Rous, John

(c. 1411–1491)
   Although the accuracy and value of his historical writings and judgments have been questioned, John Rous of Warwickshire, a chantry priest with antiquarian interests, is recognized as an important source for contemporary perceptions and attitudes during the WARS OF THE ROSES.
   Born at Warwick and educated at Oxford, Rous was in 1445 appointed a chaplain of the chantry chapel at Guy’s Cliff in Warwickshire. His office, which he retained for the rest of his life, required him to celebrate daily Mass for the chantry’s late founder, Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. His duties allowed him time to indulge his interest in antiquarian studies, that is, to collect manuscripts and artifacts relating to the history of his locality, to conduct historical research, and to write up his findings. He undertook periodic trips— once to WALES and once to LONDON—to study local historical records and to borrow or buy research materials. In 1459, he attended the COVENTRY PARLIAMENT, where the Lancastrian government, busy passing ATTAINDERS against leading Yorkists, ignored his petition asking that the PEERAGE be prevented from oppressing country towns (see Towns and the Wars of the Roses). Rous’s most important writings are the two versions of the Rous Rolls, elaborately illustrated histories of the earls of Warwick written on rolls of parchment, and the “Historia Regum Angliae” (“History of the Kings of England”), which, in its national scope, departs from Rous’s usual interest in local history. The earlier English version of the Rous Rolls, written before 1485, is highly favorable to the house of YORK and flattering to RICHARD III. The later Latin version, containing fulsome praise for the houses of LANCASTER and TUDOR, was clearly intended to curry favor with HENRY VII. The “Historia,” which carried the history of England to the birth of Prince Arthur in 1486, roundly condemns Richard III as ruling “in the way Antichrist is to reign,” and includes some of the more shocking elements of the antiRicardian PROPAGANDA that developed after 1485. For instance, Rous claimed that Richard was two years in his mother’s womb, finally emerging “with teeth and hair to his shoulders.” Nonetheless, even Rous admitted that Richard “bore himself like a gallant knight [and] honourably defended himself to his last breath” at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD in 1485 (all quotes Dockray, p. xxi). As an old man whose clerical living depended on royal favor, Rous’s bias toward the party in power is understandable; no one could praise Richard III under the Tudors any more that one could praise HENRY VI under the Yorkists. Rous also did much for the study of local history, and his writings are useful as a reflection of the opinions and interests of educated country people during the late fifteenth century. However, his indiscriminate handling of sources, his ready acceptance of myths and miraculous tales, and his factual inaccuracies have led modern historians to make only limited and cautious use of Rous as a source for the civil wars.
   Further Reading: Dockray, Keith. Richard III: A Source Book (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1997);“John Rous,” in Michael Hicks, Who’s Who in Late Medieval England (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1991), pp. 345–349; Rous, John,“The History of the Kings of England,” in Alison Hanham, Richard III and His Early Historians, 1483-1535 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), pp. 118–124; Rous, John. The Rous Roll, reprint ed. (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Alan Sutton, 1980).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rous, John —    In command of a Boston privateer, did much damage to French commerce. Made a successful raid on the French posts on the north coast of Newfoundland, 1744. Took part in the capture of Louisbourg, 1745; sent to England with the news; rewarded… …   The makers of Canada

  • John Rous, 1st Earl of Stradbroke — (30 May 1750 ndash;27 August 1827), known as Sir John Rous, 6th Baronet, from 1771 to 1796 and as Lord Rous from 1796 to 1821, was a British nobleman, race horse owner and Member of Parliament. Stradbroke was the son of Sir John Rous, 5th Baronet …   Wikipedia

  • John Rous, 2nd Earl of Stradbroke — John Edward Cornwallis Rous, 2nd Earl of Stradbroke (February 13, 1794 ndash; January 27, 1886) was a British nobleman.He married Augusta Musgrave, by whom he had several children, including: * Lady Hilda Maud Rous (d. 1904) * George Rous, 3rd… …   Wikipedia

  • John Rous, 4th Earl of Stradbroke — John Anthony Alexander Rous, 4th Earl of Stradbroke (1 April 1903 ndash; 14 July 1983), was a British nobleman, the son of George Rous, 3rd Earl of Stradbroke. He was styled Viscount Dunwich from birth until acceding to the earldom in 1947.He was …   Wikipedia

  • John Henry Whitley — (1866 – 1935), often known as J. H. Whitley, was a respected and successful British politician whose life and career spanned a period of significant social change, from roots in the heart of the Industrial Revolution through to the inter war… …   Wikipedia

  • John E. Sulston — John Sulston John Sulston John Sulton Naissance 27 mars 1942 (Royaume Uni) Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Eccles — John Carew Eccles Pour les articles homonymes, voir Eccles (homonymie). Sir John Carew Eccles (27 Janvier 1903 à Melbourne, Australie 2 Mai 1997 à Locarno, Suisse) est un neurophysiologiste australien, qui fut couronné du prix Nobel de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Sulston — John Sulton Naissance 27 mars 1942 (Royaume Uni) Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Pym — John Pym. John Pym (8 de diciembre de 1584 1643) miembro de la Cámara de los Comunes y líder del Partido Puritano durante la Primera guerra civil inglesa, luchó contra el absolutismo personificado en la dinastía Estuardo y el catolicismo en favor …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Enders — Naissance 10 février 1897 West Hartford dans le Connecticut (États Unis) Décès 8 septembre 1985 Waterford dans le Connecticut ( …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.