Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trivet, Nicholas

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TRIVET or TREVET, NICHOLAS (1258?–1328), historian, was son of sir Thomas Trevet (d. 1283), who, according to Leland, was of a Norfolk family; but more probably the Trevets were connected with Somerset. Thomas Trevet was a justice itinerant for Dorset and the neighbouring counties from 1268 to 1271. When Norwich Cathedral was burnt by rioters in August 1272, Trevet was sent to try the malefactors (Trivet, Annales, p. 279). His son describes him on this occasion as ‘justitiarius miles.’ Thomas Trevet died in 1283 (Foss, Judges of England).

Nicholas Trevet was probably born about 1258. He is said to have become a Dominican friar at London, and to have studied at Oxford, whence he afterwards proceeded to Paris. At the latter university he began to study the chronicles of France and Normandy (Annales, p. 2). Leland says that Trevet on his return to England became prior of the house of his order at London. He afterwards taught in the schools at Oxford, and died in 1328, when about seventy years of age. His name is usually spelt Trivet, but in his own chronicle, and in an anagram in his ‘De Officio Missæ,’ appears as Treveth or Trevet.

Trivet was a voluminous writer of theology and of commentaries on classical literature. But his chief title to fame rests on his ‘Annales sex Regum Angliæ qui a Comitibus Andegavensibus originem traxerunt.’ This chronicle, which extends from 1136 to 1307, was edited by D'Achery in his ‘Spicilegium’ (vol. viii.), by Anthony Hall at Oxford in 1719, and by Thomas Hog for the English Historical Society in 1845. The ‘Chronicle’ has considerable merit as a literary production, and as a history it is judicious and accurate. Its chief value is for the reign of Edward I, during which period it is of course a contemporary narrative. It was made use of by later writers, as notably in the ‘Chronicle’ ascribed to William Rishanger [q. v.] The chief manuscripts are: Queen's College, Oxford, 304, used as the basis of Hall's and Hog's editions; Merton College, 256; and Arundel MSS. 46 and 220, and Harleian MS. 29 in the British Museum.

Trivet's other principal works are: I. Theological.—1. ‘Expositio in Leviticum,’ Merton College MS. 188, with a preface to Haimeric, the general of the Dominicans. 2. ‘De Computo Hebreorum,’ Merton College MS. 188. 3. ‘In Psalterium,’ Bodleian MS. 2731, Hereford Cathedral MS. 199. This work is addressed to ‘John, his provincial in England,’ which fixes its date as 1317–20, during which years John of Bristol was the English provincial of the Dominicans (Engl. Hist. Rev. viii. 522). In September 1324 John XXII instructed Hugh of Angoulême to send him the apostils on the psalms composed by Nicholas Trevet (Bliss, Cal. Pap. Reg. ii. 461). 4. ‘In libros Augustini de Civitate Dei.’ This has been alleged by Bale and Wharton to be the joint work of Trivet and Thomas Walleys [q. v.] Trivet, however, wrote a complete commentary of his own, which begins ‘Gloriosa dicta sunt de Te;’ there are manuscripts of Trivet's commentary alone, or in combination with that of Walleys, viz. Reg. 14 C. xiii. 8, and Harleian 4093, in the British Museum; Laudian MSS. Misc. 128 and 426, in the Bodleian; Merton College, 31, and Balliol College, 78 (A) at Oxford; and Peterhouse, 24, at Cambridge. The last twelve books of Trivet's commentary appear in some manuscripts, and were several times printed, as a continuation of the commentary on the first ten books by Walleys, Mayence, 1473, fol.; Louvain, 1488, fol.; Toulouse, 1488, fol.; Venice, 1489; and Friburg, 1494. 5. ‘Flores super regulam B. Augustini,’ Bodleian MS. 3609; and Reg. 8 D. ix. 2 in British Museum. 6. ‘In [sc. librum] Boetii de consolatione Philosophiæ,’ Bodleian MS. 2150; Additional MSS. 19585, 27875 in the British Museum; Univ. Libr. Cambridge MSS. Dd. i. 11, Mm. ii. 18. There are also manuscripts at Paris and Florence. 7. ‘De Officio Missæ,’ also called ‘De Missa et ejus partibus,’ and ‘Ordo Missæ seu Speculum Sacerdotale.’ Addressed to John, bishop of Bath and Wells, i.e. John de Drokensford (d. 1329) [q. v.]; MSS. Lambeth, 150; Merton College, Oxford, 188; and Peterhouse, Cambridge, 62. 8. ‘De Perfectione Justicie;’ formerly in the Carmelite Library at London (Leland, Collectanea, iii. 51). 9. ‘De Fato cum Opusculis Theologicis;’ in Bodleian MS. 2446 there are ‘Quæstiones sex de fato,’ with others, ‘De Sortibus, De Miraculis, Pollutione nocturna,’ &c., which are perhaps by Trivet. 10. ‘Quæstiones variæ.’ A question, ‘An omnia sunt admittenda, quæ tradit ecclesia circa passionem Domini?’ is attributed to Trivet in MS. Reg. 6 B. xi. 13, in the British Museum, and C. C. C. Cambridge MS. N. 7. Trivet is also credited with commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, Chronicles, and with other theological writings, as ‘De Peccatis.’

II. Philological.—1. ‘In [sc. librum] Valerii Rufini de non ducenda uxore’ [see Map or Mapes, Walter], Lincoln College, Oxford, and University College, Oxford, MSS. 2. ‘In Declamationes Senecæ;’ dedicated to John Lewisham, confessor to King Edward; MSS. Reg. 15, C. xiii; Bodleian, 2446; Peterhouse, Cambridge, 15. 3. ‘In Tragœdias Senecæ,’ Bodleian MS. 2446. 4. ‘In Epistolas S. Pauli ad Senecam,’ Bodleian MS. 2446. 5. ‘In alia opuscula Senecæ.’ There is a manuscript of some commentaries by Trivet of this description in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Bodleian MS. 2446 contains ‘Expositio in Senecæ de Morte Claudii’ and ‘In alia opuscula Senecæ,’ which seem to be by Trivet. 6. ‘Super Ovidii Metamorphoses,’ Merton College MSS. 85, 299; St. John's College, Oxford, MS. 137. 7. ‘In Canones Eclipsium ad Meridiem Sarum.’ MS. Trinity College, Dublin (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 594).

III. Historical.—Besides the ‘Chronicle’ already noticed, Trivet wrote: 1. ‘Historia ab orbe condito usque ad suum tempus.’ This, or some part of it, is also styled ‘Historia ad Christi Nativitatem’ and ‘De Gestis Imperatorum, Regum, et Apostolorum.’ It appears to have been originally written in French as ‘Les Cronicles qe frere N. Trevet escript a dame Marie la fille mon seigneur le roi d'Engleterre le filtz Henri’ (Mary, daughter of Edward I, who became a nun at Amesbury). This French version is contained in Magdalen College, Oxford, MS. 45; in Rawlinson MS. B. 178; Douce MS. 119, in the Bodleian Library; and in Gresham MS. 56. For a manuscript at Wrest Park see Historical Manuscripts Commission, 2nd Rep. p. 6. Spelman printed some extracts from it in his ‘Concilia’ (i. 104). Chaucer is supposed to have derived his ‘Man of Law's Tale’ from this Anglo-French chronicle (E. Brock, ap. Chaucer Soc.). The Latin version was addressed to Hugh of Angoulême, archdeacon of Canterbury; it is contained in MS. Reg. 13 B. xvi. 2. ‘Catalogus Regum Anglo-Saxonum durante Heptarchia,’ probably only a part of the longer chronicle.

[Trivet's own Chronicle, pp. 2, 279; Quétif and Echard's Script. Ord. Præd. i. 561–5, ii. 819; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. pp. 722–3; Hog's Preface to Trivet's Chronicle; Bernard's Catalogus MSS. Angliæ; Coxe's Cat. MSS. in Coll. Aulisque Oxon.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. L. K.