Abbot Garin (Warin), 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.
Matthew Paris records that Abbot Garin (1183-1195) came from modest circumstances in Cambridge and was a model abbot. He is shown with books because of his love of literature. He holds the abbot's staff and a mitre lies at his feet. The abbots of St Alban's were among a small number in England who were mitred and not under the jurisdiction of a bishop.