Ralph de Diceto, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral from c. 1180 to c. 1199, wrote two historical chronicles, the Abbreviated Chronicle (Abbreviationes chronicorum) and the Images of History (Imagines historiarum). Both are found in this manuscript of London origin, probably copied in St Paul’s scriptorium during Ralph’s tenure as dean.
Ralph developed a system of pictorial signs or motifs such as initials, crowns, Bishop’s croziers and swords, placed in the margins of his text as a form of index. Here they are copied in red and blue, and are accompanied by a key explaining that they relate to important subjects such as the English Church, monarchy and the French and English nobility. Diceto explained in a note that their purpose was to help stimulate the memory.
The book additionally contains a 13th-century chronicle of Winchester Cathedral and two 15th-century copies of English chronicles by William Rishanger (d. c. 1312) and Henry of Knighton (d. c. 1396).
This manuscript was digitised with the support of The Polonsky Foundation.