Categories: English Literature

Royal Benefactors

London, British Library, MS Cotton Nero D.vii, fols. 6v–7r (Golden Book of St. Albans)
Language: Latin
Manuscript date: 1380

The Golden Book of St. Albans (also known as the Liber Benefactorum, Book of Benefactors) is a record of the names of benefactors and their contributions to the Benedictine abbey of St. Albans (for more on donors, see the image “Anne of Burgundy, duchess of Bedford, before St. Anne,” p. 135). The monk and historian Thomas Walsingham began the record in 1380, and it was continued to the end of the fifteenth century (on Walsingham, see “Usurpation,” p. 69). Over 230 illuminations of benefactors and their donations appear in the Golden Book’s 157 folio pages, many like this one in reds, purples, greens, and blues. The illuminator’s name was Alan Strayler, who included a self-portrait on another page. Folios 6v–7r show Edward II (1284–1327), Edward III (1312–77), Edward, Prince of Wales, the Black Prince (1330–76), Richard II (1367–1400), John of Gaunt (1340–99), and Queen Matilda (1102–67).

Primary documents and further reading

Galbraith, V. H. (1932) “Thomas Walsingham and the Saint Albans Chronicle, 1272–1422.” English Historical Review 47: 12–30. —— (ed.) (1937) The St. Albans Chronicle, 1406–1420. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Walsingham, T. (1866) Annales Ricardi Secundi. Johannis de Trokelowe et Henrici de Blaneforde: Chronica et Annales, ed. H. T. Riley. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer.

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