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William of Newburgh

To the revered father and lord Ernald, abbot of Rievaulx, from his devoted William, the least of Christ’s servants, who prays that when the Prince of pastors appears he may obtain the crown of glory which will not wither.

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William was an Augustinian canon of Newburgh Priory, which was only a mile from Byland Abbey. William compiled a ‘History of English Affairs’ at the request of Abbot Ernald of Rievaulx (1189-1199), ‘for the knowledge and instruction of posterity’. This work speaks favourably of ‘the three luminaries of the North’ – Byland, Fountains and Rievaulx. William was most familiar with Byland, which was situated only a mile from his own priory and shared the same founder, Roger de Mowbray. Chapter XV of the ‘History’ describes the foundation of Byland.(1)