The Monument of Mr. JOHN STOW
|The Life of JOHN STOW. ||xv
into divers Hands, out of the Monasteries and Religious Houses, where they had
the most part, diligently kept and preserved; and mostly written by the Monks
and enjoyed their studious Retirements there.
He was also a diligent Transcriber of such ancient and useful Books, and which
not obtain or Purchase, being of Esteem with him, or serving to his Purpose.
transcribed Leland's Six Books of Collections, which turned very seasonably to
as was told before. Another Transcript of his was a Speech of Queen Elizabeth
Parliament, 27. Eliz. Anno 1584. Which, with Stow's other Papers, coming afterwards
into the Hands of Sir Simmons D' Ews, Bart. he presented to the World, in his
Parliaments: Where he tells us, that it was written with Stow's own Hand; the
being found in the Original Journal Book of the Upper House; and therefore he
out of a Copy which he had by him, written by John Stow, the Chronicler, with
Hand, being verbatim, as followed, &c.
Stow, a great Transcriber.
Journal of Parliaments, p. 328. b.
And as he had a good Library replenished with such Books, so he was a very good
of them; and was able to discourse critically concerning them. His Abilities
this way may
appear in Descriptions of ancient Writers, and Writings; being a little Tract
(taken Notice of
before) prefixed to his Summary of Chronicles, printed Anno 1573, which begins
Asserus Menevensis; of whom he giveth this Description:
"A Man of great
Learning; who was sent for from Menevia, or St. Davids in Wales, by King
by him made Bishop of Sherbourne [the See] now called Salisbury. It is said,
Alfrede erected the School or University of Oxeford: But this Asserus, writing
diligently and honourably of all King Alfrede's Noble Acts, maketh no Mention
there be, and those ancient Writers, which attribute all to the English Church
which the late, without Consideration, do speak of Oxford. Asserus flourished
in the Year
after Christ's Birth, 890."
A good Critick in ancient History.
"Alfredus Beverlacensis, Treasurer of the College of Beverly, a deep
diligent Historiographer, and notable Divine, brought up in the most ancient and
University of Cambridg: He writ the Accidents of Time from the Beginning of the
to the Year of Christ 1136, in the which he lived."
"Adam Merimouth, a Prebendary of St. Paul's in London. He seeing the Want of
Chronicles, and feeling the Necessity of them, laboured earnestly to commit
Memory; and writ from the Year after Christ's Birth, 1320, unto the Year 1380,
which he flourished."
"Additiones Polychronicon were added by Thomas Walsingham, born in Norfolk;
after, a Monk at St. Albans. The Book called Polychronicon, was writ by
Higden, a Monk of Chester. Thomas Walsingham's chief Delight was in the
English Histories; wherein he hath left, to the prepetual registring of his
Name, divers other
Monuments of reverend Antiquity. He lived 1443."
"Galfridus Monumetensis. His Chronicle of the Britons, is of some scornfully
wherein they shew their great Unthankfulness, not to embrace him, who painfully,
Behoof, playeth only the Part of an Interpreter: Little Wisdom, to condemn that
cannot amend; or, if they can, not to consider the Time wherein he lived. The
may, of a skilful Reader, be well discerned from the false: And many things in
seem strange, are confirmed by the best Writers of all Ages. He lived 1158."
Again, he thus describeth Gulielmus Novoburgensis,
"otherwise Guliel Petit, or
Parvus; who, for his true dealing in Histories, is much commended of
it was an Italian Flourish, to put Galfridus Monumetensis out of Conceit;
reporteth (which the Italian cannot abide) friendly and liberally of the
Chronicle is lately printed at Antwerp, both unhonestly and unperfectly, by the
Printer, Will. Silvius: For, leaving out Doctor Turner's Preface, late Dean of
inserted his own; and left out also several Chapters which were in the Copy that
sent unto him. But it is well seen, that Novoburgensis was a good Divine, and
Historiographer, his untimely Preface being excepted. He lived 1200."
This is a Specimen large enough of Stow's Acquaintance with our ancient Authors;
his critical Skill and Judgment of them.
He delighted in those that were inquisitive with him in antient History, and
learned therein. Their Conversation he used, and with them he loved to consort,
or if he
were not personally acquainted with them, he reverenced them, and was well
with their Labours. But as for such as pretended to this sort of Learning, and
set forth Histories in their own Names, when they were none of their own, but
borrowed from others, and withal betraying much Ignorance therein, he was a
A Consort with Antiquarians.
This made him not spare R.G. [that is, Richard Grafton,] but lash him,
came in his Way: being offended with him both for stealing from him and from
by abusing other Writers and falsifying them. He gave his Book the specious
Title of A
Chronicle at large of the Affairs of England, and the Kings of the same deduced
Creation of the World, &c. Where first Stow noteth him for a great
Authors, both in Latin, as Flores Historiarum, Polydore Virgil, and
R. G. an unskilful Pretender to History.