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Abstract only
Kathleen Thompson

The first book of Hariulf’s history describes the life and work of Richer (French: Riquier), patron of the abbey of St Riquier. It is set in the context of Frankish history with considerable detail about the Merovingian kings of the Franks. Hariulf’s main source is Alcuin’s life of Richer, written at the request of Angilbert, but he makes significant changes in tone and emphasis. Richer is presented as the pre-eminent noble of the Ponthieu region, who welcomes and is then converted to Christianity by two Irish missionaries. His miracles are described, together with his missionary activities in Britain and the ransoming of captives. Having selected his successor to lead the community he founded at Saint-Riquier, Richer retired to a poor dwelling in the forest to live the ascetic life, where he died. His body is moved back to the community and four successor abbots are described.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
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Kathleen Thompson

The development of the community at Saint-Riquier and the building of a great church and monastery under Abbot Angilbert are described in the context of a new dynasty of kings of the Franks, the Carolingians. The emperor Charlemagne is portrayed as the great patron and supporter of the community and there are detailed descriptions of the buildings, furnishings and relics housed within them. Much of this material is asserted to be derived directly from the work of Abbot Angilbert himself. The book closes with the death of Abbot Angilbert.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
Abstract only
Kathleen Thompson

The book opens with the abbey at its most powerful and magnificent and Hariulf uses the inventory drawn up in the early years of the ninth century to illustrate the community’s wealth in relics, liturgical vessels, books and lands. His narrative follows the sequence of abbots and he weaves into it the acts of donation by the Carolingian kings that enable the reader to see the development of the monastic estate. Richer’s miracles also appear, together with context-setting material on the Carolingian kings. The great Scandinavian raid of 881 undermined monastic life and for a while the abbey was in the care of secular clergy or canons. The fall of the Carolingian dynasty is subsumed within a narrative of the emperor Charles the Fat’s dream of his descent into hell and in the chapters which follow it is clear that the Carolingian empire has disintegrated. Territorial princes fight for influence and the abbey lies in lands contested by the counts of Flanders and the Norman dynasty recently established in Rouen. The abbey’s most precious relic, the body of Richer, is taken away by the count of Flanders and only recovered with the support of Hugh duke of the Franks, later the first of the Capetian kings. In the new political environment St Riquier falls into the territory of the counts of Ponthieu, while the abbots seek to maintain the abbey’s influence by acquiring new relics, in particular those of Bishop Vigor of Bayeux and the local hermit, Madelgisilius.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
Abstract only
Kathleen Thompson

The final book relates events within or just beyond living memory: the scholar Abbot Angelran, the abbey’s relationship with the counts of Ponthieu, the respected Abbot Gervin and contemporary happenings within the community. Warm relations with the Capetian kings of France are emphasised and Richer’s miracles continue to appear throughout the narrative. Further detail is given about the life of Bishop Vigor of Bayeux and the challenges to St Riquier’s possession of his relics. Abbot Gervin is portrayed as a model of monastic leadership and his links with the English court provide Hariulf with the opportunity to comment on the succession to the English kingdom. Gervin’s bequests of books and additions to the community’s relic collection are also covered. Hariulf tells us that he completed the work in 1088, but it is clear from the content that a lengthy section of some 2000 words has been added, covering the abbacy of Gervin II, the nephew of his predecessor. The great abbey church underwent major refurbishment during his abbacy, which he held in plurality with the bishopric of Amiens. The work concludes, as it began, with verse in which Hariulf describes his relationship with the community at Saint-Riquier.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier

Hariulf’s history of St Riquier, written at the end of the eleventh century, describes the history of his monastic community in Northern France from its origins in the seventh century until his own time. Although local in its coverage, it illustrates themes essential to an understanding of the Middle Ages: how medieval monks worshipped, the part they played in wider society and the role of relics that were believed to mediate divine power in medieval religious and political experience. In four books Hariulf narrates the life of the founder and patron, Richer, in whom he portrays the virtues to be admired and emulated by the monks; the development of the community under emperor Charlemagne’s friend and adviser, the poet, Angilbert; its period of literary and monastic excellence in the early ninth century and subsequent devastation in a Scandinavian raid. As the narrative approaches his own time, Hariulf’s work becomes a valuable source for the tenth- and eleventh-century history of Northern France, while the abbey’s relations with the local lords of Ponthieu shed light on the emergence of the so-called territorial principalities, which emerged after the break-up of the Carolingian empire. Diplomatic exchanges with Normandy before 1066 about the community’s relic collection are described and the history also provides insights from an early and detached commentator on events surrounding the Norman Conquest of England. As a piece of historical writing, Hariulf’s work shows us how monastic history might be presented to foster a sense of communal identity in a changed and changing society.

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Kathleen Thompson

The introduction sets Hariulf’s History of St Riquier in its context for readers, explaining why it is important. It covers the social and political setting of the abbey’s foundation, as understood by modern scholarship, and gives a brief history. A list of the abbots appears as an appendix to the introduction. Biographical information on the monk Hariulf follows, which covers his origins and time at St Riquier as well as his subsequent career as abbot of Oudenburg in Flanders, during which he produced other works. Hariulf’s history is placed in the context of contemporary history-writing and his historical method and style are discussed, together with his purpose and sources. Issues related to the transmission of the text, the manuscripts, editions and translation follow. There are substantial sections on Hariulf’s particular contribution as a source for monastic history and architectural history. Translation notes conclude the introduction.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
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Kathleen Thompson

Hariulf describes his reasons for writing and how he has gathered materials. It was customary to begin and end such works with poems and there are two in this section, together with a list of the abbots, which is corrected in the light of modern scholarship in the appendix to the introduction

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
Wendy R. Childs
and
Phillipp R. Schofield

In this chapter the editors review the events of the civil war of 1321-22, as well as the immediate precursors to war and Edward’s response in its immediate aftermath. With particular reference to narrative accounts, key moments in the civil war are presented, as well as the eventual defeat, trial and execution of Lancaster and other leading contrariants. Edward’s triumphant parliament at York in 1322 and the repeal of most of the Ordinances of 1311 is also discussed and relevant sources presented, including an agenda for the York parliament and the resultant statute and Chancery enrolments.

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
Wendy R. Childs
and
Phillipp R. Schofield

In this final chapter, the editors set out the contemporary evidence applied to a range of important final considerations in reflecting on the reign of Edward II. Edward’s deposition was followed by a period of imprisonment with the possibility that attempts might be made to rescue him and restore him to the throne. The general view, though not the universal view of contemporaries or of modern historians, is that Edward was murdered in September 1327 at Berkeley castle, and buried later in the year at Gloucester. A cult developed around the deposed and murdered king and later kings, notably his great grandson, Richard II, invested in his purported sanctity. Other contemporary rumours, encouraged by the appearance of documents such as the Fieschi letter, suggested Edward had survived Berkeley and had escaped to Europe and lived out his days on the continent.

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27
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Wendy R. Childs
and
Phillipp R. Schofield

In this first selection of documents and chapter introduction the editors set out the early developments of the reign, including the growth in opposition, the rise and dramatic fall of Gaveston, and the king’s efforts to contain his opponents. The chapter includes examples of key material for the history of the reign more generally, including the coronation oath, early statements of opposition and selected clauses from the Ordinances of 1311.

in The reign of Edward II, 1307–27