1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Florence of Worcester

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17749131911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 10 — Florence of WorcesterHenry William Carless Davis

FLORENCE OF WORCESTER (d. 1118), English chronicler, was a monk of Worcester, who died, as we learn from his continuator, on the 7th of July 1118. Beyond this fact nothing is known of his life. He compiled a chronicle called Chronicon ex chronicis which begins with the creation and ends in 1117. The basis of his work was a chronicle compiled by Marianus Scotus, an Irish recluse, who lived first at Fulda, afterwards at Mainz. Marianus, who began his work after 1069, carried it up to 1082. Florence supplements Marianus from a lost version of the English Chronicle, and from Asser. He is always worth comparing with the extant English Chronicles; and from 1106 he is an independent annalist, dry but accurate. Either Florence or a later editor of his work made considerable borrowings from the first four books of Eadmer’s Historia novorum. Florence’s work is continued, up to 1141, by a certain John of Worcester, who wrote about 1150. John is valuable for the latter years of Henry I. and the early years of Stephen. He is friendly to Stephen, but not an indiscriminate partisan.

The first edition of these two writers is that of 1592 (by William Howard). The most accessible is that of B. Thorpe (Eng. Hist. Soc., 2 vols., 1848–1849); but Thorpe’s text of John’s continuation needs revision. Thorpe gives, without explanations, the insertions of an ill-informed Gloucester monk who has obscured the accurate chronology of the original. Thorpe also prints a continuation by John Taxter (died c. 1295), a 13th-century writer and a monk of Bury St Edmunds. Florence and John of Worcester are translated by J. Stevenson in his Church Historians of England, vol. ii. pt. i. (London, 1853); T. Forester’s translation in Bohn’s Antiquarian Library (London, 1854) gives the work of Taxter also.  (H. W. C. D.)