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John of Worcester

john of worcester, john tiptoft earl of worcester
John of Worcester died c 1140 was an English monk and chronicler who worked at Worcester Priory He is usually held to be the author of the Chronicon ex chronicis


  • 1 Chronicon ex chronicis
    • 11 Authorship
    • 12 Manuscripts
    • 13 Sources for English history
  • 2 References
  • 3 Chronicon ex chronicis: editions and translations
  • 4 Further reading

Chronicon ex chronicisedit

The Chronicon ex chronicis is a world wide history which begins with the creation and ends in 1140 The chronological framework of the Chronicon was presented by the chronicle of Marianus Scotus d 1082 A great deal of additional material, particularly relating to English history, was grafted onto it


The greater part of the work, up to 1117 or 1118, was formerly attributed to the man Florence of Worcester on the basis of the entry for his death under the annal of 1118, which credits his skill and industry for making the chronicle such a prominent work1 In this view, the other Worcester monk, John, merely wrote the final part of the work However, there are two main objections against the ascription to Florence First, there is no change of style in the Chronicon after Florence's death, and second, certain sections before 1118 rely to some extent on the Historia novorum of Eadmer of Canterbury, which was completed sometime in 1121 - 11242

The prevalent view today is that John of Worcester was the principal author and compiler He is explicitly named as the author of two entries for 1128 and 1138, and two manuscripts CCC MS 157 and the chronicula were written in his hand He was seen working on it at the behest of Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester, when the Anglo-Norman chronicler Orderic Vitalis visited Worcester:

Ioannes Wigornensis a puero monachus, natione Anglicus, moribus et eruditione uenerandus, in his quæ Mariani Scotti cronicis adiecit, de rege Guillelmo et de rebus quæ sub eo uel sub filiis eius Guillelmo Rufo et Henrico usque hodie contigerunt honeste deprompsit Quem prosecutus Iohannes acta fere centum annorum contexuit, iussuque uenerabilis Wlfstani pontificis et monachi supradictis cronicis inseruit in quibus multa de Romanis et Francis et Alemannis aliisque gentibus quæ agnouit "John, an Englishman by birth who entered the monastery of Worcester as a boy and won great repute for his learning and piety, continued the chronicle of Marianus Scotus and carefully recorded the events of William's reign and of his sons William Rufus and Henry up to the present John, at the command of the venerable Wulfstan bishop and monk d 1095, added to these chronicles ie of Marianus Scotus events of about a hundred years, by inserting a brief and valuable summary of many deeds of the Romans and Franks, Germans and other peoples whom he knew "3


The Chronicon survives in five manuscripts and a fragment on a single leaf:

Sunspot drawing in 1128, by John of Worcester4
  • MS 157 Oxford, Corpus Christi College The principal manuscript, working copy used by John
  • MS 502 Dublin, Trinity College
  • MS 42 Lambeth Palace Library
  • MS Bodley 297 Oxford, Bodleian Library
  • MS 92 Cambridge, Corpus Christi College

In addition, there is the chronicula, a minor chronicle based on the Chronicon proper: MS 503 Dublin, Trinity College, written by John up to 1123

Sources for English historyedit

For the body of material dealing with early English history, John is believed to have used a number of sources, some of which are now lost:

  • unknown versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, possibly in Latin translation John may have shared a lost source with William of Malmesbury, whose Gesta regum anglorum includes similar material not found in other works
  • Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica up to 731
  • Asser, Vita Ælfredi
  • Hagiographical works on tenth/eleventh-century saints
    • Lives of St Dunstan by author 'B', Adelard and Osbern
    • Byrhtferth, Life of St Oswald
    • Osbern of Canterbury, Life of St Ælfheah
  • Eadmer of Canterbury, Historia novorum 1066–1122
  • accounts by contemporaries and local knowledge


  1. ^ huius subtili scienta et studiosi laboris industria, preeminet cunctis haec chronicarum chronica
  2. ^ Gransden, Historical Writing, p 144
  3. ^ Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica, Book III, ed and tr Chibnall, p 186-9
  4. ^ John of Worcester 1128 The Chronicle of John of Worcester MS 157 ed Corpus Christi College, Oxford: John of Worcester p 380 

Chronicon ex chronicis: editions and translationsedit

  • Darlington, Reginald R and P McGurk eds, P McGurk and Jennifer Bray trs The Chronicle of John of Worcester: The Annals from 450-1066 Vol 2 Oxford Medieval Texts Oxford: 1995
  • McGurk, P ed and tr The Chronicle of John of Worcester: The Annals from 1067 to 1140 with The Gloucester Interpolations and The Continuation to 1141 Vol 3 OMT Oxford, 1998
  • Thorpe, Benjamin ed Florentii Wigorniensis monachi chronicon ex chronicis 2 vols London, 1848-9 Download available from Google Books
  • Stevenson, J tr Church Historians of England 8 vols: vol 21 London, 1855 171-372
  • Forester, Thomas tr The Chronicle of Florence of Worcester London: Henry G Bohn, 1854 Available from Google Books
  • Weaver, J R H, ed 1908 The Chronicle of John of Worcester, 1118-1140: being the continuation of the 'Chronicon ex chronicis' of Florence of Worcester Oxford: Clarendon Press

Further readingedit

  • Brett, Martin "John of Worcester and his contemporaries" In The Writing of History in the Middle Ages: Essays Presented to RW Southern, ed by RHC Davis and JM Wallace Hadrill Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981 101-26
  • Brett, Martin, "John, monk of Worcester" In The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, ed Michael Lapidge, et al Oxford: Blackwell, 1999 ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Gransden, Antonia Historical writing in England c 550 to 1307 Vol 1 London, 1974 143–8
  • Orderic Vitalis, Historia Ecclesiastica, ed and tr Marjorie Chibnall, The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis 6 volumes Oxford Medieval Texts Oxford, 1968-1980 ISBN 0-19-820220-2

chronicle of john of worcester, john inge bishop of worcester, john of worcester, john of worcester chronicle, john tiptoft 1st earl of worcester, john tiptoft earl of worcester

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