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Roger of Wendover
At some uncertain date he became a monk of St Albans; afterwards he was appointed prior of the cell of Belvoir, but he forfeited this dignity in the early years of Henry III, having been found guilty of wasting the endowments. His latter years were passed at St Albans, where he died on May 6, 1236.
He is the first of the important chroniclers who worked at St. Albans. His most well known chronicle is called the Flores Historiarum (Flowers of History). The chronicle is based in large part on material which already existed at St. Albans. The actual nucleus of the early part of Rogerís Flowers of History is supposed to have been the compilation of John de Cella, who was abbot of St. Albans from 1195 to 1214, although that is inconclusive. Johnís work started from the year 1188, and was revised and continued by Roger up to 1235, the year before his death. Roger claims in his preface to have selected "from the books of catholic writers worthy of credit, just as flowers of various colours are gathered from various fields." Hence he called his work Flores Historiarumóa title appropriated in the 14th century to a long compilation by various hands. Begun at St. Albans, it was finally completed at Westminster based upon the Chronicle of Matthew Paris continuing to the year 1326. The work was long ascribed to one "Matthew of Westminster", but it is now known that no actual chronicler of that name ever existed. Roger of Wendoverís work is, however, now valued not so much for what he culled from previous writers as for its full and lively narrative of contemporary events, from 1216 to 1235.1
The Revelation of St. Nicholas to a monk of Evesham was composed in 1196 but the author is unknown. In an abridged form, it is found in Roger of Wendoverís Flores Historiarum under the year 1196. It is a curious religious allegory, treating the pilgrimage of a soul from death through purgatory and paradise to heaven. The monk, conducted by St. Nicholas, is taken from place to place in purgatory, where he meets and converses with persons of various ranks, who relate their stories and their suffering. From purgatory he advances slowly to paradise, and finally reaches the gates of heaven; after which he awakes.2
Wendover's work is known to us through one 13th century manuscript in the Bodleian Library (Douce manuscript 207), a mutilated 14th century copy in the British Museum (Cotton manuscript Otho B. v.), and the edition prepared by Matthew Paris which forms the first part of that writer's Chronica Majora (ed. H. R. Luard, Rolls Series, 7 vols.). The best edition of Wendover is that of HO Coxe (4 vols., London, 1841- 1824); there is another (from 1154) in the Rolls Series by HG Hewlett (3 vols., 1886- 1898).
- Luard's prefaces to vols. i., ii., iii. and vii. of the Chronica Majora
- Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores, Band xxviii.
- 1Volume I, Chapter IX, Section 19 of The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, available online.
- 2Volume II, Chapter XIII, Section 10 of The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, available online.
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