Arnold fitz Thedmar: Identity, Politics and the City of London in the Thirteenth Century
The London Journal
Arnold fitz Thedmar was an alderman of London who wrote the first British town chronicle. Into the back of the manuscript in which the chronicle is to be found, he also wrote two documents which have hitherto been misunderstood as an autobiography. In fact, they are nothing of the sort. This prize-winning article provides the first proper analysis of these documents in their physical and temporal context. It argues that these two texts show that Arnold fitz Thedmar was a man under considerable financial and xenophobic pressure in thirteenth-century London, and that in response to these pressures, he did what any good writer would do, he picked up his pen. Through this medium of response, new light is shed on the way that contemporary Londoners sought to define their identity.
6th October 2018