Click here to skip to content

Anglo-Saxon Kings, in the 'Flowers of History'

Anglo-Saxon Kings, in the 'Flowers of History'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1400

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Claudius E VIII

Item number: f.110v

Length: 39.5

Width: 25.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Responsibility for a mistake perpetuated through the centuries rests upon this manuscript of 'Flowers of History'. Its scribe misunderstood the name of one of its authors, the famous chronicler Matthew Paris, calling him 'Matthew of Westminster'. It is confusing, because Matthew Paris only wrote part of it, having edited and extended the work of Roger of Wendover, who in turn had compiled, rewritten and extended the writings of yet older sources which are now lost. Monks at St Albans and Westminster added further sections after Matthew of Paris died. If someone asks who the author of a medieval manuscript is, it is often hard to say. At any rate, the 'Flowers of History' produced by all these writers is a chronicle beginning with the Creation and ending with 1325. It is believed to have belonged to the Benedictine priory of Holy Trinity, at Norwich cathedral, because of some of its contents and notes written in its margins. The title 'Flowers of History' conveys the nature of the book: it snips names and key events from the tops of the entangled and far-rambling plants of the past. This page, for example, gives the names of the Anglo-Saxon kings. In the first column, one of the inscriptions in red tells of King Alfred as the first ruler of a united English kingdom.

Search within this collection

Elsewhere on our websites


Latest events - register free online

Mobile app

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Report a Concern

What is the nature of your concern?

Email link to a friend

Write a brief note to accompany the email

Your friend's email address: