Abbot Thomas de la Mare, 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.
The last abbot in the 'Acts', Thomas de la Mare, is depicted in prayer before St Alban. The inscription at the top of the page says 'The Monastery of St Alban'. The abbot is shown within the monastery, his hands folded, looking across the page to the saint. Thomas wears the mitre to show his status as one of a few mitred English abbots--he was free of any bishop's jurisdiction--and St Alban carries a golden cross and the sword of his martyrdom.