pointed out that 
certain thirteenth-century drawings in Icelandic manuscripts 
may well have been influenced by Matthew Paris via Norway ; 4 
but this seems to be doubtful, for thirteenth-century line 
drawings from different countries are apt to be similar in style 
Lethaby, for instance, drew attention to the similarity 
between Matthew's drawings and those of Villard of Honne- 
court. 5 The only important addition to the corpus of artistic 
material attributed to Matthew Paris by James was made by 
Professor Wormald in 1943. He discovered that Bodleian MS. 
Ashmole 304, a collection of fortune-telling tracts which will 
demand our attention in the next chapter, contained a number 
of drawings, as well as some diagrams of spheres containing 

1 See James, ' Drawings of Matthew Paris', Walpole Society , xiv (1925-6), 
pp. 1-3 ; Illustrations to the Life of St Alban, p. 18 ; and Estoire de St Aedward 
le Rei, pp. 32-4. 

* Millar, English Illuminated Manuscripts, pp. 56-60; and Borenius and 
Tristram, English Medieval Painting, pp. 9 and 13, who reproduce the 
Faaberg painting, Plate 26. s Saunders, English Illumination, I, p. 75. 

4 Hermannsson, Icelandic Illuminated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages, p . i o. 

5 Lethaby in Burlington Magazine, xxxi, p. 234; see also Kurth, *M. Paris 
and Villard de Honnecourt', ibid. LXXXI (1942), pp. 227-8. 

8 Wormald, 'More M. Paris drawings', Walpole Soc. xxxi (1942-3), 
pp. 109 ff. 

207 



MATTHEW PARIS 

animals etc., which were identical in style with the drawings 
attributed to Matthew Paris, and he concluded that these 
drawings, as well as those in the nine manuscripts mentioned 
by James, 'can be with good reason ascribed to his [Matthew's] 
hand'. 1 Wormald put forward a tentative chronology of Mat- 
thew's paintings : he thought that the Offa illustrations in the 
Liber Additamentorum may have been executed before the draw- 
ings in the Ashmole manuscript, and that the Alban illustrations 
in the Trinity College, Dublin, manuscript were probably later. 
In 1944 Hollaender published a detailed account of the illustra- 
tions in the Chetham Library manuscript of the Flores His- 
toriarum, together with reproductions of them all. He thought 
that occasionally Matthew himself personally collaborated in 
the designing of this series of pictures depicting the coronations 
of English kings. 2 

The most recent discussion of Matthew Paris as an artist 
appeared in 1954, in Miss Rickert J s book on medieval English 
painting. 3 As a result of a ' careful stylistic analysis ' (which was 
unfortunately not included in her book), based on the famous 
painting of the Virgin and Child which prefaces British Museum 
Royal MS. 14 C vii (R), she attributed the following paintings 
and drawings to Matthew Paris himself: 

(1) British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii: Virgin and Child. 

(2) Heads on p. 283 of A 4 

(3) Head of Christ on f. 49 b of B. 

(4) All the drawings and some of the tinting in the Dublin 
Alban ('perhaps Matthew Paris's earliest work'). 

(5) 'Some original sketches for marginal drawings' in A 
andB. 

Rickert also described the work of two assistants of Matthew 
Paris. The first of these, she claimed, executed 'at least a part' 
of the drawings in the Cambridge Edward, and the five tinted 
drawings in British Museum Royal MS. 2 Axxii. According 
to Rickert, this artist has ' richer decorative detail, more pains- 

1 Wormald, ' More Matthew Paris drawings ', loc. cit. p. 109 ; see also p. 1 12. 

2 Hollaender, * Pictorial work in the Flares Historiarum', Bulletin of the 
John Ry lands Library, xxvm (1944), p. 378. 

3 Rickert, Painting in Britain^ pp. 119-20. 

4 * Fol. 281 ', Rickert, Painting in Britain^ p. 119, in error. She is doubtful 
of this attribution; p. 134, note 63. 

208 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

taking execution, and less convincing figure modelling 5 than 
Matthew Paris. The second of these assistants, thought Rickert, 
executed the marginal paintings in A and B, 'which, with their 
text, may have been added later than the original writing'. 
Rickert described this artist's style as very close to Matthew's, 
and went on to say that he used a linear formula which gives 
the pictures a monotonous sameness in figure types'. She 
thought that some of the marginal drawings in A and B were 
'certainly' by the Franciscan, Brother William. 

Not one of these studies can be accepted as definitive, for 
each scholar has voiced his or her opinion on the subject of 
Matthew's artistic works without publishing the detailed 
stylistic analysis on which such opinions must be based. More- 
over, as we have seen, there is a very large measure of disagree- 
ment among scholars as to the works actually executed by 
Matthew Paris. I hope, therefore, that the reader will forgive 
my examining in detail the evidence for the authorship of these 
paintings and drawings, and forgive, too, a rather detailed but, 
as I think, necessary attempt to describe the salient features of 
Matthew's artistic style. 

It is quite certain that Matthew Paris was an artist, for we 
have both his own and Thomas Walsingham's word for this. 
Walsingham tells us that Matthew 'wrote and most elegantly 
illustrated the Lives of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, and of 
Thomas and Edmund, archbishops of Canterbury'; 1 and that 
he 'provided many books [for the monastery] written in his 
own and other hands, in which his excellence in both learning 
and painting is clear enough'. 2 Matthew himself refers to 'the 
book about St Thomas the Martyr and St Edward which 
I translated and illustrated'. 3 We have already noticed his keen 
interest in artistic matters in connexion with the Gesta Abbatum, 
and it only remains to add here that in the Liber Additamentorum 
he has inserted a treatise written and illustrated by himself on 
the rings and gems of his house, 4 and a list of the paintings and 
other works of art executed by Richard the Painter during the 

1 Above, p. ig. 

2 B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D vii, f. 51 a. 3 Above, p. 170. 

4 Oman, 'Jewels of St Albans Abbey*, Burlington Magazine, LVII (1930), 
pp. 8 1-2, where it is reproduced in facsimile. 

14 209 VHP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

years i2^.i-~^o. 1 These are valuable both in themselves and for 
the light they throw on Matthew's artistic interests. 

Some, at any rate, of the books which Matthew himself 
provided for his house still contain an inscription in his own 
hand recording the gift. Since these are the books on which, in 
later times, his reputation at St Albans as an artist evidently in 
a large measure depended, we may begin our discussion with 
them. Of the four manuscripts whose inscriptions survive, one, 
Cambridge University Library MS. Dd xi 78, contains no 
drawings or illustrations of any kind, and may therefore be 
omitted from the present discussion. The others are : 2 

(1) The Liber Additamentorum, B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D i. 

(2) R, B.M. Royal MS. 14 C vii. 

(3) JS, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16. 

A fourth illustrated manuscript ought undoubtedly to be added 
to these: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26 (A). 
Although no inscription survives in this book, it was, as we have 
seen, at first written as part of B. Furthermore, in R Matthew 
refers to the last part of the text of his Chronica Majora (1254-9) 
as "the third volume', 3 which shows that he thought of it as 
divided between three separate volumes, A, B and R. Now it is 
hardly likely that he would have given Volumes II and in 
to St Albans, and not Volume i; and I conclude, therefore, 
that A was among the manuscripts provided by him for his 
house, and that it formerly had an inscription similar to those 
in 5, R, and the Liber Additamentorum. It seems, then, that the 
books to which Walsingham refers as provided by Matthew for 
his house, and 'written in his own and other hands', included 
A, JS, R, and the Liber Additamentorum^ as well as perhaps some 
others either lost or unidentified. Three of these books are 
almost entirely autograph, and were presumably regarded as 
Matthew's private property until he handed them over to his 
house; and if we take into account his known artistic skill, there 
is a strong prima facie case for supposing that Matthew was 
also responsible for the artistic work in these manuscripts. 

1 CM. vi, pp. 202-3. 

2 The inscriptions are reproduced in Vaughan, ' Handwriting of M. Paris ', 
Trans. Canib. BibL Soc. i (1953), Plate xix. 

3 CM. V, p. 483, note 3 ; p. 544, note i ; p. 604, note i ; and p. 675, note 2. 

2IO 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

The aesthetic features of these four manuscripts support this 
conclusion. In all of them the same sense of colour in decorative 
detail is apparent. Blue paragraph markers and rubric lettering 
are skilfully employed in the margins to give the whole page 
a colourful effect, and marginalia are frequently enclosed with 
coloured lines, to which a narrow strip of green or brown tint is 
often added. Even the quire numbers are beautifully executed 
in red and blue. All this, to judge from the writing, is the work 
of Matthew himself; and the system of reference signs, too, 
which is used in these manuscripts, is due to him. 1 Sometimes 
these signa take a pictorial form such as we should expect from 
an artist: we find in one place a fish, in another a stag's head. 2 
Elsewhere the two halves of an animal's body are used, the 
reader being referred, at a point in the manuscript where the 
hind half of the body is drawn, to another leaf, where the fore 
half is to be found. 3 It is but a short step from these reference 
signs to the conventional pictorial signs which Matthew freely 
uses in the margins of his historical manuscripts. These con- 
ventional signs are so closely related to the text of the chronicle 
that it would be difficult to attribute them to a hand other than 
Matthew's. The commonest of them are shields, often inserted 
reversed to mark the death of the bearer; mitres and croziers to 
mark the death and accession of bishops; crowns; and docu- 
ments with a pendent seal. But we find also hands, crossbows, 
swords, heads, a bell, and so on, each figure symbolizing or 
representing an event described in the text. In one place two 
hands clasped together in the margin represent a wedding; and 
in another a hand reaching down from Heaven to a crowned 
head represents Henry Ill's narrow escape from an assassin at 
Woodstock. 4 No hard and fast line can be drawn between these 
pictorial representations and the more complex ones which 
might properly be called 'marginal illustrations' ; and a number 
of the drawings in the margins of these manuscripts reproduced 
by James are really only symbolical representations of events 
rather than actual drawings of them. We may draw attention, 

1 See above, pp. 65 ff. 

2 Liber Additamentorum, f. 63 b andl?, f. 1 86 (James, c Drawings of M. Paris ', 
Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), no. 95). 

3 Liber Additamentorum, ff. 30 b and 25 b. 4 R, ff. 109 and 128. 

211 14-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

in this connexion, to the bell with the rope thrown over the 
gudgeon, to represent the Interdict; the two kings embracing 
each other, to represent the peace signed between Louis and 
Henry III in 1217; and the peasant threshing with a flail, to 
represent the plundering of the barns of a papal official. 1 Like 
these pictorial representations, the straightforward drawings 
of events are intimately related to the text of the chronicle, and 
all this artistic work seems to represent the aesthetic feelings 
and expression of one man only. It must surely have been 
Matthew Paris who conceived of the idea of illustrating his 
manuscripts in this way, and who carried out this coherent 
scheme of illustration, from the simplest reference sign to the 
complicated battle scenes in the margins of the Chronica Major a. 
It seems to me most unlikely that he would have called in an 
assistant to carry out this task, which as we know he himself was 
perfectly well equipped to undertake. The marginal pictures, 
as well as the other pictorial and decorative work, form an 
integral part of the historical manuscripts, and the illustrations 
are provided with detailed legends invariably written by Mat- 
thew himself. I think that he would by no means have allowed 
another monk to interfere in the writing and illustration of these 
manuscripts, which were, after all, his own. In one case, where 
a drawing by another hand has found its way into the Liber 
Additamentorum, Matthew tells us explicitly that this was 
executed by his Franciscan friend, Brother William. 2 

So far we have done little more than put forward a reasonable 
hypothesis. We have pointed out that the historical manuscripts 
A, B, R, and the Liber Additamentorum were Matthew's own 
books, composed and written by him, that he himself wrote the 
legends to the illustrations which form, together with the other 
artistic work, an integral part of the manuscripts, and that 
Matthew Paris was an artist; and we have concluded that the 
illustrations in these manuscripts were executed by him. But we 
can, and must, go further than this. What the art historians have 
never done, in forming their opinions as to the authorship of 
these marginal illustrations, is to take into account the palaeo- 

1 James, ' Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), nos. 31, 39, 
and 56. 

2 Liber Additamentorum, f. 155. 

212 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

graphical evidence. When this is done, a very significant co- 
incidence is found between the frequency of, and changes of 
style in, the illustrations, and our knowledge of the writing of 
these manuscripts. Let us look, first, at the marginal pictures 
in the three volumes of the Chronica Majora: A, B and the 
second part of R. There are twenty-four reasonably important 
marginal drawings in A (Volume I, -1188); sixty-five in B 
(Volume II, 1189-1253); and not one in Volume in of the 
Chronica Majora in R (1254-9). From about f. 183 onwards in 
By at a point in the annal for 1244, the execution of the drawings 
becomes cruder and often clumsy, and their frequency markedly 
declines until they peter out altogether during the annal for 
1247 (215). There are some twenty drawings of importance in 
the Historia Anglorum (the first part of jR), and these are con- 
sistently inferior in execution and detail to those in A and the 
early part of B (up to c. f. 183). It may be remarked further 
that in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum (British Museum Cotton 
MS. Claudius D vi), as in Volume m of the Chronica Majora, 
there are very few pictorial representations of any kind, and no 
drawings worth the name. 

If we bear in mind the evidence about the writing of B put 
forward in Chapter iv above, and examine the marginal drawings 
in this manuscript with care, some interesting facts are revealed. 
Thus on f. 64 b we find that a drawing in the upper margin, 
representing the death of Fawkes de Breaute, has interfered 
with Matthew's rubric lettering across the page to the extent 
of causing him to omit the letters '-pore' from the words 
'De tempore regis Henrici III'. 1 The drawing, in fact, must 
have been executed before the rubric headings and we have 
shown that the latter were carried out in or soon after 1250.2 
Again, on f. 138 b of J5, a drawing in the lower margin, of the 
treaty between Earl Richard and the Saracens, was clearly 
executed before Matthew's quire number XI ; for this is placed 
near the lower edge of the leaf, instead of in the usual place 
higher up, obviously in order to avoid the picture. 3 This quire 
number is one of the second series written into B, and was 

1 James, 'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), no. 49; see 
also fig. 4 above, p. 57. * Above, p. 57. 

3 See Plate xiv (b). For the quire numbers in B, see pp. 56-7 above. 

213 



MATTHEW PARIS 

probably executed c. 1250-1. On f. i86b is an even more 
significant piece of evidence, for here the remains of the original 
quire number, as well as the one replacing it (xim), can be seen 
tucked away at the side of the leaf to avoid the picture, instead 
of in the usual place in the centre of the lower margin. 1 This, 
I think, proves conclusively that the picture was drawn before 
the first set of quire numbers were written into AB, that is, in 
or before 1250. 

I think it permissible to deduce from this evidence that the 
illustration of A and B was carried out more or less contem- 
poraneously with the writing of the text. In one place at least 
this is certainly the case, for on f. 126 of B the text has had to 
make room for the drawing of the imperial seal in the lower 
margin, so that the drawing must have been executed before 
Matthew had finished writing the text on this page. 

What is the significance of all this? We know that Matthew 
had the writing of AB well in hand by the year 1245, and he 
probably worked at it more or less continuously up to 1250, 
apart from the interruption in 1248-9 caused by his visit to 
Norway. By February, 1251, AB had been completed to 1250, 
and Matthew was already busy with the Historia Anglorum. 
During the years which followed 1250 he must have been 
extremely busy coping with the continuation of the Chronica 
Major a, as well as with the writing of the Historia Anglorum and 
the Floras Historianim, and, later, the Abbreviatio Chronicorum. 
Moreover we must remember that by this time he was well 
past his prime. Now the decline, both in quantity and quality, 
of the marginal illustrations in the historical manuscripts, from 
about the annal for 1244 in , which we have noted, fits in 
exactly with our knowledge of the writing of these manuscripts, 
but only if we assume that Matthew was their artist. Had the 
illustrations been carried out by an assistant, we should not 
expect their number and quality to fall off during the very years 
when Matthew Paris was becoming ever older and busier. On 
the contrary, we should expect the work to be even throughout. 
The marked decline in the numbers of the illustrations is most 
easily explained on the grounds that Matthew found it impossible 
to find time, amidst his other activities, to continue with the 

1 James, * Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), no. 94. 

214 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

lavish illustration of his historical manuscripts; and their very 
obvious deterioration in quality seems to be due partly to this 
and partly to his increasing age. The later illustrations, especially 
those in the Historia Anglorum, which we know were executed 
after 1250, show definite signs of hurried, and sometimes care- 
less, execution, as well as a loss in technical skill None of this 
would be apparent, I think, had Matthew been employing an 
assistant, and if it should be maintained that the assistant, as 
well as Matthew Paris, was getting older and busier and there- 
fore less skilled and prolific, I would point out that there were 
plenty of skilled artists available at St Albans at this time, whose 
help Matthew could have called in had he so desired. I conclude 
that he had no desire for assistance in carrying out the intimate 
task of illustrating his historical manuscripts, and that, in conse- 
quence, the changes in the style and number of the illustrations 
directly reflect his growing age and his increasing preoccupation 
with the texts of his historical manuscripts, which themselves 
increased in number after c. 1250. 

When, at the end of his life, probably during his last few 
months, Matthew found it impossible to continue writing, he 
handed over his pen to an assistant, whose hand is easily 
recognized on the closing leaves of the Chronica Majora, the 
Historia Anglorum, and the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, as well as 
in the colophon at the end of the Chronica Majora. 1 A brief 
glance at the manuscripts is sufficient to show that an assistant 
also took over the decorative and minor pictorial work on these 
pages. We notice at once, for instance, that the paragraph 
markers, shields, mitres, croziers and initial letter, on the 
last eight leaves of the Chronica Majora, written by Matthew's 
scribe, are quite different from those on the earlier pages written 
by Matthew himself, and of much less artistic merit. Some of 
this work is illustrated in Plate iv, where it can be compared 
with some shields and crowns of Matthew's reproduced in 
Plate V. 2 I think it safe to conclude from this that Matthew 
himself executed the minor pictorial representations of shields 
and the like, as well as the large-scale drawings, for we can 

1 See p. 7 above, and Plate I. 

2 For Matthew's heraldic work, see below, pp. 250-3 and Plates xvm 
and xix. 

215 



MATTHEW PARIS 

hardly assume that, at a certain point in three different books 
when he began to employ a scribe, Matthew also changed or 
abandoned his artistic assistant. There can have been no such 
assistant, and clearly what happened was that Matthew called 
in a helper who wrote the text and executed as best he could the 
pictorial work which had formerly been done by Matthew. 

I hope, now, that I have convinced the reader that the large- 
scale drawings and the pictorial representations or symbols in 
A 9 B and R were executed by Matthew himself. I shall have 
to discuss later some of the earliest drawings in A, which seem 
to be, at any rate partly, the work of another hand; 1 but there 
is one other matter connected with these drawings in the 
historical manuscripts, which ought to be discussed here. Miss 
Rickert, in her recent book, 2 attributed only a small fraction of 
the pictorial matter in these manuscripts to Matthew Paris: 
she allowed him the Virgin and Child which prefaces R (repro- 
duced as the frontispiece above) ; and some drawings of heads 
and * original sketches for marginal drawings' in A and B. She 
attributed the Virgin and Child to him on the grounds that it 
was signed; and the heads and faces presumably because they 
approach the Virgin and Child closely in style and treatment; 3 
but I do not know why she attributed the ' original sketches * to 
Matthew, rather than the drawings themselves. What are these 
c original sketches ' ? One of those mentioned by Rickert is on 
p. 66 of A, where a detailed plummet sketch has been made, and 
only part of it 'worked up ' in ink. 4 The other is said by Rickert 
to be on f. 215 of B, but I have not been able to find it there, 
though there is a rather crudely executed ink drawing, 5 which 
is in fact the last considerable drawing in the Chronica Major a^ 
referring to part of the annal for 1247. 

It seems to me that almost all the marginal drawings in A and 
-B have been 'worked up' from pencil sketches, and signs of 

1 See p. 223 below. 

3 Painting in Britain, p. 119; for the 'signature' below the Virgin and 
Child painting, see Vaughan, * Handwriting of M. Paris ', Trans, Camb. Bibl. 
Soc. I (1953), p. 380. 

3 It is perhaps worth pointing out that these drawings (James, { Drawings 
of M. Paris 5 , Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), nos. 25 and 140) are on separate 
pieces of parchment attached to the manuscripts. 

4 Ibid. no. 10. 5 Ibid. no. 96. 

216 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

pencil work are still clearly visible in a number of them. I have 
been able to discover only three pencil sketches which have 
not been * worked up* in ink: a crucifix on f. 259 b of E\ the 
death of Queen Blanche on f. 268 b; and a boat on f. 279.* All 
of them, we note, are after the last proper drawing in the 
Chronica Major a, in that part of it which Matthew seems never 
to have found time to illustrate. If we suppose that Matthew 
himself designed the illustrations in the Chronica Majora, and 
left the * working up J to an assistant, then it follows that, at just 
the point when Matthew's artistic powers were declining, and 
his time becoming more and more taken up with other things, 
his assistant, too, was becoming incapable of carrying out his 
work properly; and we have to assume, too, that Matthew was 
unable to find another assistant to replace him. All this is most 
unlikely, and I venture to suggest that Matthew habitually 
sketched out his illustrations in pencil, and later worked them 
up in ink; and that the ' original pencil sketches ' in B are merely 
unfinished illustrations of Matthew's which he never managed 
to 'work up 5 finally in ink. 

I propose now to try to describe the salient features of 
Matthew's artistic style, basing my analysis on the marginal 
illustrations in A, B, and J?, two of which are reproduced in 
Plates vi and vii. The drawings in these manuscripts are all of the 
same basic type, either line alone, or line and wash. The chief 
colours are pale green, pale yellowish, and pale brown, and these 
tints are very effectively used in the shading of drapery. On the 
whole these drawings are executed with remarkable skill. There 
is a boldness of line, a confidence, which gives the impression 
that they are the work of a skilled artist working accurately with 
a rapid, sure touch. The proportions are usually good, and the 
human figures especially are lifelike and well drawn. Economy 
of line is a notable feature of all the drawings : there is nothing 
useless, no unnecessary detail. Hands and feet, for instance, are 
usually sketched impressionistically with a few deft lines, instead 
of being drawn in detail. No harshness or angularity mars the 
softness and roundness of the lines. There is no idea of per- 
spective, and architectural features are therefore often badly 
distorted; but the way in which things are put together or worn 
1 There is another in the Historia Anglorum, JR, f. 42. 

217 



MATTHEW PARIS 

is usually very well shown. Crowns and mitres, for instance, fit 
neatly on to the head, and ships' sails to the masts. 

All this constitutes a recognizable, individual style, which 
may be further defined by describing some of its most charac- 
teristic details. Crowns, for instance, are usually divided into 
three, are well-drawn and balanced in shape, and are usually 
decorated with dots or circlets. There is invariably a double 
line at the base, which allows a curl of hair to protrude charac- 
teristically at the side of the face. Certain types of hat recur in 
these drawings, including a floppy, conical one, often used for 
pagans, and a curious, flat, round one. Hats are usually carefully 
and artistically fitted on to the head. Mitres are very often 
decorated with two circlets, or crosses. Drapery is realistic and 
often beautifully drawn and shaped. Its outlines are usually 
soft and rounded, and the edges of pieces of drapery, and the 
folds, are represented by slightly stylized, curved, parallel lines. 
A fold across the chest and a series of parallel lines across the 
sleeve near the hand are characteristic; and the upper part of 
the dress is often tucked neatly into the girdle on either side. 
Patterns on drapery are very characteristic, the commonest 
being a sprinkling of small dots (usually red) in triangular groups 
of three. Sprinklings of circlets, small crosses, and dots with 
a semicircular line half enclosing them are also frequent. Hair 
is usually represented with a few well-defined parallel curves 
with shading between them, and a lock usually shows behind 
a hat or crown. Faces in profile often have a pronounced 
indentation above the nose, and a protuberance above that: 
they are often rather uncouth and striking. A feature common 
to many faces is a single decurved line to represent the mouth, 
with a dot below it. Full faces usually have the hair neatly 
arranged on either side of the head, and the line of the nose is 
connected to that of one of the eyebrows. Heads, or heads and 
shoulders, are frequently added behind a figure or group of 
figures in order to give an impression of number without adding 
too much detail to the drawing. Feet are drawn in a rather 
peculiar and characteristic way, and often seem to be bent 
backwards. Sometimes they are coloured black, save for a 
central white line. The toes are normally only roughly sketched 
in with a number of parallel lines, though the big toe is usually 

218 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

drawn more completely; fingers, too, are usually hinted at with, 
parallel lines, except, often, for the thumb. The separate lines 
of feet, hands, and drapery are often not joined together, for the 
artist is skilled enough to convey his meaning without elaborate 
and accurate linear detail. In a hand praying, or held out for 
some reason, the thumb is nearly always held away from the 
fingers in a curious manner. The ground is invariably depicted 
in a characteristic way, with a wavy line. Architectural details, 
as can be seen from Plates xiv and xv, are stereotyped and 
very individual: spires are drawn in a characteristic manner, 
and walls are decorated with quatrefoils, groups of two or three 
narrow lights, and small circlets. Many more equally charac- 
teristic details could be described, but it would be tedious to 
enumerate them all here. 

I have examined all the drawings that appear in any way to 
be connected with Matthew Paris, or have been previously 
attributed to him, and conclude that the following can be 
definitely attributed to him, since, in all of them, I have found 
identical details of style and execution: 

A: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26; Volume I 
of the Chronica Major a. All the drawings and pictorial material 
except perhaps for three of the marginal drawings (for which 
see p. 223 below). 

B: Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16; Volume H 
of the Chronica Majora. The pictorial material on the pre- 
liminary leaves, and all the marginal illustrations, including 
shields, mitres, etc. 

R : British Museum Royal MS . 1 4 C vii ; the Historia Anglorum 
and Volume m of the Chronica Majora. All the pictorial material 
except for the shields etc. onff. 210-18 and the drawing onf. 2i8b. 

British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i; the Liber Addita- 
mentorum. All the pictorial material except for the drawings on 
ff. 5a-25a and f. 155. 

British Museum Cotton MS. Claudius D vi; the Abbreviatio 
Chronicorum. Drawingsof kings of England on if. 2-5 b, but helped 
by another hand ; medallion drawings in the genealogical chronicle, 
ff. 6b-8; and pictorial representations onff. i6b, 36b, andagb. 

Trinity College, Dublin, MS. Ei4o; Vie de S. Auban etc. 
All the illustrations. 

219 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Bodleian Library, Oxford, Ashmole MS. 304; fortune-telling 
tracts and verses. All the pictorial matter. 

British Museum Cotton MS. Julius Dvii; miscellaneous 
historical material collected by John of Wallingford. Two tinted 
drawings, ff. 42 b and 60 b. 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 385, Part II; 
Dragmaticon Philosophiae. A series of twenty-three diagrams, 
some of which have pictorial detail. 

Chetham Library, Manchester, MS. 6712; the Flares His- 
toriarum. Four shields. 1 

Although by no means all Matthew's illustrations have been 
reproduced, most of the more important drawings attributed to 
him are available in facsimile: the marginal illustrations in the 
historical manuscripts, as well as the drawings in the Liber 
Additamentorum and Cotton MS. Julius D vii, in volume xiv 
of the Walpole Society's publications ; the drawings in Bodleian 
Ashmole MS. 304 in volume xxxi of the same society; and 
the Alban drawings in Lowe and Jacob's facsimile edition, 
entitled: Illustrations to the Life of St. Alban in Trinity College, 
Dublin, MS. E i 40. 

There is one further point which must be taken into account 
in connexion with Matthew's artistic work. In every one of the 
manuscripts which I have listed here as containing drawings by 
Matthew Paris there is a close connexion between the illustra- 
tions and his handwriting ; for nearly all the drawings, including 
even the diagrams in the Dragmaticon Philosophiae and one of 
the paintings in Cotton MS. Julius D vii, are furnished with 
legends written by Matthew himself. I am not of course 
arguing that, because any given drawing has legends in Matthew's 
hand, the drawing must have been executed by him; but I 
do suggest, since almost all the drawings attributable to him 
on stylistic and other grounds are in fact provided with 
such legends, that one of Matthew's peculiarities as an artist 
is the provision of these explanatory legends in his own 
hand, and that their presence or absence must be taken into 
account when drawings of doubtful authorship are under 
consideration. 

1 Described in FH. n, p. 304, note 2; p. 305, note 2; p. 308, note i ; and 
p. 312, note 8. 

22O 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

We have already discussed the illustrations in the historical 
manuscripts which were among those presented by Matthew 
to his house and noticed later by Walsingham; but Walsingham 
tells us of other manuscripts written and illustrated by Matthew 
Paris: Lives of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, and of Thomas and 
Edmund. 1 The reader will remember that we came to the 
conclusion in Chapter ix 2 that the Trinity College, Dublin, 
manuscript is Matthew's original autograph manuscript of his 
Life of SS. Alban and Amphibalus, to which Walsingham refers. 
Even Rickert was prepared to allow that Matthew was respon- 
sible for the drawing in this manuscript, though she evidently 
thought that much of the colour had been applied by another 
hand. 3 The illustrations, two of which are reproduced in Plate vui, 
consist of a series of fifty-four line and wash drawings enclosed 
in frames, depicting the Life of SS. Alban and Amphibalus; the 
visit of SS. Germanus and Lupus to England in the fifth century ; 
and the invention and translation of St Alban and the foundation 
of St Albans by Offa of Mercia. In style they are very similar 
to the earlier drawings in A and B, and in my opinion are 
wholly the work of Matthew Paris. 

We have seen that Matthew himself refers to 'the book about 
SS. Thomas and Edward' which he translated and illustrated, 4 
and that neither of the existing illustrated manuscripts of Thomas 
and Edward can have formed part of this book. 5 They are, 
however, very similar, especially in size and format, to Matthew's 
original manuscript of Alban, and it seems, therefore, that each 
is a close copy of part of Matthew's original book containing 
both lives. This is fully borne out by an examination of their 
illustrations. Many of the characteristic details of style and 
execution, which we noted above as peculiar to Matthew's 
artistic work, occur in the illustrations of University Library, 
Cambridge, MS. Ee iii 59 (Edward), but their general appearance 
is quite different from the authentic drawings of Matthew Paris 
in Alban and the historical manuscripts. One of these drawings 
is reproduced in Plate ix (6). The execution is painstaking and 
has none of Matthew's dash and vigour; and the elaborate and 

1 Above, p. 209. 2 Above, p. 170. 

3 Rickert, Painting in Britain, p. 119. 

4 Above, p. 209. 5 Above, p. 171. 

221 



MATTHEW PARIS 

minute detail is wholly unlike Matthew's rapid, deft strokes. 
The individual lines are weakly drawn and often overlap each 
other, a fault that is seldom, if ever, found in Matthew's 
drawings. Certain tricks of style appear which are common in 
Matthew's work, such as the rather angular, almost twisted, feet, 
and the addition of heads alone behind other figures; but these 
stylistic peculiarities are stiff and unreal in the Edward illustra- 
tions, and they are often exaggerated unnaturally. All this 
shows, I think, that the artist of Edward was closely copying 
a series of drawings of Matthew's; and we need not therefore 
be surprised to find parts of pictures sometimes unaccountably 
missing, as, for instance, part of a boat on f . 14 a. James supposed 
that these pictures were perhaps designed by Matthew Paris 
and executed by an assistant, 1 but I think it more likely that 
Matthew had no hand in them at all, and that the similarities 
between them and Matthew's own drawings are simply due to 
the fact that their artist was copying from Matthew's drawings. 
I agree with Rickert's identification of the work of this assistant 
of Matthew's, and with her attribution to him of the five tinted 
drawings in British Museum Royal MS. 2 Axxii, ff. zigb-22i b. 2 
These psalter illustrations are much too detailed and ornate, too 
laboriously executed, to be the work of Matthew himself; but 
many features of them closely approach the work of the artist of 
Edward, and there are some close parallels in detail: the very 
ornate helm, for instance, figured on f. 220 a of the psalter, is 
almost identical with the helms in some of the Edward illustra- 
tions. 3 Of the Thomas manuscript too little remains for a detailed 
analysis of the illustrations to be made. However, they do not 
appear to be by Matthew Paris, but, to judge from the collotype 
reproductions (I have not been able to see the original), they 
seem to be close to the work of the Edward artist. 4 

Matthew's style is a distinctive one, and Rickert's con- 
tention, that some of the marginal drawings in the historical 
manuscripts were executed by Brother William, a Franciscan 
friend of Matthew's, seems to me to be entirely without founda- 

1 James (ed.), Estoire de St Aedward le Rei, p. 32. 

2 Rickert, Painting in Britain, p. 120. 

3 Cf. James, 'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), no. 137; 
and James (ed.), St Aedward le Rei, especially p. 64 of the facsimiles. 

4 For these, see Meyer (ed.), Vie de Saint Thomas. 

222 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

tion. 1 The whole-page painting of Christ on f. 155 of the Liber 
Additamentorum, which Matthew states was the work of Brother 
William, is quite different in style from any of the chronicle illus- 
trations. The hair, for instance, is drawn in with a large number of 
very fine lines, whereas Matthew invariably depicts hair with a 
small number of thickish lines. The drapery, too, is treated quite 
differently, for Brother William's stylized, angular folds are 
very unlike Matthew's more rounded and less rigid drapery 
patterns. 

There are a few drawings about whose attribution to Matthew 
Paris I feel rather doubtful. These are the figures of seated kings 
in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, and the drawings on pp. 28, 30 
and 35 of A. 2 The figures of kings in the Abbreviatio are much 
inferior to Matthew's other drawings, especially in execution, 
and in the proportions of the figures. Some of the faces seem 
to have been drawn in by another hand, and the colouring, too, 
owing to the crude way in which it has been applied, could 
hardly have been done by Matthew Paris. On the other hand, 
the subject of each picture has been written on the edge of the 
leaf by Matthew himself, and much of the drawing seems to 
be his. The figure of King Richard, for instance, reproduced 
in Plate x (a), seems to be wholly Matthew's work, except 
perhaps for the lines round the mouth. This manuscript was 
almost certainly his last historical production, and it seems 
possible that he left these drawings to be finished by an assistant. 
The doubtful drawings near the beginning of A present a rather 
different problem. Their general style is very like Matthew's, 
but some of the drawing is more finnicky and detailed than that 
in the other illustrations in this book. Part of the drawing, for 
instance, of the seated king illustrated in Plate x (i), parti- 
cularly the face and hair, seems to be too fine to be Matthew's. 
It is perhaps permissible to conjecture that these were the first 
illustrations to be inserted into this book, and that they are 
partly the work of another monk, who perhaps instructed 

1 Rickert, Painting in Britain, p. 120. She states, in error, that Brother 
William's painting of Christ is signed by him. It is reproduced in Little, 
'Brother William of England', Franciscan Papers, Lists and Documents, 
Plate iv. 

z British Museum Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, ff. 2a-5b; and James, 
'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), nos. 4, 5 and 7. 

223 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Matthew in the art of drawing, and lent a helping hand to his 
first artistic ventures. 

Madden attributed to Matthew Paris a series of tinted 
drawings in British Museum Royal MS. aBvi; 1 but not so 
James, who thought that they were definitely inferior in 
artistic merit (Plate IX (a)). They are very similar to Matthew's 
own drawings, and it is only when a detailed comparison reveals 
certain tricks of style absent in Matthew's work that they can 
be distinguished from it. I would point out, in particular, the 
presence of lines on the knees and elbows of the figures, which 
I have not found in Matthew's drawings; the lack of a sense of 
proportion; and the elaboration of detail, especially of hair. 
These paintings were certainly executed at St Albans in Mat- 
thew's lifetime, and an inscription on f. 2 a records the gift of 
the book to St Albans by John de Dalling, a monk of the house. 2 

There are a number of other paintings and drawings which 
were executed by Matthew's contemporaries at St Albans. The 
most famous of these, which accompanies the colophon at the 
end of the Chronica Majora (see Plate i), depicts the chronicler 
reclining on his death-bed, with his book of chronicles lying 
open by him. A superficial glance might give the impression 
that this drawing was indistinguishable from those attributed 
to Matthew Paris, but a closer inspection reveals numerous 
differences. The face and hair, for instance, are unlike anything 
in Matthew's drawings, and the hands and fingers, too, are 
drawn in with a detail which is quite unlike Matthew's impres- 
sionistic treatment of this subj ect. Some other paintings executed 
at St Albans in Matthew's lifetime may be seen in the Chetham 
Library manuscript of his Floras Historiarwn (Ch). These are 
a series of nine illustrations of the coronations of English kings, 
which are different in style from, and inferior in merit to, 
Matthew's drawings. Hollaender thought that Matthew might 
occasionally have helped this artist; 3 but this seems to me 

1 Ff. 8a-i2b. Madden, HA. in, p. xlviii, note 4; and James (ed.), 
Estoire de St Aedward le Rei, p. 34. 

2 The unfinished drawings in C (B.M. Cotton MS. Nero D v, Part II, 
fT. 208, 21 3 b, and 214) have been attributed by Madden to Matthew Paris 
(HA. I, p. bdi), but I cannot myself see any grounds for this. 

8 Hollaender, * Pictorial work in the Flores Historiarum ', Bull. ofj. Rylands 
Lib. xxviu (1944), p. 378. He reproduces all the drawings. 

224 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

unlikely, although the four shields in the margins of the section 
of text written by Matthew are certainly his work, for they are 
identical with those in the historical manuscripts already dis- 
cussed. In the coronation drawings the figures are tall and slender, 
and tend to be out of proportion in consequence; the drawing is 
often rough and clumsy, and the general style of the drapery 
and other details quite different from Matthew's. The artist 
is not so skilled as the artist of the Edward illustrations, and 
his style is different from that of the artist of Royal MS. 2 B vi. 
He must have worked in close collaboration with Matthew, for 
this manuscript was certainly produced under Matthew's 
supervision. 

Another book illustrated with line drawings in medallions in 
a style similar to that of Matthew Paris is the extended version 
of Peter of Poitiers's Compendium historiae in genealogia Christi 
in the library of Eton College. 1 The text of this brief universal 
chronicle extends to the year 1245, an -d the last events mentioned 
are the Council of Lyons and the deposition of the Emperor 
Frederick II. The accession of Innocent IV is recorded, but the 
original hand has not inserted the number of years he reigned, 
so we may assume that the book was written while Innocent was 
still alive, that is, before 1254. This manuscript has all the 
appearance of having been written and illustrated at St Albans, 
and, indeed, it seems to be associated to some extent with 
Matthew Paris, for some of the last entries in it mention events 
described in detail in the Chronica Major a: the invasion of 
Tartars in 1241, the story of St Edmund Rich, and the Council 
of Lyons. The illustrations are chiefly heads enclosed in medal- 
lions, but there are some tinted drawings rather like those of 
Matthew, though cruder and less finished than his. None of 
them seem to be by any of the artists so far discussed. 

While we are on the subject of manuscripts illustrated in the 
'Matthew Paris style', but not by him, mention ought to be 
made of the illustrated Apocalypses which began to appear in 
England during the middle years of the century. James and 
other students of medieval art have attributed a number of the 
finest and earliest of these to St Albans: Trinity College, 
Cambridge, MS. R 16 2; Bibliotheque Nationale, MS. Fr. 403; 

1 MS. 96. See Moore, Works of Peter of Poitiers, pp. 97-117. 
15 225 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Bodleian Library, MS. Auct. D 4 17; Pierrepont Morgan MS. 
524, a replica of Bibliotheque Nationale MS. Fr. 403; 
British Museum Additional MS. 35, 166; and Dyson-Perrins 
MS. ro. 1 There is no trace, in any of these manuscripts, of 
Matthew's hand, either in the text or the illustrations, but the 
latter are often very close to his general style, though usually 
superior in artistic merit. All these books seem to have been 
produced at St Albans in Matthew's lifetime, and there are some 
very striking parallels, for instance, between the artist of the 
Edward illustrations and those of the Bibliotheque Nationale 
and Dyson-Perrins MSS. mentioned above. These manuscripts 
represent, it appears, the finest artistic work which the St Albans 
scriptorium could produce at this time, and Matthew may well 
have picked up some tricks of style from, or even have been 
taught to paint by, one or more of the artists who illustrated 
these magnificent books. Rickert thought that the scriptorium 
at St Albans was ' under the tutelage of Matthew Paris', 2 but it 
seems to me that these Apocalypse artists were his masters rather 
than his pupils, and I cannot believe that he was responsible 
for the style and technique which they brought to such 
perfection. 

A critic who does not accept the corpus of illustrations here 
attributed to Matthew Paris would no doubt maintain that these 
drawings are the work of a school or group of artists working 
with Matthew Paris. But the force of this argument is surely 
somewhat weakened by the separate identification of the work of 
several other artists working at the same time and in the same 
place as Matthew, and sometimes in very close collaboration 
with him. We have discussed the work of several such artists : 
the artist of the Edward manuscript and Royal MS, 2 A xxii ; the 
artist of Royal MS. 2 B vi; the artist of the coronation pictures 
in the Chetham manuscript of the Flares Historiarum; not to 
mention the Eton medallion pictures, the picture of Matthew on 
his death-bed, the shields and marginal illustrations of his assis- 
tant scribe, and the manuscripts of the Apocalypses just men- 
tioned. It seems to me that our separate identification of the 

1 For references to facsimiles of these MSS., see Rickert, Painting in 
Britain, p. 134. 

2 Ibid. p. 122. 

226 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

work of many of these artists adds considerably to the probability 
that those drawings which we have attributed to Matthew really 
are the work of one man, and not that of a group of artists 
painting in the same general style. 

The chronology of Matthew Paris's drawings and paintings is 
difficult to determine with any degree of certainty. I have tried 
to work it out on the basis of the drawings in the historical 
manuscripts, which are the only ones that can be dated more or 
less reliably. We know that the Chronica Major a in A and B was 
written during the years before 1 25 1 , and that it was begun some 
time before 1245. Originally, it was written as one volume, AB, 
which was finished up to the annal for 1250 early in 1251. Here 
Matthew at first intended to close his historical labours, and he 
put the finishing touches to his single volume: rubric page 
headings and quire numbers. Now we have seen that some, at 
any rate, of the marginal illustrations in B were executed before 
these rubric headings and quire numbers, and I think it reason- 
able to suppose that this is true of them all, and that the single 
manuscript AB was completed, and illustrated, by 1251. 
(Actually there are no illustrations of importance after the 
annal for 1247.) The deterioration which they exhibit towards 
the end and the appearance of a helping hand in some of those 
near the beginning of A show that these marginal illustrations 
were executed over a period of years, beginning, perhaps, as early 
as c. 1240 or even before. 1 The Historia Anglorum was begun 
in 1250, and probably not finished until 1255 or after. Stylisti- 
cally, the illustrations in it seem to be late: they are on a far less 
elaborate scale than those in A and S; they are fewer in number; 
and they are much inferior in execution and technique. How 
late they are we do not know, but it seems unlikely that they 
were done much later than the text, and we may date them with 
some confidence to the years 1250-5. 

We have to rely almost entirely on stylistic evidence for 
the dating of Matthew's other important surviving group 
of paintings in the Trinity College, Dublin, manuscript 
containing his Alban, though the appearance of the hand- 
writing of Alban seems to indicate that it was written before 

1 For the evidence lying behind these statements, see above, pp. 52-61, 
213-15, and 223. For the Historia Anglorum, see p. 61 above. 

227 15-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

I240, 1 and there is no reason to suppose that the illustrations 
were not done at the same time. The fifty-four paintings in 
this book are very carefully executed in considerable detail 
(Plate vm), and Matthew evidently spent a great deal of 
time and trouble over them. Minute details such as the nails 
in the horses' hoofs and the spurs are meticulously drawn 
in, and the hands and fingers are more carefully delineated 
than in the chronicle illustrations. On f . 48 a there is a rather 
macabre battle-scene, similar to those in the early part of B. 
All this seems to point to an early date, and we may agree 
with Rickert in attributing the illustrations in Trinity College, 
Dublin, MS. E i 40 to Matthew's early period, 2 and probably 
to the years before 1240, 

The marginal drawings in A, B and J?, and the illustrations 
in the Dublin manuscript, are the two most important surviving 
groups of Matthew's drawings: indeed together they form the 
bulk of what has come down to us. The rest of his artistic work 
may be conveniently grouped as follows: 

(1) A page of monumental drawings of faces (one of the 
Virgin and Child and two of Christ) at the end of A ; a vernicle 
on 49 b of B; and the famous Virgin and Child which pre- 
faces R? To them we may add the panel painting of St Peter 
formerly at Faaberg in Norway, and now in the Oslo Museum. 4 

(2) Two tinted drawings in British Museum Cotton MS. 
Julius D vii. 5 

(3) An unfinished series of drawings in the Liber Addita- 
mentorum illustrating the Vitae Offarwn? 

(4) Two sets of tinted drawings of seated kings, one pre- 
facing R (ff. Sb-ga), the other the Abbreviatio Chronicorum 



1 Vaughan, 'Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Camb. Bibl. Soc. i (1953), 
pp. 388-9. 

2 Rickert, Painting in Britain, p, 119. 

3 Reproduced in James (ed.), 'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv 
(1925-6), nos. 25 and 140; and in the frontispiece above. 

4 Reproduced in Lindblom, Peinture gothique, Plate vn; and in Borenius 
and Tristram, English Medieval Painting, Plate xxvi. 

5 Reproduced in James (ed.), 'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv 
(1925-6), nos. 142 and 143. 

6 Reproduced in James (ed,), 'Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv 
(1925-6), nos. 125-30. 

228 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

(5) Half-length drawings of English kings enclosed in medal- 
lions, illustrating the genealogical chronicles in the historical 
manuscripts. 1 

(6) The pictorial matter in the maps and itineraries. 2 

(7) The drawings and diagrams in Bodleian Library, Ashmole 
MS. 304.3 

(8) A series of twenty-three diagrams in Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, MS. 385.* 

Items (6) and (8) will demand our attention in the next 
chapter, and I need only point out here that the illustration of the 
maps and itineraries seems to date from after 1252, and that 
I am unable to suggest a date for the diagrams of the Corpus 
Christi manuscript which in any case are of no importance from 
the artistic point of view. The work mentioned in item (i) seems 
to be fairly early. I have no hesitation at all in attributing 
the Faaberg St Peter to Matthew Paris: it was certainly painted 
in his lifetime; the style seems to be identical with his; and, 
unlike the contemporary Norwegian panel paintings, it is on oak. 
Moreover we know that Matthew was in Norway in 1248, and it 
seems very likely that he took this painting with him as a gift 
either to his friend King Haakon, or to the monks of St Benet 
Holm. The drawings of faces in A and 5, and the Virgin and 
Child in R, exhibit a monumental style more akin to large-scale 
painting than to manuscript illustration, and it is reasonable to 
suppose that they were executed at about the same time as the 
Faaberg St Peter, that is, in or before 1248. 

The two tinted drawings in the Cotton MS. Julius D vii have 
been inserted into a miscellaneous collection of historical material 
almost entirely copied or abridged from Matthew's manuscripts 
by his friend John of Wallingford, the infirmarer of St Albans : 
one is a Christ in Majesty, the other a drawing of John of 
Wallingford, above which Matthew has written: 'Prater Jo- 
hannes de Walingeford quandoque Infirmarius*. If these words 
mean 'John of Wallingford, onetime infirmarer*, then the 
drawing presumably dates from after 1253, for John was still 

1 See p. 116 above. * See below, pp. 235 ff. 

3 The most important of these are reproduced by Wormald in Walpole Soc. 
xxxr (1942-3), Plates xxvn, xxvm. 

4 See below, pp. 254-5. 

229 



MATTHEW PARIS 

infirmarer in that year. 1 The three drawings of philosophers 
in Ashmole MS. 304 are rather similar to those in John of 
WallingforcTs book. Plato and Socrates share one drawing, 
Euclid and Hermann another, and Pythagoras has the third to 
himself. The fourth drawing reproduced by Wormald depicts 
the heads of the twelve Patriarchs, and exhibits the characteristic 
features of Matthew's treatment of the human face. Besides 
these, there are a number of rather poor outline drawings of 
birds, and some spherical figures which include a certain 
amount of well executed pictorial detail (Plate xxi (&)). Both 
the birds and the spheres seem to me certainly Matthew's 
work. 2 I have found no evidence for the date of these illustra- 
tions in Ashmole MS. 304, but much of the handwriting in it is 
Matthew's, and appears to date from between 1240 and 1250, 
for it is less neat and controlled than that of Alban, but less 
'twisted' and ragged than that dating from after 1250. Although 
it is little more than a guess, then, I would ascribe the illustra- 
tion of this manuscript, with its text, to the decade 1240-50. 

I would agree with James in attributing the first six of a series 
of outline drawings in the Liber Additamentorum, illustrating the 
Vitae Offarum and completed some time after his death, to 
Matthew Paris. 3 Most of the characteristic features of his style 
are apparent here, including in particular the very characteristic 
architectural details, 4 treatment of drapery, and the impres- 
sionistic drawing of hands. The helms are identical with many 
of those in the chronicle illustrations, and two of the drawings 
depict a battle, and share many of the features of the battle- 
scenes in 5. 5 The sixth drawing has been completed by another 
and, as I think, much later hand, and only the central 
figures are Matthew's. 6 The Vitae Offarum, as he planned it, 
was evidently to be a book on the lines of his Alban y with a 

1 See GA. i, pp. 330-8. 

2 The birds are on ff. 43^52; the spheres, ff. 32b~38b. Wormald, 'More 
M. Paris drawings', Walpole Soc. xxxi (1942-3), p. 109, says that the spheres 
are by the same hand as the drawings of philosophers. 

3 * Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), p. ai. Rickert, 
Painting in Britain, p. 134, note 69, disagrees. 

4 See Plate xiv (d). 

5 James, * Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), nos. 128 and 
129. 

6 Ibid. no. 130. 

230 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

framed picture at the top of each page, for spaces were left by 
Matthew on each page, and legends for each picture have been 
written by him on the lower margins. 1 But although this was 
his intention at first, he must have abandoned his plan some 
time before his death, for on f. 20 he has added a lengthy 
passage to the original text in the space left for a picture. More- 
over, none of the drawings executed by him is completed: they 
all lack tinting; only the first two have detailed legends; and the 
frame of the sixth was only roughly sketched in. There is some 
reason to suppose that the text of the Vitae Off arum was written 
in 1250,2 and I think it likely that these drawings were executed 
at about the same time, and that it was other commitments, 
rather than death, which interrupted Matthew's work on 
them. 

Matthew's drawings of seated kings, prefacing R and the 
Abbreviatio Chronicorum, have scarcely been noticed by students 
of his artistic work. Madden attributed them to Matthew, but 
James felt uncertain about this. 3 I have no hesitation in 
ascribing those in R to Matthew, and, as I have already pointed 
out, 4 those in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum seem to have been, 
at least in part, executed by him: either he was helped with 
them, or they were left unfinished at his death and completed 
afterwards. In R there are two pages, one of which is repro- 
duced in Plate xi, each containing four kings, enthroned and 
crowned, and fitted into an ornamental frame. These pictures 
are well drawn and tinted, and exhibit the usual features of 
Matthew's style, especially in the architectural details, crowns, 
feet, and hands. The drapery, too, is characteristic of Matthew, 
particularly the patterns of dots and circlets, which can be 
exactly paralleled in Allan and the chronicle illustrations. 
The legends to these pictures are all in Matthew's hand. 
A much more ambitious programme was envisaged in the 
Abbreviatio Chronicorum, where four leaves are devoted to 
a series of thirty-two drawings of enthroned kings, four to 
a page (Plate x (a)). But the work is less fine than that in 

1 Many have been cut off by the binder. 

2 See pp. 89-90 above. 

3 HA. i, p. xlviii, and James, * Drawings of M. Paris *, Walpole Soc. xrv 
(1925-6), p. 18. 

4 Above, p. 223. 

231 



MATTHEW PARIS 

R: indeed it is for the most part crudely executed, and the 
frames are no longer ornamental, nor are the pictures provided 
with proper legends, though most of the kings' names have been 
written into the margin by Matthew. The date of both these 
sets of drawings is hard to determine, but the Historia Anglorum, 
forming the first part of R, was begun in 1250, and the kings 
prefacing it may be presumed to date from about that time. 
Those prefacing the Abbrematio Chronicorum must be con- 
siderably later, and are probably the latest surviving examples 
of Matthew's artistry. 

Finally, we come to the drawings of kings in the genea- 
logical chronicles in A, B and the Abbrematio Chronicorum 
(Plate xvin (<Q). These are half-length figures, or mere faces, 
of Alfred, William the Conqueror, Cnut, St Edward the Con- 
fessor, and Richard I. 1 They are of little artistic importance, 
and were probably executed after 1250. They seem to be 
Matthew's own work, for, although the execution is crude, 
many of his tricks of style occur in them. I have not here 
enumerated all Matthew's artistic work, for there are some 
drawings in the Liber Additamentomm, in particular the tiny 
portraits of the abbots of St Albans illustrating the Gesta 
Abbatum, which seem certainly to be his, and I feel sure, too, 
that the decorative work and the initials, one of which in- 
cludes figures, 2 in the historical manuscripts are also his. 

With the exception of the Faaberg St Peter and, perhaps, the 
page of monumental faces now at the end of A y Matthew's 
surviving artistic work consists entirely of book illustration. 
Although he was certainly a competent, if not highly skilled, 
craftsman, it is perhaps difficult to claim him as a great artist, 
for his work has few signs of originality, and seldom conveys 
any real depth of feeling. His Alban shows that he could produce 
a book in the tradition of the best illustrated Apocalypses of his 
day, though artistically inferior to them; but even if all his 
illustrated saints' Lives had survived, it is doubtful if his fame 
as an artist would have been much enhanced. These books, 
after all, were typical products of his age, and his fame really 

1 B, f. iiia-b; medallions of Alfred and William. A, . ivb; medallion of 
Alfred. Abbreviatio, fL 6b-8a; medallions of Alfred, Cnut, Edward, William, 
and Richard. 2 J5, f. i6yb. 

232 



MATTHEW PARIS THE ARTIST 

depends on the more original use to which he put his talents in 
the historical manuscripts. Here, and particularly in the margins 
of the first two volumes of the Chronica Majora, Matthew is 
primarily, perhaps, a cartoonist: certainly he illustrates secular 
subjects in a way unusual in thirteenth-century England, and 
with remarkable skill. As can be seen in Plate vi he excels 
especially in depicting the human figure in action. Both the 
large-scale drawings of events recorded in the chronicle, and the 
extensive use of pictorial symbols, are foreign to the traditional 
book illustration of Matthew's time. Among the former, battle- 
scenes are prominent, and the care with which Matthew draws 
in the dismembered corpses, as well as the liberality with which 
he sprinkles them with blood, reveal a slightly macabre, perhaps 
rather sordid, element in his art: he can be relied upon to make 
the most of the martyrdom of a saint (Plate vm (a)} ; and he seems 
to have enjoyed depicting the cannibalistic orgies of the Tartars. 1 
Above all else, however, Matthew the artist is a careful observer, 
and his drawings are unusually accurate in the representation of 
details : we note, particularly, his ships, clothing, drinking vessels, 
weapons, armour, bells, and various mechanical details. In the 
work of many a medieval artist we can recognize animals of 
various shapes and sizes but of no identifiable species : Matthew 
has left us lifelike and easily recognizable drawings of a cat, 
elephant, goat, tortoise, deer, camels, horses, lions, oxen and 
boars. It is a pity that he did not illustrate a bestiary. 

Of Matthew's influence on later artists, and of his place in 
the history of art as a whole, I can say but little. Though individual 
in style, and original in his illustration of a secular subject like 
history, his art remains in most respects a characteristic product 
of his age; and if it is true to say that the Chronica Major a was 
the first illustrated record of contemporary events to be pro- 
duced in medieval England, it is also true that Matthew's work 
is in many ways typical of twelfth- and thirteenth-century 
monastic art. His influence on subsequent developments appears 
to have been slight, for the only artistic production of his which 

1 For battles, see James (ed.), c Drawings of M. Paris ', Walpole Soc. xiv 
(1925-6), nos. 24, 41 and 89. For the Tartars, see no. 86; see also Matthew's 
detailed drawings of people being tortured (no. 34), and dying of the plague 
(no. 84). 

233 



MATTHEW PARIS 

seems to have been copied and widely diffused was the illus- 
trated genealogical chronicle. 1 At St Albans he inherited the 
artistic tradition and aptitude of men such as Walter of Colchester, 
Richard the Painter, and the artists of the illustrated Apocalypses ; 
and he seems to have been the last great member of that 
flourishing school of monk artists. 

1 Above, pp. 116-17. 



234 



CHAPTER XII 

OTHER INTERESTS 

I. CARTOGRAPHY 

A THOUGH Richard Gough, in 1780, had published descrip- 
tions and engravings of three maps of England from 
manuscripts of Matthew Paris, 1 it was Madden who, in his 
preface to volume three of the Historia Anglorum, first claimed 
for Matthew an important place in the history of cartography: 2 
he believed that the maps and itineraries in Matthew's historical 
manuscripts were the work of Matthew himself. Hardy, however, 
repudiated Madden's belief, for he thought that Matthew could 
never have found time to produce this cartographical material 
as well as his histories. 3 Hardy's objections seem to have 
influenced later scholars. Thus Michelant and Raynaud thought 
that Matthew was the author, though not perhaps the scribe 
or artist, of the maps of Palestine, or at least their legends. 4 
These two scholars produced an excellent edition of the legends 
on three of the maps of Palestine, 5 but they confused these maps 
with the itineraries from London to Apulia which precede them 
in the manuscripts, and consequently believed that they were 
printing the text of the eastern half of an itinerary from London 
to Jerusalem, instead of only the legends of a map of Palestine. 
This mistake was pointed out by Konrad Miller, who included 
a full study of Matthew Paris' s cartographical work in his 
important book on medieval world-maps. 6 He gave the first 
accurate and full account of Matthew's maps and itineraries, 
and thought that Matthew was probably the author of all this 
material, but the scribe only of two of the maps of England. 
Another German scholar, Friedrich Ludwig, made a detailed 
study of Matthew's itinerary from London to Apulia, in which 

1 British Topography, i, pp. 61-71 and Plates n-iv. 

2 HA. in, pp. 1-lii; see also i, p. xlvii, and note 2. 

3 Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, in, pp. Ixxii-lxxiv. 

4 Itineraires a Jerusalem, p. xxiii. 5 In A, B, and R. 

6 Mappae Mundi. Die dltesten Welikarten, III, pp, 68-94. 

235 



MATTHEW PARIS 

he analysed the length of each day's journey, and pointed out 
a number of errors. 1 As a cartographer, Matthew Paris was 
first introduced to English readers in the second volume of 
C. R. Beazley's The Dawn of Modern Geography? Beazley gave 
an account of Matthew's cartographical work, based, apparently, 
on Miller's, and accompanied it with reproductions of some of 
the maps and itineraries. He assumed that Matthew was the 
author of this material, and supposed that the maps of England, 
at least, were autograph. A great advance in the study of 
Matthew's cartographical work was made in 1928, with the 
publication in colour facsimile by the British Museum of the 
four maps of England and Scotland previously attributed to 
him. The Reverend H. Poole compiled a list of all the place- 
names occurring in these maps, and he and J. P. Gilson together 
wrote a short introduction to the facsimiles. On the important 
question of the authorship of the maps, Gilson stated that they 
were certainly executed under Matthew's supervision, and he 
went on to say: 'It seems, in fact, possible that all four maps 
are the work of the same hand, and also possible, though to me 
by no means certain, that this is the hand of Matthew Paris 
himself.' 3 The publication of these maps in facsimile must have 
eased the task of Miss Mitchell, who published a detailed study 
of them in the Geographical Journal for 1933, in which she 
discussed at length their geography, construction, and place- 
names. 4 She did not, however, come to any definite conclusion 
as to their relationship, nor as to the identity of their scribe or 
scribes. She calls these maps * the work of what may probably 
be regarded as the earliest English school of cartography'. 5 

Before we can embark on a description of this corpus of carto- 
graphical material or an appraisement of Matthew's carto- 
graphical work, we must decide whether or not it is correctly 
attributed to him, and in what sense. Was he the author only, 
and were the maps and itineraries executed by a skilled assistant? 
Or was he merely a copyist? I have no hesitation in agreeing with 
Madden that Matthew was at once author and artist. These maps 

1 See below, p. 249. 2 See pp. 584-90 and 638-41. 

3 Four Maps of Great Britain, p. 3. 

4 * Early maps of Great Britain, I. The Matthew Paris maps *, Geog. Jour. 

(1933), pp. 27 ff. 5 Mitchell, ibid. p. 27. 

236 



OTHER INTERESTS 

and itineraries are only found in manuscripts closely associated 
with him, and they form a prominent part of the preliminary 
material which prefaces his historical manuscripts. Further- 
more, though there are four separate versions of the map of 
England and Scotland, three of the map of Palestine, and four 
of the Apulian itinerary, not one of these can be shown to be 
slavishly copied from another. All appear to be the work of one 
person who, while he repeats these three works on a number of 
occasions, introduces, on each occasion, variations, improve- 
ments and alterations. No wonder that Miss Mitchell found 
it hard to establish the relationship of the four maps of England 
and Scotland. If the reader glances at the British Museum 
facsimile edition of these maps, he will see that, though map D is 
clearly an unfinished rough sketch, it contains a group of York- 
shire place-names not on the other maps. He will note, too, 
that while on map c Salisbury is placed south of St Albans, in 
A it is due north; and that maps A and B, in spite of their general 
similarities, each contain features not found in the other. The 
same phenomenon occurs in the Palestine maps and the 
itineraries. In the latter, the architectural details are quite 
distinct in each itinerary (cf . Plates xn and xin) and the treat- 
ment of Italy varies from one itinerary to another. From this 
variation we may surely conclude that all this material is the 
work of a single scribe-artist who was enough of a cartographer 
to find it impossible to copy slavishly his own productions. 1 

All these maps and itineraries are illustrated in a manner 
identical in style and technique with that employed in the draw- 
ings and paintings we have attributed to Matthew Paris : the 
same artist is clearly at work in both. The architectural details, 
for instance, as can be seen from Plates xiv and xv, are identical 
with those found in Matthew's drawings; and the same is true 
of the animals, birds, boats, and such-like, which are found in 
the Palestine maps and the itineraries. Moreover the same use of 
colour, in writing and decoration, is found in the cartographical 

1 Copies of some of Matthew's cartographical productions have survived 
(see below, p. 241). They differ strikingly in handwriting, style and technique 
from Matthew's own maps and itineraries, yet their matter is closer to 
that of their exemplars than that of Matthew's maps and itineraries to each 
other. 

237 



MATTHEW PARIS 

productions and in Matthew's manuscripts generally: we find 
the same use of rubric, the same characteristic blue paragraph 
markers, the same trick of enclosing inscriptions and notes with 
a coloured rectangular line, often wavy, or looped at the corners. 1 
Even more important is the fact that the handwriting on all the 
maps and itineraries is undoubtedly that of Matthew Paris, and 
contrasts strikingly with that of other scribes. The names, for 
instance, which John of Wallingford added to the map of 
England and Scotland given to him by Matthew Paris, 2 can be 
distinguished at a glance from those written on to the same map 
by Matthew Paris. I think that there can be no question that 
the whole of this cartographical material is the work of Matthew, 
as author, artist, and scribe. Such a combination of talents in 
one person need occasion no surprise, for we know that Matthew 
was a competent scribe, an author, and an excellent artist. 

To what extent Matthew really was the effective author of 
these maps and itineraries must unfortunately remain in doubt, 
for no source survives of any of them, and we are free to 
speculate to what degree he relied on existing material, and to 
what extent he based his work on information collected by 
himself. There is, however, some evidence to guide our specula- 
tion on this important point. We know, for instance, that 
Matthew's world-map is a reduced copy of an existing one, for 
he tells us this himself. 3 On the other hand, in the maps of 
England and Scotland, the outline varies so much from map to 
map that it seems more likely that Matthew drew each map 
more or less 'out of his head*, so to speak, than that he based 
them on an existing map. All of them, however, are evidently 
based on the same itinerary from Dover to Newcastle, 4 which 
seems to have been the only written cartographical source which 
Matthew used. If this is so, the England maps are almost 
entirely his own work. There is less evidence as to the extent of 
Matthew's authorship in the case of the itineraries and maps of 
Palestine, but again it seems that he made an original contribu- 
tion of his own of some importance. The obvious connexion 

1 See Vaughan, 'Handwriting of M. Paris*, Trans, Camb. Bibl. Soc. 
(i953), P- 383- 

2 See below, p. 243. 

3 See p. 247 below. 4 Seep. 244 below. 

238 



OTHER INTERESTS 

between both of these and the Chronica Major a makes this clear. 
The itinerary, for instance, is evidently connected with the 
pope's offer of the Sicilian crown to Richard of Cornwall, which 
is described in the Chronica Major a?- for one of the versions of 
it has a legend describing this ; and Richard's landing at Trapani 
in 1241, which is mentioned in the itinerary, is also mentioned 
in the Chronica Major a? The information about the Tartars in 
the legends of the Palestine map seems to be derived from that 
given by Matthew in his Chronica Major a; 3 and a legend on one 
of the maps mentions the ruler of Morocco Tamiral Mur- 
melin' who is the subject of a long addition by Matthew to the 
text of Roger Wendover's chronicle. 4 Two of the legends of the 
Palestine map give information about Noah's Ark. 5 According 
to one of these, Noah's Ark was in Armenia, where Joseph 
Cartaphila, the Wandering Jew, lived, who had been baptized 
by Ananias, who also baptized St Paul. The other also states 
that Noah's Ark was in Armenia, among wild inaccessible 
mountains, surrounded by a desert full of serpents, and adds 
that Armenia marches with India. Now information identical 
with this is found in two different places in the Chronica Major a : 
in the annal for 1228 it is said that Ananias baptized St Paul 
and Cartaphila, the latter of whom then lived in Armenia; and 
in the annal for 1252 Matthew records the visit of some 
Armenians to St Albans, who gave him the rest of the informa- 
tion given in these two legends. 6 The only possible conclusion 
from this seems to be that much, at any rate, of the information 
given in the legends on the Palestine maps was gathered by 
Matthew Paris himself. 

There is a certain amount of evidence to show that Matthew 
was interested in cartography, and that his maps are not mere 
slavish copies of existing ones. In the margin of a St Albans 
historical manuscript, for instance, next to an account of the 
size of England and its bishoprics, he notes: 7 'Hie est discordia 

1 v, pp. 346-7. 2 iv, pp. 144 and 145. 

3 Itineraires a Jerusalem, edd. Michelant and Raynaud, pp. 125-6; CM. 
iv, p. 77, and v, p. 341. 

4 Itineraires a Jerusalem, p. 138; and CM. n, pp. 559 ff. 

5 Itineraires a Jerusalem, p. 126. 

6 CM. m, p. 163; and v, p. 341. 

7 British Museum Royal MS. 13 D v, L 152 a. 

239 



MATTHEW PARIS 

inter hoc et Gildam de dimensione Anglie. Respice in principio 
Gilde/ In his map of England and Scotland Matthew follows 
this account in preference to Gildas, and copies out the part of 
it describing the size of Great Britain to give his map a rough 
scale. 1 His interest in cartography is shown, too, in some notes 
on the last fly-leaf of A, which James deciphered thus : 2 

Circa Carleolum patria est dicta Aluedele. 

Hie versus austrum Cocormue villa patria complem. [sic] 

Aqua Dorecte et currit (?) per Cocormue. 

Other notes, in part illegible, have been written by Matthew 
on a fly-leaf of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, MS. 2, on the 
same leaf as his map of Palestine. 3 They seem to show him in 
the very act of collecting cartographical material, and, since 
they have never been published, I give them here, in so far as 
I have been able to decipher them: 

Messana propinquior est terre sancte quam Brundusium. Navi- 
gantibus a Massilia in terrain sanctam est Messana media [ui]a. 
Marsilia est contermina Hyspanie. 

Siciliam, Apuliam, Calabriam, . . . que ducat usque ad Alpes, 
Campaniam, Romam cum Romania, Vallem [Spoleti?], Vallem 
Anconie, Venetiam, Dalmatiam. 

In Arabia est Ydumea ubi crescit ... balsam. [S]aba fflumen?] 
Sabea patria. . . .media contermine sunt Indie. Parthia, id est 
Tur[c]hia. 

PamfirfTlal T , 
A . J Y Idem. 
Armenia J 

Rex Aragonie adeptus est super sarracenos [in] hispania xxx dietas. 
Katalonia est patria contermina prouincie Vallis Moriane. Sabaudia. 

Tharsus est archiepiscopatus prope Antiochiam ubi natus est 
sanctus Paulus, et est in cilia Armenie minoris. In parte boreali est 
Ruscia et [Rjumania et B . . lakania, et superius uersus Anthiokiam 
est Yconium. 

[Caba?] est [insula?] prope Januam ubi optimi sunt ancipitres. 

Inter Ciprim et Aeon comp. . .per mare ccc leuce. 

No one of Matthew's cartographical productions is identical 
with another, and for this reason it seems worth while to give here 

1 He copied this memorandum out again on one of the preliminary leaves 
of the Abbreviatio Chronicorum, f. i b. 

2 James, Catalogue of C.C.C.C. MSS. i, p. 53. 

3 See pp. 245-7 below for this map. 

240 



OTHER INTERESTS 

a complete list of them all. In this list I have prefixed each map 
with the letter used for it in previous editions. 

(1) Maps of England and Scotland. 1 

A. British Museum, Cotton MS. Claudius D vi (AC), f. 8b 
(now bound separately). 

B. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. i6(5), f. vb 
(incomplete). 

c. British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vii, ff. 5ob~53 (now 
bound separately with map A). 

D. British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii (R\ f. 5b. 

To these we should add the Scema Britannic on f. i86b of 
British Museum Cotton MS. Nero D i (LA), a sketch-map of 
the main Roman roads. 2 

(2) Maps of Palestine. 3 

A. British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii (R), ff. 4b~5a. 

c. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16 (), ff. iib 
and va (incomplete). 

D. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26 (A), ff. iiib- 
iva. 

B, of Michelant, is a post-medieval copy of A. Another 
copy exists in British Museum Cotton MS. Tiberius Evi, 
ff. 3 b~4a, badly damaged by fire, and probably copied from D. 

To these we must add the map of Palestine in Corpus Christi 
College, Oxford, MS. 2, ff. 2b-i a. 4 

(3) World-map. 

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26, p. 284. 5 
A medieval copy of this map exists in British Museum 
Cotton MS. Nero D v, f . i b. 6 

1 Excellently reproduced in colour in Four Maps of Great Britain, edited 
by J. P. Gilson. 

2 Engraved by Miller, Mappae Mundi. Die dltesten Weltkarten, in, p. 83. 

3 The legends of these maps are printed in Itiner air esd Jerusalem, pp. 125 ff. 
Map A is reproduced in Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, n, facing p. 590; 
part of c (f. iib) in James, * Drawings of M. Paris', Walpole Soc. xiv (1925- 
6), no. 26 ; and D is reproduced below as Plate xvi. 

4 Reproduced below for the first time as Plate xvii. 

5 - Reproduced in Miller, Mappae Mundi. Die dltesten Weltkarten, m, p. 71. 
6 Reproduced in Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, n, facing p. 586. 

16 241 VHP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

(4) Itineraries from London to Apulia* 

1. British Museum Royal MS. 14 C vii (R), ff. 2a-4a. 

2. British Museum Cotton MS. Nero Di(LA),&. 

3. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 26 (A), S. ia- 
iiia. 

4. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 16 (J3), f. iia 
(incomplete). 

This mass of material is for the most part arranged systemati- 
cally, each volume of the Chronica Major a having been originally 
prefaced with, among other preliminary matter, a copy of the 
itinerary, the map of Palestine, and the map of England and 
Scotland, in that order. The present arrangement of the carto- 
graphical material in these manuscripts is as follows : 

Itinerary Palestine England 

Vol. I (A) i-iiia iiib-iva none 

VoL H <*> iia (fra S m '> iib ~ Va vb 

Vol. m CR) 2a- 4 a 



Little need be said here about Matthew's four maps of 
England and Scotland, for they have been reproduced admirably 
in facsimile, and discussed at length by Miss Mitchell. 2 They 
are the earliest detailed maps of England in existence. Of their 
date nothing certain can be ascertained, though the hand- 
writing shows that they were executed fairly late in Matthew's 
life, probably after c. 1245. The best of these maps is that pre- 
facing the Abbreviatio Chronicorum (A). That in B (B) is also 
excellent, but unfortunately only about half of it survives. In 
both these maps the sea is coloured green and the rivers blue, 
and many of the legends are written in red, with blue paragraph 
markers. Map A is drawn in an oblong frame, round the outside 
of which inscriptions indicate the nearest land lying opposite 
each quarter of the map. The map in R (D) is only an outline 
sketch, though the sea has been coloured in, and is much less 
accurate in shape than maps A and B. It seems to have been 
either an early attempt soon abandoned, or else a late, very 

1 The only good modern reproduction of any of these seems to be that of 
f. 4a of no. i in Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, n, facing p. 588. The 
first pages of nos. i and 3 are reproduced below, Plates xn and xin. The text 
is printed in Miller, Mappae Mundi. Die dltesten Weltkarten, in, pp. 85-90. 

2 See above, p. 236. 

242 



OTHER INTERESTS 

rough copy, which was never completed. It has few close 
similarities with the other maps, all of which resemble each 
other more or less closely. The map in British Museum Cotton 
MS. Julius D vii (c) is rather similar to map B, and, since it was 
never finished by Matthew Paris, may have been a first draft 
which he later abandoned. The main route to the north is dis- 
placed to the east, as in map B ; but, whereas in map c the space 
thus provided is left blank, in map B it is filled with a legend 
describing the size of England, evidently intended to serve as 
a rough scale. Map c has recently been taken out of the manu- 
script in which it was bound, and preserved in a separate cover 
with map A. Its early history is interesting. British Museum 
Cotton MS. Julius D vii is a small manuscript containing the 
historical collections of John of Wallingford, infirmarer of 
St Albans, and a friend of Matthew Paris. Matthew must have 
given map c to John of Wallingford while it was still unfinished, 
unless John rescued it from the scriptorium wastepaper-basket, 
for many of the names on it have been written by John and not 
by Matthew. Although this map is on a folio-size leaf, John 
decided to incorporate it into his little historical volume, which un- 
fortunately entailed folding it into four and cutting through two of 
the folds. Later John filled in the four pages provided by the blank 
verso of the map with some miscellaneous material of his own. 1 
Matthew's maps of England and Scotland are outstanding 
among early medieval attempts at cartography, in that they 
represent a genuine attempt at a map, rather than a mere 
diagrammatical representation. They are orientated with north 
at the top, unlike most early medieval maps, and the four points 
of the compass were written in at the sides, top and bottom. 2 
We have seen that one of them has been provided with an 
attempt at a scale. That Matthew was conscious of the im- 
portance of scale is shown by a note on map D, to the effect that, 
if the page allowed it, the whole map should have been longer. 3 
In these maps, too, we find examples of the use of conventional 
signs for mountains, trees and towns, which seem to be among 
the earliest known. Matthew, of course, was perfectly well 

1 See Vaughan, 'Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Camb. Bibl. Soc. I 
(i953)> P- 382, note 9. 2 Not all of these survive. 

3 ' Si pagina pateretur, hec totalis insula longior esse deberet.' 



243 



16-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

acquainted with this idea, for, as we have seen, he used a number 
of conventional signs in the margins of his chronicles. All four 
maps of England and Scotland are based on an itinerary from 
Dover to Newcastle, which runs through Canterbury, Rochester, 
London, St Albans, Dunstable, Northampton, Leicester, Belvoir, 
Newark, Blyth, Doncaster, Pontefract, Boroughbridge, North- 
allerton and Durham, and which, on all the maps, runs north- 
south, so that Dover, Canterbury and Rochester are marked due 
south of London. This is the one major error in the maps, and 
it has caused a serious displacement of much of the south of 
England. Norfolk and Suffolk fill up the south-east corner of 
the map ; Kent is displaced due south of London ; Sussex south- 
west of London; Essex due west; and, in map A, Wiltshire is 
inserted north of London, and even of Northampton. In map 
c John of Wallingford has shown more sense, for he marks 
Wiltshire roughly in the right place, south-west of London. 
Of the relative positions of Devon, Somerset and Dorset 
Matthew evidently knew little, but Cornwall is correctly marked 
in the south-western extremity of the island. Some idea of the 
amount of detail in these maps is afforded by the 250 names 
listed in the British Museum edition. As we should expect, 
St Albans is placed conspicuously on all four maps, in a central 
position due north of London. The abbey's five chief cells are 
also marked: Tynemouth, Belvoir, Binham, Wymondham and 
Wallingford. 

The Scema Britannie in the Liber Additamentorum need not 
detain us long. It is a rough outline sketch of England and 
Scotland showing the four main Roman roads, quite wrongly 
intersecting at Dunstable. They are Icknield Street, the Fosse 
Way, Ermine Street and Watling Street. This map is orientated 
with west at the top, and Matthew has given the rough bearings 
of each of the four roads. Thus, Icknield Street is said to lead 
'ab oriente in occidentem'; the Fosse Way, "a zephiro australi 
in eurum septentrionalem', and so on. 

Three of Matthew's maps of Palestine are very similar, and 

their legends have been printed in full. 1 Each takes up an 

opening in one of the three volumes of the Chronica Majora. 

That in 5, besides surviving only in part, is on the whole rougher 

1 See above, p. 241 note 3. 

244 



OTHER INTERESTS 

and less full than either of the others, both of which are more 
carefully executed and ornamented in colour. The map in A 
is reproduced below as Plate xvi. The editors of the legends 
of these maps thought that the map in R represented an early 
version, and those in A and B a later one. None of these 
maps is copied directly from another, and, as with the maps 
of England, each displays some features peculiar to itself. 
Evidence of their date is scanty, but one of the legends of the 
map in A gives some information which Matthew obtained from 
the Armenians who visited St Albans in 1252, which shows that 
it was executed in or after that year; 1 and the other two maps 
were probably executed at about the same time. From the 
cartographical point of view, the map of Palestine represented 
in these three versions is of little interest. It seems to have been 
based on the traditional world-maps, and, like them, lacks any 
true sense of proportion or scale. An inordinate amount of 
space is taken up with descriptive legends of little or no carto- 
graphical importance, and with drawings of boats, cities, animals, 
and so on. In accordance with traditional usage, the map is 
orientated with east at the top. Only twenty-seven towns are 
marked, and natural features are represented only by the Dead 
Sea, the rivers Jordan and Farfar, the Caspian mountains, and 
the mountains of Lebanon. Although the proportion of the 
map has been ruined by the large-scale plan of Acre, this is an 
interesting feature in itself, since a number of the more im- 
portant buildings are individually marked. 

Besides these three maps of Palestine, notable mainly for 
their descriptive legends and artistic features, Matthew executed 
a fourth map quite different from them, and of much greater 
cartographical interest, which is reproduced here for the first 
time as Plate xvn. It occupies part of one side of a parchment 
bifolium bound at the beginning of Corpus Christi College, 
Oxford, MS. 2, a St Albans Bible partly executed by Matthew 
Paris. 2 This map is not very carefully finished, and some of it is 
sketched in very roughly. The only colouring consists in a few 

1 See p. 239 above. 

2 See Vaughan, ' Handwriting of M. Paris', Trans. Camb. Bibliog. Soc. I 
(1953), p. 391, where I have wrongly attributed only a part of the map of 
Palestine to Matthew. 

245 



MATTHEW PARIS 

words written in rubric. The writing is rough and cursive, and 
the carefully executed drawings of towns which form so con- 
spicuous a feature of the itineraries and other maps of Palestine 
are almost entirely lacking. In its general character, this map is 
more similar to the maps of England and Scotland than to the 
other maps of Palestine, North is placed at the top of the page, 
and an attempt at a correct representation of proportion has been 
made, in contrast to the more diagrammatic approach of the 
other Palestine maps. There are no long descriptive legends or 
elaborate drawings to spoil the cartographical qualities of this 
map. The coast, marked by a wavy black line on the extreme 
left of the page, extends from Antioch and its port, St Symeon, 
at the top, to Alexandria and Cairo at the bottom. The different 
territories are clearly marked with letters spaced out across the 
page: 'Terra Antiochie', 'Armenia', 'Terra Senis de Monte', 
'Terra Sirie', 'Terra Egypti', and 'Terra Soldani Babilonie'. 
A number of natural features are marked, such as mountains, 
rivers, lakes, and springs. The Nile is wrongly called the Tigris, 
and is made to flow east-west, but the relative positions of the 
Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are roughly correct, and the 
Jordan is shown joining them. Other natural features recorded 
are palm trees, forests, and a plain, the 'planicies Fabe' ; and it is 
interesting to find that the crocodiles of the Nile, the salt of the 
Dead Sea, and the lions of the 'foresta de Arches' are all noted. 
A number of biblical features, too, are marked, such as the tomb 
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the ditch where Adam was 
created, and the place where the wood of the Cross grew. The 
most valuable feature of this map, however, is the large number 
of inhabited places marked on it. There are nearly sixty in all, 
and in nearly every case something of the nature of the settle- 
ment is indicated by the word episcopatus, cwitas, monasterium, 
or castrum (usually the single letter C). To this mass of informa- 
tion Matthew has added the distances in days' journeys between 
many of the coastal settlements; and the route to Jerusalem is 
also marked. Finally, a number of notes give additional informa- 
tion about the relative positions of various places, and sometimes 
even correct the map. Thus, whereas on the map Damascus is 
placed on the river Jordan, due north of the Sea of Galilee, 
a note correctly states that in fact Damascus is not on the Jordan, 

246 



OTHER INTERESTS 

and that the headwaters of that river are much nearer the coast 
than Damascus. 1 Although this map contains a number of 
errors and has many shortcomings, it is probably the most 
detailed and important of all the earlier medieval maps of 
Palestine, though it seems to have entirely escaped the notice 
of historians of cartography; and, even if Matthew's share of 
responsibility in it must remain in doubt, we can at least be 
thankful to him for preserving it for us. 

Matthew's world-map is the least interesting of his carto- 
graphical productions. It is traditional in form, and it makes 
no advance on the many earlier medieval world-maps. On it, 
however, Matthew has written an inscription of great interest, 
which reads as follows : 2 ' This is a reduced copy of the world- 
maps of Master Robert Melkeley and Waltham [Abbey]. The 
king's world-map, which is in his chamber at Westminster, is 
most accurately copied in Matthew Paris's Ordinal.' Unfor- 
tunately Matthew's Ordinal is not now known to exist. He 
does not seem to have thought very highly of the existing 
world-map, for it is not executed with especial care, and part of 
the page on which it is drawn has been used for his rough notes. 

The last of Matthew's cartographical productions is the 
famous itinerary from London to Apulia, of which four auto- 
graph copies are known to exist. I have listed these on p. 242 
above, and shall use the numbers used there in reference to 
them. This work was formerly thought to be an itinerary from 
London to Jerusalem, but Miller showed that in fact it extended 
only to the south of Italy, and that the map of Palestine, 
showing Jerusalem, which follows it in three of the manuscripts, 
is a separate work. 3 The word 'Apulia' has been rather loosely 
used in reference to this work, for the itinerary proper seems 
to have ended at Rome. The existing versions, however, vary so 
much towards the end that no single title can accurately describe 
them all. These variations may be summarized as follows: 

(i) The itinerary proper ends with Rome ' terminus itineris 
multorum' which is followed by a diagram or map of southern 

1 'Istud propinquius est mari, nee contingit Damascum fluuius [sc. 
Jordanus].' 

2 HA. in, p. H, note i. 

3 Miller, Mappae MundL Die dltesten Weltkarten, in, p. 84. 

247 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Italy, called by Matthew Apulia. To this are added (a) a diagram 
of Sicily, and (b) a plan of Rome; (a) and (b) are on separate 
slips of parchment stuck to the edges of the leaf. 

(2) The itinerary ends at Rome, but the diagram of Apulia 
which follows has been rearranged in a single column as if it 
formed part of the itinerary. 

(3) The itinerary proper ends with Siena, and this is followed 
by a group of towns in central Italy arranged roughly in two 
columns: Arezzo, Viterbo, Sutri; and Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto. 
After these comes the diagram of Apulia, and then the plans of 
Sicily and Rome fixed to the edges of the leaf. 

(4) A simplified version of no. i which has lost its plans of 
Sicily and Rome. 

I have already mentioned the fact that this itinerary seems to 
be connected with the papal offer of the Sicilian crown to Richard 
of Cornwall in I252. 1 No. i has the inscription: 2 'Earl Richard, 
brother of the king of England, was offered the crown of all this 
country [that is, Apulia] .... This was in the time of Pope 
Innocent IV, who made him the offer in the year of grace 1253.' 
This proposal is described in the Chronica Majora, and it does 
seem likely that the itinerary was made in connexion with it. 
The words of the inscription, ' This was in the time of Pope 
Innocent IV, seem to show that itinerary no. i, at any rate, was 
executed after Innocent's death in 1254; and it seems probable 
that both the itineraries and the maps of Palestine which follow 
them date from after c. 1252. The striking variations between 
the four versions of this itinerary bear out the theory outlined 
above, that Matthew himself was a cartographer, and that they 
are not mere copies of an existing work. We are, unfortunately, 
entirely ignorant as to the nature of their source material, but it 
does not seem unreasonable to suggest that Matthew compiled 
them from information provided by contemporary travellers 
to Rome, of whom we know there were many among his 
acquaintances. 

The two most detailed and finished versions of Matthew's 
Apulian itinerary are nos. i and 3 of our list, and the first page 
of each is illustrated in Plates xir and xm. No. 2 seems to 

1 Above, p. 239. 

2 Printed in Miller, Mappae MundL Die altesten Weltkarten, in, p. 89. 

248 



OTHER INTERESTS 

derive from these, for in it Matthew has tried to convert the 
diagram of Apulia into a continuation of the itinerary beyond 
Rome. The German scholar, Ludwig, made a detailed study of 
Matthew's itinerary, and compiled a useful table giving the 
towns on the main route with the distances between them, as 
well as Matthew's distances in days 5 journeys. 1 He showed that, 
while Matthew's distances between the places on the main route 
are mostly correct, those of the side-routes, several of which are 
marked, are often wildly wrong. He found that the average day's 
journey was 35 km., but that days' journeys of up to 60 km. 
occurred occasionally. He pointed out that a number of quite 
serious mistakes occur in the itinerary : the river Po, for instance, 
is in the wrong place, and Valence is wrongly marked between 
Lyons and Vienne. For the most part, Matthew's itinerary is 
a list of names of towns in French, with the word 'Jurnee' 
written vertically between them. They are arranged in vertical 
columns, and the itinerary begins in the bottom left-hand corner 
of the first page, and runs up each column. In the strict sense 
of the word, it is not an itinerary at all, for, especially in Italy 
and in no. 3, Matthew seems to have included all the towns he 
knew of, without any reference to an actual itinerary. The towns 
are indicated by thumbnail sketches of architectural features in 
Matthew's characteristic fashion, showing a piece of wall and 
a tower or two, and perhaps a spire. Sometimes there is more 
information than this. Thus, the gates and some of the chief 
buildings of London are marked. Occasionally, minute drawings 
are to be found. At Pontremoli, for instance, two pine trees 
are drawn in, and marked 'pin'; and a carefully drawn tortoise 
is labelled 'tortue'. At Sutri, in no. i, a stork sits on a tower, 
and, in no. 3, excellent little drawings of a man with a mule, 
and a goat, decorate the neighbourhood of Arezzo. 

The map of southern Italy which follows, or forms part of, 
the itinerary is of no cartographical importance, and Matthew's 
information was evidently too scanty for him to do more than 
make a diagram, in which most of the important towns are 
marked with little or no relation to their true position. Southern 
Italy itself is wrongly placed in relation to the itinerary; for r 

1 Ludwig, Untersuchungen iiber die Reise- und Marschgeschwindigkeit im XII. 
und XIII. Jahrhundert, pp. 122-9. 

249 



MATTHEW PARIS 

whereas in the itinerary south is at the top of the page and north 
at the bottom, in the map of southern Italy the west coast, with 
Naples and Salerno on it, is placed at the top. Moreover, 
Barletta, Trani, Bari, Brindisi and Otranto are shown along 
a coastline vertical to the page and down the left-hand side of 
the map, at right angles to the west coast along the top of the 
page. Both coastlines are shown more or less straight, and no 
idea is given of the outline of southern Italy. The same is true 
of the map or diagram of Sicily, which shows the island in the 
form of a triangle lying, apparently, more or less opposite Naples. 
Matthew's interest in cartography and his skill at drawing 
maps are linked closely to his historical and artistic activities, 
and to his avid desire to collect and record information of every 
kind. It is not therefore surprising that a man of his talents and 
curiosity should have added this body of cartographical and 
geographical material to his historical manuscripts. His maps 
of England and Scotland and the Oxford map of Palestine are 
landmarks of the first importance in the history of cartography; 
and the itinerary, too, is interesting and valuable. As we have 
seen, it is not possible to ascertain exactly the extent of Matthew's 
own contribution to this material, but, even if, as seems unlikely, 
this was small, we owe its preservation to him, and for this alone 
he deserves an important place in the history of medieval 
cartography. 

II. HERALDRY 

When, in the text of Matthew's chronicles, mention is made of 
a battle or other event, the shields of the persons concerned are 
often painted in the margin of the manuscript; and when the 
death of a knight is recorded, his shield is inserted reversed. 
There are ninety-five shields in the margins of ./?; seventy-eight 
in 5; fourteen in A; six in the Abbreviatio Chronicorum\ and 
four in the Chetham manuscript of the Flares Historiarum. 
Moreover, in the Liber Additamentorum there is a leaf with some 
fifty shields painted in colour, as well as twenty-five uncoloured; 
and another page in the same manuscript has twenty-seven 
shields roughly tricked and blazoned. Sir Frederick Madden 
thought that all these shields were the work of Matthew Paris, 
and he included a knowledge of heraldry among Matthew's 

250 



OTHER INTERESTS 

attainments. 1 Hardy, however, doubted if the shields were 
drawn by Matthew; and Luard thought it possible that they 
were designed by another hand. 2 I have already put forward 
evidence to show that Matthew himself executed the shields in 
the margins of the historical manuscripts; 3 and the reader can 
corroborate this by examining Plate xvm, 4 where he will see that 
the heraldic animals of these shields are identical with those in the 
drawings and paintings attributed to Matthew Paris. Madden, 
then, was right in attributing the shields to Matthew Paris, but 
was he also right in attributing to him a knowledge of heraldry? 
That Matthew was not a mere artist carrying out someone else's 
instructions seems to be indicated by the fact that nearly all the 
shields in the Liber Additamentorum y including those only drawn 
in trick, are blazoned in his own handwriting, for this shows 
that he understood and used heraldic terminology. The same 
thing is found in the Chronica Majora. On f. i^b of B, for 
instance, Matthew's own plummet notes survive, describing the 
shields painted in the margin ; and this, I think, shows that he 
painted these shields on the basis of his own descriptions, and 
not directly from some roll of arms. His statements, too, some- 
times reflect his interest in heraldry. In the Historia Anglorum, 
for instance, he says in the margin of one leaf that f many other 
French nobles fell, whose names and shields are unknown to me 
[nobis] ' ; 5 and in the margin of another he explains that half of 
Otto's shield bore the imperial arms, and the other half those of 
the kings of England. 6 The very scope and variety, too, of 
Matthew's heraldic work indicates his interest in the subject, 
and makes it clear that he knew something about it, and was 
more than a mere heraldic copyist. 

The relationship of the different sets of shields in Matthew's 
manuscripts is very hard to determine. On f. iyob of the 
Liber Additamentorum (Plate xix) there are forty-two shields 
in full colour arranged in rows of six, with the names of their 
owners and the blazons written above each shield. Three other 
shields have been added in the margins, two of which are in 

1 HA. m, pp. xlix-1. 

2 Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue, m, p. Ixxii; and CM. vi, p. 469. 

3 Above, pp. 211-16 and Plates iv and v. 

4 Cf. also Plate x (a). 

5 HA. in, p. 84 note i. 6 HA. n, p. 65. 

251 



MATTHEW PARIS 

colour. 1 These shields were probably copied by Matthew from 
a roll of arms, since they are arranged in a definite order: King 
Henry III comes first, followed by his brother the earl of Cornwall, 
the other earls, and then a number of knights. On the recto of this 
leaf the shields are arranged in rows of five in no particular order, 
and only the first four are completed, the rest being left either 
partly coloured, or entirely blank. Five partly coloured shields 
have been added in the margin of the leaf, and the three shields 
in the lower margin are also later additions. 1 There is good 
reason to believe that these shields were executed in 1244, an d> 
if this is so, the same is no doubt true of the shields on the verso. 
The shields drawn in trick and blazoned on f. 198 are mostly 
repeated on f. 170, but they are not directly copied thence. 
These shields in the Liber Additamentomm do not form a col- 
lection designed to provide exemplars for the heraldic illustra- 
tion in the historical manuscripts, for, while thirty-five of the 
shields in the Liber Additamentorum do not occur in the other 
manuscripts, there are thirty-five shields in the Chronica Major a 
which are not in the Liber Additamentorum. Nor have the shields 
in the Historia Anglorum been directly copied from those in the 
Chronica, for seventeen of them are peculiar to the Historia 
Anglorum. On the other hand, all these shields must derive 
from a common source, whether this was a roll of arms in 
Matthew's possession, or one which he borrowed, or a collection 
of paintings and blazons made by himself at different times. 

Matthew's love of heraldry seems to have been partly artistic 
he evidently appreciated the pictorial value of coloured shields 
and partly historical. He collected shields in much the same 
way as he collected documents, and, just as he tampered with 
his documentary material, so he seems to have tampered with 
his heraldic material, for he provides or invents coats of arms for 
William the Conqueror and Cnut. 2 Apart from occasional 
errors his shields are accurate, and are usually ascribed to 
individuals rather than to families. In the history of heraldry- 
Matthew's work is of the utmost importance, for he was a 

1 For these shields, see von Pusikan (O. Goschen), 'Wappen aus den 
Werken des Matthias von Paris', Vierteljahrschrift fur Heraldik, Sphragistik 
und Genealogie, 11, where they are described and reproduced. 

2 See James, 'Drawings of M. Paris*, Walpole Soc. xiv (1925-6), no. 16; 
and Plate xvm (d) below. 

252 



OTHER INTERESTS 

pioneer in the subject, and his shields take the first place in 
A. R. Wagner's Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms. 
The earliest actual roll of arms catalogued by Wagner is 
Glover's roll, the lost original of which is thought to have been 
executed c. 1255, at a ti me when the bulk of Matthew's shields 
had already been painted. Glover's roll probably contained 
214 shields: Matthew gives us some 130, including a number of 
Continental shields, the presence of which reflects the breadth 
of his interests, and makes him important as a source for Conti- 
nental, as well as English, heraldry. In any estimate of him, 
then, his heraldic work must be given a place of importance, 
both on account of its utility and significance for historians, and 
because of its originality, for Matthew seems to have been one of 
the first to conceive the idea of making a collection of coats of arms . 
The identification and cataloguing of Matthew's shields was 
undertaken by that careful scholar, H. R. Luard, and he printed 
a complete list of all the shields occurring in Matthew's manu- 
scripts, with the exception of the four in the Floras Historiarum, 
as an appendix to the sixth volume of his edition of the Chronica 
Major a. A year before the appearance of this, in 1881, Major 
Goschen, writing under the pseudonym von Pusikan, published 
a detailed account of the shields on f. 170 of the Liber Addita- 
mentorum, accompanied by a colour reproduction of this leaf. 
The only other detailed study of Matthew's shields was pub- 
lished in 1909 by F. Hauptmann, who carefully described all the 
shields in the Historia Anglorum and the Abbreviatio Chroni- 
corum, and discussed them at length. 1 It is to be hoped that, 
some day, this remarkable collection of shields will be repro- 
duced in full colour and with an adequate commentary, so as to 
collect them together in one volume and do full justice to their 
artistic and heraldic merit. 

III. NATURAL SCIENCE 

We have already discussed Matthew's concern with natural 
history and natural phenomena of all kinds in connexion with 
the Chronica Major a? but certain aspects of his interest in these 

1 Hauptmann, 'Die Wappen in der Historia Minor des M. Parisiensis \ 
Jahrbuch der K.K. Heraldischen Gesellschaft, XIX (1909). 

2 See above, pp. 144-5 J see also HA. in, pp. xlvi-xlvii. 

253 



MATTHEW PARIS 

and similar things merit separate discussion here. I use the 
word 'science 1 in a very loose sense, which includes, for the 
purposes of this chapter, both astrology and fortune-telling. To 
begin, however, with the more authentic sciences, we ought to 
note that Matthew's interest in meteorology is by no means 
limited to the pages of his chronicles. In the Liber Addita- 
mentorum the greater part of a page (f. 185 a) is devoted to an 
elaborate drawing, with many annotations, of a parhelion seen 
in the sky on 8 April 1233. Matthew tells us that an eyewitness 
made a drawing of it while it was still visible, and his drawing is 
evidently based on this one. Although the drawing and notes 
leave no doubt as to the kind of phenomenon observed, neither 
is in fact accurate, and either the observer or Matthew seems to 
have been confused by the number and relationship of the suns 
and their haloes. It is interesting to find that the points of the 
compass are marked on this drawing, east being placed at the 
top of the page. 

On two occasions Matthew inserts a diagram of an eclipse of 
the sun in the margins of his chronicles; in one of these the 
earth, moon and sun are shown in a straight line; and, in the 
other, the moon is shown superimposed on the sun. 1 These 
diagrams are similar to some of those executed by Matthew in 
a manuscript which affords further proof of his interest in these 
matters. This is Part II of manuscript no. 385 in the library 
of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, a copy of William of 
Conches' s Dragmaticon Philosophiae which Matthew illustrated 
with a series of twenty-three diagrams, some of which are 
reproduced in Plate xx. 2 William of Conches (1080-1145) was 
a well-known philosopher and teacher at Chartres, and this work 
takes the form of a dialogue on * natural substances', during the 

1 B, f. 75 b, andjR, f. i8ia. 

2 See also Plate xiv (e). When I first examined this manuscript, I attri- 
buted these diagrams to Matthew Paris on grounds of style and handwriting 
alone, but there is some more convincing evidence which connects it very 
closely with Matthew. For instance, on p. in the couplet from Henry of 
Avranches's poem on the dedication of Salisbury Cathedral, written in the 
lower margin (not by Matthew himself), is misquoted in the same words as by 
Matthew in the Chronica Majora, m, pp. 189-90 (and see p. 189, note 5). 
Some verses on the winds, too, are written in the lower margin of p. 151 
as well as by Matthew himself in LA (CM. vi, p. 465). See Vaughan, 
'Handwriting of M. Paris*, Trans. Camb. Bibliog. Soc. I (1953), pp. 382-3. 

254 



OTHER INTERESTS 

course of which various subjects, such as demons, angels, the 
four elements, the world, astronomy, creation, animal life, the 
seasons, meteorology, and human biology, are discussed; and 
it was illustrated with a number of figures. 1 Many illustrated 
manuscripts of this work have survived, and Matthew's differs 
in no important respect from the others, though his diagrams are 
of much more artistic merit. Those reproduced in Plate xx 
illustrate (a) the solar system, (b) the phases of the moon, (c) an 
eclipse of the moon, (d) the twelve winds; (e) is a schematic 
world-map. The diagram reproduced as Plate xiv (e) shows the 
path of the sun. Matthew Paris was not a professional artist, 
and his illustration of this manuscript is therefore important for 
the light it throws on his scientific interests. The fact that one 
of the diagrams in it is a wind rose is significant, for his manu- 
scripts contain several of these drawn by himself. Professor 
Taylor made a special study of the two wind roses drawn by 
Matthew in the Liber Additamentorum. 2 One of these is the 
traditional twelve-ray rose represented in Plate xx (d), which 
came down to the Middle Ages from classical antiquity. It is 
headed by Matthew with the words, c Secundum magistrum 
Ely am de Derham', which show that it is a copy of a wind rose 
designed by Elias of Dereham, the canon of Salisbury who died in 
1245. It is very like another twelve-ray diagram copied by John 
of Wallingf ord into his manuscript of miscellaneous matter with 
the heading: 3 'Secundum Robertum Grosseteste episcopum 
Lincolniensem'. Taylor noticed that the other wind rose in the 
Liber Additamentorum was very different from these, and of 
much greater interest, for in it the circle is divided into sixteen 
rays instead of twelve, in accordance with the practice of the 
seamen of Matthew's day. 4 This rose is certainly Matthew's own 
work, and below it he has written out some mnemonic verses 
on the winds composed by himself. He made two other versions 
of this sixteen-ray wind rose, which are to be found among the 
preliminary matter of the first two volumes of the Chronica 

1 It was edited by W. Gratarolus in 1567. For the MSS., see Wilmart, 
'Analecta reginensia', Studi e Testi, Lix (1933), p. 263, note 2. 

2 'The De ventis of Matthew Paris', Imago Mundi, n (i93?) PP- 
They are on f. 184 a and b of the Liber Additamentorum. 

3 British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vii, f. sib. 

4 Taylor, ' The De ventis of Matthew Paris', loc. tit. p. 23. 

255 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Major a-, 1 and in each of them Matthew has added, to the Latin 
names of the sixteen wind directions, the vernacular equivalents 
which are still in use today. Although he himself was probably 
not responsible for first bringing the classical twelve-ray wind 
rose up to date by dividing the horizon into sixteen parts, his 
diagram seems to be the earliest surviving example of this 
important modification. 

Besides astronomy and meteorology, Matthew interested him- 
self in natural history, and, in particular, in the natural history 
of the elephant. In February I255 2 Louis IX presented an 
elephant to Henry III. This animal was brought across the 
Channel by John Gouch, and was housed at the Tower in a 
special elephant-house, forty feet long and twenty feet broad. 
Matthew records this gift in his Chronica Major a^ and he wrote 
a short tract on the elephant to accompany the drawings which 
he made from life ('ipso elephante exemplariter assistente'), 
and which he inserted into two of his manuscripts. 3 The 
accuracy of these drawings can be judged from Plate xxi (a), 
where one of them is reproduced. The rather wooden appearance 
of the beast seems partly due to Matthew's belief, expressed in 
the tract accompanying the drawings and shared by his con- 
temporaries, that elephants had no joints in their legs. In the 
drawing reproduced here the magister bestie has been drawn in, 
standing under the animal's head, in order to give an idea of its 
size, for Matthew says : * From the size of the man drawn here 
one can get an idea of the size of the beast/ The short tract on 
the elephant written by Matthew, which accompanies these 
drawings, is incomplete in each of the manuscripts, and the two 
versions of it differ considerably. There is also a third version 
which was copied from that in the Liber Additamentorum by 
John of Wallingford, who also made a rather poor copy of 
Matthew's drawing. 4 This particular elephant is described as 
being ten years old, and ten feet high, and Matthew goes on to 
explain, presumably on the basis of his own observations, that 

1 A, f. vb, and B 9 f. ib. 

3 For what follows, see also Madden's article in Brayley, Graphic and 
Historical Illustrator, pp. 3356. 

3 CM. v, p. 489. For the tract and drawings, see B, ff. iva~vb and the 
Liber Additamentorum, f. i68b and attached slip. 

4 British Museum Cotton MS. Julius D vii, ff. H4a-ii5a. 

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OTHER INTERESTS 

the elephant is greyish-black in colour and, unlike other animals, 
has no fur; that it is ponderous and robust, and indeed an 
altogether prodigious and monstrous animal. It uses its trunk 
for obtaining food and drink; has small eyes in the upper part 
of its head; and its skin is rough and very hard. So much for 
observation: the rest of the tract is compiled from the Bible, 
Bernard Sylvester, Virgil, Horace, and the medieval bestiary. 
From the latter Matthew took his account of the method of 
trapping elephants. Since they have no joints in their legs, they 
cannot get up once they have fallen to the ground, and are forced 
therefore to sleep reclining against a tree. All the huntsman has 
to do is to saw partly through the trunks of the trees used by 
the elephants for this purpose, and then kill them as they lie 
helpless on the ground! 1 On the whole, this little tract is a 
characteristic example of medieval natural-history studies, and 
its significance lies in its demonstration of Matthew's interest in 
them rather than in any inherent merit. 

Matthew's belief in portents and prognostics is well attested 
in the Chronica Majora* and his curiosity about natural pheno- 
mena is at any rate partly due to this belief. It was only, how- 
ever, when Professor Wormald identified the illustrations in 
Bodleian Library Ashmole MS. 304 as the work of Matthew 
Paris that this well-known collection of fortune-telling tracts 
was linked with him. 3 Matthew himself wrote out a large part 
of the text of this book, 4 and was no doubt responsible for the 
whole of it. It contains a number of different works designed to 
tell the fortune of the inquiring reader. 5 Thus in the first work 
in the book, the Experimentarius of Bernard of Chartres, four 
preliminary tables direct the reader to a line of verse which 
forms part of the responses of twenty-five 'judges', and which 
tells him his 'fate'. The next work in the collection is the 
Pronosticon Socratis Basilei. This is a rather more complicated 

1 Caesar tells a similar tale of the elk, De Bello Gallico, vi, 27. 

2 Above, p. 150. 

3 Wormald, f More Matthew Paris drawings', Walpole Soc. xxxi (1942-3), 
pp. 109-12. 

4 See Vaughan, * Handwriting of M. Paris J , Trans. Carrib. Bibliog. Soc. i 

(I953), PP- 390-1. 

5 For what follows see also Black, Catalogue ofAshmolean MSS.> pp. 214- 
15; and Lynn Thorndike, History of Magic, n, pp. 113-18. 

I7 257 VMP 



MATTHEW PARIS 

method of fortune-telling, in which certain definite questions, 
such as whether or no it is safe to leave the house, are answered 
by reference to a series of circular diagrams which direct the 
reader to one of the responses of the sixteen kings, giving the 
answer to his question. 1 One of the diagrams forming part of 
this tract is illustrated here, in Plate xxi (&). Following this in 
the manuscript is the Pronostica Pitagorice Consider ationis, in 
which any one of thirty-six questions is answered by means 
of a number obtained by chance, which refers the reader to 
one line of verse among thirty-six different groups of twelve 
lines, arranged opposite each of thirty-six different birds. 
Other geomancies follow, in which a similar method obtains, 
but the answers are given by the twelve patriarchs, the twelve 
signs of the zodiac, and so on. 2 This little manuscript fits into 
our general picture of Matthew's scientific interests, although 
it is a rather curious example of them, 

Matthew made no important contribution to medieval science, 
but his scientific leanings, especially as revealed by the Drag- 
maticon Philosofhiae diagrams, the tract on the elephant, and the 
Ashmole fortune-telling manuscript, were evidently very real, 
and formed an important element in his outlook. It is true that 
his interest in scientific matters was only the result of curiosity; 
but, after all, scientific progress and knowledge is still based on 
this elementary motive, and we need not deny Matthew a small 
share of the authentic scientific approach : he wanted to find out 
about things, and, what is more important for us, he recorded his 
findings. 

IV. VERSE 

We have already discussed Matthew's Anglo-Norman verse 
Lives of SS. Alban, Edward, Edmund and Thomas. 3 They show 
that he was adept at composing the vernacular verse current in 
his day. Matthew also tried his hand at writing Latin verse, 
though only one or two short pieces are certainly his. The 
following lines on the winds, for instance, are written into the 

1 To Lynn Thorndike's list of MSS. of this work, History of Magic, ir, 
p. 117, note i, should be added Eton College MS. 132, fF. iSSb-iQob. 

2 Some of them are printed by Brandin, *Prognostica du MS. Ashmole 
304', in Miscellany of Studies in Romance Languages, pp. 59-67. 

3 In Chapter ix above. 

258 



OTHER INTERESTS 

Liber Additamentorum in his own hand, and prefixed with the 
words: 'Frater Mathaeus de Ventis': 1 

Sunt Subsolano socii Wlturmis et Eurus. 
Austro junguntur Nothus, Affricus, associati. 
Flant Zephiro, Chorus, hinc inde, Favonius imo. 
Circius et Boreas Aquilonem concomitantur. 

We can be sure, too, that the verses with which he originally 
terminated his chronicle were composed by himself; 2 as well 
as the couplets added in his hand at the foot of many of the 
leaves of his Anglo-Norman Alban. Here is a characteristic 
example: 3 

Nocte reuelatur Albano uisio grandis 
Quomodo dampnatur Saluans pro saluificandis. 

The verses on King Offa of Mercia, too, which Matthew wrote 
into the margin of his Chronica Majoraf may well have been 
composed by himself. 

Matthew's interest in, and appreciation of, verse and poetry- 
led him to quote freely from the classical poets, and to enliven 
his chronicle with occasional apposite fragments of contem- 
porary verse. Many of these fragments are epitaphs, such as 
those of William Marshal written by Gervase of Melkeley, and 
of Simon de Montfort the Elder, written by Roger de Insula. 5 
Others refer to some contemporary event, for instance, the 
leonine hexameter put into Innocent IV's mouth on his receipt 
of the news of Frederick's defeat at Victoria, or that on Richard 
of Cornwall's election as king of the Romans in I257. 6 These 
fragments are valuable examples of the current satiric verse of 
the day, and we owe their preservation to Matthew Paris. Two 
longer pieces of contemporary verse are preserved in the Liber 
Additamentorum: one a characteristic goliardic piece, the other 
some lines on Abbot William of St Albans by Henry of 
Avranches. 7 This poet was writing in England for various 

1 CM. vi, p. 465. 2 CM. v, pp. 197-8. 

3 Trinity College, Dublin, MS. E i 40, f. sob. 

4 CM. i, p. 348; they have also been written by Matthew into the margin 
of f. 65 of British Museum Royal MS. 13 D v. 

5 CM. in, pp. 43 and 57. See also HA. n, pp. 232 and 240. 

6 CM. v, pp. 15 and 603. 7 CM. vi, p. 520, note 2, and pp. 62-3. 

259 17-2 



MATTHEW PARIS 

patrons between 1244 and 1262, and Matthew seems to have 
taken a special interest in him. In the margin of a leaf of the 
Chronica Major a he has written an epitaph of William Marshal, 
and has added the words: 1 * There are more epitaphs written 
about him in the book of Henry of Avranches's verses which 
Brother Matthew Paris has/ 

The volume here referred to has fortunately survived: it is 
now MS. Dd xi 78 in the University Library, Cambridge. It 
is a small but thick volume of poetry, much of which is in 
Matthew's handwriting, and on f. ib is the characteristic in- 
scription in red (partly cut off by the binder) recording his gift 
of the book to God and St Albans. This is one of the most 
important surviving collections of contemporary Latin verse, 
and much of it is explicitly attributed by Matthew to Henry of 
Avranches. A full description of it, together with an edition of 
part of it, was published by J. C. Russell and J. P. Heironimus 
in I935- 2 Besides Henry's poems, it contains some excerpts from 
the Doctrinale of Alexander of Ville-Dieu ; a poem by Michael of 
Cornwall describing Henry IIFs speech to the surgeons attending 
John Mansel in 1243 ; a poem in French probably by Rutebeuf ; 
a well-known poem on the heart and the eye, probably by 
Philip de Gr&ve, and some miscellaneous epigrams and short 
verses. From the list of contents in Matthew's hand on f. i, 
we find that some of the manuscript has been lost, for the 
epitaphs of William Marshal and a poem by Paulin Piper, listed 
there, are no longer to be found. The manuscript contains ample 
evidence of Matthew's interest in poetry, for there are corrections 
and alternative readings in his own hand throughout it, as well 
as a number of notes and reference marks. Once again, we are 
indebted to Matthew Paris for the preservation of an important 
collection of material relating to the intellectual activities of his 
age, and it is true to say that, without this collection of verse, 
our knowledge of the Latin verse of the first half of the thirteenth 
century would be considerably diminished. 

1 CM. m, pp. 43-4. 

2 The Shorter Latin Poems of Master Henry of Avranches. 



260 



EPILOGUE 

WHAT sort of a person was Matthew Paris? It might be 
supposed that the eighteen, manuscripts containing his 
handwriting which still survive would provide us with 
ample material to answer this question. Certainly they do pro- 
vide us with much useful evidence about him, though they 
cannot completely bridge the gap of 700 years which separates 
him from us. The very fact that he lived in so different a world 
vitiates our picture of Matthew Paris, making the details blurred 
and out of focus. Our almost entire lack of information about 
the facts of his life forces us to rely on his writings for evidence 
of his personality and this in itself is bound to give us a one- 
sided picture. Another very real difficulty at any rate for most 
of us is the language in which he wrote, for his Latin is an 
artificial medium which places him at once at a distance from 
us. A greater difficulty attending any attempt to describe and 
understand his personality lies in the fact that up to now there 
has been little agreement among scholars upon the identity of 
Matthew's handwriting, and upon the authorship of some of the 
books and paintings attributed to him. Much of this book has 
in consequence been taken up with rather technical discussions 
of manuscript relationships, authorship, and so on. If this study 
proves of any value, I think that it will lie in the solution of 
these problems, and in the consequent definition and description 
of the material evidence about Matthew Paris. As to his 
personality, I propose now to try to integrate and augment the 
rather fragmentary picture which has, I hope, gradually taken 
shape in the preceding pages. I am only too conscious of the 
difficulties outlined above, and it is with some diffidence that 
I offer the reader, by way of epilogue, an attempt at a rough 
sketch of Matthew Paris as a person. 

The brilliant sketch of Matthew Paris which A. L. Smith 
included in his Ford Lectures on Church and State in the Middle 
Ages, and which underlined, in particular, his quaintness and 
prejudice, and his feelings about the papacy, is in some respects 
incomplete. In particular, since he was concerned only with 

261 17-3 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Matthew as a chronicler, his picture is the picture of Matthew 
Paris as an old man, though not quite, perhaps, in his dotage. 
Can we not recognize, in the pages of the Chronica Majora, 
something of the asperity, the conservatism, the fixed ways of 
thought, the cantankerousness, of middle and old age? So far as 
we know, the surviving manuscript of Matthew's own section 
of the Chronica was written after 1245 and Matthew was as 
old as the century. It is perhaps a little unfair that we can watch 
him sinking to his grave, but cannot observe him in his youth 
and prime. We see him clearly, in the last decade of his life, 
developing a sort of mania for writing, an itch to use the quill. 
He becomes rather decrepit; he fiddles about with his material, 
rewriting, abridging, correcting, revising. He traverses the same 
ground over and over again; he tries with little success to reduce 
his vast collection of historical material to some kind of literary 
coherence and order. As death approaches, he is forced to give 
up writing with his own hand, and to employ a scribe. At the 
last, he takes to expurgation, in an effort to tone down or expunge 
the worst of his earlier extravagances. Although the Chronica 
Majora itself shows no falling-off in these years it remains 
lively and colourful to the end it seems clear that, after his 
expedition to Norway in 1248-9, Matthew became more and 
more engrossed in his books, and it is his character in these last 
years of his life which is revealed in the Chronica. Perhaps he 
had always been like this, rather crusty and embittered; perhaps 
he went sour only in this last period of his life ; we cannot tell, 
and we are forced to take him as we find him, already well 
advanced in years. 

Matthew's greatest virtue is that he is readable. He belongs 
to the handful of medieval writers whose works can still be 
appreciated and enjoyed today. He was a gifted writer. His 
narrative is vivid, animated and dramatic; his description is 
colourful; his characters are lifelike. Direct speech is put to 
excellent and skilful use to heighten the literary effect of his 
narrative. His excellence as a writer tells in his favour : we enjoy 
him, and we enjoy, too, his intensely personal way of looking at 
things. Actually, there is only one point of view in the Chronica 
Majora: Matthew's own. He is an egoist: he exaggerates the 
importance of his mission to Norway; he boasts of his acquain- 

262 



EPILOGUE 

tance with the king; and was it not the streak of vanity in him 
which prompted him to suppress the name of his predecessor 
and mentor, Roger Wendover, whose chronicle he took over 
and made his own? Matthew's egoism, however, is of the sort 
that appeals, for it is, in the main, the egoism of the man in the 
street with an excessive regard for liberty and a high idea of 
his own importance. Another quality of Matthew's is his un- 
ashamed dislike of the abstract. He is always down to earth, 
and never afraid to reveal his dislike of things intellectual. 
Invariably, he is unreasonable and prejudiced, and he is proud 
of his attitude. He takes every opportunity to air his prejudices 
unabashed, and it is partly because of this that his writing has 
that naive freshness and vigour which makes him one of the 
most readable of English medieval chroniclers. 

It is high time that the ghost of Matthew's anti-papalism was 
laid. He did not understand politics, though he was keenly 
interested in them, and his anti-papalism is by no means ideo- 
logical. He never thought about the theory of papal power: he 
merely had a grudge against authority. He resented all attempts 
at interference with his own material interests, and the king 
suffers just as much from his tirades as does the pope. His 
so-called 'constitutionalism' has no connexion with political 
theory it springs from his zealous defence of the resources and 
privileges of his house and order, and from his characteristically 
English hatred of authority. But Matthew was a humbug and 
a hypocrite. He deplored the splendours of the world, yet he 
revelled in them; he played the toady to Abbot William, though, 
according to his usual sentiments, he should have despised his 
tyranny; he took good care to be on friendly terms with the 
king, yet he never ceased to slander him; he showered abuse on 
the satellites regis, though he numbered many of them among 
his friends. It is possible that this hypocrisy has something to 
do with the sort of double life that Matthew led. He was a 
cloister monk, yet a man of the world with a flair for business 
and courtly aspirations. In spite of his crudities he was polished 
enough to mix with contemporary high society: he rubbed 
shoulders with the aristocracy and even mixed with the ladies. 
Although he was by no means averse to picking up and recording 
what the servant overheard, he preferred to have his information 

263 



MATTHEW PARIS 

straight from the horse's mouth, and he took care to know the 
right people. He, in his turn, was certainly considered a man 
to know. 

The Chronica Majora reveals a kindly, human element in 
Matthew's character. He must have been, we feel, a friendly, 
sympathetic person, with a robust sense of humour sometimes 
bordering on the burlesque. Often we cannot tell whether or 
not he wrote with laughter in his eyes. Was it in fun that he took 
care to insert the drooping eyelid into his drawing of Henry III 
among the other kings of England? His language is often 
picturesque and amusing. He was an excellent raconteur, and 
his gossip is often inspired even when it is worthless and 
malicious. As for malicious gossip, we cannot deny that Mat- 
thew was an accomplished scandalmonger. His dislikes often 
take the form of slanderous remarks or stories which make us 
feel bound to attribute to him something of the vicious and 
spiteful. 

Matthew was endowed with an extremely inquisitive mind, 
and his curiosity about everything around him is one of his 
most valuable qualities, for it led him to record much of interest 
besides the usual medieval 'natural' curiosities such as herm- 
aphrodites and other freaks. A great collector of information, 
albeit on a rather superficial level, he engaged in some of those 
quasi-intellectual pursuits which are of vital importance to a 
small mind, but mere relaxation to a great one: heraldry, carto- 
graphy, Latin verse; the medieval equivalents, perhaps, of 
philately, tourism, or crosswords. To these we should add art 
and hagiology, for Matthew was a man of talents as well as of 
wide interests. He evidently knew something of vernacular 
culture and was quite at home when writing in Anglo-Norman. 
Of art and architecture he seems to have had a genuine and deep 
appreciation, and, though not himself one of the great artists of 
his time, he was thoroughly competent, and interested enough 
to leave us much detailed information about the artistic works of 
his contemporaries and precursors at St Albans. 

When all is said and done, the name of Matthew Paris 
deserves to be remembered, not for any inherent greatness, but 
for his enshrinement of the foibles and prejudices of the ordinary 
man in the street, and, perhaps, because he is the first recog- 

264 



EPILOGUE 

nizable personification of John Bull. The value of the Chronica 
Major a lies just as much in the personality it reveals as in the 
events it records, and, indeed, Matthew is in many ways much 
more interesting as a person than he is useful as a chronicler. 
As a mirror of his age he is in some measure a failure, for he 
reflects only the surface. He was, too, extremely conservative, 
and found it impossible to move with the times. By the middle 
of the thirteenth century, if not before, he was a venerable but 
antiquated figure. He deplored all novelties : like a true Tory, 
he was against all change. The great movements and high ideals 
of his time all passed him by. The friars, church reform, 
scholasticism meant nothing to him indeed the friars were 
a particular object of his opprobrium, and he takes a hostile 
view of church reformers and theologians, whom he regards 
with suspicion and distrust. The fuss he makes about the intro- 
duction of a knowledge of Greek numerals into Western Europe 
is a sign of his superficiality, for he quite fails to understand that 
this was merely accidental to the discovery and assimilation of 
Greek philosophy which was going on during his lifetime. There 
is nothing profound or noble about Matthew Paris, and even 
among chroniclers the Middle Ages can boast many superior to 
him. He was a jack~of-alltrades, a story-teller, a crusty old 
gossip ; but his stolid, earthy, kindly, prejudiced figure deserves 
a place, though a very subordinate one, among the great 
personalities of the age. St Francis, Albert the Great, St Thomas 
Aquinas, and many others stand out as representatives of its 
nobler ideals and aspirations: Matthew Paris shows us its 
seamier side and its trivialities, but, with all his quaintness, 
he is a likeable person, who, for his vivid and colourful chrono- 
logical encyclopedia, the Chronica Majora, well deserves the 
gratitude of posterity. 



265 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

LIST OF MANUSCRIPTS CITED 

Bute, Marquis of: 

MS. 3, Gesta Abbatum etc.; see p. 8, note 3. 
Cambridge, Corpus Christi College: 

MSS. 26 and 16 (A and J5), Chronica Major a to 1253 ; see especi- 
ally pp. 30-1 and 49 ff. 
MS. 264, containing excerpts from Roger Wendover's Flores 

Historiarum; see p. 21, note 2. 
MS. 385, Part II, William of Conches' s Dragmaticon Philosophiae 

with Matthew Paris's diagrams; see pp. 254-5. 
Cambridge, University Library: 

MS. Dd xi 78, verses of Henry of Avranches etc.; see p. 260. 
MS. Ee iii 39, copy of Matthew Paris's Edward', see pp. 168 ff., 

and 221-2. 

Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire MS. : 
St Albans cartulary; cited on p. 183. 
Dublin, Trinity College: 
MS. 140, Matthew' s collection of domestic hagiographical material, 

including his illustrated Albany see pp. 168 ff., 195 ff., and 227-8. 
Eton College: 

MS. 96, version of Peter of Poitou's universal chronicle; see 

pp. 116 and 225. 

MS. 123 (E), Flores Historiarum; see pp. 92 ff. 
MS. 132, containing a copy of the Pronosticon Socratis Basilei; 

see p. 258, note i. 
London, British Museum: 

Cotton MS. Julius D iii, St Albans cartulary; cited on p. 183. 
Cotton MS. Julius D vi, containing a copy of Matthew Paris's 

Latin Life of St Edmund; see pp. 162 ff. 
Cotton MS. Julius D vii, miscellaneous material collected by 

John of Wallingford, mostly copied from Matthew Paris's MSS. ; 

see pp. 22, 229 and 243. 
Cotton MS. Tiberius Evi, Liber Memorandorum of St Albans; 

mentioned on p. 78. 
Cotton MS. Claudius D vi, containing Matthew Paris's Abbreviatio 

Chronicorum] see p. 36 etc. 
Cotton MS. Claudius E iv, Gesta Abbatum, etc., by T. Walsingham ; 

cited, p. 19, note 3, p. 193, note 3, and p. 200, note 3. 

267 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

London, British Museum (cont.) 

Cotton MS. Nero D i(LA), Matthew Paris' s Liber Additamentorum; 

see especially pp. 78 if. 
Cotton MS. Nero Dv, Part II (C), fair copy of Matthew's 

Chronica Major a^ 1189-1250; see especially p. no. For Part I 

of this MS., see p. 153, note 2. 
Cotton MS. Nero D vii, Book of Benefactors of St Albans; see 

pp. 18-19. 
Cotton MS. Otho B v (O), Floras Historiarum of Roger Wendover; 

see pp. a i if. 

Cotton MS. Otho D iii, St Albans cartulary; cited on p. 183. 
Cotton MS. Vitellius Axx(F), containing a short chronicle 

Excerpta a cronicis magnis S. Albani; see especially pp. 115 ff. 
Cotton MS. Vitellius D viii, formerly containing Lives of SS. 

Edmund and Alban; see pp. 169-70. 
Cotton MS. Vespasian B xiii, containing a fragment of Matthew 

Paris's Life of Stephen Langton; see p. 159. 
Cotton MS. Faustina A viii, containing the Southwark Annals] see 

pp. 104 ff. 
Harley MS. 1620, copy of the Chronica Majora to 1188; see p. 153, 

note 2. 
Harley MS. 5418, containing an abridgement of the Flores 

Historiarum; see p. 152. 
Royal MS. 2 A xxii, Psalter; see p. 222. 
Royal MS. 2 B vi, Psalter; see p. 224. 
Royal MS. 4Dvii, Historia Scholastica, etc.; see pp. 15, 129, 

note 3, and p. 187. 
Royal MS. 13 D v, William of Malmesbury, etc. ; see p. 129, note 2, 

and pp. 239-40. 
Royal MS. 13 E vi, Ralph de Diceto, etc.; see pp. 24, 129, note 2, 

and 1 86. 
Royal MS. i^Cvii(R), containing Matthew Paris's Historia 

Anglorum and the last part of his Chronica Majora, 1254-9; see 

pp. 21, 36, etc. 
London, Record Office: 
MS. E 164/2, the Red Book of the Exchequer; see pp. 17-18 and 

132, note 4. 

Manchester, Chetham's Library: 
MS. 6712 (CA), Flores Historiarum of Matthew Paris; see pp. 92 ff. 

and 224-5. 

Oxford, Bodleian Library: 
Ashmole MS. 304, fortune-telling tracts; see pp. 207-8, 230 and 

257-8. 

268 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Oxford, Bodleian Library (cont.) 

Douce MS. 207 (W), Flores Historiarum of Roger Wendover; see 

pp. 21 S. 

Oxford, Corpus Christi College: 
MS. 2, Bible, containing Matthew Paris's map of Palestine; see 

pp. 245-6. 
Welbeck Abbey, Duke of Portland MS.: 

Containing a copy of Matthew Paris's Edmund; see p. 168. 

PRINTED SOURCES AND FACSIMILES 

Ac ta Sanctorum Bollan diana June, IV (Antwerp, 1707). 

Aelnothi monachi Historia ortus, vitae, et passionis S. Canuti regis 

Daniae, ed. J. Langebek in Scriptores rerum Danicarum medii 

aevi, ill (Copenhagen, 1774). 
Amundesham, John of. Annales, ed. H. T. Riley, 2 vols. (Rolls 

Series, 1870-1). 
Avranches, Henry of. Shorter Latin Poems, ed. J, C. Russell and 

J. P. Heironimus (Cambridge, Mass., 1935). 
Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1258-1266, v (1910). 
Candidus, Hugh. Chronicle, ed. W. T. Mellows (Oxford, 1949). 
Chronicon Roskildense, ed. M. C. Gertz in Scriptores minores historiae 

Danicae medii aevi, I (Copenhagen, 1917-18). 
Conches, William of. Dragmaticon Philosophiae, ed. W. Gratarolus 

under the title Dialogus de substantiis physicis. . . (Strassburg, 

1567)- 

Cotton, Bartholomew. Historia Anglicana, ed. H. R. Luard (Rolls 

Series, 1859). 

Foedera etc., I, ed. T. Rymer (Record Commission, 1816). 
Huntingdon, Henry of. Historia Anglorum, ed. T. Arnold (Rolls 

Series, 1879). 
Lanfranc. Monastic Constitutions, ed. and transl. M. D. Knowles 

(London, 1951). 
Liber EUensis ad fidem codicum variorum, ed. D. J. Stewart (Anglia 

Christiana Society, 1848). 

Liber monasterii de Hyda, ed. E. Edwards (Rolls Series, 1866). 
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Monmouth, Geoffrey of. Historia regum Britanniae, ed. A. Griscom 

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Nova Legenda Anglie, I, ed. C. Horstmann (Oxford, 1901). 
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Grandaur and W. Wattenbach, under the title, Auszuge aus 

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270 



MATTHEW PARIS 

Paris, Matthew (cont.) 

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MARSHALL, M. H. 'Thirteenth-century culture as illustrated by 

Matthew Paris', Speculum, xiv (1939). 

MENGER, L. E. The Anglo-Norman Dialect (New York, 1904). 
MILLAR, E. G. English Illuminated Manuscripts from the Xth to the 

Xlllth Century (Paris, 1926). 
MILLER, K. Mappae Mundi. Die dltesten Weltkarten, m (Stuttgart, 



MITCHELL, J. B. 'Early maps of Great Britain. I. The Matthew 

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MOORE, P. S. The Works of Peter of Poitiers (Notre Dame, Ind., 

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twelfth and thirteenth centuries', Transactions of the St Albans 

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' The jewels of St Albans Abbey', Burlington Magazine, LVII (1930). 

PAGE, W., and REDDAN, M. 'St Albans Abbey', in Victoria County 

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PARAVICINI, F. DE. St Edmund of Abingdon (London, 1898). 
PARIS, G. Review of Atkinson's Vie de Seint Auban, in Romania, v 



PLEHN, H. 'Der politische Charakter von Matheus Parisiensis', in 
Staats- und socialwissenschaftliche Forschungen, xiv, ed. G. 
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POWICKE, F. M. King Henry III and the Lord Edward, 2 vols. 

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Stephen Langton (Oxford, 1928). 

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' Roger Wendover and the Coggeshall Chronicle ', EHR. xxi (1906). 
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(1904-5). 

274 



MATTHEW PARIS 

RICKERT, M. Painting in Britain: the Middle Ages (London, 1954). 
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' The handwriting of Matthew Paris ', Transactions of the Cambridge 
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WAGNER, A. R. A Catalogue of English Medieval Rolls of Arms 
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WALLACE, W. The Life of St Edmund of Canterbury (London, 1893). 

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WILSON, R. M. The Lost Literature of Medieval England (London, 
1952). 



275 



THE PLATES 



PLATE I 







Matthew Paris on his death-bed. B.M. Roy. MS. 14 C vii,f.2i8b. 
(See pp. 7 ff.) 



PLATE II 



# *5 SS tu S*. Si* ?** \* >S #* . 5 



_^ 9 $r& S"c Q & ^<? 

T*^ ^^8 0* ? ^*o^S 

iifMrta! 



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Nir*?fll3lfaJ>l 



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01 

CX3 



03 
PH 



i 



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s 



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la 



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Q ^i<P <5 ^ s 8 rf 

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o 



CS 





^ 

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w 



PLATE III 



= <o B 9*5 SC"O 
lilstMhaS* 

"c. 5^ SvP^ 










MflJlPflfirf 

I ^?^^r?\8S i 
1"? ^-|>g^\^ ?j 

^.S^SvaS^a^: 
3< S^ ! o 

iV5 ri ^ ; 



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l>t 

2 

8 



5V 





cc 
N 

a 



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HO 



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l 



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03 
W 



PLATE IV 




J3 

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ON 
ti 

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m 



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o '55 



S 

CO 

13 



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PLATE V 



!I\I5'1 1 




PLATE VI 




MklW?^ 



PLATE VII 




I 



d 

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-5 CD 



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I c/i 



PLATE VIII 



. 

.tttt ggiy ucrf itg ittir.j.a> Jtotm*Au 

..... ....... "^ *~" 



.'ii 02 j 

' 




ft 



(<3) The martyrdom of St Alban, f. 383. 




The massacre of the converts, f. 41 b. 



Two of Matthew Paris's illustrations of his Vie de Seint Auban. 
T.C.D. MS. E i 40. (Seep. 221.) 



PLATE IX 




(a) The Crucifixion. B.M. Roy. MS. 2 B vi, f. gb. (See p. 224.) 




The landing of Edward in England. An illustration from the Estoire 
de Seint Aedward. U.L.C. MS. Ee iii 59, f. 93. (See pp. 221-2.) 




I : l 

1 



(a) Richard I. B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. D vi, f. 5 b. 




Cassibelaunus (?) C.C.C.C. IVES. 26, p. 28. 
^Drawings of seated kings. (See p. 



PLATE XI 




Drawings of seated kings. B.M. Roy. MS. 14 C vii, f. 8b. (See p. 231.) 



PLATE XII 




I", 



First page of one of Matthew Paris's itineraries from London to Apulia. 
B.M. Roy. MS. 14 C vii, f. 2 a, (See pp. 237 and 247 ff.) 



PLATE XIII 




First page of another of Matthew Paris's itineraries from London to Apulia. 
C.C.C.C. MS. 26, f. ia. (See pp. 237 and 247 ff.) 



PLATE XIV 




4, p. 220. 




i J3, f. i38b. 




^^^\ 



' #> * . f 

l&^4^^*^&^^%' 





(/) Bodl. Ashm., 304, 
f. 38a. 



Architectural details in Matthew Paris's drawings (see p. 237). 
(a) and (b) are from the margins of the Chronica Major a. 



PLATE XV 



(a) LA, 
f. 183 a. 




W*& 

wtic^t>nanrt-y 

A't*Hra-^c- vi 




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>t^ 

\Wlti 



^*s*r2S. 
?(* 




a SlWl?. 

nrfrtl <SE B&&B 




(6) Claud. 
D vi, 
f.8b. 



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't/ltM^v 1 ^ 1 ^ 

iteJtf* 1 ?- r^<- ^ : > 
l^fedTi^.- 

^Pn.-^lu:, 




Architectural details in Matthew Paris' s itineraries ((a) and (c)) and 
map of England and Scotland (&). (See p. 237.) 



PLATE XVI 




a 
a 



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CO 



vo 


23 



cj 

u 

CJ 
CJ 



PH 

<4H 





PLATE XVI I 



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f 



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^ve-.fe* . -, , ^^i 




-u,,*. 
Map of Palestine. C.C.C. Oxon. MS. 2, f. zb. (See pp. 245 ff.) 



PLATE XVIII 




(a) LA, f. 198 a. 






4, f. 3 b. 



B, f. iiib. 




0) A, p. 225. 




(/) .R, f. n6b. 



Heraldic lions on some of Matthew Paris's shields. (See p. 251.) 
(a) One of several shields roughly tricked on a leaf of the Liber 
Additamentorum. (6) and (e) Shields in the margin of the Chronica 
Majora. (c) and (/) Details from two of Matthew's drawings, (d) One 
of the illustrations of Matthew's genealogical chronicle (see p. 232). 



PLATE XIX 



*<rt* 

.'..M &. 



^ 






V >^|^ 



a u J-. (&$'* ra; f CM* -\vuuto Sr f."i Vffit.'U .>?. 5;- .w.Uo* s C'^umSp? {.- M 




A page of coloured shields in the Liber Additamentorum. B.M. Cott. 
MS. Nero D i, f. lyob. (See pp. 251-2.) 



PLATE XX 




(a) P- 130. 




(C) P. I 4 8. 




P. 147- 




p. 152. 




hr |V<r<n_ *_, ^ojt 
;r v/^T^' cn 

Xtn-rttrntif ICmvvA- / 



. fr"==r, !M >- 

'fefsr 



P. 178. 



Some of Matthew Paris's diagrams illustrating the Dragmaticon 
Philosophiae. C.C.C.C. MS. 385, Part II. (See pp. 244-5.) 



PLATE XXI 




Matthew Paris's drawing of an elephant in C.C.C.C. 
MS. 16, f. iva. (See p. 256.) 




The Sphera Bestiarum. Bodl. Lib., Oxon., Ashm. MS. 304, f. 34 b - 
(See pp. 257-8.) 



INDEX 



Aageson, Sweyn, 190 
Aaron, a Jew of York, 17 
Abbreviatio Chronicorum of M. Paris, 

36, 113-14, 123; authorship, 

379; illustrations, 219, 223, 

231-2 
Abdias, apocryphal Acta Aposto- 

lorum of, 128 
Abingdon, Robert of, brother of 

Edmund Rich, 164 
Abraham, tomb of, 246 
Acre, 240, 245 
Adam, 246 

Adam the Cellarer, 182-4, 198, 201 
Adrian I, pope, 48, 191-2 
Adrian IV, pope, 184, 185, 201 
Aelnoth, Vita et Passio S. Canuti y 

202 
Aethelbert, St, king of East Anglia, 

43-4, 46, 190-1, 194 
Aigueblanche, Peter, bishop of Here- 
ford, 131 

Albert the Great, 265 
Albigensian crusade, 112 
Alexander IV, pope, 134 
Alexander II, king of Scotland, 136 
Alexander, papal collector, 12 
Alexandria, 69, 246 
Alfred, 232 
Alfric, abbot of St Albans (c, 970-90), 

later bishop of Ramsbury and 

archbishop of Canterbury, 198- 

200, 203, 204 
Alfric or Egfrid, abbot of St Albans 

(? c. 1066-70), 200, 203, 204 
Alps, 240 

Aluedele (? Allerdale), 240 
Amadeus IV, count of Savoy, 13 
Ananias, 239 

Ancona (Vallis Anconie), 240 
Anglo-Norman, 168-81 
animals, drawings of, 233 
Annales Londonienses, 153 
Annales Paulini, 153 
Annales Sancti Edmundi, 24 
Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, 

185 



Antioch, 240, 246 

Antioch, prince of, probably Reginald 
of Chatillon, 1 5 

Apocalypses, illustrated, 205, 225-6 

Apollo, 1 80 

Apulia, see itinerary, 240 

Aqua Dorecte ( ? river Derwent), 240 

Aquinas, St Thomas, 265 

Arabia, 240 

Aragon, king of, 240 

* Arches, foresta de ' ( ? forest of Arsur), 
246 

Ardfert, John bishop of, 15 

Arezzo, 248, 249 

Argenton, Richard of, 13 

Armenia, 239, 240, 246 

Armenia, archbishop of, 2-3, 12, 13 

Armenians, certain, visit St Albans, 
12, 239, 245 

Arsur?, forest of ('Foresta de 
Arches'), 246 

artists and artistic works, 185-7, 
209-10 

artists at St Albans in Matthew 
Paris's lifetime, 221-7 

Artois, Robert of, 150 

Arundel, William deAlbini, earl of, 15 

Assisi, 248 

Assisi, St Francis of, 265 

Athens, 145 

Atkinson, R., 168 

Augustinian canons, 138 

Avignon, siege of, 112 

Avranches, Henry of, 128; book of 
his verses, 129, 259-60; Life of 
Becket, 176; on Salisbury cathe- 
dral, 254 n. ; on Abbot William 
of St Albans, 85, 259 

' Babylon ', 69 ; lands of the sultan of 
C Terra Soldanis BabilomV), 
246 

Bacon, Robert, 16, 149, 161, 164, 
165-6 

Baker, A. T., 162, 170, 173 

Bangor, Richard, bishop of, 12, 15 

Bardney, abbot of, 137 



18 



277 



INDEX 



Bari, 250 

Barking, Richard of, abbot of West- 
minster, 137 

Barletta, 250 

Bartholomew the clerk, 182-3 

Basingstoke, John of, archdeacon of 
Leicester, 15 

Bath and Wells, bishop of, see 
Button; see of, 147 

Baudelaire, 155 n. 

Beazley, C. R., 236 

Bee, abbey of, 125 and n. 

Becket, St Thomas, archbishop of 
Canterbury, translation of, in 
1220, 2, 1 60; Matthew Paris's 
Life of, see Vie de Saint Thomas 

Bede, 20 

Bedford, 191; castle, 20 

Beirut, Waleran, bishop of, 16 

Belvoir, 244; prior of, see Wendover 

Belvoir, Adam de, 1823 

Benedictines, the, 137-8, 144; pro- 
vincial chapter, 145 

Beningworth, Walter de, abbot of 
Bardney, 137 

Beornred, 190 

Beowulf, 190 

Bergen, 6 

Besace, Ranulph, canon of St Paul's, 

15 

Bethlehemite friars, 138 
Bigod, Hugh, 140 
Binham, St Albans cell at, 244 
Blanche of Castile, queen of France, 

149, 165, 178, 217 
Blund, John, 149 
Blyth, 244 
books, 186-7; given to St Albans by 

M. Paris, 18 and n., 210, 260; 

used by M. Paris, 129 n. 
Borenius T., and Tristram, E. W., 207 
Boroughbridge, 244 
Bourges, council at, 112 
Bovill, Sewal de, archbishop of York, 

149 

Brabant, see Henry II 
Brabanters, 33 
Breakspear, Nicholas, see Adrian IV, 

pope 
Breaut<S, Fawkes de, 14, 15, 33, 86, 

149, 187, 213 
Brewer, William, 33 



Brienne, John of, 33 

Brindisi, 240, 250 

Brother William, see William 

Brut, 1 80 

Buc, Walter, 33 

Bugre, Robert, 151 

Burgh, Hubert de, earl of Kent, 13, 

34, 81, 82, 149 
Burton annalist, the 140 
Bury St Edmunds, letter of the abbot 

of, 159 
Button, William, bishop of Bath, 15 

Caen, annals of, 129 

Caesar, Julius, 180, 257 n. 

Cahorsin, derivation of word, 145 

Cahorsins, 4-5, 17, 141, 143 

Cairo, 69, 246 

Calabria, 240 

Campania (Campagna), 240 

Candidus, Hugh, 202 

Canterbury, 2, 244; monks of, 137; 
archbishops of, see Alfric, 
Anselm, Becket, Jaenbeorht, 
Langton, Parker, Rich, Savoy, 
Stigand 

Cappochi, Raynier, cardinal, 17 

Carlisle, 240 ; bishop of, see Everdon 

Cartaphila, Joseph, the Wandering 
Jew, 239 

cartographical works, M. Paris's, 
arrangement in the Chronica 
Major a, 242; copies, 237 n., 
241 ; list of, 241-2 ; see also Eng- 
land and Scotland, itinerary, 
Palestine, world-map 

Caspian mountains, the, 245 

Cassibelaunus?, PL x (b) 

Castilian embassy in 1255, I S 

Cella, John de, abbot of St Albans 
(1195-1214), 2, 86, 185, 186-7, 
1 88; works ascribed to, 22-3, 

4 6 

Chablais or Chalonnais? (Katalonia), 

240 

Champagne, see Theobald 
Charlemagne, 46, 180, 190 
Chartres, Bernard of, Experiment- 

arius, 257 

Cheinduit, Ralph, 187 
Chelsea, Council of, 44, 191-2 
Cheney, C. R., 3, 136, 158 



278 



INDEX 



Chevalier au Cygne, 177 
Chichester, bishop of, see Wych 
Chronica Majora 

authorship of the annals 1254-9, 

36-7 

colophon, 7-10, 36-7 
continuation, lon, 152 
copies made after M. Paris's death, 

153 and n. 
editions, 31, 154-5 
essentially a history of England, 

III-I2 

expurgation, 117-20, 124 

fair copy (C) 29, 35, 59, 64-5, 99, 
no, 117, 123, 153 

'new material' in, 103-9 

original MSS. of (A, B, and R): 
21, 30-1, 50-9; arrangement of 
cartographical material, 242 ; 
date, 59-61; division into vol- 
umes, 56-9, 210; handwriting, 
3 -" 1 , 35, 5 -I J illustration, 213- 
20, 223, 227, 233, Pis. vi, vn, 
x (6), xiv (b) ; relationship with 
Wendover, 24-30; structure of 
B, 53-5 

references to documents, 65-71 

rough drafts, 9, 136 

scope and size, 125-6 

subjects treated, 144-5 

translations, 155 

use by later chroniclers, 1534 
Chronicon Roskildense, 202 
Cirencester, Richard of, Speculum 

Historiale, 153 
Clare, Richard of, earl of Gloucester, 

13 

Claudian, 128 

Clovis, 94 

Cnut, king of England, 232, 252 

Cnut, Sty king of Denmark, 202-3, 

204 

Cockermouth (Cocormue), 240 
Coggeshall chronicle, the, 104, 129 
Colchester, artists from, 186 
Colchester, Simon of, 186 
Colchester, Walter of, 186-7, 234 
Comestor, Peter, Historia Scholastica, 

129; MS. of, used by Matthew 

Paris, 129 n., 187 
Conches, William of, Dragmaticon 

Philosophiae, M. Paris's dia- 



grams illustrating, 220, 254-5, 

Pis. xiv (e) y xx 

Conrad, son of Frederick II, 148 
'constitutionalism', at St Albans, 

187-8; of M. Paris, 48, 139-40, 

187-8 

Cornelin, 180 
Cornwall, 244 
Cornwall, countess of, probably 

Sanchia of Provence, 170 
Cornwall, Michael of, 260 
Cotton, Bartholomew, 154 
Coventry, prior and some monks of, 

12; bishop of, see Stavensby 
Crakehall, John, archdeacon of 

Bedford, 16 
Cronica excerpta a magnis cronicis S. 

Albani, 41, 100, 103, 105-7, 

115-16 
Cronica sub conpendio abbreviate M. 

Paris's genealogical chronicle, 

116-17 

crossbills, invasion of, in 1251, 130 
Croyland, 183; Geoffrey, abbot of, 

183; reformation of, 183, 184 
Cynethryth, see Drida 
Cyprus, in, 112, 240 

Balling, John de, monk of St Albans, 
224 

Dalmatia, 240 

Damascus, 246-7 and n.; defeat of 
French at, PL vii 

Damietta, 69 ; siege of, PL vi 

David, prince of North Wales, 1 1 1 

Dead Sea, 245, 246 

Denholm- Young, N. ; on the author- 
ship of the last eight leaves of 
the Chronica Majora, 36-7; on 
M. Paris's use of the cursus, 126; 
on the 'Paper Constitution' of 
1244, 136, 158 

Denmark, removal of relics to, 89, 
201-2, 203, 204 

Dereham, Elias of, 255 

Derwent, the river?, 240 

Devon, 244 

Diana, 180 

Diceto, Ralph de, 24, 63, 105, 129, 
185; St Albans copy of, 24, 
129 n., 1 86 and n. ; Abbreviatio 
Chronicoruniy 104 



279 



18-2 



INDEX 



Domesday Book, 203 

Dominican Chapter of 1250, 136 

Dominicans, 120, 122, 135, 138 

Doncaster, 244 

Dorset, 244 

Dover, 238, 244 

Drida (Cynethryth), wife of King 

Offa of Mercia, 44, 190-1, 193, 

194 
Dunham, Ralph of, prior of Tyne- 

mouth, 41 
Dunstable, 244 
Dunstable, Ralph, verse Life of St 

Alban, 195-6 
Durham, 244; bishops of, see 

Farnham, Marsh 

eclipses, 254, 255 

Edmund, son of Henry III, 146 

Edward the Confessor, 198-9; draw- 
ing of, 232; M. Paris's interest 
in, 176; M. Paris's Life of, see 
Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei 

Edward I, king of England, 121, 130, 
166 

Edward, a councillor of Henry III, 14 

Egfrid, see Alfric 

Egwin, monk of St Albans, 89, 201-2, 
204 

Egypt, 246 

Eia, Philip de, 12 

Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I, 

13 

Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry 
111,3, 13, 17, 18, 120, 178, 181; 
M. Paris on her relatives, 142 

elections of abbots, 188; of bishops, 
138-9, 1 66, 189 

elephant, 91, 205, 256-7, PL xx (a) 

Ely, bishop of, see Northwold; con- 
vent of, 184, 1 98-204 passim 

England and the English, 142 

England and Scotland, M. Paris's 
maps of, 236-41 passim, 242-4 

Ermine Street, 244 

Essex, 244 

Estoire de Seint Aedward le Rei 
(Edward\ 168 ff., 200; author- 
ship, 173-6; date, 178; facsimile, 
206; illustration, 207, 208, 221 
-2, PL ix (&); sources, i74~5> 
178 



Euclid, 230 

Eustace, monk of Canterbury, 162 

Everdon, Silvester, bishop of Carlisle, 

38 

Evesham, vision of the monk of, 

113 

Exchequer, the, Matthew Paris and, 
14, 17-18 

Faaberg, see St Peter, the Faaberg 

' Fabe, planicies ' (Plain of Faba), 246 

Farfar, the river, 245 

Farnham, Nicholas of, bishop of 
Durham, 15, 34 

Fauconberg, Eustace de, bishop of 
London, 15 

Faversham, abbot of, 142 

Ferdinand III, king of Castile, 17 

Fett, H., 205 

Fishacre, Richard, 149 

FitzAthulf, Constantine, 120 

FitzOsbert, William, 149 

FitzWalter, Robert, 187 

Flemings, 33, 142 

floods, 145-6, 150 

Flares Historiarum of M. Paris, 36, 
92-103, 114-15, 152-3, 154; 
authorship, 37-41 ; editions and 
translations, 92-3, 154-5; illus- 
trations in MS. Ch t 208, 224-5 J 
* new material ' in, 1039 

Flores Historiarum of Roger Wen- 
dover, see Wendover, Roger, 
Flores Historiarum 

Forest Charter, Henry Ill's, of 1225, 
called 'John's Forest Charter', 
115 

fortune-telling tracts, 207, 220, 
257-8 

Fosse Way, the 244 

France, 151 

Franciscans, 120, 122, 138 

Frederick II, emperor, death, 60-1 ; 
defeat of, at Victoria, 259; 
deposition of, 225 ; letters of, 17, 
126, 132, 133-4; marriage of, 29; 
M. Paris on, 147-8 

French, the, 142 

French epic literature, 177, 179-80 

Fretheric, abbot of St Albans ( ? 1070- 
77), 203-4 

Friars of the Cross (crudferi) t 138 



280 



INDEX 



Frisia, 145 

Fritz, R., 169, 173-4 

Gaddesden, John of, 14 

Gairdner, J., 157 

Galbraith, V. H., 158; on the author- 
ship of the Flores Historiarum, 
39-40; on M. Paris's death, 7-8; 
on the relationship and chron- 
ology of M. Paris's historical 
works, 50, 64 

Galilee, Sea of, 246 

Galloway chieftains, 145 

Gascony, 130, 146, 147 

gems and rings of St Albans, 209 

genealogical chronicle, M. Paris's, see 
Cronica sub conpendio abbreviata 

Genoa, 240 

Geoffrey, monk of St Albans, later 
abbot of Croyland, 183 

Germanus, patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, see Gregory IX 

Germany, 145 

Gesta Abbatwn of M. Paris, 185-9; 
accounts of Abbots Alfric and 
Leofric, 199200; arrangement 
of, in the Lib. Additamentorum, 
82-3, 84-5; authorship and 
sources, 48, 1825; continua- 
tions, 8, 152, 185; date, 86-7; 
editions, 182; illustration, 232; 
relationship with other works of 
M. Paris, 85-9, 90; stories about 
the relics of St Alban, 198-204 

Gildas, 240 

Giles, J. A., 155, 156 

Gilson, J. P., 236 

Girart de Roussillon, 177 

Glover's roll (of arms), 253 

Gorham, Geoffrey de, abbot of St 
Albans (1119-46), 195 

Gorham, Robert de, abbot of St 
Albans (1151-66), 176, 183-4, 
201 

Goschen, O. (von Pusikan), 253 

Gothland, 145 

Gouch, John, royal elephant keeper, 
256 

Gough, R., 235 

Grammaticus, Saxo, 190 

Great Britain, maps of, see England 
and Scotland 



Great St Bernard Pass? (Mun Giu), 
1 80 

Greek numerals, 15, 145, 265 

Greeks, 142 

Gregory IX, pope, bull of, 37; de- 
cretal of, 141 ; letters exchanged 
with Germanus, patriarch of 
Constantinople, in 1232, 17, 

132-3 

Gre"ve, Philip de, 260 

Grosseteste, Robert, bishop of Lin- 
coln, 15, 16, 119, 137; letter of, 
133-4; M. Paris on, 138-9, 149 
and n. ; his wind rose, 255 

Gubiun, Ralph, abbot of St Albans 
(1146-51), 184 

Haakon IV, king of Norway, 4-7, 16, 

1 8, 229 

Haakon's Saga, 6 
Hackesalt, Geoffrey, servant of 

Abbot Warin of St Albans, 17 
Hardy, Sir Thomas Duffus, on M. 

Paris, 156, 205, 235; on the 

' St Albans compilation ', 22 
Harold, 146, 179 
Hastings, battle of, 174-5 
Hauptmann, F., 253 
Hayles, 4, 13, 135 

Henry I, king of England, 34, in, 116 
Henry III, king of England, i, 3, 17, 

20, 33, 117, 120, 122, 123, 124, 

139, 140, 145, 211, 212, 260, 

263; arms of, 252; befriends 
M. Paris, 3-4, 18, 124; drawing 
of, 264; elephant presented to, 
256-7; Forest Charter of, 115; 
information given to M. Paris 
by, 4, 13; M. Paris on, 146-7; 
visits to St Albans, 4, 12-13, 
124; world-map of, 247 

Henry II, count of Louvain and 
duke of Brabant, 38 

Hereford, 44; bishop of, see Aigue- 
blanche 

Hermann, 230 

Hermannsson, H., 207 

Hertford, John of, abbot of St Albans 
(1235-63), 8 and n., 82, 88, 185, 
1 88 

Hertford, Thomas of, archdeacon of 
Northumberland, 14 



28l 



INDEX 



Historia Anglorum, 36, 61-5, 111-13 *> 
date, 6 1 ; edition of, 155 ; expur- 
gation, 120-4; illustration, 219, 
227, 231-2; references to docu- 
ments, 71-6 

Historia Miscella> 99 

Hollaender, A., 208, 224 

Honnecourt, Villard of, 207 and n. 

Horace, 128, 257 

Hospitallers, 138 

Hoveden, Roger, 23-4 

Huillard-Breholles, A., 155 

Hunt, W., 157 

Huntingdon, Henry of, 45, 104, 114, 
129, 178, 191; Historia An- 
glorum t 191-2 

Hurley, prior of, 138 

Hyde, Book of y 20, 40-1, 153 

Iceland, 207 

Icknield Street, 244 

Iconium, 240 

India, 145, 239, 240 

Innocent III, pope, fourth Lateran 
Council of, 187; letters of, 115, 
133; and S. Langton, 160-1 

Innocent IV, pope, 61, 225, 248, 
259; mandate sending M. Paris 
to Norway, 5, 6, 19; vision of 
his judgement, 134 

Insula, Roger de, 259 

Isaac, tomb of, 246 

Isabella, the empress, 29 

Isabella, countess of Arundel and 
widow of Hugh of Albini, 13, 
170, 173, 181 

Italy, southern, diagram of, 247-8, 
249-50 

itinerary from Dover to Newcastle, 
238, 244; from London to 
Apulia, 91, 235, 239, 242, 247- 
50, Pis. xn, xni, xv (a) and (c) 

Jacob, tomb of, 246 

Jaenbeorht, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 191-2 

James, M. R., on M. Paris's artistic 
work, 206-7, 222, 224; on his 
Anglo-Norman saints' Lives, 
169-71 

Jenkins, Claude, 22, 158 

Jerusalem, 235, 246, 247 



Jessopp, A., 157 

Jews, 143 

John, king of England, 14, 32, 100, 

140; M. Paris on, 121, 133, 146, 

189 

John, bishop of Ardfert, 15 
John the Englishman, papal collector, 

12 

Jordan, river, 245, 2467 and n. 
Josaphath, Cross of, 89 
Jupiter, 1 80 
Justinian, 128 
Juvenal, 128 

'Katalonia' (? in error for Chablais 

or Chalonnais), 240 
Kent, 244 
kings, drawings of, 223, 228-9, 23 1-2, 

Pis. x, xi, xvin (d) 
Knowles, Dom David, 135, 158 

Lambert (Jaenbeorht), archbishop 
of Canterbury, 191-2 

Langton, Stephen, archbishop of 
Canterbury, 160-1; M. Paris's 
Life of, see Vita Stephani 
archiepiscopi Cantuariensis 

Lateran Council, the fourth, 187 

Lawrence, abbot of Westminster, 176 

Lawrence, C. H., 164-5 

Leach, H. G., 5 

Lebanon, the mountains of, 245 

Legge, M. D., 168 and n., 181 

Leicester, 244 

Leofric, abbot of St Albans (? c. 990- 
1040), 199-200 

Leofstan, abbot of St Albans (? c. 
1040-66), 199, 203 

Lethaby, W. R., 206, 207 

Lexinton, John of, 14 

Liber Additamentorum 
arrangement of, 78-85 
documents of 1242-50, 68-70, 

83-4 

documents of 1255-9, 10, 83 
illustration, 219-20, 230-1, 232 
origins and early history, 65-77, 

85, 90-1 

references to, 65-77 
structure, 79-80 
Liber Eliensis, 200 
Liber Memorandorum, of St Albans, 78 



282 



INDEX 



Lichfield, 44, 190, 191 ; derivation of 
word, 196 

Liebermann, F., 157; on the author- 
ship of the Chronica Majora, 
1254-9, 36 ; on M. Paris's Life of 
S. Langton, 159-60; on R. 
Wendover's sources for John's 
reign, 24; on the 'St Albans 
compilation', 22 

Lincoln, bishop of, see Grosseteste; 
canons of, 137 

Lindblom, A., 205-6 

Lombard, Peter, Sentences , 129 

London, 142, 244, 249; bishop of, 
see Fauconberg; see also itinerary- 
London, Robert of, 'custos' of St 
Albans in 1208, 2, 14 

Louis VIII, king of France, 212 

Louis IX, king of France, 6-7, 14, 
69, 145, 149, 150, 256 

Louis, R., 177 

Louvain, see Henry II 

Lowe, W. R. L., 202, 203 n. 

Luard, H. R., on the authorship of 
the Vitae Off arum, 42-3 ; edition 
of the Chronica Majorca, 31, 
155-7; on M. Paris's Edward, 
169, 173, 178; his list of M. 
Paris's shields, 253; on the 
relationship of the MSS. of 
R. Wendover and M. Paris, 
24-5; on the *St Albans com- 
pilation', 22, 28 

Lucan, 128 

Ludwig, F., 235-6, 249 

Lusignan, Geoffrey of, 12 

Luvel, Philip, 12 

Lyons, 141, 249; archb. -elect of, 17 

Lyons, Council of, 16, 225 

Madden, Sir Frederick, on M. Paris, 
155-6, 205, 235; on R. Wen- 
dover, 22 

Magna Carta, 28, I34n.; copies of, 
in V, 115-16 

Malmesbury, William of, 45, 96, 
117, 129, 143, 191; M. Paris's 
MS, of, 129 n. ; Gesta pontificum, 
192; Historia Novella, 104 

Mansel, John, 12, 14, 196, 260 

maps, see England and Scotland, 
Palestine, world-map 



Marcellina, 190 

Margaret, queen of Scotland, 4 
Marisco, William de, 16 
Marmodius (Maredudd?), king of 

Wales, 190, 193 
Marseilles, 240 
Marsh, Richard, bishop of Durham, 

187, 189 

Marshal, Gilbert, 59, 151 
Marshal, Walter, 59 
Marshal, William, 259, 260 
Martel, William, sacrist of St Albans, 

1 88 
Martin, Master, papal nuncio, 134, 

151 

Matthew, prior of St Albans, 187-8 
Maul6on, Savari de, 33 
Maurienne (Vallis Moriane), 240 
Melkeley, Gervase of, 16, 128, 160, 

259 

Melkeley, Robert, 247 
Menelaus, 180 
merchants, 145 
Merlin's prophecies, 117 
Merton, priory of, 101 
Messina, 240 
Meyer, P., 169, 178, 181 
Michelant, H., and Raynaud, G., 

235, 245 

Miller, K., 235, 247 
Mitchell, J. B., 236, 237, 242 
Mohammedans, 144 
Mongol Khan, the, 135 
Mongols (Tartars), 144, 225, 233, 

239 

Monmouth, Geoffrey of, 129; His- 
toria regum Britanniae, 25-6, 94; 
M. Paris's MS. of, 129 n. 
Monte, Robert de, 63, 104, 129 
Montfort, Simon de, 149; the elder, 

259 

Morocco, 14 

Mun Giu (? Great St Bernard Pass), 
180 

Murmelin, 1'amiral, ruler of Moroc- 
co, 239 

Naples, 250 

Navarre, see Theobald 

Neptune, 180 

Newark, 244 

Newburgh, William of, 20 



283 



INDEX 



Newcastle, 238, 244 

Nicaea, siege of, in 

Nicholas, moneyer to Henry III, 14 

Nicholas, papal legate, 188 

Nidarholm, 4 

Nidaros, archbishop of, 19 

Nile, 246 

Noah's Ark, 239 

Norfolk, 244 

Northallerton, 244 

Northampton, 244 

Northaw, wood of, 187 

Northwold, Hugh, bishop of Ely, 

137 
Norway, M. Paris's visit to, 4-7, 18, 

19, 229, 262; M. Paris and 

medieval art in, 205-6, 229; 

papal legate in, 4, 119 
Norwich, bishop of, see SufBeld 
numbers, unreliability of M. Paris's, 

136 

Odense, 201-3 

Odo, former moneyer to King 

Waldemar III of Denmark, 17 
Offa (I), king of the Angles, 42, 48, 

189, 190, 193, 194 
Offa (II), king of Mercia, 14, 42-8 

passim, 89, 125, 189-94 passim, 

197-8, 221, 259 
Offa's dyke, 193 
Ogier, 1 80 
Old Man of the Mountain, lands of 

the ('Terra Senis de Monte'), 

246 

Ordinal, M. Paris's, 247 
Osney chronicler, the, 153 
Otho, papal legate, 12, 114, 121, 134, 

1 6 6, 179; M. Paris on, 166-7 
Otranto, 250 
Otto IV, emperor, 251 
Ouse, the river, 45, 191 
Ovid, 38, 40, 47, 128, 163 
Oxenedes, John of, 20 n., 154 
Oxford University, 4, 13 

Palestine, 16; maps of, 235, 239, 241, 

244-7, Pis. xvi, xvii 
Pallas, 1 80 

Pamphylia (Pamfir[i]a), 240 
* Paper Constitution', the, of 1244, 

136 



Paravicini, the Baroness, 162-3, 165 
parhelion, drawing of a, 91, 254 
Paris, Matthew 

date of birth, 2 

date of death, 7-11, 156 

errors and scribal blunders, 32, 
37-8, 125, 130 

gifts to St Albans, 18; see also 
books 

handwriting and autograph MSS., 

35 

historians used by, 129 

historical method: abuse of his- 
torical material, 134; collection 
of documents, 17-18, 34, 78 ff., 
126; dating of documents and 
events, 136; opinions and 
rumours, 135; system of signa, 
1 8, 38, 651!., 21 1 ; treatment 
of documents, 132-4; verbal 
reports, 135-6 

historical research, 125 

historical works: annual sum- 
maries in, 150-1 ; editions, 154- 
5; influence in Middle Ages, 
1524; translations, 155 

humour, 264 

hypocrisy, 131, 263 

interest in cartography, 239-40; 
etymologies, 48, 145, 196; hagi- 
ology, 176; heraldry, 251 ; litera- 
ture, 177, 179-80; money, 145; 
Offa of Mercia, 46, 197-8 

* new material', 103-9 

on the baronial reform movement, 
140; Church reform, 138-9; 
civil servants, 142-3 ; foreigners, 
1 42; the friars, 11920, 122, 138; 
the Greek church, 141 ; itinerant 
justices, 139; lawyers, 142; 
'martyrs', 149; the papacy, 48, 
118, 120, 124, 131, 133, 140-1, 
185, 189, 263; the State, 139- 
40; taxation, 139; theologians, 
142; various contemporaries, 
146-9 

prejudices, 136-43 

recent studies, 1568 

scribe employed by him, 10 and 
n., 118-19, 215-16 

style, 126-8; biblical quotations, 
129; correction, efforts at, 31-2, 



284 



INDEX 



Paris, Matthew (cont.) 

43; favourite phrases, 39, 40, 
46-7, 126-7, i59-6o, 163-4, 
1 84 and n. , 1 89 n. , 1 97 ; imagery, 
127-8, 174-5; play on words, 
33, 38-9, 40, 46-7, i27> 163, 
189 n. ; quotations and allusions, 
33, 38-9, 4, 47> 126-7, 128-9, 
179-80, 184 and n., 189 n., 200; 
vocabulary, 47, 127, 151 
veracity, 131-6 
view of history, 149-51; politics, 

139-40 

works : see Chronica Major a, His- 
toria Anglorum, Floras His- 
toriarum, Abbreviatio Chronico- 
rum, Cronica excerpta a magnis 
cronicis S. Albani, Cronica sub 
conpendio abbreviata (the genea- 
logical chronicle), Gesta Abba- 
tum, Vitae Offarum, Vie de Seint 
Auban, Vie de Seint Edmond, 
Vie de Saint Thomas, Estoire de 
Seint Aedward le Rei, Vita Beati 
Edmundi archiepiscopi Cantua- 
riensis, Vita Stephani archiepis- 
copi Cantuariensis; see also 
cartographical works, gems and 
rings of St Albans, St Amphi- 
balus, tract on the miracles of 

Paris University, i 

Parker, Matthew, archbishop of 
Canterbury, 154-5 

* Parliament* at Oxford, in 1258, 140 

Parthia, 240 

Passelewe, Simon, 13, 147 

Pastoureaux, 4 

Patriarchs, drawings of the, 230 

Paul, abbot of St Albans (1077-93), 
200 

Perugia, 248 

Peter, a proctor of Philip of Savoy, 

i? 

Peterborough, 203 
philosophers, drawings of, 230 
Phoebus, 1 80 
Pinefred (Wineferth), 190 
Piper, Paulin, 260 
Plato, 1 80, 230 
Plehn, H., 59, 157-8 
Pluto, 1 80 
Po, the river, 249 



Poitevins, 33, 140, 142, 145 

Poitiers, Peter of, version of the 
Compendium historiae in genea- 
logia Christi, 116, 225 

Poitou, i, 33 

Pontefract, 244 

Pontigny, 164; monks of, 137-8 

Pontremoli, 249 

Powicke, Sir Maurice, 158; on M. 
Paris's death, 7-9; on the *St 
Albans compilation', 23; on 
relationship of M. Paris's his- 
torical MSS., 25, 49-56, 61, 64, 
66, 71-2 

Priam, 180 

prices, of bread and wine, 145 

Pronostica Pitagorice Consider ationis, 

258 

Pronosticon Socratis Basilei, 257 
Provence, count of, see Raymond- 

Berenger V 
proverbs, 179 
psalters, 222, 224 
Ptolemy, 180 
Pythagoras, 230 

Quadrilogus, 178 
Quendrida, see Drida 

Raleigh, William de, bishop of Win- 
chester, 120 

Ralph, abbot of Ramsey, 16, 18 

Rarnsbury, see Alfric 

Ramsey, anonymous monk, of 20; 
monastic annals, 129 

Raymond-Berenger V, count of 
Provence, 14 

Raymond, prior of St Albans, 187 

Raynaud, G., and Michelant, H., 

235, ^45 

Reading, monastic annals of, 104, 
129 

Red Book of the Exchequer, 17-18, 
132 n., 134 

Rich, Edmund, archbishop of Canter- 
bury, 19, 20, 121, 1 66, 179, 225; 
bull of canonization, 1645; 
M. Paris on, 149, 166-7; 
quarrel with his monks, 114, 
1 66, 179; see also Vie de Seint 
Ed-mend, Vita Beati Edmundi 
archiepiscopi Cantuariensis 



285 



INDEX 



Richard, king of England, 2, 17; 

drawing of, 223, 232, PL x (a) 
Richard, bishop of Bangor, 12, 15 
Richard, duke of Normandy, 180 
Richard, earl of Cornwall, 12, 15, 
119, 213, 239> 2 4 8 > 259; arms 
of, 252; contributes to the 
Chronica Major a, 13, 135-6; 
M. Paris on, 148 
Richard the Painter, 186, 209-10, 

234 

Rickert, E., 22, 45-6, 193 

Rickert, M., 208-9, 216, 221, 222-3, 
226 

Rievaulx, Aelred of, Life of Edward 
the Confessor, 174, 176, 178 

Riley, H. T., 8 

Roches, Peter des, bishop of Win- 
chester, 15 

Rochester, 244 

Roger the Hermit, tomb of, 186 

Roman de Renaud de Montauban, 
177 n. 

Roman de Rou, 180 

Roman roads, 244 

'Romania', 240 

Rome, 240, 247 ; plan of, 248 

Rudbourne, Thomas, Breviarium 
Chronicorum, 153 

* Rumania ', 240 
*Ruscia', 240 
Rutebeuf, 260 

*Saba flumen'?, 240 

* Sabea patria', 240 

St Alban: discovery of tomb, 195; 
invention and translation by 
Offa II, 43, 45, 191, 195, 197-8, 
221; Life of, by M. Paris, see 
Vie de Seint Auban ; other Lives 
of, 195; martyrdom of, PL 
viii (a); relics of, 14, 17, 89, 
184, 198-204; translation of in 
1129, 195 

St Albans, abbots of, see Wlnoth, 
Alfric, Leofric, Leofstan, Alfric 
or Egfrid, Fretheric, Paul, Gor- 
ham, Geoffrey de, Gubiun, 
Ralph, Gorham, Robert de, 
Simon, Warin, Cella, John de, 
Trumpington, William of, and 
Hertford, John of 



St Albans, 88, 91, 137, 185 ff., 237, 
244 ; Book of Benefactors of, see 
Walsingham; foundation of, 43, 
45, 191, 193-4, 195; foundation 
charters of, 195; Henry III at, 
4, 12-13; other visitors to, 1220- 
59, 12-13 ; Liber Memorandorum 
of, 78; M. Paris on, 48 and n., 
128, 144, 187; and the outside 
world, 11-13; rings and gems 
of, tract on the, 209; visitation 
of, 138 

St Albans, John of, goldsmith, 17, 
1 86 

St Albans, Richard of, KingHaakon's 
agent in England, 6 

St Albans, Thomas of, prior of 
Wymondham, 15 

St Albans, Walter of, 22 

St Albans, William of, Life of St 
Alban, 178, 195-6 

c St Albans compilation', 22-3, 28, 
96-7 

St Amphibalus, invention of, 88, 
195; Life of, 1 68, 170; tract on 
the miracles of, 195, 196-7; 
translation of, 196-7 

St Augustine's, Canterbury, sub- 
prior of, 138 

St Benet Holm, abbey of, in Norway, 
4-7, 19, 229 

St Giles, John of, a Dominican, 16 

St Martin, Walter of, a Dominican, 
16 

St Oswald, relics of, 202-3 

St Paul, 239, 240 

St Peter, 173 

St Peter, the Faaberg, now in the 
Oslo Museum, 205-7 passim, 
228-9 

St Peter's Pence, 191 

St Symeon, port of Antioch, 246 

St Thomas of Acre, prior of, 13 

SS. Germanus and Lupus, 221 

Saladin, 15 

Salerno, 250 

Salisbury, 237 

Salisbury Cathedral, Henry of Avran- 
ches on, 254 n. 

Sanford, Cecilia de, 16 

Saunders, O. E., 207 

Savoy, 240; count of, see Amadeus 



286 



INDEX 



Savoy, Boniface of, archbishop of 

Canterbury, 119, 120, 124; M. 

Paris on, 119, 120, 122, 138, 149; 

visits St Albans, 12, 13 
Savoy, Philip of, archbishop-elect of 

Lyons, 17 
Savoy, Thomas of, count of Flanders, 

12 

Scema Britannie 91, 241, 244 
Scotland, see England and Scotland 
'Senis de Monte, Terra', 246 
Sicily, 240; diagram of, 248, 250; 

kingdom of, 146, 239, 248 
Siena, 248 
Simon, abbot of St Albans (i 1 67-83), 

183-5 

Smith, A. L., 133-4, 148, 157, 261-2 
Socrates, 230 
Somerset, 244 
Sopwell, nunnery of, 185 
Southwark Annals, the, 98, 104-6, 129 
'Spelman MS.', the, of the Gesta 

Abbatum, 8 n. 3 
Spoleto, 240, 248 
Stavensby, Alexander, bishop of 

Coventry and Lichfield, 14 
Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, 

Matthew Paris on, 175; and St 

Albans, 200, 203 
Suchier, H., 169, 178 
Suffield, Walter, bishop of Norwich, 

12 

Suffolk, 244 
Sussex, 244 
Sutri, 248, 249 
Swan, knights of the, 89, 177 
Swereford, Alexander, 14, 17 
Sylvester, Bernard, 257; Cosmo- 

graphia, 128 
Syria, 246 

Tarsus, 240 

Taxster, John, 24, 153 

Templars, 138 

Temple, the, master of in Scotland, 14 

Terence, 39 n. 

Tetim (Tethys?), 180 

Thames, 173 

Theobald I, count of Champagne 

and king of Navarre, 37 
Theopold, L., 42, 46 
Thingferth (Tuinfreth), 190 



Thomas, chaplain of Cardinal Ray- 

nier Cappochi, 17 
Thomas, monk of Sherborne, 4, 16 
Thomson, S. H., 134 
Thony, Roger de, 177 
Thryth, legendary wife of Offa 1, 193 
Thurkelby, Roger, 14 
' Tigris *, in error for Nile, 246 
tin, discovered in Germany, 145 
trade, 145-6 
Trani, 250 

Tournay, Simon of, story of, 15, 34 
Tower, the, 256 
Trapani, 239 
Trumpington, William of, abbot of 

St Albans (1214-35), 85, 87, 

185-8 passim, 196-7, 259, 263 
Tuinfreth (Thingferth), 190 
*Tur[c]hia*, 240 
Tynemouth, St Albans cell at, 244; 

prior of, see Dunham 
Tynemouth, John of, 200 
Tyre, William of, on the marvels of 

the East, 15, 129 

Uhlemann, E., 169 

Valence, 249 

Valence, William de, 121 ; household 
of, 12 

*Vallis Anconie', 240 

'Vallis Moriane' (Maurienne), 240 

'Vallis Spoleti', 240 

Venetia, 240 

Vere, Baldwin de, 14 

Vergil, Polydore, 154 

verse, Anglo-Norman, 168-81 ; Latin, 
129, 258-60 

Vescy, Eustace de, 32-3 

Victoria, 259 

Vie de Saint Thomas (Thomas), 
168 ff., date and sources, 178; 
illustration, 207, 221-2 

Vie de Seint Auban (Alban), 168 ff., 
195; autograph MS., 170, 221; 
date and sources, 177-8; fac- 
simile, 206, 220; illustration, 
206, 208, 219-21, 227-8, PI. vni 

Vie de Seint Edmond (Edmund), 
1 68 ff., authorship, 173-6; date 
and sources, 177-8 

Vienne, 249 



287 



INDEX 



Ville-Dieu, Alexander of, Doctrinale, 
260 

Vinsauf, Geoffrey of, Nova Poetria> 
38, 128 

Virgil, 128, 257 

Vita Beati Edmundi archiepiscopi 
Cantuariensis, 161-8, 178 

Vita Stephani archiepiscopi Cantua- 
riensis, 159-61 

Vitae Off arum, 125; authorship, 22, 
42-8; contents, 190-1 ; date, 89- 
90; illustration, 208, 230-1; 
MSS., 46, 81, 193 n.; not used 
by R. Wendover, 43-5 ; purpose, 
189-90, 194; reference to, 198; 
sources, 191-3 

Vitalis the Venetian, story of, 2 

Viterbo, 248 

Walcheren, battle of, nr 
Waldemar III, king of Denmark, 

17 

Waleran, bishop of Beirut, 16 
Wallace, W., 162, 168 
Wallingford, St Albans cell at, 244 
Wallingford, John of, infirmarer of 

St Albans; chronicle, 20 n., 

154; collectanea, 116, 220, 229- 

3O> 255, 256; and M. Paris's 

map of England and Scotland, 

238, 243, 244 
Wallingford, John of, chronicle 

wrongly attributed to, 46, 194 
Walsingham, Thomas, and the Gesta 

Abbatum, 8, 185; influenced by 

M. Paris, 152; on M. Paris, 8, 

18-20, 170, 209, 221; Ypodigma 

Neustriae, 152 and n. 
Walter, Hubert, 140 
Waltham, abbey, 247; letter of the 

abbot of, 159 
Wandering Jew, the, see Cartaphila, 

Joseph 

war, effect of, on trade, 146 
Warin, abbot of St Albans (i 183-95), 

2, 17, 183 n., 185, 187-8 
Warmund, king of the West Angles, 

190 

Watling Street, 244 
Wats, William, 155 
weather, 144 
Welsh, M. Paris on the, 142; OfTa's 

campaigns against the, 193 



Wendover, Roger, 21-34 passim, 263 
Flores Historiarum, ' improved ' 
by M. Paris, 31-4; MSS. of, 21 
and n.; recensions, 28-30; 
relationship of MSS. with those 
of M. Paris, 24-30; sources, 
23-4, 43-5; termination, 28-30; 
use of in V > 106, 115-16 

Westacre, the prior of, 16 

Westminster, 3, 15, 174, 178, 198, 
247; abbey of, 88, 92, 99-101, 
173-4, 175; convent of, 145; 
abbots of, see Barking, Lawrence 

'Westminster, Matthew of ', 41, 153, 

154 

Widsith, 190 
William the Conqueror, 105, 175, 

200, 203; arms of, 252; drawing 

of, 232; M. Paris on, 146 
William Rufus, 34, 174, 185 
William, a Franciscan, 16, 209, 222-3 
Wilson, R. M., 42 
Wiltshire, 244 
Winchester, countess of, probably 

Matilda, countess of Pembroke, 

170 
Winchester, 4; monks of, 12, 149; 

bishops of, see Raleigh, Roches 
wind roses, 255-6 
winds, M. Paris's verses on the, 

254 n., 258-9 
Wineferth (Pinefred), 190 
Wlnoth, abbot of St Albans, 89, 202 
Woodstock, 211 
Worcester, Florence of, 129, Chroni- 

con ex chronicis, 26-7 
world-map, 238, 241, 247 
Wormald, F., 207-8, 257 
Wroxham, Reginald of, chronicles 

of, 153 
Wych, Richard, bishop of Chichester, 

15, 161, 162, 164, 165 
Wykes, Thomas, 20, 153 
Wymondham, St Albans cell at, 244 

Yarmouth, 145 

Ydumea, 240 

York, 4, 190; archbishop of, see 

Bovill; archbishopric of, 147 
Yorkshire, 237 
Ywar, sacrist of Peterborough, 202-3 

Zouche, Alan de la, 12 







26026 



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