Walter Map

Walter Map was born into a Norman family from Herefordshire in about 1140. After studying in Paris, Map worked for Henry II as a clerk. Henry enjoyed Map's company and often took him on his travels round his kingdom.

Although Map wrote several books, only one, On the Trivialities of Courtiers, has survived. The book is extremely witty and contains some entertaining stories on life in Henry II's court. As the book makes fun of important people, it was not published in the author's lifetime. Walter Map died in 1210.

Primary Sources

(1) Walter Map, Courtiers' Trifles (c. 1215)

The Cistercians came to England... They obtain land from a rich man... by much pretending of innocence and... putting in God at every other word. The wood is cut down and levelled into a plain... bushes give place to barley, willows to wheat... in order to give them full time for these operations, their prayers have to be somewhat shortened... The Cistercians do not eat meat... Yet they keep pigs to the number of many thousands, and sell the bacon - though perhaps not quite all of it. The heads, legs, and feet they neither give away, throw away, nor sell. What becomes of them God knows.