(c. 1200-1259)


Matthew Paris was an English chronicler and manuscript illuminator. In 1217 he became a Benedictine monk at St Albans and in 1236 succeeded Roger of Wendover as the abbey's chronicler. Although his surname, which he usually wrote Parisiensis, could suggest French origins, he was most probably an Englishman characteristically trained in both Latin and Anglo-Norman. References in his works to the University of Paris, however, raise the possibility that he had studied at one of the schools in Paris. Paris maintained a wide range of contacts with the outside world through the steady flow of documents to St Albans and through the abbey's many visitors, including Henry III and his brother, Richard of Cornwall. He attended many important royal celebrations at Westminster, Canterbury, Winchester and York, and in 1248 he was sent to Norway to reform the monastery of St Benet Holm.

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