The Deeds of the Bishops of England [Gesta Pontificum Anglorum] by William of Malmesbury

The Deeds of the Bishops of England [Gesta Pontificum Anglorum] by William of Malmesbury

William of Malmesbury

Translated by David Preest


Boydell Press



First modern English translation of important source for English church history from Augustine's arrival in Canterbury in 597 down to the 1120s.
William was born c.1095 not far from Malmesbury in Wiltshire; he entered the monastery at Malmesbury as a boy, and stayed there as a monk for the rest of his life, writing works which were to win him lasting fame as a historian. His Deeds of the Bishops of England chronicles the activities of the bishops in all the dioceses of England from Augustine's arrival in Canterbury in 597 down to the 1120s when the work was being written; in addition to bishops and cathedrals, William also includes saints who were not bishops, and religious houses other than cathedrals. For the period after Bede's death in 730, it is the most important single source for English church history, and indeed, together with William's other great achievement, the Deeds of the Kings of England, for the history of England.
Much of the material William retells in his own style, and with considerable narrative skill, from earlier sources available to him in the monastic library. But he also travelled widely in England, and the organisation of the Deeds reflects a clear chronological and topographical order, from Canterbury and Rochester to London, East Anglia and Wessex, north to York, Lindisfarne and Durham, thence to Mercia, and finally, "returning home after a long journey", to his own abbey of Malmesbury and St Aldhelm.

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November 2002
336 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9780851158846
Format: Paperback
Boydell Press
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A warm welcome must be extended to th[is] first ever translation... very serviceable and readable. HISTORY
England in the early 12th century was summer... It was a good time for William to write a history of the English church from the arrival of St Augustine to his own time... Now translated for the first time, it is readable, well annotated and well indexed. We owe a debt of gratitude to Preest. The value of this book to historians, for whom the Latin version is inaccessible, is patent. I approached it as a general reader and I found it delightful. CATHOLIC HERALD
William of Malmesbury's work has never before been translated. Preest's admirable work therefore fills a lacuna in the history of the Church of England from its inception to the early 12th century... Lucid and elegant, and presents William's narrative in an engaging and readable manner. CHURCH TIMES [Giles Gasper]
Communicates the lively spirit of William of Malmesbury's writing [and makes] an important text far more accessible. SOUTHERN HISTORY

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