Legends, Tradition and History in Medieval England by Antonia Gransden

By Antonia Gransden

During this choice of essays, Antonia Gransden brings out the virtues of medieval writers and highlights their attitudes and conduct of suggestion. She strains the continued impression of Bede, the best of early medieval English historians, from his loss of life to the 16th century. Bede's readability and authority have been welcomed through generations of monastic historians. on the different finish is a humble fourteenth-century chronicle produced at Lynn with little so as to add except a couple of neighborhood references.

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Cit. 105-6 and below p. 170. I2S Chrons. Stephen, Henry II and Richard I, ed. Hewlett, i. 17. , i. 14. , i. 11. , i. 14, 18. 120 Bede's Reputation as an Historian in Medieval England 23 127 Augustine came to England. William stated that for this early period he would follow Bede's narrative, 'because the venerable Bede based it on historical truth and, therefore, it can be accepted as established beyond doubt'. e. ' 130 Thus William drew the conclusion that all that can be known about the ancient Britons was what Bede and Gildas (whose work Bede used) recorded.

The Historia Regum Britanniae was accepted almost without question. 136 Apparently, only three writers, Ranulf Higden, 137 Thomas Rudborne 138 and John Whethamsted (abbot of St Albans 1420-40, 1452-65),139 cast doubt on its historicity, and then only on some of its statements. Nor does it seem that the first two were independent critics; Higden, who was sceptical about the Arthurian legends mainly because of the silence of Gildas and Bede, may have been influenced by Alfred of Beverley,140 one of his sources, while 132 For appeals to the Historia Ecclesiastica in Gerald's letter (i 199) to Innocent HI, in his De Invectionibus (1205), and in his De Jure et Statu Menevensis Ecclesiae (c.

Kassius Hallinger, CCM vii/i. 331-93. 5 R. W. Southern, 'Aspects of the European tradition of historical writing: 4. The sense of the past', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society xxiii (1973), 251-2; and idem, St Anselm and his Biographer, Cambridge 1963, 246 flf. Cf. g. A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England, [z], c. 550 to c. 7507, London 1974, ch. 6 J. 7 Most recently Simon Keynes has discussed Athelstan's enthusiasm for relics which, he suggests, was the result of King Alfred's influence.

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