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'The Cronica de Anglia in London, British Library, Cotton MS Vitellius C.VIII, fols. 6v–21v: Another Product of John of Worcester’s History Workshop'

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/12/2015
Number of pages78
Pages (from-to)159–236
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article comprises a study and edition of the Cronica de Anglia, a significant but neglected history of England from AD 162 to 1125 whose importance lies chiefly in its connections to other accounts of the period. Though it is uniquely preserved in a late twelfth-century manuscript from Rievaulx Abbey, close reading confirms that it was composed between 1125 and 1137, not in the north of England but in the West Midlands, almost certainly at Worcester Cathedral Priory. If it is not the work of the priory’s foremost historian, John of Worcester (d. after 1143), then it was almost certainly produced under his direction. Not only are its contents closely related to his Chronica chronicarum and Chronicula, they also shed new light on John’s interests and the ways in which he and his helpers compiled and edited their histories. Turning to another purpose materials used in John’s other works, Cronica de Anglia arranges them in order to speak to questions about the relative antiquity and status of the kingdom’s bishoprics, churches and monasteries—a concern not otherwise prominent in John’s corpus. This chronicle also sheds precious light on the immediate reception of William of Malmesbury’s histories of the English, especially the first edition of Gesta pontificum Anglorum. Carefully suppressing dangerous nuances in William’s reportage, Cronica de Anglia betrays John’s anxiety to avoid becoming entangled in Malmesbury’s campaign against the king’s chief minster, Bishop Roger of Salisbury (1102–39). The article concludes with the first complete edition of the text.