Benedictine historian of the eleventh century. Practically nothing seems to be known of his life except that he was apparently a Norman by birth and became a monk at the royal abbey of Jumièges, in Normandy, where he died about 1090. His only claim to fame consists in his "Historia Normannorum", in eight books, which is the chief authority for the history of the Norman people from 851 to 1137. One of the earliest manuscripts of this work still extent was preserved at Rousen up to the Revolution and is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. The first four books of the "Historia" were taken from an earlier work on the same subject, written by Dudon of St. Quentin, whose labours are praised by William. The verdict of more recent times, however, with regard to Dudon, is that he was given to romancing and that his work was not particularly reliable. Many of his exaggerations have been modified and corrected by William, who made full use of all that was trustworthy in his predecessor's account. Only seven out of the eight books of the "Historia" are from William's own hand, comprising events down to the year 1087. The eighth book, continuing the history as far as the death of Boson, Abbot of Bec, which occurred in 1137, was added by an anonymous author, although his continuation is usually printed as an integral part of the complete work. Ordericus Vitalis drew largely from William's history for the portions of his work that deal with the Normans, as did also Thomas Walsingham in his "Ypodigma neustriae". The "Historia Normannorum" was first edited and printed at Frankfurt in 1603 and is also included in Camden's collection of English and Norman historians. The style is considered passable for the age in which the writer lived, though it does not come up to the requirements of modern criticism.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online