Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Grim, Edward

GRIM, EDWARD (fl. 1170–1177), biographer of Becket, was a native of Cambridge, a clerk, and had attained the degree of Master at some university before the end of 1170, when he visited Thomas Becket on the latter's return to Canterbury. On the fatal evening, 29 Dec., Grim accompanied Thomas into the church, stood by him during his altercation with the knights, and shielded him from their violence, till, his own arm being nearly cut off by a stroke aimed at the primate, he fell to the ground, but was able to crawl away to the altar where the archbishop's other clerks had taken refuge, and thus escaped with his life. His ‘Vita S. Thomæ’ cannot have been finished earlier than 1174, as it contains an account of King Henry's penance; another passage seems to show that it was written not later than 1177 (Materials, ii. 448-9; cf. Magnusson, pref. to Thomas Saga, ii. lxxxii). As he appears to have had no personal knowledge of the archbishop till a few days before the martyrdom, his information is necessarily second-hand, except for the last scenes which he saw with his own eyes. A great part of his narrative closely resembles that of the French poet Garnier (or Guernes) de Pont-Sainte-Maxence, which was completed in 1175. Whether Grim copied Garnier or Garnier copied Grim is not certain, but the former is more probable. Grim was dead before Herbert of Bosham finished his work on St. Thomas, i.e. by 1186, or at latest 1189.

[Materials for History of Archbishop Thomas Becket, vols. i-iv. ed. Robertson (Rolls Ser.) Grim's Life of St. Thomas is printed in vol. ii. and also in Giles's Sanctus Thomas Cantuariensis, vol. i. (Oxford, 1845; reprinted in Migne's Patrologia Latina, vol. cxc.), from three manuscripts in the British Museum.]

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