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Bede [St Bede, Bæda, known as the Venerable Bede] (673/4–735), monk, historian, and theologian, in his Historia ecclesiastica (731) outlines his own life. Born in northern Northumbria, his relations put him in the monastery of Wearmouth at the age of seven. He transferred to the nearby sister house of ...

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Bever, John [John of London] (d. 1311?), Benedictine monk and historical writer, may have been a Londoner—in 1310 the archdeacon of Westminster was ordered to publish the excommunication for contumacy of 'Brother John of London, called Le Bevere' (Gransden, Continuations, 480, n. 40...

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Birchington, Stephen (d. 1407), Benedictine monk and historical writer, doubtless took his name from Birchington on the Isle of Thanet, Kent. He became a monk of the cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, in 1382. In the late 1390s he was one of the priory's two treasurers; in the opening years of the fifteenth century he held the senior post of warden of the priory's manors; and in around 1404–5 he served as the prior's chaplain. He died on 21 August 1407, presumably at ...

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Brockie, Donald Andrew [name in religion Marianus] (1687–1755), Benedictine monk and historian, was born at Edinburgh on 2 December 1687, the son of George Brockie, a protestant, and Isabel (née Farquharson), a Catholic. The family moved to Arbroath, where George, a lawyer, was notary public and clerk of regality, and became a Catholic before his death in 1708. ...

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Cirencester, Richard (b. before 1340, d. 1400), historian and Benedictine monk, was a historical writer and monk of the abbey of St Peter at Westminster. His surname may have been a toponym, indicating his place of origin, which he assumed on entering the monastery in 1354–5, or the established name of his family which happened to be of this kind. ...

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Eadmer [Edmer] of Canterbury (b. c. 1060, d. in or after 1126), Benedictine monk and historian, was born to English parents, and entered Christ Church, Canterbury, as an oblate. As a child he witnessed the sudden destruction of the cathedral during the fire of 1067; he took special care afterwards to commit to memory the plan of the old church and the locations of its relics. His recollections as an old man of these childhood memories provide historians with a surprisingly detailed portrait of the Anglo-Saxon building. In 1093 the newly elected ...

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Malmesbury, William of (b. c. 1090, d. in or after 1142), historian, man of letters, and Benedictine monk, spent his whole life from boyhood as a monk of his order's ancient foundation at Malmesbury.

Almost all that is known of William of Malmesbury...

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Orderic Vitalis (1075–c. 1142), Benedictine monk and historian, was the son of Odelerius d'Orléans, son of Constantius, and of an English mother. His childhood was passed in or near Shrewsbury, but he was sent aged ten to become an oblate monk in the Norman monastery of ...

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Matthew Paris (c. 1200–1259) manuscript drawing The British Library

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Paris, Matthew (c. 1200–1259), historian, Benedictine monk, and polymath, reveals very little about his own life and personal circumstances. This is disappointing as well as ironical, considering his compulsive concern to collect and record information relating to the events and affairs of his own time, and his acute inquisitiveness concerning times past. Even his parentage, nationality, and social origins remain uncertain....

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Reading, John (d. 1368/9), Benedictine monk and historian, was a monk of Westminster Abbey by 1339/40 and had been priested by 1341/2, when he sang his first mass. He is recorded as custos ordinis of the abbey in 1349, and from 1350 to 1353 he held the office of infirmarer. His death is recorded in the abbey's infirmary roll for 1368/9. He wrote a continuation of the ...

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Rudborne, Thomas (fl. 1447–1454), Benedictine monk and historian, has been called junior to distinguish him from his namesake Thomas Rodeburne (Rudborne), the bishop of St David's (d. 1442). Recorded as a monk of St Swithun's, Winchester, in 1447, he wrote histories concerning ...

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Sporley, Richard (b. before 1410, d. 1491), Benedictine monk and historian, entered the abbey of St Peter at Westminster in 1428–9, and was ordained priest on 15 March 1432. If canonically qualified for ordination, he was then at least twenty-four years old, and must have been born before 1410. He held the minor office of granger three times (1445–6, 1453–63, and 1470–71), but never held a major office with financial responsibilities. The precentorship, which he held from 1464 to 1466, and perhaps longer, and which entailed responsibility for the abbey's books, was probably more suited to his capacities. The receipt of a pension of ...

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Symeon of Durham (fl. c. 1090–c. 1128), Benedictine monk and historian, owes his reputation principally to a history of the church of Durham, written at some point between 1104 and 1109 on the orders of his superiors. Compiled from a variety of sources, ...