Hardyng, John


Hardyng, John
(1378–ca. 1465)
   John Hardyng was a soldier, spy, and poet,who authored a verse history of England known as The Chronicle of John Hardyng. The chronicle exists in two versions: The first version, dedicated to Henry VI, narrates English history from the legendary founding of the nation by the Trojan Brutus, through the year 1437. Its chief aim seems to be to make a case for the claims of the English kings to sovereignty over Scotland. The second version of the poem (carrying the history to 1464) was revised in the interests of the Yorkist faction, and reflects Hardyng’s change of loyalties during the War of the Roses.
   Hardyng was born in Northumbria in 1378, and at the age of 12, became part of the household of Sir Harry Percy (called “Hotspur”).Under Percy, son of the earl of Northumberland, Hardyng learned the profession of arms, and fought behind his lord in border skirmishes against the Scots. He was under Percy’s command when the latter was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403), in rebellion against King Henry IV. Pardoned by the king, Hardyng next entered the service of Sir Robert Umfraville. Under Umfraville, Hardyng took part in Henry V’s campaign in France, fighting in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
   It was about this time that Henry V took an interest in Hardyng, and recruited him to help create a case for the English king’s right to govern Scotland. Henry sent Hardyng to Scotland in 1418 to help scout the best way to invade the country and to gather evidence for Henry’s claim to Scotland. Hardyng was in Scotland for three years, and returned to present Henry with “evidence” (in the form of documents he apparently forged himself) in 1422. In gratitude Henry promised Hardyng the Northamptonshire manor of Geddington in payment for services rendered—at least Hardyng always claimed so. But Henry died later that year, and Hardyng never received his promised manor. Nevertheless, he had always remained in Umfraville’s service, and had been well rewarded by his lord, being made constable of the castle of Warkworth and later of Kyme, a castle he maintained as his home until his death.
   But when Umfraville died in 1436, Hardyng stepped up his efforts to support the English claim to Scotland and to press his own claim to his promised manor. He began writing the first version of his verse chronicle about this time. In 1440, he presented King Henry VI with more “evidence” for English sovereignty. Henry did grant Hardyng an annuity of 10 pounds per year, but no manor was forthcoming. In 1457, Hardyng again presented forged documentary evidence to Henry, and presented him, as well, with the completed chronicle, containing a Proem addressed to the king. In it Hardyng presses Henry to reconquer Scotland like his predecessor, Edward I, and even includes maps to assist the invasion. For his services Hardyng’s annuity was increased to 20 pounds.
   As the War of the Roses progressed (between supporters of Henry and the Lancaster line and those of the king’s cousin, the Duke of York), Hardyng decided to throw his support behind the Yorkist faction, and decided to rewrite his chronicle to present to York. It was not a great shift for him; he had, after all, supported Percy’s rebellion against the first Lancaster,Henry IV. In revising his history, Hardyng inserted lines rejecting Henry IV’s claim to the throne.He also removed a eulogy praising Henry V, and called Henry VI a man “of small intelligence.” Further, he pressed York’s claim to the throne through the female line by Lionel of Clarence, second son of EDWARD III (the Lancasters claimed descent through John of Gaunt, Edward’s third son). Richard, duke of York, had died in 1360, and Hardyng presented his second chronicle, with events through 1464, to York’s son, Edward IV— along with more evidence of his Scottish claims. The Chronicle survives in 12 manuscripts, and was first published, with a continuation, by Richard Grafton in 1543. As a historian, Hardyng used a number of sources, including BEDE, NENNIUS, the Brut, as well as primary documents (genuine ones) from the Percies and others. Still, Hardyng’s chronicle has never been admired as a literary work. It is of interest as an eyewitness account of Agincourt, as a tribute to Hardyng’s patrons, particularly Percy and Umfraville, and for Hardyng’s didactic advice to his royal audience on good government. He provides a picture of the lawless conditions during the War of the Roses in order to extol the importance, and the princely responsibility, of keeping an ordered society and the rule of law.
   Bibliography
   ■ Gransden,Antonia.Historical Writing in England II: c. 1307 to the Early Sixteenth Century. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1982.
   ■ Hardying, John. The Chronicle of John Hardying. Edited by Henry Ellis.New York: AMS Press, 1974. Originally published 1812.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hardyng, John — • An English chronicler; b. 1378; d. about 1460 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Hardyng, John     John Hardyng …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hardyng, John —    See Hardyng’s Chronicle …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • HARDYNG, JOHN —    See HARDING, JOHN …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • John Hardyng —     John Hardyng     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► John Hardyng     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… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hardyng’s Chronicle —    Written by John Hardyng (1378–c. 1465), a soldier and antiquarian, Hardyng’s Chronicle is an English verse account of the history of England from its beginnings to 1461. Although Hardyng’s Chronicle is of value for the reign of HENRY VI,… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • John Hardyng — or John Harding (1378 ndash; 1465), English chronicler, was born in the north.As a boy he entered the service of Sir Henry Percy (Hotspur), with whom he was present at the Battle of Shrewsbury (1403). He then passed into the service of Sir Robert …   Wikipedia

  • John Harding — is a name that may refer to:*J. Eugene Harding (1877 ndash;1959), U.S. Representative from Ohio *John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton (1896 ndash;1989), British World War II general and governor of Cyprus *John Harding (Sha ko hen the… …   Wikipedia

  • HARDING, JOHN —    or HARDYNG    an English rhyming chronicler in the reign of Edward IV.; had been a soldier, and fought at Agincourt (1378 1465) …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Primary Sources — ♦ Bruce, John, ed. Historie of the Arrivall of Edward IV in England and the Final Recouerye of His Kingdomes from Henry VI. In Three Chronicles of the Reign of Edward IV. Introduction by Keith Dockray. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton… …   Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses

  • Battle of Otterburn — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Otterburn partof=Anglo Scottish border conflicts caption= date=5 August or 19 August, 1388 place=1 mile northwest of Otterburn, Northumberland result=Scottish victory combatant1=Scotland… …   Wikipedia


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