Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Historian, b. 1075; d. about 1143. He was the son of an English mother and a French priest who came over to England with the Normans and received a church at Shrewsbury. At the age of ten he was sent over by his father to St. Evroult in southern Normandy and remained for the rest of his life a monk of that abbey. He must have travelled occasionally: we have evidence of his presence at Cambrai, for instance, and at Cluny, and went three or four times to England : still he passed of his days at home. He considered himself, however, an Englishman, "Vitalis Angligena", and was always full of interest in English affairs. His history was intended at first to be a chronicle of his abbey but it developed into a general "Historia Ecclesiastica" in 13 books. Books I and II are an abridged chronicle from the Christian era to 1143; books III-V describe the Norman Conquests of South Italy and England ; book VI gives the history of his abbey. Books VII-XIII consist of his universal history from 751 to 1141, book IX being devoted to the First Crusade . The work begins to have real historical importance from about the date of the Norman Conquest, but Ordericus is discriminating throughout in his choice of authorities. Chronologically it is ill-arranged and very inaccurate; it is often pedantic in form. The author has, however, a wide interest and a keen sense of detail and picturesque incident. He was a very well-read man, but he united to his learning a taste seldom so frankly admitted for popular stories and songs. He was a man of observation and he attempted to give the outward appearance of the characters he described. He was fair-minded, anxious to give two sides of a question and to be moderate in his judgments. In spite, therefore, of its clumsy arrangements and chronological errors the "Historia Ecclesiastica" gives a very vivid picture of the times and is of great historical value. A competent authority has declared it the best French history of the twelfth century. Ordericus was also something of a poet and there are manuscripts of his collected Latin poems. The best text of the "Historia Ecclesiastica" is that edited by Le Prévost for the "Société de l'histoire de France" (5 vols., 1838-55). The fifth volume contains a valuable introduction by L. Delisle. There is also a text in Migne, vol. CLXXXVIII. A French translation was published in Guizot's "Collection des mémoires" and an English translation in Bohn's "Antiquarian Library" (4 vols., 1853-5).


More Encyclopedia

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.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:5, 7-12
5 At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130
57 My task, I have said, Yahweh, is to keep your ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-52
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:28-30
28 We are well aware that God works with those who ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2014 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter