Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle

Purchase Access
Subject: History

Edited by:  Edited by Graeme Dunphy and Cristian Bratu

The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle brings together the latest research in chronicle studies from a variety of disciplines and scholarly traditions. Chronicles are the history books written and read in educated circles throughout Europe and the Middle East in the Middle Ages. For the modern reader, they are important as sources for the history they tell, but equally they open windows on the preoccupations and self-perceptions of those who tell it. Interest in chronicles has grown steadily in recent decades, and the foundation of a Medieval Chronicle Society in 1999 is indicative of this. Indeed, in many ways the Encyclopedia has been inspired by the emergence of this Society as a focus of the interdisciplinary chronicle community.

The online version was updated in 2014 and in 2016.

Subscriptions: See Brill.com

Whalley Chronicle

(349 words)

Author(s): Galloway, Andrew
completed ca 1430. England. Latin compilation from the CistercianAbbey of St. Mary's,Whalley (Lancs.), in BL, Harley ms. 3600. Contains Higden's Polychronicon to 1340, followed by the common "(A)" continuation of the Polychronicon to the beginning of Richard II's reign (but lacking portions of that found in Cambridge, UL, Ii.2.24), then a terse narrative to the beginning of Henry VI's reign. Artistically noteworthy are the casual but expert sketches (mid-15th-century style) on the manuscript's end-leaves, showing a monk and a boy bishop. The narrative from late …
Date: 2016-10-17

Whethamsted, John

(485 words)

Author(s): Galloway, Andrew
[Whethamstede, Wheathampstead; John Bostock] 1392-1465. England. Benedictine monk; prior studentium, Gloucester College, Oxford, 1414-17 (incepted); abbot of St. Albans, 1420-40 and 1452-65. Evident author of two Latin registers (from each of his abbacies) including letters, speeches, and poems: BL, Cotton Claudius ms. D i and London, College of Arms, Arundel 3. He also produced four compendia, three of which survive: the Granarium (in two parts: BL, Cotton Nero ms. C vi and BL, Cotton Tiberius ms. D v; excerpts in Oxford, Bodleian Library, ms. Bodley 585…
Date: 2016-10-17

Widmer, Beatus

(364 words)

Author(s): Eckhart, Pia
1475 - ca 1533. Southern Germany. Notary at the episcopal court in Konstanz at the onset of the Reformation. His German-language chronicle records current history during the lifespan of Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), including politics, natural phenomena and religious and social turmoil, as well as crimes and scandals, mainly in Southern Germany, the Swiss Confederacy, France and Northern Italy. His most important source is Johannes Nauclerus' world chronicle and its continuation b…
Date: 2016-10-17

Widukind of Corvey

(383 words)

Author(s): Warner, David A.
fl. 942-73. Germany. Monk at Corvey, Westphalia. Author of a Saxon history, Rerum gestarum Saxonicarum libri tres. The text of the Res gestae is divided into three books. Book one describes the origins of the Saxon gens, the early history of the Liudolfing/Ottonian dynasty, and the reign of King Henry I (919-36). The second book centers on the reign of Otto I, ending with the death of Queen Edith (946). Book three considers events between 946 and 967/73. Widukind's history was much read and exploited by later authors, most notably the Annales Quedlinburgenses and Thietmar of Merseburg.…
Date: 2016-10-17

Wielant, Philip

(431 words)

Author(s): Stein, Robert
[Filips] 1441/2-1520. Low Countries. Legal scholar. One of the most important French-language writers and chroniclers of the county of Flanders. Born in Ghent, he studied law in Leuven, and enjoyed a career in service of the princes of Burgundy and the house of Habsburg. During his career as civil servant of the Burgundian state, Wielant wrote many treatises on Law and one chronicle. He was mayor of Mechelen, where he died in 1520.Wielant probably started his chronicle, the Recueil des antiquités de Flandres, when he was appointed as Master in the Parliament of Malines in 147…
Date: 2016-10-17

Wierstraet, Christian

(312 words)

Author(s): Classen, Albrecht
15th century. Germany. City scribe of Neuss near Cologne. Created a rhymed verse chronicle in Low German about the failed siege of the city by Charles the Bold (1474-1475). Wierstraet, who originated from Düsseldorf, had worked as a public notary in Neuss since ca 1471/4. The chronicle, composed under the title Dye hystorij des beleegs van Nuys, was completed shortly after the siege had ended, on 20th December 1475. Wierstraet had direct access to the relevant documents pertaining to the siege and used them intensively for his chronicle, which concludes with a…
Date: 2016-10-17

Wigand von Marburg

(348 words)

Author(s): Vollmann-Profe, Gisela
fl. 1409. Germany. Author of a Middle High German rhymed chronicle on the history of the Teutonic Order in the 14th century Wigand, whose home is generally supposed to be Marburg, though Maribor in Slovenia has recently also been proposed, is documented in the Tresslerbuch (a list of the Order's expenditures), which records that in 1409 he acted as a herald in the service of the Teutonic Order. Presumably the Grand Master Konrad of Wallenrod commissioned Wigand's chronicle; the principal source is the Chronica Olivensis, embellished with material gathered orally and Wigand's ow…
Date: 2016-10-17

Wigmore Abbey Chronicles

(243 words)

Author(s): Spence, John
13th/14th century, late 14th century and 15th century. England. Three chronicles in Anglo-Norman and Latin, written at and for the Augustinian Abbey (Canons Regular) of Wigmore in Herefordshire.1) The Anglo-Norman Wigmore Abbey Chronicle is a rare narrative of the lengthy foundation and early endowments of a 12th-century religious house; it also contains much information on the Mortimer family who were the Abbey's main patrons. The account ends in the mid-13th century, and it is bound with extensive Latin Mortimer genealogies in the sole surviving late 14th-century manuscript, U…
Date: 2016-10-17

Wilhelm Scheneck de Rockenhusen

(136 words)

Author(s): Pfeiffer, Kerstin
fl. 1455-60. Germany. Otherwise unknown author of a Hessische Chronik (Hessian Chronicle). Wilhelm names himself as the owner of a now lost manuscript containing devotional texts and annalistic notes for the years 1455-60 written in the margins of the first and last pages (Metz, BM, ms. 599, olim H 34, fol. 2r-4v and 284v-286v). The notes, written in Latin and German, are not in chronological order. As the cities Kassel and Dransfeld are mentioned, it can be assumed that they were written in this area. Opening with an account of an infestation of …
Date: 2016-10-17

Wilhelm von Velde

(257 words)

Author(s): Kümper, Hiram
fl. 1445-1507. Germany. Author of a world chronicle in German. Born probably around 1445 in Huissen (near Arnhem), he studied (already as a cle­ricus) in Leuven and Cologne (no academic degree known). According to Johannes Trithemius' Catalogus illustrium virorum, the main source for Wilhelm's biography besides Rutger Sycamber (1456-1514?), he later became Augus­tinian canon at Frankenthal and par­son at Dirmstein (near Worms). Trithemius praises him as a philosopher, an astro­nomer and a writer of broad literary output. However, nothing of this has survived except for the Kleine…
Date: 2016-10-17

Willelmus Procurator

(209 words)

Author(s): Gumbert-Hepp, Marijke
[Willelmus Jacobi] ca 1295-1335. Low Countries. Chaplain to the Brederode family, after 1322 monk and procurator in the monastery of Egmond (North Holland). Author of an annalistic chronicle, a continuation of the Annales Egmondenses from 1168 to 1332, in Latin prose, with some epic verse recapitulating the events. The style of the prose is idiosyncratic, with much rhyme, though the author's ineptitude in rhyming often makes it difficult to understand. Willelmus uses the chronicle of Martin of Opava (until 1277) as an important source, and il…
Date: 2016-10-17

Willem of Berchen

(1,241 words)

Author(s): Noordzij, Aart
[of Berchem] ca 1415/20 - post-1481. Low Countries. Priest from Guelders, who wrote several Latin chronicles about Guelders, Brabant, Holland, Liège, and some noble families. Born in Nijmegen, Willem studied in Cologne during the 1430s. From 1452 onwards he is mentioned as a priest of the church of St. Steven (the parish church of Nijmegen), as a notary, and as a priest of the parish church of Niel and Cuijk. In 1475 he became canon of the St. Steven.The Gelderse kroniek is Willem's most important work. Together with the chronicles of the group Beginsel des lantz van Gelre, the Gelderse kroni…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Apulia

(248 words)

Author(s): Becker, Julia
[Guglielmo di Puglia] late 11th, early 12th century. Southern Italy. Author of a Latin verse history of Norman activities under Robert Guiscard. Nothing is known of William's background or social status, though he was probably from Apulia. He began the Gesta Roberti Wiscardi at some point between 1088 and 1098, and finished writing before 1111. This five-book epic, written in Latin hexameters, deals with early Norman history, beginning with the arrival of the first Norman pilgrims in Southern Italy and ending with the death of Guiscard.…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Brittany

(504 words)

Author(s): Rech, Régis
[Guillaume le Breton, William Brito, Guillelmus Armoricus] ca 1165-post 1226. France. Author of Latin histories in praise of Philip-Augustus. Born in the diocese of St. Pol de Léon, William moved to Mantes at the age of twelve. After attending school in Paris where he met Gilles de Paris, he joined the entourage of Philip-Augustus (Philip II of France) before the end of the century, eventually becoming his chaplain. He accompanied him at the siege of Château-Gaillard (1203), in Flanders (121…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Glastonbury

(135 words)

Author(s): Radulescu, Raluca
[William Glastynbury] fl. mid-15th century. England. Benedictine monk and chronicler of the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, who became fourth prior, as he notes in the entry for 1438. His Latin annals (1419-48), preserved in a 15th-century manuscript (Oxford, Corpus Christi College, ms. 256), cover much of the same period as those of his fellow monk at Christ Church, John Stone, but there is little duplication. The chronicle also contains descriptions of the church building, particularly scenes in the twelve choir windows. It…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Jumièges

(257 words)

Author(s): Mathey-Maille, Laurence
[Guillelmus Calculus, monachus Gemmeticensis] 11th century. Normandy. Monk of the abbey of Jumièges. Nothing is known of William of Jumièges except that about 1050 he started his Gesta Normannorum Ducum, a seven-book history of Normandy from the earliest Viking leaders to William the Conqueror, to whom he addressed the dedicatory epistle. Books 1-4, dealing with Hasting, Rollo, William Longsword and Richard I, are an abridged version of Dudo's De moribus. Books 5-7 recount the reigns of Richard II, Richard III, Robert the Magnificent and William the Conqueror, ba…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Malmesbury

(860 words)

Author(s): Ruch, Lisa M.
ca 1095 - ca 1142. England. Benedictine monk of Malmesbury, Wiltshire. William was a prolific writer of chronicles, who worked from a wide range of sources. In his earlier works he strove to remain neutral as a scholar, favouring neither the Normans nor the English during a time of heated debates, as he systematically cited and collated his source texts, carefully noting the connections and disparities between them. He revised his writings over the course of his career, showing a life…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Newburgh

(550 words)

Author(s): Ruch, Lisa M.
[Wilhelmus Neubrigensis] 1136 - ca 1198. England. Canon of the AugustinianPriory of Newburgh in Yorkshire. The author of the Latin prose Historia Rerum Anglicarum, William of Newburgh is respected as a critical writer of history. His Historia, which, according to his opening letter, Ernald Abbot of Rievaulx asked him to write, covers the period in English history from the Norman Conquest to ca 1198. William's prologue praises Gildas and Bede for their truthful histories of Britain, but delivers a stinging criticism of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia, in which he sees no scholarl…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Poitiers

(260 words)

Author(s): Mathey-Maille, Laurence
[Guillaume de Poitiers; Guillelmus Pictaviensis] 1020? - post-1087. Normandy. Cleric close to William the Conqueror. Author of Gesta Guillelmi ducis Normannorum et regis Anglorum.Orderic Vitalis informs us that William of Poitiers was born into a noble Norman family, and was educated at Poitiers before embracing an ecclesiastical career, first as chaplain to William the Conqueror, then as archdeacon of the diocese of Lisieux. Just before 1071 he composed the Gesta Guillelmi, a biography of the duke-king, covering the period 1035-67. In a Latin prose style that owe…
Date: 2016-10-17

William of Puylaurens

(254 words)

Author(s): Barber, Malcolm
[Guillelmus de Podio Laurentii] ca 1200 - ca 1276. France. Born in Toulouse. Rector of the church of Puylaurens 1237-45, official of Bishops and Count of Toulouse 1238-49. His purpose was to record Catholic efforts to eliminate heresy in southern France over a period of nearly seventy years. Much of his information is derived from his own experiences or from key figures whom he knew personally. He also used the accounts of Petrus Vallium Sarnaii and of the two authors of the Chanson de la Croisade contre les Albigeois, as well as official documents. He does not provide a detailed n…
Date: 2016-10-17
▲   Back to top   ▲