Walton, John (fl.1410) (DNB00)

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WALTON, JOHN (fl. 1410), poet, is confused by Tanner with John Walton (d. 1490?) [q. v.], archbishop of Dublin, with John de Waltham, subdean of York [see under Waltham, John de, (d. 1395)], and with others of the same or a similar name. The poet appears to have been canon of Osney in 1410, when he completed his verse-translation of Boethius's ‘De Consolatione Philosophiæ.’ This work was undertaken at the request of Elizabeth Berkeley, possibly the daughter of Thomas, lord Berkeley (d. 1417), who patronised Walton's contemporary John de Trevisa [q. v.], and was afterwards wife of Richard de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick [q. v.] (cf. Smyth, Lives of the Berkeleys, ed. Maclean, ii. 22). Boethius's work had already been translated into English prose by Chaucer, and Walton makes considerable use of Chaucer's version. He refers to Chaucer as ‘the floure of rethoryk,’ and also mentions Gower.

Ten manuscripts of Walton's translation are extant; the best is British Museum Royal MS. 18 A xiii, which in Casley's ‘Catalogue’ is erroneously ascribed to Lydgate. Other manuscripts in the British Museum are Harleian MS. 44 (which contains numerous marginalia by Thomas Chaundler), Harleian MS. 43, and Sloane MS. 554. There are three copies at Oxford: Balliol College MS. B. 5, Trinity College MS. 75, and Rawlinson MS. 151 in the Bodleian; an eighth copy is in Cambridge University Library (MS. Gg. iv. 18), and a ninth in Lincoln Cathedral MS. i. 53. A tenth, which was in the Phillipps collection (No. 1099), is said by Todd (Illustr. of Gower and Chaucer, p. xxxi) to ascribe the translation to ‘John Tebaud, alias Watyrbeche.’

Walton's book was printed in 1525 with the following title, ‘The boke of Comfort called in Latyn Boethius de Consolatione etc., transl. into Englesse tonge by John Waltionem or Walton, Canon of Osney. Enprented in the exempt monastery of Tauestock in Denshyre by me, Dan. Thomas Rychard, monk of the sayd monastery,’ 1525, 4to (Cat. Bodleian Library, i. 287). There is a copy in the Bodleian Library, but it is very rare, and is not in the British Museum (cf. Lowndes, ed. Bohn, i. 229). Extracts from Walton's poem are printed in Wülker's ‘Altenglisches Lesebuch’ (ii. 56), in Skeat's edition of Chaucer (vol. ii. pp. xvi–xvii), and in the ‘Athenæum’ (1892, i. 565).

[Authorities cited; Tanner's Bibl. p. 753; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 48; Hearne's edit. of Robert of Gloucester, ii. 78; Gough's Camden, i. 33; Warton's Hist. Poet. ii. 34; Dep. Keeper's 46th Rep. App. ii. 64; Ramsay's Lancaster and York, i. 142; Skeat's Chaucer, vol. ii. pp. xv–xviii; Wylie's Hist. of Henry IV, ii. 405, 454.]

A. F. P.