Legat, Hugh (DNB00)

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LEGAT, HUGH (fl. 1400), Benedictine, a native of Hertfordshire according to Bale (p. 518), was not improbably a member of the family which held a manor at Abbots Walden in that county, belonging to the monks of St. Albans (Gesta Abbatum, ii. 179; Amundesham, ii. 265; Dugdale, Monasticon, ii. 210), and assisted the monastery in at least one important crisis (Gesta Abbatum, ii. 222). Bale says that Hugh Legat was brought up in the monastery school at St. Albans, displayed a strong love for learning, and went with the abbots leave to pursue his studies at Oxford, where, in the Benedictine hostelry of Gloucester Hall, St. Albans, like other abbeys of its order, had a house for its own scholars (Dugdale, Monast. ii. 199; Newcome, History of St. Albans, p. 807). He left Oxford probably before 1401, when he was among the monks who elected William Heyworth abbot of St. Albans (Gesta Abbatum, iii.480).

On his return to St. Albans Legat is said to have spent some time in the study of history. Thomas Walsingham the historian was then precentor of the abbey (ib. iii. 893). But Legat soon devoted himself to preparing a learned commentary, in nine books, on the 'Architrenius,' a satirical poem, written at the close of the twelfth century by John de Hauteville [q. v.] The work was dedicated to William Heyworth, who was abbot between 1401 and 1420. Legat's commentary, mutilated at beginning and end, is extant in a fifteenth-century hand in Bodleian MS. Digby, 64. Bale quotes Legat's preface from a more perfect copy.

Legat became prior of the neighbouring dependent cell of Redbourne. Of this office he was relieved in 1427, in the first abbacy of John Whethamstede, and sent to the cell of the abbey at Tynemouth (Chronicon Rerum Gestarum in Monasterio S. Albani, in Amundesham, i. 1-3). Nothing further is known of him.

[Bale's Scriptt. Brit. Cat. pp. 518–19, ed. Basel; Pits, De Illustr. Angl. Script. p. 568; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 474; Gesta Abbatum S. Albani and Johannis Amundesham Annales, in Chronica Monast. S. Albani, vols. iv–v. (Rolls Ser.); Dugdale's Monasticon Anglicanum, ii. 198–210, ed. Dodsworth, 1849; Newcome's Hist. of St. Albans, 1795, pp. 307–8.]

J. T-t.