Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Rectifying a Chronicle of Contradictions: The Political Context of Abraham Wheelock’s 1643Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Explorations in Renaissance Culture

Abraham Wheelock’s first edition of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle appeared at the height of the First English Civil War in 1643, and it is often treated by modern critics as an appendix to the Old English Historia Ecclesiastica to which it is attached. This paper argues that the Chronicle participated in a larger royalist campaign to establish the West Saxons as the institutional forbears of the first two Stuart kings. The West Saxon genealogies authorize a seventeenth-century conception of patriarchal, divine kingship when they trace Alfred to the biblical Adam. Alternatively, the medieval Chronicle presents the advisory body of the Anglo-Saxons, the witan, as a potentially restrictive force upon the monarchy—an image incompatible with a royalist agenda. Wheelock mediates the contradictory presence of the powerful witan by diminishing its historical importance through excision, substitution, and inconsistent translation so that the Chronicle may more easily conform to early modern perceptions of absolutist kingship.

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University,


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Aelfric,, A Saxon Treatise Concerning the Old and New Testament . Ed. and Trans. Lisle. William London: Printed by John Hauiland for Henrie Seile, 1623.
2. British Library, ms Cotton Otho B.xi.
3. British Library, ms Cotton Tiberius A.iii, fol. 178.
4. British Library, ms Cotton Tiberius
5. Cambridge, Corpus Christi College ms 173.
6. Barker Nicholas., “"Editing the Past: Classical and Historical Scholarship."” The Cambridge History of the Book: 1560–1700 . Ed. Barnard John, and McKenzie. D.F. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2002. 20627.
7. Bernau Anke,. “"Myths of Origin and the Struggle Over Nationhood in Medieval and Early Modern England".” In Reading the Medieval in Early Modern England . Ed.  McMullan Gordon, and Matthews. David Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2007. 10618.
8. Bredehoft Thomas A. Textual Histories: Readings in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle . Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2001.
9. Boran Elizabethanne, and Money. D.K. The Correspondence of James Ussher, 1600–1656 . Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2015.
10. Bosworth Joseph,. "“witan.”" An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Bosworth . Ed. Toller. Thomas Northcote Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898.
11. Burgess Glenn. Absolute Monarchy and the Stuart Constitution . New Haven: Yale U P, 1996.
12. Camden William. Remaines of Greater Work, Concerning Britaine, the Inhabitants Thereof, Their Languages, Names, Surnames, Empreses, Wise Speeches, Poësies, and Epitaphes . London, 1605.
13. Carver Larry. “"Restoration Poets and Their Father King".” Huntington Library Quarterly Vol 40.4 (1977): 33251.
14. Christianson Paul. “"Young John Selden and the Ancient Constitution, Ca. 1610–18".” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Vol 128.4 (1984): 271315.
15. Coke Edward. The Fourth Part of the Institutes of the Law of England: Concerning the Jurisdiction of Courts . London, 1644.
16. Coleman Janet,. “"A Culture of Political Counsel: The Case of Fourteenth-Century England’s ‘Virtuous’ Monarchy vs. Royal Absolutism and Seventeenth-Century Reinterpretations".” Monarchism and Absolutism in Early Modern Europe . Ed. Cuttica Cesare, and Burgess. Glenn New York: Routledge, 2016. 1932.
17. Cotton Robert,. Cottoni Postuma: Divers Choice Pieces of that Renowned Antiquary, Sir Robert Cotton . Ed. Howell. James London, 1651.
18. Cotton Robert, and Hayward John. The Histories of the Lives and Raignes of Henry the Third, and Henry the Fourth: Kings of England . London, 1642.
19. Crick Julia. “"Pristinas Libertas: Liberty and the Anglo-Saxons Revisited".” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society Vol 14 (2004): 4771.
20. Durston Christopher. Charles i . London: Routledge, 1998.
21. Ellis Henry. Original Letters of Eminent Literary Men of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries . London: The Camden Society, 1843.
22. Filmer Robert. Patriarcha, Or, the Natural Power of Kings . London, 1680.
23. Fitzsimons Matthew. “"Politics and Men of Learning in England: 1540–1640".” The Review of Politics Vol 6.4 (1944): 45283.
24. Forster Harold. “"The Rise and Fall of the Cambridge Muses (1603–1763)."” Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society Vol 8.2 (1982): 14172.
25. Glass Sandra A., “"The Saxonists’ Influence on Seventeenth-Century English Literature."” Anglo-Saxon Scholarship, the First Three Centuries . Ed. McGatch Milton, and Berkhout. Carl T. Boston, ma: G.K. Hall, 1982. 91105.
26. Graham Timothy. “"Abraham Wheelock’s Use of cccc ms 41 (Old English Bede) and the Borrowing of Manuscripts from the Library of Corpus Christi College".” Cambridge Bibliographical Society Newsletter (1997): 1016.
27. Grant Raymond. “"Laurence Nowell’s Transcript of bm Cottom Otho B.xi".” Anglo-Saxon England Vol 3 (1974): 11124.
28. Greenberg Janelle Renfrow. The Radical Face of the Ancient Constitution: St. Edward’s “laws” in Early Modern Political Thought . Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2001.
29. Greenleaf W.H. “"Filmer’s Patriarchal History".” The Historical Journal Vol 9.2 (1966): 15771.
30. Harris Stephen. “"The Alfredian ‘World History’ and Anglo-Saxon Identity".” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Vol 100.4 (2001): 482510.
31. Hedeman Anne Dawson. The Royal Image: Illustrations of the Grandes Chroniques De France, 1274–1422 . Berkeley: U of California P, 1991.
32. Hobbes Thomas. De Corpore Politico, or, The Elements of Law, Moral and Politick . London, 1652.
33. Howarth David. “"Sir Robert Cotton and the Commemoration of Famous Men".” The British Library Journal (1992): 128.
34. James. vi and i The True Law of Free Monarchies or The Reciprock and Mutuall Dutie Betwixt a Free King, and His Naturall Subiectes . Edinburgh, 1598.
35. Jones Chris,. “"Old English After 1066".” The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature . Ed. Godden Malcolm, and Lapidge. Michael Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2013. 31330.
36. Kleist Aaron J. “"Monks, Marriage, and Manuscripts: Matthew Parker’s Manipulation (?) of Ælfric of Eynsham".” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology Vol 105.2 (2006): 31227.
37. Lucas Peter,. “"Abraham Wheelock and the Presentation of Anglo-Saxon: From Manuscript to Print."” Beatus Vir: Studies in Early English and Norse Manuscripts in Memory of Phillip Pulsiano . Ed. Doane A.N., and Wolf. Kirsten Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006. 383439.
38. Lutz Angelika. Die Version G der Angelsächsischen Chronik: Rekonstruktion und Edition.Texte und Untersuchungen zur englischen Philologie 11 . Munich: W. Fink, 1981.
39. Lutz Angelika,. “"The Study of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the Seventeenth Century and the Establishment of Old English in the Universities.”" The Recovery of Old English . Ed.  Graham. Timothy Kalamazoo, mi: Medieval Institute Publications, 2000. 182.
40. Mackay Christopher S. Ancient Rome: A Military and Political History . Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2004.
41. McGee James Sears. An Industrious Mind: The Worlds of Sir Simonds D’Ewes . Stanford, ca: Stanford U P, 2015.
42. McKitterick David. A History of Cambridge University Press: Volume 1. Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge, 1534–1698 . Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1992.
43. Murphy Michael. “"Abraham Wheloc’s Edition of Bede’s History in Old English".” Studia Neophilologica Vol 39.1 (1967): 4659.
44. Murphy Michael, and Barrett Edward. “"Abraham Wheelock, Arabist and Saxonist".” Biography Vol 8.2 (1985): 16385.
45. Niles John D. The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England 1066–1901: Remembering, Forgetting, Deciphering, and Renewing the Past . New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2015.
46. Parr Richard. The Life of the Most Reverend Father in God, James Usher . London, 1686.
47. Parry Graham. The Trophies of Time: English Antiquarians of the Seventeenth Century . Oxford: Oxford U P, 1995.
48. Powell Robert. The Life of King Alfred, Or, Alvred: The First Institutor of Subordinate Government in This Kingdome, and Refounder of the University of Oxford: Together with a Parallell of Our Soveraigne Lord, King Charles Untill This Yeare, 1634 . London, 1634.
49. Robinson Benedict Scott. “"‘Darke Speech’: Matthew Parker and the Reforming of History".” The Sixteenth Century Journal Vol 29.4 (1998): 106183.
50. Schuyler Robert Livingston. “"The Antiquaries and Sir Henry Spelman: An Essay in Historiography".” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society Vol 90.2 (1946): 91103.
51. Selden John. England’s Epinomis . London, 1683.
52. Selden John. Jani Anglorum Facies Altera Memoria nempe à primula Henrici ii . London, 1610.
53. “"senator, n.”" oed Online . Oxford University Press, December 2016.
54. Sheppard Alice. Families of the King: Writing Identity in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle . Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2004.
55. Sisam Kenneth., “"Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies."” Ed. Stanley. E.G. British Academy Papers on Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford: Oxford U P, 1990: 145204.
56. Slayter William. The History of Great Britanie: From the First Peopling of This Island to This Present Raigne of or [sic] Happy and Peacefull Monarke K: Iames . London, 1621.
57. Sommerville J.P., “"Absolutism and Royalism".” The Cambridge History of Political Thought: 1450–1700 . Ed. Burns J.H., and Goldie. Mark Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 2006. 34773.
58. Spelman John. Ælfredi Magni Anglorum Regis Invictissimi Vita Tribus Libris Comprehensa a Clarissimo Deo . Oxford, 1678.
59. Spelman Henry, and Gibson Edmund. The English Works of Henry Spelman, Kt. London, 1723.
60. Stapleton Thomas. The History of the Church of Englande. Compiled by the Venerable Bede . London, 1565.
61. Towers Tom H. “"Thematic Unity in the Story of Cynewulf and Cyneheard".” Journal of English and Germanic Philology Vol 62.2 (1963): 31016.
62. Vann Richard. “"The Free Anglo-Saxons: A Historical Myth".” Journal of the History of Ideas Vol 19.2 (1958): 25972.
63. Verstegan (Rowlands) Richard. A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence . London, 1605.
64. Vine Angus. In Defiance of Time: Antiquarian Writing in Early Modern England . Oxford: Oxford U P, 2010.
65. Wheelock Abraham. Historiae Ecclesiasticae Gentis Anglorum . Cambridge, 1643.
66. "“witenagemot, n.”" oed Online . Oxford University Press, December 2016.
67. W.J. Obedience Active and Passive Due to the Supream Power . London, 1643.
68. Woolf D.R. “"Erudition and the Idea of History in Renaissance England".” Renaissance Quarterly Vol 40.1 (1987): 1148.
69. Woolf D.R. “"Genre into Artifact: The Decline of the English Chronicle in the Sixteenth Century".” Sixteenth Century Journal Vol 19.3 (1988): 32154.
70. Woolrych Austin. Britain in Revolution: 1625–1660 . Oxford: Oxford U P, 2004.

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Explorations in Renaissance Culture — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation