Puslapio vaizdai

countrymen, we may find him in Archbishop Leighton, that 'Christianised Plato,' as Coleridge calls him. In Leighton's discourses delivered as Principal of the University of Edinburgh, we have the same richness of classical culture in a mind 'naturally Christian,' the same spirit of renouncement, which yet did not preclude an active, practical beneficence. Leighton's lot was cast on a time which demanded a more strenuous nature than his, and had Wilson lived to return to his native country, his lot would have been similar. In the civil and religious dissensions which then distracted Scotland, his quietism, like that of Leighton, might have been found an unseasonable virtue. As it was, he was spared the stern test, and he comes before us as one of the select spirits of his nation, somewhat veiled from our gaze, but with lineaments sufficiently distinguishable to justify us in paying tribute to him, as one who in his generation stood for the best that men then felt and knew.


Authorship of the Chronicle of Lanercost'


HE authorship of the Chronicle of Lanercost, when the manu anuscript first came within the cognisance of literary men, was unhesitatingly ascribed to the canons of the house which bears its name, and such origin does not appear to have been doubted till the transcript in the Cotton collection was printed in 1839 as a joint-production of the Bannatyne and Maitland Clubs under the care of the Rev. Joseph Stevenson.

Nothing is known of the history of the manuscript of the Chronicle (Cotton MS. Claudius, D. vii.) before the sixteenth century, when it came into the possession of Sir Henry Savile, who published his Scriptores post Bedam in 1596. There is little doubt that the manuscript belonged to him before it passed into the collection of Sir Robert Cotton. Not only is there a printed label bearing Sir Henry's name pasted on the fly-leaf, but traces of perusal by him may be ascertained from annotations in the margin. For example, the phrase in comitatu Roberti de Sabuil folio 97 is underlined in the text, and a note is placed in the margin to call attention to the early occurrence of the name. Indications are not wanting on several folios that the manuscript was used by students and that attempts were made to disclose the constituent parts of the compilation.

The whole manuscript, which is bound in one volume, comprises 242 vellum leaves or 484 folios, arranged in double column and written in a hand apparently of the fourteenth or early fifteenth century. There is some evidence that the hand varies, but not perhaps more than may be ascribed to different sessions. by the same writer. In the later portions of the manuscript, say from folio 66, which represents the year 1181, a new style of rubric and illumination begins. Perhaps a uniform style should not be assumed for any large sections of the narrative. The

1 The references in footnotes, when not otherwise stated, apply to the pages of Sir Herbert Maxwell's forthcoming volume of this translation, of which I have seen a proof copy.

scribe did not always finish his folio before commencing the next. Several columns are blank, occasionally a whole folio. In one instance at least, he had just commenced a new folio (fol. 101) under the year 1190, but before he had proceeded far down the first column and had written 'Deinde Rex Anglie,' he stopped and commenced a new folio with the same words. When he had reached folio 21, the end of the introductory portions, he laid down his pen with the pious sentiment, finito libro benedicamus Domino,' leaving a whole leaf blank before he resumed. The abrupt ending of the manuscript has tempted some late student to remark that videtur hoc exemplar esse imperfectum.' It may be added that he was not the last to hold a similar opinion.

Students of the manuscript were under no delusion about its authorship. In various places the legend 'historia canonici de Lanercost in comitatu Northumbrie' is met with, which may be taken as the unauthorised interpolation of the reader. The owners, however, may be justly regarded as responsible for the index and table of contents, though not made at the same date or by the same person. The 'elenchus contentorum' appears to be the earlier. Referring to the beginning of the continuous narrative on folio 23, apart from the fragments with which the Chronicle is prefaced, we have Larga Anglie historia composita per canonicum de Lanercost in comitatu Northumbrie que descendit ad tempora Edwardi tertii.' The ignorance of the geography of Cumberland, which placed Lanercost in the neighbouring county, is very welcome, inasmuch as it shows that the compiler of the elenchus was not a local antiquary prejudiced in favour of the Lanercost authorship.

It is different, however, with the index at the end of the volume, the writing of which appears to be in a later hand, perhaps about the close of the seventeenth century. The compiler of the index was not only a north-countryman interested in northern history, but he held decided views on the authorship. In fact, the index was made for the sole use of historical students of the Border counties, but especially of the county of Cumberland. It embodies the principal local references, notably those relating to the priory of Lanercost and the barony of Gillesland, with very little reference to occurrences elsewhere except when they affected that neighbourhood. The index is entitled, 'Ex manuscripto per quemdam canonicum de Lanercost infra baroniam de Gillisland in comitatu Cumbrie composita.' In referring the reader to the visitation of the priory of Lanercost by the Bishop of Carlisle in


1281, which will be discussed presently, the index-maker remarked that constat fol. 206 authorem libri esse canonicum de Lanercost.' The compiler of this addition to the volume appears to have had no doubt about the authorship.



The first writer who printed portions of the manuscript, so far as we have ascertained, was Henry Wharton, librarian at Lambeth, who extracted from it the references to Bishop Grosteste of Lincoln, and published them in 1691 in the Anglia Sacra (ii. 341-3). The heading of the chapter indicates Wharton's view of the authorship: Vita Roberti Grosthed, ex Annalibus de Lanercost, in Bibliotheca Cottoniana, Claudius D. 7.' But in the preface he has given a more positive opinion. Among the unprinted chronicles,' he says, the author of the Annals of Lanercost has commemorated (celebravit) Bishop Robert the most fully: I have therefore appended his account of Robert's life. The Annals of Lanercost are extant from the coming of the Saxons to the year 1347, exceedingly copious (valde prolixi), in the Cotton Library. The monastery of Lanercost is situated in the county of Cumberland near the borders of Scotland. Its annals were written by several persons in succession, as appears at the year 1245, where the writer states that he had committed to the earth the Elect of Glasgow.'

The value of the compilation was known to Dr. William Nicolson, Bishop of Carlisle (1702-1718), whose literary activities entitle him to rank among the laborious scholars who adorned the age in which he lived. Writing with his customary precision in 1708, he referred to the jingling rhyme on the building of the Roman Wall in the Chronicle of Lanercost2 (MS. in Bibl. Cott. Claudius D. vii. fol. 14a,)' and spoke of 'the learned Canon Regular who was the author of the Chronicle.' The same prelate had no misgivings about the authorship in 1713, when he urged Humfrey Wanley, the famous librarian of the Earl of Oxford, to publish a Chronicle by some of the Canons of Lanercost in this diocese,' a manuscript in the Cotton Library, Claudius, D. vii.' It was probably owing to the well-deserved reputation of Bishop Nicolson as a scholar of exceptional critical ability that the authorship had not been called in question till the publication of the manuscript by the Scottish Clubs.

Planta, when making a catalogue of the Cottonian collection in

1 Anglia Sacra, ii. pref. xvii.

2 Stukeley's Diaries and Letters (Surtees Soc.), ii. 62.

3 Chron. de Lanercost, pp. xv-xviii.

1801 for the Record Commission, accepted the traditional authorship without demur. His account of the contents of the Chronicle is taken almost wholly from the elenchus contentorum of the Cotton manuscript. The introductory fragments are resolved into nine sections, which take up the first 21 folios of the manuscript, as already noticed. The Chronicle itself, beginning on folio 23, is described as 'a history of the affairs of the kings of the Britons and the English from Cassibelanus to 1346, extracted by a canon of Lanercost in the county of Cumberland from William of Malmesbury, Henry archdeacon of Hereford, Gildas, Geoffrey of Monmouth and Helinand.' Though we cannot accept the sources here indicated, the statement is useful as expressing the opinion of the authorities of the Record Commission on the authorship in 1801. It was not till Stevenson had printed the manuscript that the origin of the Chronicle was ascribed to a Minorite friar of Carlisle.


As the manuscript bears no title, and as nothing is known of its early history, a discussion of the probable authorship must rest wholly on internal evidence. But it is difficult to make an exposition of the evidences intelligible to students of the printed text, owing to Stevenson's treatment of the manuscript. He regarded the portion issued by the Scottish Clubs as a continuation to the Annals of Roger of Hoveden, beginning where the work of that writer terminates without a break of any description.' For this reason he started his edition of the Chronicle on folio 1726 in the middle of the column, where the transcriber or author left no mark to indicate a new work. Opinions may differ on the wisdom of such a step, but no authority for the arbitrary division is recognised in the manuscript. For our own part, we prefer the statement of Bishop Stubbs that a copy of Hoveden was 'used as the basis of the Lanercost Chronicle,' that is, of the unprinted portion embracing folios 23-172. Students of the manuscript will agree with the Bishop rather than with the Editor.

Though the question of sources does not arise, it may be permissible to notice a few incidents in order to show the author's historical equipment independent of his use of the exemplars he had before him. Few of the chroniclers, except the historians of Hexham, mention the battle of Clitheroe in 1138 and the subsequent proceedings at Carlisle for the alleviation of the atrocities

1 Catalogue of the MSS. in the Cottonian Library, p. 197.

2 Chronicon de Lanercost, p. iii.


8 Roger de Hoveden (R.S.), i. pref. lxxxiii.

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