The Chronicle of Adam Usk, 1377-1421

The Chronicle of Adam Usk, 1377-1421

The Chronicle of Adam Usk, 1377-1421

The Chronicle of Adam Usk, 1377-1421

Synopsis

Adam Usk's chronicle, covering the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, is one of the most personal and idiosyncratic of medieval chronicles. It offers an eyewitness account of the fall of Richard II, the turbulent politics of Rome between 1402 and 1406, and the Glyn Dwr revolt. It is also a record of the remarkable life and career of an author who suffered exile and excommunication before finding peace in his last years.

Excerpt

I should like to start by thanking those who have given me the greatest help in preparing this volume, that is, the three general editors of Oxford Medieval Texts:Barbara Harvey,Diana Greenway and Michael Lapidge. Their help, encouragement, and expertise have been crucial in ensuring its completion. Friends and colleagues both at St Andrews and elsewhere have also demonstrated both patience and knowledge in answering my questions: I should particularly like to thank Margaret Harvey, Ian Doyle, Rob Bartlett, John Hudson, Adrian Gratwick, Hugh Kennedy, Michael Whitby, Steve Boardman, Peter Coxon, Alison McHardy, Bridget Harvey, Peter George, Nigel Saul, Philip Morgan, Rees Davies, Nigel Ramsay, Linne Mooney, Ruth Macrides, Neil Beckett, and Patricia Price, each of whom was subjected to interrogation about some aspect or other of the life or work of Adam Usk, and each of whom was unfailingly helpful. I hope that there are not others whom I have forgotten, but if so I apologise to them.

The British Library was kind enough to provide me with a photocopy of the major portion of Adam Usk's chronicle from which to work at St Andrews, and the staff at the SYSTEM Record Office and Lambeth Palace Library, as well as at the British Library, have always been helpful and courteous. The Neil Ker fund of the British Academy gave me a grant to go to Belvoir, and the Travel and Research Fund of St Andrews University funded more than one of my visits to the British Library and elsewhere. It is a pleasure, too, to thank the Duke of Rutland for allowing me to transcribe the final quire of the chronicle at Belvoir Castle, and his secretary, Mrs Dorothy Staveley, for her kindness during my visit to Belvoir; the Revd R. L. Davies, vicar of Usk, for taking me round his parish church on my visit to the town; and Mrs Rosemary Humphreys of Castle House, Usk, for showing me the room in her house where, ut fertur, Adam Usk was born.

Usk's chronicle exists in a single manuscript, from which it was edited and translated by Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, firstly in 1876, and secondly (once the final quire had been discovered at . . .

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