Paris, Matthew

, an English historian, was a Benedictine monk of the congregation of Clugny, in the monastery of St. Alban’s, the habit of which order he took in 1217. He was an universal scholar; understood, and had a good taste both in painting and architecture. He was also a mathematician, a poet, an orator, a divine, an historian, and a man of distinguished probity. Such rare accomplishments and qualities as these, did not fail to place him very high in the esteem of his contemporaries; and he was frequently employed in reforming some monasteries, visiting others, and establishing the monastic discipline in all. He reproved vice without distinction of persons, and did not even spare the English court itself; at the same time he shewed a hearty affection for his country in maintaining its privileges against the encroachments of the pope. Of this we have a clear, though unwilling, evidence in Baronius, who observes, that this author remonstrated with too sharp and bitter a spirit against the court of Rome; and that, except in this particular only, his history was an incomparable work. He died at St. Alban’s in 1259. His principal work, entitled “Historia Major,” consists of two parts: The first, from the creation of the world to William the Conqueror; the second, from that king’s reign to 1250. He carried on this history afterwards to the year of his death in 1259. Rishanger, a monk of the monastery of St. Alban’s, continued it to 1272 or 1273, the year of the death of Henry III. It was first printed at London in 1571, and reprinted 1640, 1684, fol. besides several foreign editions. There are various ms copies in our public libraries, particularly one which he presented to Henry III. and which is now in the British Museum. From Jiis Mss. have also been published “Vitas duorum Offarum, Merciae regum, S, Albani fundatorum” <c Gesta viginti duo abbatum S. Albani”Additamenta chronicorum ad historian) majorern,“all which accompany the editions of his” Historia Major“printed in 1640 -and 1684. Among his unpublished Mss. are an epitome of his” Historia Major," and a history from Adam to the conquest, principally from Matthew of Westminster. This is in the library of Bene’t college, Cambridge. The titles of some other works, but of doubtful authority, may be seen in Bale and Pits. 1

1 Tanner. Bale and Pits. Nicolson’s Historical Library.