Matthew Paris

Matthew Paris born 1200-1259, was a Benedictine Monk , English chronicler, artist in illuminated manuscripts and cartographer, based at St Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire.

He wrote a number of works, mostly historical, which he scribed and illuminated himself, typically in drawings partly coloured with watercolour washes, sometimes called “tinted drawings”. Some were written in Latin, some in Anglo-Norman or French verse. His Chronica Majora is an oft-cited source, though modern historians recognize that Paris was not always reliable.

His writings reveal a man of strong opinions who was not afraid to speak his mind. Being befriended and publicly honoured by Henry III on several occasions did not prevent him from being as critical of the king’s lack of prudence in political matters as he was praising of his piety in religion.

Paris was also an accomplished artist, providing many expert drawings in the margins of his manuscripts to illustrate the events he described. Among these are the first known views and plans of London. He also produced this map of Great Britain which was intended as a complement to his shorter chronicle of English history

In spite of his surname and knowledge of the French language, Paris was of English birth, and is believed by some historians to be of the Paris family of Hidersham Cambridgeshire.