Chester, Roger of (DNB00)

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CHESTER, ROGER of (fl. 1339), almost beyond doubt the same person with Ranulf Higden [q. v.], the chronicler, like whom he is described as a monk of St. Werburg's at Chester, is said to have written a work entitled 'Polycratica Temporum,' in seven books, extending to the year 1314, with a supplementary book carrying on the history to 1339 (Bale, Script. Brit. Cat. v. 48, pp. 415 et seq.) A portion of this same book appears also to bear the title of 'Cosmographia' (Sir T. D. Hardy, Descriptive Catalogue of Materials relating to the early History of Great Britain and Ireland, iii. 376 et seq.) The 'Polycratica' is known to exist in a number of manuscripts, and it has generally been assumed to be the original from which Ranulf Higden borrowed the main part of his 'Polychronicon.' It appears, however, that in all the six manuscripts examined by Mr. Babington the ascription to Roger is added in a later band, and that one of these bears the heading of 'Historia Policronica;' while conversely the 'Polychronicon' of Ranulf Higden is sometimes entitled the 'Polycraticon,' or the 'Historia Policratica.' Roger's work ends in 1339, while Ranulf's, according to different copies, ends with the year 1327, or extends to various later dates. Ranulf died in 1363. It seems an irresistible conclusion that the name of the author of this chronicle, who is generally cited simply as 'Cestrensis' (e.g. by Wycliffe, De Civili Dominio, i. 40, p. 308), being omitted, the name 'Roger' was supplied by a later scribe in error for 'Ranulf.'

[Babington's Ran. Higden Polychron. vol. i. intr. pp. X, xv–xx, 1865, Rolls ser.]

R. L. P.