A Short History, in Annals of St Augustine's, Canterbury
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
One of the occupations of medieval monasteries was the recording of history. This was important to them to prove their own claims to land and privileges. Also the passage of time is important in Christian theology as, for instance, the world was believed to be progressing toward the Last Judgement and Second Coming, and monasteries were supposed to be keeping things on track for that. Nearly always history was thought of in terms of Christian history, the story of salvation. This manuscript of annals kept at the benedictine abbey of St Augustine at Canterbury gives brief accounts of events from the first archbishop of Canterbury, Augustine, to 1300, or contemporary with its making.
The first page has at its top a short history--based on Bede's 'History of the English Church and People'--of the arrival of the Angles and Saxons in Britain under the leadership of "hors et hengest" (Horsa and Hengest). Below this, a catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon kings and archbishops of Canterbury begins with Aethelbert and ends with Alfred and Edward the Elder at the end of the page. To the right, important events, those relating to gifts to Cantebury being prominent, are recorded.