Raphael Holinshed

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Holinshed, Raphael

(hŏl`ĭnz-hĕd', hŏl`ĭn-shĕd'), d. c.1580, English chronicler. He was a translator who also assisted Reginald Wolfe in the preparation of a universal history, which was never finished. In 1577, four years after Wolfe's death, appeared Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which he wrote with the assistance of William Harrison and Richard Stanihurst. Many Elizabethan dramatists drew plots for plays from the book in this and later editions. Shakespeare used it for several plays, especially Macbeth, King Lear, and Cymbeline.


See study by S. Booth (1968).

Holinshed, Raphael


(also, Hollingshead). Died circa 1580. English chronicler.

Holinshed compiled The Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande, better known as The Chronicles of Holinshed (vols. 1–3, 1577). A number of historians and antiquarians were connected with the work, such as J. Stow and W. Harrison; the latter’s Description of England was first published in the Chronicles. Holinshed himself wrote the sections on the history of England (to 1575), Scotland (to 1509), and Ireland (to 1547), for which he drew on the historical works of T. More, Polydore Vergil, E. Hall, and others.

While closely resembling medieval chronicle writing in methodology—for example, the compilatory nature of most of the sections and the year-by-year exposition of events—the Chronicles, nevertheless, clearly reflect the humanistic ideas and the political thought of 16th-century England. The Chronicles were widely known among contemporaries and served as a source for the plots of the historical plays of Shakespeare. Hol-inshed’s Chronicles are filled with factual information, including reference material, such as tables and texts of official documents.


The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, vols. 1–6. London, 1807–08.


Boswell-Storle, W. G. Shakespeare’s Holinshed. New York [1968].
References in periodicals archive ?
For contrast, one compares this account with that of the other great Elizabethan English historian, Raphael Holinshed, whose 1577 and 1587 Chronicles also reported the same event.
If the bills of complaint of 1450 do not mention any hostility for written culture as such, the reports of the 1381 rebellion as given by Richard Grafton or Raphael Holinshed depict the rebels's burning of all legal records and instruments and the destruction of the Savoy and of the Inner Temple (which is anachronistically ordered by Cade to his company entering in London: "Now go some and pull down the Savoy; others to th' Inns of Court.
Shakespeare's Sources," The Third Volume of Chronicles (1587 edition), compiled by Raphael Holinshed, 441-42.
In it, Patterson clarifies why Raphael Holinshed included such a lengthy transcription of the trial in a four volume, multi-author, chronicle of the three separate political entities, England, Scotland, and Ireland.
See also Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, 6 vols.