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Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Image from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
British Library Cotton MS Tiberius B.i, f.128
Copyright © The British Library Board
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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is the earliest known history of England written in the English language. It was probably first compiled at the behest of King Alfred (848/9 to 899), and distributed to monasteries throughout the land for copying in around 892, after which each copy was kept up to date by a member of the monastic community.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is the oldest history of any European country in a vernacular language. It begins with the birth of Christ and, in most versions, the entries cease soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066. However one version continued until as late as 1154. The court origins of the Chronicle mean that its early entries are essentially an official history of the West Saxon royal dynasty (although some Mercian material is drawn upon), but from the late 10th century, the entries made in the various versions kept in different monasteries became increasingly independent.

Eight manuscripts of the Chronicle have survived, of which six are in the British Library. This manuscript formerly belonged to Abingdon Abbey - it gives local information about Abingdon, strongly suggesting that it was also written there. It was written in about 1046 and contains additions to 1066. The pages shown here contain entries for the years 824 to 833.

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