This series consists of a collated transcript of that part of the chronicle of Jehan de Waurin (c 1394-?1474) which remains unpublished in the Rolls Series edition of the text. The range covered is from the fourth book of the first volume to the fourth book of the fourth volume.
Sir William Hardy's transcript was based on the copy of Waurin's chronicle commissioned for Louis de Bruges, Seigneur de Gruthuyse (created earl of Winchester by Edward IV). This was in six volumes, each bound in two parts. This copy, was probably completed after Waurin's death. The transcript was then collated with an incomplete copy, written probably about 1475 or 1476, and formerly belonging to Jacques d'Armagnac, duc de Nemours and comte de La Marche, from whom it passed to the French Crown.
Further texts were discovered in the course of putting the first part of Hardy's edition through the press; and their variant readings were brought together in an appendix rather than incorporated into the body of the work.
Waurin's chronicle, as originally conceived, was commissioned by his nephew, Waleran de Waurin, and was deliberately formulated as a chivalric history. The material for the first four books of Waurin's chronicle, which in print and transcript comprise the first and part of the second of the published volumes of William Hardy's edition and the twenty books of transcripts, were, in their original form, gathered together between about 1445 and 1455. They comprise a digest of English history from its supposed, and largely mythical, beginnings down to the death of Henry IV in 1413.
By about 1461 Waurin had compiled a fifth volume, taking his history down to 1443; a sixth volume, for which Waurin is an important and original source, continued the history down to the restoration of Edward IV in 1471, following the brief period of Henry VI's re-adeption. That portion of the chronicle which covers the fifteenth century comprises the greater part of the printed edition.
The first six books of Waurin's first volume are entirely derivative. They cover the period from the mythical Albina and the occupation of Albion by the giants, and continue through the common legend of the Brut to history: of the Anglo-Saxons, the Conquest, and thence to the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. These books have no independent value as a historical source; but in the differences they exhibit from versions of the Brut, Wace, Layamon, Geoffrey of Monmouth and others, have some value for historiographical exegesis, and may preserve an independent chronicle tradition.
For the later fourteenth century Froissart appears to be the main, although not the sole, source use by Waurin for his narrative. Froissart is at times quoted almost verbatim, with or without acknowledgement. For the fifteenth century until 1444 Waurin's chronicle is related to that of Enguerran de Monstrelet, but incorporates also material independent of all other known chronicles, based in part on his own experience and observation. Waurin's final volume contains much that is original, supplemented by material drawn from the archives of Charles, duke of Burgundy.
These books chronicle English history from the death of Cadwalladr in 688 to the deposition of Richard II in 1399