Ronald W. Braasch III
Cellarer’s Chequer of Barnwell Priory. Accessed December 1, 2018. Photo by Keith Edkins, Geograph, https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/798404.
(A) London, College of Arms, MS Arundel 10
(C) Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 175k
(M) Oxford, Magdalen College, MS lat. 36
(V) London, British Library, MS Cotton Vitellius E. xiii
(L) London, British Library, MS Add. 35, 168
Stubbs, William, ed. Memoriale Fratris Walteri de Coventria. London: Longman and Co. et al., 1872-1873. [Latin; Stubbs provided the Barnwell text as a comparison to Walter of Coventry]
The record of annals from the incarnation to 1232, known as the Barnwell Chronicle, occupies seventy-two folios in a single extant Manuscript, MS Arundel 10, located today in the London, College of Arms. It is particularly valued for its coverage from 1202-1225. After 1202, the entries become much more detailed, sometimes occupying several folios. It was composed within a generation of John's death. At the end of the thirteenth century, the manuscript made its way into the possession of the Barnwell Priory (above) but was probably not written there. It has been argued in recent years that the Barnwell Chronicle is not the progenitor of the Walter of Coventry manuscripts. Donald Kay has traced its creation from a manuscript of Roger of Crowland, a theory seconded by Cristian Ispir’s PhD dissertation in 2015.
Importance to Angevin History
The manuscript has been prized for its detailed and measured account of the last years of King John’s reign. It is useful not only as a general itinerary of John, but also the series of events leading up to the Magna Carta and the invasion of Louis (later Louis VIII of France). The chronicle ultimately considered John a tyrant, and the fall of Normandy inevitable. It is worth noting, however, that if one removed the name John –and all the connotations of his reign– from the text, the descriptions of a king besieging castles and wasting and destroying rebel lands through cruel and harsh warfare places John on an eerily similar footing to other rulers of the age.
Hallam, Elizabeth, ed. The Plantagenet Chronicles. New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.
Ispir, Cristian. “A Critical Edition of the Crowland Chronicle.” PhD diss., King’s College, London, 2015.
Kay, Richard. “Walter of Coventry and the Barnwell Chronicle.” Traditio 54, (1999): 141-167.
Marvin, Julia. “Barnwell Chronicle.” In The Encyclopedia of the Medieval Chronicle. Edited by Graeme Dunphy and Cristian
Bratu. Last modified 2016. https://referenceworks.brillonline.com
Morris, Marc. King John : Treachery and Tyranny in Medieval England : The Road to Magna Carta. New York: Pegasus Books,
Seel, Garahm. King John an Underrated King. London: Anthem Press, 2012.