Pakington, William (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 43
Pakington, William

by William Hunt
William Packington in the ODNB.

PAKINGTON, WILLIAM (d. 1390), chronicler, was clerk and treasurer of the household of Edward, prince of Wales [q. v.], the ‘Black prince,’ in Gascony. He was, it is believed, a native of Warwickshire, where there are two villages named Packington (Fuller, Worthies, ii. 474), though there is also a village with that name on the border of Leicestershire, besides a hamlet in Weeford, Staffordshire. In 1349 he was presented by the king to the rectory of East Wretham, Norfolk, and in 1377 held the wardenship of the royal hospital of St. Leonard at Derby. Richard II appointed him keeper of the wardrobe in 1379, and on 6 Jan. 1381 chancellor of the exchequer. He was a canon of Windsor, and at one time rector of Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, and was presented by the king to the living of Wearmouth, Durham. On 20 Sept. 1381 the king appointed him archdeacon of Canterbury, and on 28 Dec. he was admitted to the deanery of Lichfield, which he resigned on 30 April 1390. He received a prebend of York in April 1383, was dean of the royal free chapel of St. Mary, Stafford, in 1384, and was installed prebendary of Lincoln in October 1389. Shortly before his death, which took place on or before 25 July 1390, he received from the crown a prebend in the collegiate church of St. Edith in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and was also appointed prebendary of St. Paul's, London. He wrote a chronicle in French from the ninth year of King John to his own time, and dedicated it to Prince Edward, and is said to have recorded the prince's exploits. Leland translated several extracts from a French epitome of this chronicle, and inserted them in his ‘Collectanea.’ From these extracts Mr. Maunde Thompson (Chronicon Galfridi Le Baker, pp. 183–4) concludes ‘that much of Pakington's chronicle must have been word for word the same as the revised edition of the French “Brute,”’ observing that this may perhaps afford a clue to the authorship of the second edition of the French version of the prose ‘Brut’ chronicle, compiled in the reign of Edward III, and ending at 1333.

[Leland's Comment. de Scriptt. Brit. c. 402, ii. 365, ed. Hall, and Collectanea, i. 454 sq. (2nd edit.); Bale's Cat. Scriptt. Brit. cent. vi. c. 68, p. 490 (ed. 1557), adds nothing to Leland, but divides Pakington's Chronicle into two books, the ‘Historia’ and the ‘Acta quinque regum;’ Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 569; Fuller's Worthies, ii. 474, ed. Nichols; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. i. 41, 562, ii. 171, iii. 209, 379, ed. Hardy; Thompson's Chron. Galfr. le Baker, pp. 183–4.]

W. H.