Pembridge, Christopher (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44
Pembridge, Christopher

by Robert Dunlop
John Pembridge, a Dominican, according to the DNB.

PEMBRIDGE, CHRISTOPHER (fl. 1370?), conjectured by Ware to have been a native of Dublin, and to have lived about the middle of the fourteenth century, was apparently the author of ‘Annales Hiberniæ ab anno Christi 1162 usque ad annum 1370,’ printed for the first time by Camden in 1607, at the end of his ‘Britannia,’ and again in 1884 by J. T. Gilbert in ‘Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin.’ The chief, and indeed the only, authority for ascribing the authorship of these annals to Pembridge, unless we include Archbishop Ussher, who once in his ‘Ecclesiastical Antiquities’ (p. 425) refers to ‘Pembrigii Annal. Hib. apud Camden,’ is Sir James Ware (Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, p. 83). The original manuscript used by Camden is preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Laud 526). A note on the last page, written by the same hand as the body of the volume, states that it belonged to William Preston, viscount Gormanston, who died in 1532. It was probably given by him to Thomas Howard, second earl of Surrey, viceroy of Ireland in 1520, whose grandson, William, lord Howard of Naworth, gave it to Camden, from whom it passed to Sir George Carew, and afterwards to Archbishop Laud, who bequeathed it to the Bodleian Library. Other copies, but apparently of a later date, are preserved in Trinity College, Dublin (cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 597). It is supposed that Pembridge is identical with the certain ‘nameless author’ to whom Philip Flattisbury [q. v.], and through him Richard Stanihurst (Holinshed, Chronicles, ed. 1587, ii. 59), and also probably Edmund Campion (‘Address to the Reader’ prefixed to his ‘History of Ireland’), were indebted for their information regarding Ireland between 1162 and 1370.

The Latin ‘Annales Hiberniæ,’ which are attributed to James Grace of Kilkenny, and were published in an English translation by the Irish Archæological Society, under the care of Richard Butler, in 1842, from a manuscript at Trinity College, Dublin, ‘agree in substance’ with those ascribed to Pembridge. But Grace's editor, Butler, thinks that ‘the occasional difference of their contents and the constant difference in their language’ render it unlikely that the ‘Annales’ of Grace were merely abridged from those of Pembridge; and he suggests that both were probably ‘translated from some common original composed in some other language than Latin.’ However this may be, the work attributed to Pembridge is by far the more valuable.

[Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. s.v. Pembrigius; Ware's Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, pp. 83, 92; Gilbert's Chartularies of St. Mary's Abbey, Dublin (Rolls Ser.); Nicolson's Historical Libraries; Grace's Annales Hiberniæ, ed. Butler (Irish Archæol. Soc.); Camden's Britannia, London, 1607.]

R. D.