A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Layamon
Layamon (fl. 1200).—Metrical historian, the s. of Leovenath. All that is known of him is gathered from his own writings. He was a priest at Ernley (now Areley Regis), Worcestershire. In his day the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Wace, in French, were the favourite reading of the educated, and "it came to him in mind" that he would tell the story of Brut in English verse. He set out in search of books and, founding his poem on the earlier writers, he added so much from his own knowledge of Welsh and West of England tradition that while Wace's poem consists of 15,000 lines, his extends to 32,000. Among the legends he gives are those of Locrine, Arthur, and Lear. The poem is in the old English unrhymed, alliterative verse, and "marks the revival of the English mind and spirit."