Page:Chronicle of the Grey friars of London.djvu/12

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viii
PREFACE

so fully, down to the 17th Hen. VII. A.D. 1502. After that date, these two London Chronicles are wholly different in their contents.

Stowe had either the possession or the loan of the manuscript before us, and his small and compact hand is to be seen in two or three places in correction of the original writer.[1] But we do not find that he made full use of it: of its passages relative to religious matters, which are the most curious of the whole, he has given but a small portion; and our Chronicle escaped the research of the equally industrious, and still more voluminous, ecclesiastical historian, the Rev. John Strype.

It is towards the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth that this Chronicle begins to have a character of its own. The writer had a watchful regard to the religious changes of the times, and he naturally recorded those in particular which occurred within the sphere of his personal observation, in the city of London, and in the metropolitan church of St. Paul. He appears to have retained possession of the book after the dissolution of the house of Grey Friars, and the dismissal of the rest of his fraternity; and from that time we may suppose that he continued his record in pursuance of his old habits, with no other object than his own satisfaction. It is therefore not to the Grey Friars as a body, or to the attention and accuracy of their successive registrars, that we have to attribute the chief historical value that exists in the following pages; but rather to the individual merit of him whom we may fairly regard as the last of the

  1. Stowe has written the word "falce" against the passage stating the poisoning of king John in fol. 337 b. At the foot of fol. 343 is written in Stowe's hand:— "John Brian shrive [see p. 14 of the present volume] was drownyd by seint Katheryns mylle. Reg. 6." Another of his corrections is described in the note at p. 15. He names the "Reg. of the Gray Fryers" as his authority for the story of lady Hungerford. (Chronicle, edit. 1631, p. 517.)