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Gervase of Canterbury, History of Canterbury f.33r

Gervase of Canterbury, History of Canterbury f.33r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian B XIX

Item number: f.33r

Length: 25

Width: 16

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

Most well-known for his account of the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket, Gervase of Canterbury was a 12th-century monk at St Augustine's and a first-hand witness to the archbishop's disputes with Henry II and his martyrdom, as well as being involved in the aftermath of appeals to the pope and Richard I. He recorded the history of Canterbury in the 12th to early 13th century in a 'Chronicle' covering the years 1100 to 1199, an 'Acts of the Kings' ('Gesta Regum'), which abridged the 'Chronicle' and continued into the next decade, 'Acts of the Archbishops of Canterbury' to 1205 and a 'Map of the World', a topographical work listing the bishoprics of England, Wales and part of Scotland. This 13th-century manuscript containing part of Gervase's 'Chronicle' and other works on Canterbury belonged to the priory of Christ Church cathedral.

This page has the end of a work, apparently by Gervase, on the disputes of the monks with Archbishop Baldwin, Thomas Becket's successor. At the top of the first column the date of Becket's martyrdom is given (29 December 1170). Gervase's 'Short Chronicle' ('Acts of the Kings') begins at the large decorated letters, the first one beginning an explanatory note, and the larger, painted one beginning the chronicle itself. It goes quickly to the reign of Henry I, recounting his coronation, recall of Anselm from exile to make him archbishop of Canterbury, marriage to Queen Matilda, and births of their children. The last sentences on the page tell of Matilda's death.

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