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GODFREY of Winchester (d. 1107), Latin poet, was a native of Cambrai, and was appointed prior of St. Swithin's, Winchester, by Bishop Walkelin in 1081 (Ann. Wint.) William of Malmesbury (Gest. Reg. v. 444, and Gest. Pont. ii. 877) says that he was distinguished for his piety and literary ability, which was shown by his epistles written in a pleasant and familiar style, as also by his epigrams; but that, despite his store of learning, he was a man of great humility. The monastery profited by Godfrey's liberality, and under his rule it acquired its high reputation for hospitality and piety. He was bedridden for many years before his death, which took place on 27 Dec. 1107 (Ann. Wint. and his epitaph in Bodl. MS. 535, f. 37 b, printed by Tanner). Godfrey was the author of a large number of epigrams, in which he imitated Martial with some success; they are divided by Pits into disticha, tetrasticha, &c.; the collection is entitled in Bodl. MS. Digby 112, ‘Liber Proverbiorum,’ in Cott. MS. Vit. A. xii. ‘De moribus et vita instituenda,’ and no doubt is the same as the ‘De diversis hominum moribus’ given by Pits. These two manuscripts also contain nineteen short poems ‘De Primatum Angliæ Laudibus’ (or ‘Epigrammata Historica’), as for instance on Cnut, Edward the Confessor, and Queen Matilda. These epigrams and poems are printed in ‘Latin Satirical Poets of the Twelfth Century,’ Rolls Series, edited by Mr. T. Wright. In MS. Digby 65 there are also sixteen other short pieces ascribed to Godfrey, and including an ‘Epitaphium Petri Abelardi,’ which of course is not by him. Clearly there has been some confusion, and even of the nineteen ‘Epigrammata Historica’ printed by Mr. Wright, ten are also ascribed to Serlo of Bayeux. In the same manuscript (Digby 65) there is a ‘Carmen de Nummo,’ which is there ascribed to Godfrey, and probably correctly, though Twine (in C. C. C. MS. 255) claimed it for Hildebert, bishop of Mans. In Digby 112 three short poems, one beginning ‘Res odiosa nimis,’ printed by Mr. Wright (ii. 161), ‘Versus de historiis Veteris Testamenti,’ and ‘Versus de historia Romana,’ are inserted between the ‘Liber Proverbiorum’ and ‘Epigrammata Historica,’ and the whole ends ‘Explicit Libellus Domini Godfridi;’ they may therefore be his compositions. Pits also names an ‘Epithalamium Beatæ Mariæ Virginis,’ and the prologue of such a poem ascribed to Godfrey is given by Twine (MS. C. C. C. Oxford, 255); but this is only the prose prologue of the Epithalamium in Digby 65, which is probably by John Garland [q. v.] Godfrey's epistles seem to have perished.

[Pits, p. 192; Tanner, p. 328; Anglia Sacra, vol. i.; Hardy's Cat. of Brit. Hist. ii. 100; Wright's Prefaces to Latin Satirical Poems, and Literature and Superstition of England; Warton's Hist. of English Poetry, i. 240, ed. 1871; Hist. Litt. de la France, ix. 352–8.]

C. L. K.