Bradshaw, Henry (DNB00)
BRADSHAW, HENRY (d. 1513), Benedictine monk and poet, was a native of Chester. Being from childhood much addicted to religion and learning, he was, while young, received among the monks of St. Werburgh's. Thence he was sent to Gloucester Hall, Oxford, and there passed his course in theology. He then returned to his monastery. He wrote 'De Antiquitate et magnificentia Urbis Cestriæ;' 'Chronicon and a Life of St. Werburgh,' in English verse, including the 'Foundation of the City of Chester,' the 'Chronicle of the Kings,' &c. The date of his death is fixed at 1513, by 'A Balade to the Auctour,' printed with this poem. A full description of this rare volume is given by Dibdin (Typographical Antiquities, ii. 491). The title is, 'Here begynneth the Holy Lyfe and History of Saynt Werburge, very frutefull for all christen people to rede. Imprinted by Richarde Pynson … A° MDXXI.' 4to. Three ballads follow; at the end of these is the colophon, 'And thus endeth the lyfe and historye of Saynt Werburge. Imprinted, &c.' Herbert (Typographical Antiquities, i. 270) says that a few years before he wrote, the very existence of this book was questioned. Five copies are, however, known to be in existence, one in the Minster Library at York, two in the Bodleian Library (Catal. iii. 802), one, the copy described by Dibdin as Heber's, in the British Museum, and the fifth in Mr. Miller's collection (Remains, &c. Chetham Soc. xv.) It was reprinted for the Chetham Society in 1848, being edited by E. Hawkins. Copious extracts are given, not always exactly, by Warton. The main body of the poem is a translation from a Latin work then in the library of St. Werburgh's, called the 'True or Third Passionary,' by an author of whom Bradshaw says 'uncertayne was his name.' Warton's conjecture, then, that this writer was Goscelin, is, as Hawkins points out (Introd. Chetham Soc. xv. 5), unlikely to be correct. The 'prologes' and some other parts of the volume are original. Bradshaw wrote, he says, for the people—
Go forth litell boke, Jesu be thy spede,
And saue the alway from mysreportyng,
Whiche art compiled for no clerke indede
But for marchaunt men, hauyng litell lernyng,
And that rude people thereby may haue knowyng
Of this holy virgin and redolent rose
Whiche hath been kept full longe tyme in close.
Warton speaks slightingly of Bradshaw's powers. Dibdin, who also gives some long extracts, rates them more highly. Many passages are vigorous, and some are certainly picturesque. In his concluding stanza he speaks of Chaucer and Lydgate, of 'preignaunt Barkley,' and of 'inventive Skelton.' Herbert also attributes to Bradshaw a book beginning: 'Here begynneth the lyfe of saynt Radegunde,' also in seven-line stanzas, printed by Pinson, n. d., without the name of the author or translator.
[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Dibdin), ii. 491-9, Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), i. 269, 294; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. i. col. 18, ed. Bliss; Warton's History of English Poetry, ii. 371-80; The Holy Lyfe and History, &c. Chetham Soc. xv. ed. E. Hawkins, with introd.; Tanner's Bibl. Prit. 121.]