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Abbot William of Trumpington, from 'Acts of the Abbots', in a Miscellany From St Albans

Abbot William of Trumpington, from 'Acts of the Abbots', in a Miscellany From St Albans

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1425

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius E IV

Item number: f.135r

Length: 40.2

Width: 28

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

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.

William of Trumpington (1214-1235) is shown seated on the floor, writing. He wears the mitre, an indication of the great privileges of St Alban's. Only a few English abbots were mitred, meaning they were free of jurisdiction by a bishop. William was very comfortable with such power, surviving encounters with kings and popes during a time of volatile politics.

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