Chronicle of the Noble English Kings, by Thomas Elmham, in a Miscellany From St Albans f.15v
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. The manuscript begins with Thomas of Elmham's 'Chronicle of the Noble English Kings', which is written as an annal or with brief accounts of events for each year from the birth of Christ to the reign of Henry V.
Some of the pages are embellished with pictures in the margins or between sections of text to highlight the character of the times or especially important events. Here, during the days of the Roman empire, a bloody sword expresses violent events and strife related on the page.