Neubrigensis, Williams

Neubrigensis, Williams (called also Petit or Parvus), canon of the Augustine convent of Newbury, was born at Bridlington in 1136. He gave early promises of great talent, and was on that account educated in the convent. At the request of the superiors of a neighboring convent he wrote a commentary on Solomon's Song, and afterwards a Historia Rerum Anglicarum, which he dedicated to Ernald, abbot of Rivaulx.

This history, divided into five parts, embraces the period from William I to 1197. The first book, in which he mainly follows Henry of Huntingdon, extends to the time of Stephen, and is merely an introduction to the most important part of the work, which treats of the history of his own times, and is the best chronicle of that period. He evinces, for his age, remarkable critical acumen, a great spirit of observation, and fine discrimination. Although not completely free from the prejudices of the Middle Ages, the author is worthy of the name of historian. The work was first published at Antwerp in 1567, then at Heidelberg in 1587, Paris in 1610-1632, and at Oxford (by Hearne) in 1719. The best edition is one corrected from two MSS. of the 13th century by H.C. Hamilton, for the English Historical Society (1856). Neubrigensis is believed to have died about 1208. See Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 10:298; Cave, Hist. Lit. 2:253.

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