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William of Shoreham

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William of Shoreham (DE SCHORHAM), an English religious writer of the Anglo-Norman period, b. at Shoreham, near Sevenoaks, in Kent, in the latter half of the twelfth century; d. at an unknown date. In 1313 he became Vicar of Chart Sutton, in Kent. As this rectory was then a benefice of Leeds priory, it is probable that William was one of the Austin canons at that priory. He is the author of various religious poems, and probably of the earliest English version of the complete Psalter. The poems and the Psalter, both on the same manuscript and in the same hand-writing, are preserved in the British Museum (Additional MSS., No. 17376). The poems were edited for the Percy Society by Thomas Wright (London, 1849). The appearance of William’s name in the colophon to some of the poems is sufficient evidence for his authorship, but the fact that the Psalter is not in the Kentish but in the Mercian dialect has led some authorities to contest his authorship of the version of the Psalter. (See Versions of the Bible.)

MICHAEL OTT


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