Ralph of Coggeshall (fl. 1207–1224) was Abbot of the Cistercian establishment of Coggeshall Abbey from 1207 until his resignation in 1218.[1] He is chiefly remembered for his contributions to the abbey’s Chronicon Anglicanum, (Chronicle of English Affairs), which documents events in England between 1066 and 1223′[2] Although the Chronicon is attributed to Ralph for the sake of convenience, he probably only contributed to it from about 1200 until the early 1220s,[3] covering events in England from 1187.[4]

Ralph’s contributions to the Chronicon describe the Third and Fourth Crusades and the relationships between the English kings Richard and John and their Barons, and with Philip II of France and the papacy. But in the midst of his historical account of the Fourth Crusade Ralph breaks off to insert six undated and apparently unrelated anecdotes,[3] several of which have become folk tales, including the green children of WoolpitThe green children of Woolpit were a boy and a girl of unusual skin colour who reportedly appeared in the village of Woolpit in Suffolk, England some time in the 12th century, perhaps during the reign of King Stephen. .[4]

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Bibliography


Alexander, M. (2002). A Companion to the Folklore, Myths & Customs of Britain. Sutton Publishing.
British Library. (n.d.). Chronicon Anglicanum. Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/chronicon-anglicanum
Freeman, E. (2000). Wonders, prodigies and marvels: unusual bodies and the fear of heresy in Ralp of Coggeshall’s Chronicon Anglicanum. Journal of Medieval History, 26(2), 127–143. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4181(99)00019-6
Staff writer. (2000). Ralph of Coggeshall. In Who’s Who in History (pp. 670, 672). Collins & Brown.