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ROGER DE HOVEDEN.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND
OTHER COUNTRIES OF EUROPE
FROM A.D. 732 TO A.D. 1201.
By HENRY T. RILEY, Escl, B.A.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
A.D. 732 TO A.D. I ISO.
H. G. BOHN, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
The only printed version of this valuable Chronicle is that contained in the " Scriptores postBedam" of Sir Henry Saville, London, 1596, and reprinted at Frankfort in 1601. The typographical errors and omissions in both these editions are almost innumerable; so much so, that of necessity the more onerous duties of an Editor* devolve in a considerable degree upon the Translator of any of the authors contained in the volume.
In the present Translation the text has been carefully examined throughout, and the greater portion, it is believed, of the errors corrected; in many instances on the safest of all grounds—reference to the works of contemporary writers. Attention is called in the Notes to the more important of these
* This was sensibly felt to be the case by Mr. Sharpe, in his translation of William of Malmesbury. Archbishop Nicolson says, in his "English Historical Library," p. 59, "Hoveden's History was published by Sir H. Saville; but (as Sir H. Spelman observes in his Glossary, on the word Frithborga) there are many errors in that foreign Edition of this, and all our other Historians, and, therefore, he well cautions the English reader attentively to consider the spelling of such words as are of our own growth, as very frequently mistaken by printers, that are strangers to our country and language." It is but just to remark that, in the present instance, the errors in the English edition are almost as numerous as in the foreign pne. corrections, in cases where they are a matter of question. It has been thought advisable to retain the ancient names of places where they differ materially from those of the present day, and to add the latter in the Notes.
Of the author of this work but little is known. He is sometimes spoken of as a native of York, but it is more probable that he was born at Hoveden, now Howden, a vill in the East Riding of Yorkshire, which belonged to the bishops of Durham, and where they occasionally resided. Frequent mention is made of this place in the Annals, in connection with those powerful prelates.* It has been suggested by some writers that our author is the person mentioned by Robert of Gloucester as "Hew of Howdene."f Among the various offices held by him, he is said to have been a professor of Theology at Oxford, and to have been employed, perhaps at a later period of his life, by Henry II., in the capacity of chaplain. Like many of the more learned clergy of his day, uniting the study of the Law J with that of Divinity,
* For the first time, at p. 389 of this Volume. We learn from our author that Hugh de Pusaz, or Pudsey, bishop of Durham, died at Howden.
t Mr. Hardy says, in the Introduction to the "Monumenta Britannica," p. viii., "The Burton Annals (Gale I.) mention a Hugh Hoveden, as does Robert of Gloucester, but Roger is certainly the person intended. The mistake arose probably from the practice of indicating an author's name by the initial letters only, and the scribe hastily inserted H instead of R." The lines of Robert of Gloucester alluded to are the following, (he is speaking of Richard I.):
"But who so wole of his chevalrie, know or wyte, Rede he in the cornycles that ben of him wryte, , That Mayster Hew hath of Howdene ywrouzte.''
If in these lines he refers to our Chronicler, it is pretty clear that he is the same person who wrote the life of Richard I., mentioned by Bishop Tanner as 1 aid to be among the Digby MSS. in the Bodleian Library.
X This will probably account for the vast amount of information on legal matters which is to be found in the latter part of the work. Tanner seems to think that Hoveden devoted himself to the law when in midhe acted as one of the clerks* or secretaries of that king; and, probably in such capacity, was employed in visiting monasteries on the death of the abbats or priors, for the purpose of receiving such portions of the revenues thereof as accrued to the crown. This fact will account for the great number of letters, charters, papal rescripts, bulls, and other matters relative to the Ecclesiastical history of his time, which are to be found in his work; while his connection, through the place of his birth, with the sees of York and Durham, will explain why the affairs of those sees are so abundantly treated of.
Hoveden has been charged by Leland with surreptitiously borrowing from Simeon of Durham, the great Chronicler of Northumbria; but it is not improbable that he enjoyed opportunities of free access to the materials from which Simeon compiled his Chronicles, and, as Archbishop Mcolson remarks,! if he did copy anything from him, he has greatly improved his narrative by carefully identifying the chronology of many matters confusedly related by that author. That in some instances he has closely followed Simeon of Durham and other preceding Chroniclers, cannot, however, be questioned; but the evident universality of the practice among the Annalists of his times, shews that the censure of Leland is misplaced, and that Hoveden was actuated by no sordid motive, or wish to assume the credit of the labours of his predecessors.
The exact periods of his birth and death are unknown; but Tanner, following Leland, thinks that he did not commence
life, and subsequently entered the Church. He informs us that Walter of Coventry states in his Annals that Hoveden was in the number of the domestics of Henry II.; that he was sent to Norwich by that king, on a visit to the abbey there, for the purpose of auditing the expenditure of the monks, and of superintending the election of a new abbat; and that his duties of a similar nature extended to other places.
* Benedictus Abbas mentions him as " Unus de clericis regis."
t Engl. Hist. Library, pp. 59, 60.