Monastic Wales.

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Adam of Usk , chronicler

Born: c. 1350   Died: 1430   

Adam was educated at Oxford where he led the Welsh faction in the student riots in 1388-9. From c. 1400 Archbishop Arundel was Adam's main patron but he was frequently engaged by Henry IV and other magnates and prelates as advocate and counsellor. He spent several years in Rome before returning to England but from 1414 spent more time in Wales.
Adam requsted to be buried at Usk, before the statue of Our Lady in the priory church; a memorial brass to him may still be seen there. The nuns of Usk considered Adam their protector; several of the nuns were members of his family.

Adam began writing his chronicle, a continuation of the Polychronicon from 1377 to 1421, in the spring of 1401; he modified and updated this for some twenty years. His work is autobiographical in tone but includes valuable information on the parliament of 1397, the revolution of 1399 and the first years of Henry IV's rule. While the years 1402-14 say little of English affairs, they are an important source for the Glyn Dŵr revolt and the politics of the papal court at Rome. From 1414 the focus of the chronicle is England.

Sites associated with this person

Usk Priory, Monmouthshire (burial)

Bibliographical sources

Printed sources

Adam of Usk, The Chronicle of Adam of Usk 1377-1421, Oxford Medival Texts (Oxford, 1997)

Web links (open in new window)

Given-Wilson, Chris, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online - Adam of Usk (View website) (Subscription reqd.)