Connections and Collaborations Between Centres of Historical Writing in Thirteenth-Century London and Southwark
In 1270 the London alderman, Arnold fitz Thedmar, acquired a manuscript belonging to the monks of the Priory of St Mary Overy at Southwark. In addition to holding political office in London, Arnold was also the first layman in the British Isles to compose a historical account of his time, and he used the Southwark manuscript to fashion an account of the years 1200-1225 in his book. After Arnold’s death, the monks at Southwark Priory then sought out Arnold’s chronicle which they used in a continuation of their annals. This article not only shows, for the first time, that Arnold and the monks at Southwark used each other’s works, it also places both of these centres of historical writing into a much wider network of manuscript transmission and circulation across thirteenth-century England.