Girardus Cornubiensis (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 21
Girardus Cornubiensis

by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford
Gerard of Cornwall, "supposed historian", in the ODNB.

GIRARDUS Cornubiensis (fl. 1350?) was author of two works: 1. ‘De gestis Britonum,’ and 2. ‘De gestis Regum West-Saxonum,’ our knowledge of which is chiefly due to citations in the ‘Liber de Hyda,’ and in Rudborne's ‘Chronicle’ (in Wharton, Anglia Sacra, i.) The former chronicle gives the ‘De gestis Regum West-Saxonum,’ chaps. x. xi. and xiv. as a source for the history of Alfred and his daughter Æthelflaed, and bk. v. c. x. of the same work as the authority for ascribing to Edward the elder the restoration of the public schools at Cambridge. Rudborne quotes bk. iii. chap. vi. of the same work for the history of Cynegils of Wessex, and also twice refers to the ‘De gestis Britonum’ for details in the early history of the church of Winchester. Besides these the ‘Liber de Hyda’ gives an extract on the war between Guy of Warwick and Colbrand, which is said to be chap. xi. of the ‘De gestis Regum West-Saxonum;’ the same extract with the same reference exists at the end of a manuscript of Higden's ‘Polychronicon’ (Magdalen College, Oxford, 147), and was printed by Hearne as an appendix to the ‘Annals of Dunstable,’ ii. 825–30. Lydgate, in his unprinted poem on Guy of Warwick, says that he had translated it ‘out of the Latyn … of Girard Cornubyence’ (Bodl. MS. Laud Misc. 683, f. 77 b). Girard, as his name shows, was probably a native of Cornwall, but since he is thus quoted only in chronicles written in Hampshire, we may perhaps conclude that he was resident at some monastery in the latter county; and also as the ‘Liber de Hyda,’ Rudborne, and Lydgate all date from the earlier half of the fifteenth century, we may possibly argue that Girard lived not long before. We do not, however, know anything for certain, and Girard has often been confused with Giraldus Cambrensis [q. v.] Sir T. D. Hardy gives his supposed date as the time of King John; but the reference to Cambridge makes it unlikely that Girard lived at that period.

[Courtney and Boase's Bibliotheca Cornub. vol. i.; Hardy's Cat. of Brit. Hist. iii. 50; Liber de Hyda, pp. 62, 111, 118–23 in Rolls Ser.; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 180, 186, 189.]

C. L. K.