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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

IX. Latin Chroniclers from the Eleventh to the Thirteenth Centuries

§ 20. Minor Chroniclers

The art of the historian proper, however, gradually began to decline after the death of Matthew Paris. Among the chroniclers who take us down to the fourteenth century there are few names worthy of a place in a history of literature. Prominent among them are Matthew’s own followers at St. Albans, William Rishanger and John of Trokelowe; Nicholas Trivet or Trevet, a Dominican friar, whose works are of considerable historical importance for the reign of Edward I and of additional literary interest in connection with Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale; Walter of Hemingburgh, a canon of the Yorkshire priory of Guisburn, who not unworthily continues the work of the northern school; John de Tayster, or Taxster, a monk of St. Edmundsbury, who adds to a compilation from previous chroniclers what seems to be an original narrative for the years 1258–65; and Thomas Wykes, a monk of Osney, whose chronicle extends down to 1289, and is an authority of the first importance “for the whole history of the campaign of Lewes and Evesham, and the events immediately preceding and following them.” But these, and other writers, are largely subdued to the monastic atmosphere in which they work, and possess few of the traits of character and style which interest us in the personality of the greater chroniclers. The impulse of the revival of learning had been spent, and neither in literary distinction nor in accuracy and wealth of information are the chroniclers who wrote during the hundred years after Matthew Paris’s death worthy of comparison with their predecessors of the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. The best of them are those who by their industry at least, endeavoured down to the end of the fourteenth century to retain for St. Albans as a historical school the supreme repute which had been so signally established by Matthew Paris.