William Langland (2035 words)

Stephen Kelly (Queen's University Belfast)
Download PDF Save to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error


William Langland is the author of what is arguably the greatest religious poem in English, Piers Plowman. The ascription of Langland's name to Piers Plowman appears in only one source, an unfinished copy of the poem now known as Trinity College Dublin Manuscript D.4.1 (or 212). A Latin memorandum added to the final leaf of the manuscript provides the only contemporary “evidence” of Langland's authorship of Piers Plowman:

that Stacy de Rokayle was William de Longland's father; the which said Stacy was of gentle birth and lived in Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire, holding land from Lord le Spenser in Oxfordshire; the aforesaid William made the book that is called Piers Plowman.<…

Citation: Kelly, Stephen. "William Langland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2006 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2617, accessed 28 October 2021.]

2617 William Langland 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here