The London Chronicles of the Fifteenth Century: A Revolution in English Writing

By Mary-Rose McLaren | Go to book overview

Appendix 5: The Newe Cronycles of England
and of Fraunce

The Newe Cronycles of England and of Fraunce has a special place in the historiography of the London chronicles.

The work survives in both manuscript (MSS Holkham 671 and Nero C XI) and in print. It was first published in 1516 by Pynson, and published with a continuation by Rastell in 1533. In this edition it was attributed to 'Fabyan', considered to be Robert Fabyan, draper and alderman of the city of London.

The Newe Cronycles is considered here, rather than in the body of the book, as it represents an evolution of the London chronicles into a new form in structure, content and perception of history. The following notes are not intended to be a thorough assessment of the Newe Cronycles, but are provided to indicate the ways in which this text is similar to, and differs from, other London chronicles. For a more complete discussion of the Newe Cronycles, see McLaren, The London Chronicles of the Fifteenth Century, Chapter four.


Manuscripts and Publications

MSS Holkham 671 (Holkham House, Norfolk) and Nero C. XI (British Library) are two volumes of the one manuscript. Holkham 671 contains Books 1―6 of the Newe Cronycles, while Nero C. XI contains book 7.

The work was first published by Pynson as The Newe Cronycles of England and of Fraunce in 1516. In the prologue the author refers to the work as the Concordance of Storyes. Rastell's edition, Fabyan's cronycle newly prynted wyth the cronycle, actes, and dedes done in the tyme of the regne of the moste excellent prynce kynge Henry the VII, father unto our most drad soverayne lord kynge Henry the VIII, was printed in 1533, and was followed by editions in 1542 (W. Bonham; J. Reynes) and 1559 (J. Kingston). The most recent edition, collating the earlier editions, is Henry Ellis's The Chronicles of Fabian (1811). Thomas and Thornley suggest that Pynson's edition was commonly known as Fabyan's chronicle, but there is no real evidence for this (see Thomas and Thornley, pp. xlvi―xlvii).


Structure

The Newe Cronycles is written in seven books, commemorating the seven joys of the Virgin Mary. Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, which is a major source for the Newe Cronycles is also divided into seven books, although in the Polychronicon these mirror the seven ages of the world.

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