Post-classical history

Richard of Devizes

Monk of the Benedictine house of St. Swithun’s at Winchester and author of a chronicle of the reign of Richard I of England between 1189 and 1192. He possibly also wrote sections of the annals of Winchester down to 1202.

Noted for its wry humor and colorful anecdotes, Richard’s chronicle includes an account of the Third Crusade (1189-1192), which is based on unattributed secondhand information and is sometimes inaccurate. The chronicle breaks off abruptly at the end of the crusade. His lively one-liners have done much to shape modern views of King Richard I and his times. He recorded the king stating that he would sell London (to raise money for the crusade) if he could find a buyer; he described Berengaria of Navarre, the king’s bride-to-be, as more wise than beautiful (although he had probably never set eyes on her); and he noted that the king refused to visit Jerusalem on pilgrimage because he would not accept from non-Christians what he could not obtain as a gift from God. It is more likely that the king was advised against the visit for security reasons. The chronicler’s work is readable and amusing, but his crusade material must be weighed against more reliable sources.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!