John of Wallingford

John of Wallingford (died 1214), also known as John de Cella, was Abbot of St Albans Abbey in the English county of Hertfordshire from 1195 to his death in 1214. He was previously prior of Holy Trinity Priory at Wallingford in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), a cell of St Albans.

According to local tradition, he was a member of the Hyde family of South Denchworth in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire).[1] He studied in Paris, and was considered a great grammarian, poet and physicist. His document "flod at London brigge" predicted the high water mark of the Thames, and is credited as the first of its type. His Chronica Joannis Wallingford covers events from 449 to 1036, including the St. Brice's Day massacre of the Danes in 1002, during the reign of Ethelred the Unready. He notes that "the Danes, thanks to their habit of combing their hair every day, of bathing every Saturday and regularly changing their clothes, were able to undermine the virtue of married women and even seduce the daughters of nobles to be their mistresses."

He was regarded by the 19th century scholar Henry Richards Luard as the predecessor as chronicler at St Albans Abbey of the famous Matthew Paris, but this has since been questioned.

There is some confusion with another John of Wallingford, infirmarius at St Albans, who died in 1258, whose own chronicles appear in the same manuscript Cotton MS. Julius D vii. The St Albans chronicler Matthew Paris adapted the work of the abbot and was a friend of the infirmarius. Some Matthew Paris drawings are bound in the same manuscript, and also a picture and a description of the elephant presented to the King of England in 1255, the first elephant seen in that country. This was probably drawn by the younger John, copying other drawings by Matthew Paris. The later John's Chronicle was largely an abbreviated version of Matthew Paris's.


  1. ^ Ford, David Nash (2006). "John de Cella (d. 1214)". Royal Berkshire History. Nash Ford Publishing. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 

Further reading

  • Vaughan, Richard. "The Chronicle of John of Wallingford." The English Historical Review 73.286 (January 1958). pp. 66-77.

External links

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