John Lydgate

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

:: Poet Home :: Poetry :: Short Stories :: Contact ::

John Lydgate of Bury (c. 1370 – c. 1451)[1] was a monk and poet, born in Lidgate, Suffolk, England.


  • 1 Early life and education
  • 2 Patronage
  • 3 Talent
  • 4 Quotations
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early life and education

He was admitted to the Benedictine monastery of Bury St. Edmunds at fifteen and became a monk there a year later.


Having literary ambitions (he was an admirer of Geoffrey Chaucer and a friend to his son, Thomas) he sought and obtained patronage for his literary work at the courts of Henry IV of England, Henry V of England and Henry VI of England. His patrons included, amongst many others, the mayor and aldermen of London, the chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral, Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Henry V and VI, however his main supporter from 1422 was Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. In 1423 he was made prior of Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex but soon resigned the office to concentrate on his travels and writing. He was a prolific writer of poems, allegories, fables and romances, yet his most famous works were his longer and more moralistic Troy Book, Siege of Thebes and the Fall of Princes. The Troy Book was a translation of the Latin prose narrative by Guido delle Colonne, Historia destructionis Troiae. Lydgate was also believed to have written London Lickpenny, a well-known satirical work; however, his authorship of this piece has been heavily discredited. In his later years he lived and probably died at the monastery of Bury St. Edmunds.


The Oxford English Dictionary cites Lydgate with the earliest record of using the word "talent" in reference to a gifted state of natural ability.


  • "Who lesith his fredam, in soth, he lesith all."
    —an old proverb Lydgate included in his moral fable The Churl and the Bird[1]
  1. ^ a b Platt, Colin (1996). King Death: The Black Death and its aftermath in late-medieval England. London: UCL Press Limited. ISBN 1-85728-313-9. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from a Wikipedia article. To access the original click here.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".