Further reading

Laskaya, Anne, and Eve Salisbury, eds. The Middle English Breton Lays. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995.

K. Sarah-Jane Murray

LAYAMON (late 12th century) In the opening of The Brut, Layamon names himself and says that he is a priest. He gives his father's name—Leouenathes— and says he lived by a church on the bank of the Severn in Areley near Redstone (now Stourport in Worcestershire) where he read the books that inspired him to write the history of the English. He further claims to have then traveled extensively. He concludes by asking the reader to pray for his soul and those of his mother and father.

Evidence points to the likelihood of Layamon having been in holy orders. He was apparently well-educated, and in one manuscript he identifies himself as a priest, though in another he claims to live in a knight's household (possibly as a chaplain). As to his origins, the manuscripts both suggest, through dialectal analysis, composition in the Worcestershire area.

Layamon styles himself as a translator or compiler, claiming three principal sources: Bede's Historia Ecclesi-astica, a book by Sts. Albin and Austin, and the Anglo-Norman Roman de Brut by the Jersey poet Wace. In reality, he relies almost exclusively on Wace, and he provides more than a simple translation: his Brut is more than double the length of Roman de Brut.

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