Chaucer's conniving canon in pars secunda of the Canon's Yeoman's Tale has been traditionally identified with William Shuchirch, canon of the king's chapel at Windsor, on the basis of research undertaken almost a century ago by H. G. Richardson and J. M. Manly. Recent research, however, suggests that no such individual was ever present as a canon of Windsor. This article reexamines both Richardson's identification and Chaucer's links with Windsor, and provides a new Windsor candidate for Chaucer's canon character. It also reassesses Chaucer's connections with the law and legal proceedings, proposing a new hypothesis for the way in which pars secunda may have been inspired by the real-life story of “William Shuchirch.” This article contributes to efforts to place Chaucer within a historical context, as a man with complex professional networks, who interacted with the politics, law, and gossip of his age to draw inspiration for his writing.

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