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John Hardyng

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An English chronicler; b. 1378; d. about 1460. He was of northern parentage and entered the service of Henry Percy (Hotspur), and subsequently that of Sir Robert Umfreville. He was present at the battles of Homildon Hill (1402) and Shrewsbury (1403), and in 1405 was made constable of Warkworth Castle. In 1415 he accompanied Umfreville to Harfleur, took part in the battle of Agincourt, and was later employed by Henry V to visit Scotland in order to procure official documents to show that Scotland was subservient to England. Shortly before Henry's death (1422) Hardyng returned with his results and was rewarded with the manor of Geddington, Northamptonshire. In 1424 he was in Rome consulting historical works on behalf of Cardinal Beaufort, and later on he resumed his Scottish investigations. His conduct on this mission is indefensible, for he forged many documents, some of which still survive in the Record Office, London, and returned to claim a reward for his fraudulent work. Before 1436 he had been made constable of Kyme Castle, in Lincolnshire, where he lived for many years, and he now received an annual grant from that county. His later years were occupied in the compilation of his chronicle, which is valuable because of his acquaintance with the leading statesmen of his age. He wrote three different versions: the first, compiled in the Lancastrian interest, ends in 1436; the second was written as a Yorkist; and the third, dedicated to Edward IV and his queen, goes down to 1461. No critical edition of the Chronicle has yet been published and the version first printed by Richard Grafton differs from all existing manuscripts. The latest edition was polished by H. Ellis in 1812, and reproduces Grafton's version including his continuation to the reign of Henry VIII.


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