Compiling Chronicles in Anglo-Norman Durham, c. 1100–30

Rozier, Charles C. (2020) Compiling Chronicles in Anglo-Norman Durham, c. 1100–30. In: Anglo-Norman Studies. Anglo Norman Studies, XLII . Boydell and Brewer, pp. 119-134. ISBN 9781787449138

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Anglo-Norman Durham was home to a considerable body of historical texts during the period to c. 1130. New works were compiled and popular existing texts were procured. Durham authors compiled new works of history, while a combination of internal copying and external procurement gave readers access to popular existing works of the genre by classical and medieval authors. Annals and chronicles were collected in this way from the first decade of the twelfth century onwards. Examining the nature and content of these sources and identifying their place within the wider patterns of intellectual life, this article seeks to explain why Durham compilers produced multiple chronicles over three decades from c. 1100 to 1130. It highlights the value of historical information within broader contemporary debates and demonstrates Durham's role within intellectual networks that stretched across the Anglo-Norman world and beyond not just in the writing of history but also in studies on the very nature of the world itself. Bishop William of Saint-Calais enacted a Benedictine reform of the community of St Cuthbert at Durham in 1083. As part of this move the new monastic community embarked on a significant expansion of its book collection during the period c. 1090–1130. The results can be seen in over 100 surviving manuscripts with a Durham provenance dated to before c. 1130. In addition, the contents of two medieval book lists, the first compiled c. 1096 and the second produced in the middle of the twelfth century, suggest the presence of additional titles which no longer survive. The character of the expansion reflects wider patterns of monastic book collection throughout early Anglo-Norman England. Providing for the practical needs of the new foundation was a priority. Acquisitions included the Rule of St Benedict in both Latin and Old English, now DCL, MS B.iv.24, fols 74r–95v in Latin, and fols 98v–123v of the same manuscript in Old English. Numerous liturgical items are recorded in the list of c. 1096, including two breviaries, two books of Antiphons, a gradual, and one book for readings at matins. In addition, Durham collected a number of theological and exegetical commentaries, particularly those by Patristic authors.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2022 14:30
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2022 14:30
DOI: 10.1017/9781787449138.008

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