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Roger of Wendover

Roger of Wendover (d. 1236), English chronicler, was probably a native of Wendover in Buckinghamshire.

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 in the scriptorium of this house. His great work, the Flores Historiarum, begins at the creation and extends to 1235. It is of original value from 1202. Some critics have supposed, but on inconclusive evidence, that Wendover copied, up to 1189, an earlier compilation, the work of John de Cella, the twenty-first abbot of St Albans (1195- 1214).

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).

Wendover is a copious but inaccurate writer, less prejudiced but also less graphic than Matthew Paris. Where he is the sole authority for an event, he is to be used with caution.

See Luard's prefaces to vols. i., ii., iii. and vii. of the Chronica Majora; and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores, Band xxviii.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.