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Paris, Matthew

Born: 1200 AD
Died: 1259 AD
Nationality: English
Categories: Historian, Monks

1200 – He was a Benedictine monk, English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, born this year at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire. In spite of his surname, and of his knowledge of the French language, he was of English birth but may have studied at Paris in his youth after early education at the St Albans Abbey School.


1217 – He was admitted as a monk at St Albans in this year. It is on the assumption that he was in his teens on admission that his birth date is estimated; some scholars suspect he may have been ten years or older.


1235 – From this year, the point at which Wendover dropped his pen, Matthew continued the history on the plan, which his predecessors had followed. He derived much of his information from the letters of important people, which he sometimes inserts, but much more from conversation with the eyewitnesses of events.


1236 – Since he was admitted to the order in 1217, he inherited the mantle of Roger of Wendover, the abbey’s official recorder of events, in this year. His is main work is the Chronica majora, the fullest available account of events in England between this year and 1259, and which also included interesting details of many other European countries. He is especially famous for his maps and drawings.


1248 – He was sent to Norway as the bearer of a message from Louis IX to Haakon IV; he made himself so agreeable to the Norwegian sovereign that he was invited, a little later, to superintend the reformation of the Benedictine monastery of St Benet Holme at Trondheim.


1259 – He died this year in his homeland.