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The Anglian collection of royal genealogies and regnal lists

  • David N. Dumville (a1)

This collection of Old English royal records is found in four manuscripts: London, British Library, Cotton Vespasian B. vi; London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius B. v, vol. 1; Cambridge, Corpus Christi College 183; and Rochester, Cathedral Library, A. 3. 5. The present paper aims both to provide an accurate, accessible edition of the texts in the first three of these manuscripts and to discuss the development of the collection from its origin to the stages represented by the extant versions. We owe to Kenneth Sisam most of our knowledge of the history of the Anglo-Saxon genealogies. Although his closely argued discussion remains the basis for any approach to these sources, it lacks the essential aid to comprehension, the texts themselves. It is perhaps this omission, as much as the difficulty of the subject and the undoubted accuracy of many of his conclusions, that has occasioned the neglect from which the texts have suffered in recent years.

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Page 23 note 1 ‘Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies’, Proc. of the Brit. Acad. 39 (1953), 287–348.

Page 23 note 2 The Oldest English Texts, Early Eng. Text Soc. o.s. 83 (London, 1885), 167–71.

Page 23 note 3 1st ser., vol. 2 (1873–83), pl. 165. It is also described by Thompson, E. Maunde, British Museum Catalogue of Ancient Manuscripts 11: Latin (London, 1884), 7980.

Page 23 note 4 Oldest English Texts, p. 167.

Page 24 note 1 It is to be hoped that all the remaining pre-Conquest material can be published together in a convenient form; for details see Sisam, ‘Genealogies’.

Page 24 note 2 Printed by James, M. R., JTS 11 (19091910), 458–62.

Page 24 note 3 ‘Anglo-Saxon Episcopal Lists’ [cited henceforth as EpLists], Nottingham Med. Stud. 9 (1965), 71–95, and 10 (1966), 2–24.

Page 24 note 4 Ibid. p. 75.

Page 25 note 1 Ibid. pp. 75–6. In his Studies in the History of Old English Literature (Oxford, 1953), p. 5, Sisam states incorrectly that ‘the bishops of Lichfield alone have been brought up to date’.

Page 25 note 2 The Leicester list is continued, in a twelfth-century hand, to Ceolred (839/40–869 × 888), the last bishop of that see, and the Lichfield list, in the same hand, to Robert (1085–1117), in whose time the episcopal seat was first at Chester, then at Coventry. These unpublished additions are: (Leicester) Retbbun, Aldrcd, Ceolred; (Lichfield) Cinefer???, Tunbribt, Ælle qui dicitur Ælfwine, Wlgar se gyldena, Cynsi, Winsi, Ælfeh, Godwine, Leofgar, Bribtmær, Wisi, Leofwine, Petrus, Rodbert.

Page 25 note 3 Studies, pp. 4–6. If this were a Lichfield document it would be strange to find Æthelwald (bishop, 818–30), the form of whose name is confirmed by contemporary charters, entered as Oe???eluualdus by the second scribe (writing c. 833); for details see Dumville, D. N., JTS n.s. 23 (1972), 374406, where Sisam's opposition to another weak attribution of manuscripts to Lichfield is upheld.

Page 25 note 4 Sweet's point concerning ‘the work of the Northumbrian Bede’ (see above) is thus invalidated. That section (fols. 1–103) is a continental book of the first half of the ninth century which came to England not earlier than the mid-tenth; see Ker, N. R., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), pp. 427 and 268.

Page 25 note 5 For a full discussion see James, Catalogue 1, 426–41. See also Mynors, R. A. B., Durham Cathedral Manuscripts to the End of the Twelfth Century (Durham, 1939), p. 26, and Ker, , Catalogue, pp. 64–5. Cf. Wormald, F., Archaeologia 91 [2nd ser., 41] (1945), 107–35, esp. 115–16.

Page 25 note 6 See below, p. 34.

Page 26 note 1 EpLists, pp. 76 and 8.

Page 26 note 2 The Saxon Bishops of Wells. A Historical Study in the Tenth Century (London, 1918), pp. 12–14. Sisam (‘Genealogies’, p. 289) suggests comparison of script and small initials with Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 27, written at Winchester in the first half of the tenth century (Ker, , Catalogue, pp. 408–9), but C is certainly not a Winchester book: the contemporary bishops of that see are inaccurately recorded.

Page 26 note 3 §26: Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, ed. Arnold, Thomas, Rolls Series (18821885), 1, 211.

Page 26 note 4 Robinson, J. Armitage, The Times of St Dunstan (Oxford, 1923), pp. 51–5.

Page 26 note 5 Ker, , Catalogue, pp. 255–6. The fullest description of the contents of the manuscript is given by Miller, Konrad, Mappae Mundi, Die ältesten Weltkarten 111: Die kleineren Weltkarten (Stuttgart, 1895), 2930. The original order of the contents (prior to dismemberment and rearrangement by Cotton) is reconstructed by Ker, Ibid.

Page 26 note 6 ‘Genealogies’, p. 290; EpLists, pp. 76 and 12; but not Robinson (Bishops, p. 14).

Page 27 note 1 The relationship of the bishop-lists in T to those in manuscripts certainly from Winchester is apparent but as yet undefined; see Eplists, pp. 79–80. By comparison with C, T has an improved but not perfect version of the Winchester bishop-list.

Page 27 note 2 Bishops, p. 14, n. 2.

Page 27 note 3 The date is guaranteed by the incorporation of the additions into the text of MS G (Cotton Otho B. xi, on which see Ker, Catalogue, p. 234), a Winchester copy of MS A.

Page 27 note 4 The Utrecht Psalter (Utrecht, 1953), p. 11 and n. 29.

Page 27 note 5 Trans. of the Cambridge Bibliographical Soc. 2 (1954–1958), 187; see also Gneuss, Helmut, Anglia 78 (1960), 494, and Hymnar und Hymnen im englischen Mittelalter (Tübingen, 1968), pp. 91–7 and passim.

Page 27 note 6 An English supply leaf was inserted in it in the first half of the eleventh century; see Thompson, Ancient Manuscripts 11, 69–71. But it had served as exemplar, perhaps at Fleury, for Harley 2506, fols. 35–55, part of a very complex manuscript written by a team of continental and English scribes, in the late tenth century: Thompson, Ibid.; Bishop, T. A. M., English Caroline Minuscule (Oxford, 1971), pp. 18, 16 and xii; Wormald, Francis, English Drawings of the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (London, 1952), pp. 70–1; and van de Vyver, A., RB 47 (1935), 140–4.

Page 28 note 1 Ker, N. R., Medieval Libraries of Great Britain, 2nd ed. (London, 1964), p. 44.

Page 28 note 2 A facsimile volume, edited by P. McGurk, is being prepared for EEMF.

Page 28 note 3 Cf. EpLists, pp. 81–2.

Page 28 note 4 Not predecessors, as Sisam, ‘Genealogies’, p. 303.

Page 28 note 5 Ker, Catalogue, pp. 443–7.

Page 28 note 6 EpLists, pp. 81–2.

Page 29 note 1 The Northumbrian regnal list in the Anglian collection is a continuation of the one whose earliest known form occurs among the ‘Moore Memoranda’ of 737, twice printed by P. Hunter Blair (from Cambridge, University Library, Kk. 5. 16, 128v): (1) The Early Cultures of North-West Europe (H. M. Chadwick Memorial Studies), ed. Cyril Fox and Bruce Dickins (Cambridge, 1950), p. 246; (2) The Moore Bede, ed. P. Hunter Blair and R. A. B. Mynors, EEMF 9 (Copenhagen, 1959), 13.

Page 30 note 2 The early nucleus of this work is provisionally ascribed to the tenth century; see Blair, P. Hunter, ‘Some observations on the Hijtoria Regum Attributed to Symeon of Durham’, Celt and Saxon: Studies in the Early British Border, ed. Chadwick, N. K. (Cambridge, 1963), pp. 65118, esp. 82–3 and 117–18. The regnal list is in CCCC 139, 54v–5r.

Page 30 note 3 The regnal list (headed ‘De regibus merč’) in this manuscript goes from Penda to Æthelred II (?879–911) and is dated to the tenth century by Sir Stenton, Frank, Preparatory to ‘Anglo-Saxon England’, being the Collected Papers of Frank Merry Stenton, ed. Stenton, Doris M. (Oxford, 1970), p. 372. It occurs, with a list of the bishops of Worcester, in the part written c. 1000; see Ker, N. R., ‘Hemming's Cartulary’, Studies in Medieval History presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, ed. Hunt, R. W. et al. (Oxford, 1948), pp. 4975. It is printed by Hearne, Thomas, Hemingi Chartularium Ecclesiae Wigorniensis (Oxford, 1723) 1, 242.

Page 31 note 4 There is also a Kentish regnal list (without reign-lengths) from Æthelberht I to Æthelberht II, added in CCCC 173, 55v, in an early-twelfth-century Christ Church, Canterbury, hand. It is printed by James, Catalogue 1, 399.

Page 38 note 1 ‘Genealogies’, p. 290.

Page 38 note 2 Called ‘CT ’ by Sisam, Ibid.

Page 38 note 3 EpLists, pp. 73–4.

Page 38 note 4 Greek letters refer henceforth to hypothetically reconstructed steps in the manuscript tradition. Each siglum is explained at its first appearance; see also fig. 1, below, p. 46.

Page 38 note 5 EpLists, p. 74.

Page 38 note 6 Ocgting (Bernicia II).

Page 38 note 7 Bishops, p. 9.

Page 38 note 8 EpLists, pp. 84–5.

Page 38 note 9 HE 1.15, 11.5 and 11.15.

Page 38 note 10 Ibid. 111.1, 111.9 and perhaps v.24.

Page 38 note 11 EpLists, pp. 77–9.

Page 38 note 12 Ker, Catalogue, pp. 47–9.

Page 38 note 13 V certainly reads Lindfearna. There is no sign of a suspension mark on or after the d; in any case d = dis does not occur in insular script. T and R omit this rubric.

Page 39 note 1 I take this error to be a curious scribal misunderstanding of -u???- as -ūd- ( = -und-).

Page 39 note 2 EpLists, p. 74; Page states, inexplicably, that ‘the evidence is weak’.

Page 39 note 3 Sisam, ‘Genealogies’, p. 290, n. 3.

Page 39 note 4 Ibid. p. 290. He mentions also some inconclusive points.

Page 39 note 5 EpLists, p. 73, but see n. 8.

Page 39 note 6 Ibid. pp. 73–4.

Page 39 note 7 As -io- is unhistorical here, it presumably presupposes an earlier -eo- which has been deliberately, if mistakenly, altered.

Page 40 note 1 The precision of the figure of 141 days for Ecgfrith also suggests contemporary compilation.

Page 40 note 2 Sisam's otherwise plausible guess (‘Genealogies’, p. 291) that the Wessex pedigree was added in the reign of Egbert (802–39) must therefore be accounted unlikely. This conclusion also affects his chronology (‘Genealogies’, pp. 304–5) for the confusion of the Bernician and West Saxon pedigrees. One may note further that the pedigrees for the three southernmost kingdoms (East Anglia, Kent and Wessex) would be consistent with a compilation-date of 725 or 726; these three genealogies form a southern unity within the collection, but it is uncertain what inference may be drawn from this.

Page 40 note 3 The Historia Brittonum does not draw on the regnal list in the Moore Memoranda, as has often been claimed.

Page 40 note 4 Used in HB § 31 and § 3 respectively.

Page 40 note 5 That the Northumbrian regnal list in the Historia Brittonum follows the genealogies may indicate the original order, but this is far from certain, for the author of the Historia often rearranged his sources. The removal of the lists to a position among the genealogies, a logical step, would then have occurred in ε.

Page 40 note 6 As has been usually assumed; cf. Sisam, ‘Genealogies’, p. 289.

Page 41 note 1 (1) In the lower margin of 105v is a note beginning ‘Haec sunt leuitarum qui cum beato Xysto martyrio passi sunt …’. (2) At the foot of 104r, col. 2, is a note which has sometimes been erroneously taken – by Ferdinand Lot, Nennius et l'historia Brittonum (Paris, 1934), p. 93, and K. H. Jackson, Celt and Saxon, p. 23, n. 1 – to strengthen the case for the Mercian origin of the collection: ‘Anno dominicae incarnationis. dcclvi. Ae???ilbald/rex occisus. Eodem anno Offa rex/Beornredum tyrannum bello superauit/et regnum tenuit Merciorum./Anno.ccc°.viii°. aduentus Anglorum in Brit[taniam]./Aduentus beati Augustini.c°.lx°.’ (first printed by Sweet, Oldest English Texts, p. 171, who claimed that it was in the same hand as that of the genealogies; this note is reproduced in the facsimile of 104r in Thompson, Ancient Manuscripts 11, pl. 24).

Page 41 note 2 Ligatures and abbreviations are more frequent in the notes than they are in the text, and the variation Brittaniae/Brettaniæ between the opening and closing rubrics should be noticed too. But cf. James, Catalogue 1, 438: ‘…added…in the original hand, as I think’.

Page 41 note 3 This leaves the Hereford list with its last bishop (Eadwulf) at 832 × 835 – 836 × 839 and Worcester at 781–798 × 800 (Heathured), while the others remain in agreement with the date 837 × 845. This is certainly a case of haphazard omission.

Page 41 note 4 The list of popes in T (19v) appears to have been subject to alteration. Down to ‘cxi. Adrianus’ (Adrian III, 884–5) all is well. But further names, from cxii onwards, seem to have been erased. However, as Dr Patrick McGurk points out to me, the erased names were in fact those of the first disciples in the following list: evidently the scribe at first forgot to leave space for continuation of the papal list, but remembered in time to begin again in the next column, erase the unwanted names and enter the numbers cxii-cxxii.

Page 42 note 1 Campbell, A., Old English Grammar (Oxford, 1959; rev. 1962), p. 68, § 183.

Page 42 note 2 EpLists, p. 86.

Page 42 note 3 The main alterations which they show to have taken place are the up-dating of forms; these are changes to be expected in documents of either Mercian or West Saxon origin. Page (EpLists p. 86) gives some examples from the episcopal lists. Other changes are the writing of eo for io (of whatever origin); the introduction of the late (not earlier than the tenth century), and apparently West Saxon, metatheshed -briht for -berht (one example common to CT: Cu???briht, Mercia IV); and the replacement of -fri??? by -fer??? (non-Anglian according to Campbell (Grammar, p. 185), but already in Anglian manuscripts of the early ninth century).

Page 42 note 4 See above, p. 26, and n. 2.

Page 42 note 5 The abbots of Glastonbury are particularly prominent in the attestation of King Athelstan's charters between 931 and 934, though not thereafter for a decade; see J. Armitage Robinson, Somer set Historical Essays (London, 1921), p. 42. There is much evidence for Glastonbury scriptorial activity during Dunstan's abbacy, including, in the reigns of Edmund and Eadred 939–55), the use of Glastonbury scribes to produce royal charters for various beneficiaries -especially relevant here; see Hart, C., ‘Danelaw Charters and the Glastonbury ScriptoriumDownside Rev. 90 (1972), 125–32.

Page 43 note 1 An origin in the reign of Edgar is likely also for the (unpublished) West Saxon regnal list in T on 22r (but not in R). This is headed simply ‘CCCC.XC.IIII’ (the year of the incarnation at which the list commences), begins ‘I. Cerdic. XIII’ (indicating first the number of the king in the series and secondly the number of years he reigned) and continues regularly to ‘XXIX Eadgar. XVI’. There follow ‘Eadweard III. Æþelred. ******’, without serial numbers and therefore to be reckoned additions to an original list drawn up in the reign of Edgar. The lack of a reign-length for Æthelred indicates that the list was up-dated in his time (978–1016), and the small design after his name (indicated above by asterisks) suggests that there was a blank at this point in the exemplar which the scribe of T has filled in this way. The extension will have been effected at the latest in η (see below), written in 990. Instead of this list R has (101r-v) an elaborate genealogy descending from Adam to Edward the Confessor.

Page 43 note 2 Stenton, F. M., Anglo-Saxon England, 3rd ed. (Oxford, 1971), p. 372.

Page 43 note 3 Salisbury, Cathedral Library, 150, a psalter written (like ζ) in south-west England in 969 × 978, contains a table of indictions from 969 to 1006.

Page 43 note 4 The reading of R (bær T).

Page 43 note 5 Printed by Robinson, Essays, pp. 41–2, with full discussion. Robinson's only error is to print Ændbun for MS Andbun. The list is not ‘entered in the margin’ (Sisam, ‘Genealogies’, p. 290, n. 2) but constitutes the first column of the page.

Page 43 note 6 The lack of a rubric for the list of abbots also suggests a recent Glastonbury origin: only there would it be unnecessary to explain the list.

Page 43 note 7 Printed by Stubbs, William, Memorials of Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (London, 1874), p. 391, n. 1. John XV is said to have ruled ‘annos.iv. mensem unum, et dimidium’ which would appear to bring us to July 990, the middle of his pontificate and an acceptable date for Sigeric's visit (see below).

Page 44 note 1 Printed by Stubbs, , Memorials, pp. 391–5, and with commentary by Miller, , Mappae Mundi 111, 156–8; cf. Magoun, F. P. Jr, ‘An English Pilgrim-Diary of the Year 990’, MS 2 (1940), 231–52.

Page 44 note 2 Knowles, David et al. , The Heads of Religious Houses, England and Wales, 940–1216 (Cambridge, 1972), p. 51. Ker, (Catalogue, p. 256) gives the unjustifiably close dating ‘c. 993–7’ for Ælfweard's abbacy. Important evidence of personal contact is given by the two letters (surviving in an eleventh-century manuscript) which Ælfweard wrote to Archbishop Sigeric; they are printed by Stubbs, Memorials, pp. 399–403. But Robinson's statement (Bishops, p. 15) that Sigeric was abbot of Glastonbury 980–5 is to be rejected; there is no evidence for this.

Page 44 note 3 EpLists, p. 14. The only other occurrence of this title known to me is its assignment by John of Worcester to the ealdorman Æthelwine whose active life spanned almost the whole of the second half of the tenth century; see Hart, C., ASE 2 (1973), 138.

Page 44 note 4 EpLists, pp. 81–2. The supposition of a common exemplar also disposes of the difficulties considered by Page, Ibid. pp. 82–3.

Page 44 note 5 As noted by Stevenson, W. H., Asser's Life of King Alfred (Oxford, 1904; rev., 1959), p. 158, who gave no details.

Page 44 note 6 þær (R) against bær (T); see above, p. 43 and n. 4. Also Creoda Cerdicing (R) against Creoda Cynricing (T).

Page 45 note 1 Eata Tethuuafing, Tethuua Beawing (R) against Eat Beawing (T); Ha∂ra Hwalaing, Hwala Bedwining (R) against Ha∂ra Bedwiging (T). At both these points R has four names to the line instead of the usual two. This, together with the omissions from T, indicates some difficulty in η.

Page 45 note 2 For other examples, see Ker, N. R., English Manuscripts in the Century after the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1960), pp. 1015.

Page 45 note 3 ‘Genealogies’, pp. 329–30.

Page 45 note 4 For my rejection of its spurious ascription to ‘Nennius’, see ‘“Nennius” and the Historia Brittonum’, Studia Celtica 10–11 (1975–1976), 78–95.

Page 45 note 5 See Dumville, D. N., ‘Some Aspects of the Chronology of the Historia Brittonum’, Bull. of the Board of Celtic Stud. 25 (19721974), 439–45.

Page 46 note 1 ‘Lindsey and its Kings’, Preparatory to ‘Anglo-Saxon England’, pp. 127–35.

Page 46 note 2 The omission from the Historia Brittonum of the Lindsey pedigree is not necessarily significant, for it may have had a mechanical cause. See below, p. 48, n. 6.

Page 47 note 1 ‘Genealogies’, pp. 308–9.

Page 47 note 2 Grammar, p. 5.

Page 47 note 3 Cf. Ibid. p. 5, n. 4.

Page 47 note 4 ‘The Dialect of the Text of the Northumbrian Genealogies’, MLR 4 (1908–1909), 323–8.

Page 47 note 5 Cf. Ibid. p. 325.

Page 47 note 6 Ibid. Williams concluded that this feature was Northumbrian because of its frequency in the Liber Vitae Dunelmensis.

Page 48 note 1 Ibid. p. 327.

Page 48 note 2 Likewise Geoting (Lindsey) in V: Geat < WGmc *Gaut should appear as Geot only in South Northumbrian (or in an archaic text, for *Gææot). Sisam's argument (‘Genealogies’, p. 308, n. 3) that it is also North Mercian (dialect of Lichfield) is special pleading and, in any case, circular; as far as I know, it lacks independent confirmation. It could perhaps be argued (but with a complete lack of supporting evidence) to represent the dialect of Lindsey (which borders on southern Northumbria).

Page 48 note 3 Ibid. Another arguably Northumbrian form in Mercia I is Crioda.

Page 48 note 4 Campbell, Grammar, p. 117 (and 104).

Page 48 note 5 It was known to Sisam only in inaccurate editions lacking proper discussion of source materials and hence his survey of it contains many errors. One of the most serious (‘Genealogies’, p. 324) is his inversion of the order of Octha and Ossa in the Kentish pedigree at a vital stage in the argument. The Historia is not supporting evidence for corruption in the Anglian collection. A full account of its evidence must await my forthcoming edition; meanwhile I mention only some of the main points here.

Page 48 note 6 ‘Genealogies’, pp. 307ff. The extension must have been made before its inclusion in α in 796, and perhaps after 787 (the earliest date for the inclusion of Ecgfrith of Mercia). The Lindsey pedigree is the only one in the Anglian collection to extend still further, back to Geat. In the Historia Brittonum, on the other hand, it is the Kentish line, divided into two widely separated parts (§ 30 and § 54; cf. Bede, HE 1.15 and 11.5), which goes back to Geat. The omission from the Historia of the Lindsey pedigree, which in the Anglian collection stands side by side with the Kentish, strongly suggests that the author of the Historia mechanically (and perhaps unintentionally) transferred part of the one line to the other.

Page 49 note 1 Its significance was first noted by K. H. Jackson, Celt and Saxon, pp. 60–1. For the unnecessary extension of this branch back to Oswiu, compare Bernicia III in MS V (above, p. 30).

Page 49 note 2 A first edition of this work appears to have been completed in 1131; a second and revised edition continued to 1141. There is at present no satisfactory published text, but Professor R. R. Darlington has this matter in hand.

Page 49 note 3 The relationship of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (especially its northern version) to the Historia Brittonum may be relevant.

Page 49 note 4 The preceding summary derives from Stenton, , Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 92–5.

Page 50 note 1 I am greatly indebted to Professor Clemoes for suggesting many improvements to this article. Dr Page also has given some helpful criticism.

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