Anglo-Saxon Chronicle manuscript B


This is the second oldest manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It was made in the 10th century and cuts off at the end of the 970s. Although it shares some entries with the oldest manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it was made elsewhere — possibly on the border between Mercia and Wessex — and it includes different information.

For example, it contains two completely different versions of events for the years 902–924. The first version is similar to that found in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle manuscript A, and focuses on the deeds of the West Saxon King Edward the Elder (reigned 899–924) as he conquered lands controlled by the descendants of Viking raiders. Immediately after those annals, the scribe copied a group of annals for the same years known as the ‘Mercian Register’. These preserve details of the part played in campaigns against Scandinavian and Welsh forces by Ealdorman Æthelred of the Mercians (died 911), and his wife Æthelflæd (died 918), daughter of King Alfred of Wessex (reigned 871–899) and sister of Edward the Elder. After Æthelred’s death, Æthelflaed ruled alone. She fortified 11 settlements across the midlands, and even extended her authority as far as York.

This manuscript is a reminder of how the surviving written sources cannot represent all regional, social and political perspectives. They also show how pride in local identities persisted throughout the 10th century.

Today, this manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a bound in a volume that also contains a copy of the Ely Inquest, describing how the Domesday Survey was conducted in Cambridgeshire, and including the questions that might have been asked as part of that process.

Full title:
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, B-text (imperfect); cartulary of Ely Cathedral (imperfect), including the Inquisitio Eliensis and the Inquisitio comitatus Cantabrigiensis; a chronicle of English history between 1042-1346 (imperfect)
4th quarter of 10th century
Usage terms

Public Domain in most countries other than the UK.

Held by
British Library
Cotton MS Tiberius A VI

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