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HEMINGFORD or HEMINGBURGH, WALTER de (fl. 1300), also called Walter de Gisburn, chronicler, was an Austin canon, and afterwards sub-prior of St. Mary's, Gisburn, Yorkshire. There is no doubt that Hemingburgh is the correct form of the name; it is the one given in Lansdowne MS. 239, which is one of the earliest and best copies of the chronicle, in the Register of Archbishop Corbridge, and in a volume of sermons presented by him to his priory church (MS. Reg. 3 A xiii.) Leland likewise always speaks of him as Hemingburgh, and several other members of the family of Hemingburgh were connected with Gisburn priory at the end of the thirteenth century. Bale in 1549 is the first writer to call him Hemingford; in most manuscripts of his chronicle he is described as Walter de Gisburn. He may be the 'Walter de Hemingburgh, chaplain,' alluded to in the 'Yorkshire Hundred Roll' for 1275-6; he was certainly at Gisburn in 1297 (Chron. ii. 130, 131), and was subprior in 1302, when he was sent with two other monks by his prior to confer with the Archbishop of York as to some disorders that existed at Gisburn (Corbridge, Register). Sir T. Duffus Hardy (Cat. Brit. Hist. iii. 254) thinks this the latest date at which he is referred to as being alive, but the volume of sermons already mentioned seems to have been presented in 1307, and he certainly survived Archbishop Winchelsea (d. 1313) (Chron. ii. 148). It is, however, hardly possible that he is the 'Walter de Giseburne,' priest, who was, at the recommendation of the prior and convent of Gisburn, instituted to the vicarage of Stranton, within the bishopric of Durham, in 1338 (Magistrum Palatinum Dunelmense, Rolls Series, iii. 228). The historical chronicle of English affairs which bears his name commences with the Norman conquest and ends in 1346; how much of this is actually his composition seems uncertain. The earliest manuscripts of tbechronicle close with 1297, but the chronicler in his preface distinctly states his intention of carrying his work down to 1300. In one manuscript (Lansdowne No. 239, in British Museum) it is brought down to 1307, and in another (MS. C. C. C. Cant. 250) it is continued down to 1346, but with a gap from 1315 to 1327. That Hemingburgh wrote as far as the end of the reign of Edward I is almost certain; the remainder, or at least the reign of Edward III, is more probably the work of a continuator. The whole work forms one of the most valuable of our mediæval chronicles, as well for its vigorous and pleasing style as for the accuracy of its information; it displays good judgment, clearness of perception, and moderation of opinion. The early part of the chronicle down to 1195 is derived from Eadmer, Hoveden, Henry of Huntingdon, and William of Newburgh. In the later portion no particular narrative is closely followed, and from the beginning of the reign of Edward I it assumes the character of a contemporary record. Many original documents are preserved in the narrative, including the Latin version of the 'Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo.' The chronicle down to 1272 is included in Gale's ' Scriptores Quinque,' ii. 453-594, and the remainder was printed by Hearne in 1731. The whole was edited for the English Historical Society by Mr. H. C. Hamilton in 1848.

[Leland's Comment, de Script, p. 305, and Collect, ii. 314; preface to Hamilton's edition ; Hardy's Descriptive Cut. of MSS. relating to the Karly Hist, of Great Britain.]

W. J. H-y.

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