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Gervase of Canterbury, Acts of the Kings

Gervase of Canterbury, Acts of the Kings

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1250

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vespasian B XIX

Item number: f.34v

Length: 24.8

Width: 15.5

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. His 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.

A page from the 'Acts of the Kings' tells of events in the reign of King Stephen. It begins with Christmas Day, 1135, when Stephen became king and the bringing of the body of Henry I to England from Normandy. In the second column, the underscored word "Karadign" refers to Cardigan, in Wales, when Owain, Prince of Gwynedd, attempted to rebel against the Norman rulers.

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