Abbots Ealdred and Eadmer, from 'Acts of the Abbots', in a Miscellany From St Albans
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
This manuscript contains a collection of writings and documents that relate to St Alban's monastery. It begins with a series of histories, including one about its late 8th-century founder, Offa, king of Mercia, and includes accounts of the life and miracles of St Alban, the first Christian martyr of Britain in 304. Mostly made up of documents and administrative material, it would have combined monastic reference-book with promotion of its role in Britain's Christianity. After the history and sections on St Alban's martyrdom and miracles, the 'Acts of the Abbots of the Monastery of St Albans' tells of each abbot, from the first, Willegodo, to Thomas de la Mare. The monastery's 13th-century house author and foremost medieval English Chronicler, Matthew Paris, wrote the earlier part and Thomas of Walsingham--precentor and head of St Alban's scriptorium--compiled the rest.
This page has the 11th-century abbots, Ealdred and Eadmer, both of whom ransacked the ruins of Verulam (Roman city) for building materials for a new abbey, destroying any pagan finds they came across. Eadmer's excavations revealed an ancient 'Life of St Alban' in British which crumbled to dust the moment a monk finished a Latin translation of it. In the picture Eadmer prays before an altarpiece of the Crucifixion.