The Saint Alban’s Chronicles

St.Alban's abbey

‘The St. Alban’s Chronicles’ were written at the end of the 12th century. They were hand-written in Latin by Roger of Howden (Yorkshire) (~1150 to ~1201), Roger of Wendover (Buckinghamshire) (~1170 to 1237), Matthew of Paris (~1200 to 1259) and William of Rishanger (~1250 to 1320). Three were Benedictine monks at St.Albans Abbey; the fourth and earlist, Roger of Howden was possibly a clerk in orders and was employed in Henry II’s court and later served on crusade with Richard I. Each chronicler either copied out the earlier chronicle and then continued on or simply wrote the next chronological section. Altogether a century of momentous events.

Roger of Howden’s chronicle begins in AD732 with the first 400 years being copied from earlier works. His own personal record covers from 1173 to 1201. Roger of Wendover added events from 1201 to 1235. Matthew Paris, probably the most literate and scholarly of the chroniclers, copied the earlier chronicle but added a lot of notes to Roger of Wendover’s section. He continued his own record from 1235 to 1259 (although he hoped to be able to end a few years before this). Finally William Rishanger added 1259 to 1307.

Chronica Magistri Rogeri de Houdene” was translated from the Latin by Henry Thomas Riley, B.A. Barrister-at-law, in 1853.

Roger of Wendover’s “Flores Historiarum” — “Flowers of History”, Matthew Paris’s “Historia Major Anglorum” — “History of the English” and part of William Rishanger’s “Quondam Monachi S.Albani Chronica et Annales AD 1259-1307” were all translated by Reverend John Allen Giles, who was a retired Head Master of the City of London School and a late fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, at around the same time.

Siege of Damietta, 1219 by Matthew Paris The translations are available online in plain text and pdf books and form the basis of this document. The years 1173 to 1273 are covered here with the individual chroniclers sections marked. The letters and Matthew Paris’s notes are included in full but his ‘Additamenta’ document referred to is not included here. Also, certain churchmen, particularly the popes, were keen to demonstrate their knowledge of the Bible by copious quotations. Footnotes, giving exactly where in the Bible the quotes come from, have been omitted to improve readability.

The text is available for download as a Word document.