3

In the Bohn's Antiquarian Library 1847 edition of William of Malmesbury's 'Chronicle of the Kings of England', there is a footnote which says another translator (Brompton) wrote:

'Willelmus Malmesbiriensis dicit, quod ille Willelmus regis primogenitus palam Anglis fuerat comminatus, quod, si aliquando super eos regnaret, faceret eos ad aratrum trahere quasi boves : sed spe sua coruscabili Dei vindicta cum aliis deperiit.'

Roughly translated, I think this says that Henry I's son William Adelin was rebuked for threatening to make the English (i.e. Anglo-Saxons) draw a plow like cattle if they gave him any trouble when he became king. However, the Bohn's edition says there is no such statement in William of Malmesbury's chronicle.

My question is: Is this statement about William Adelin in William of Malmesbury's chronicle? It seems to be far too large a discrepancy to be a translation error.

  • Not sure if this should use the 'historiography' tag... – Lars Bosteen Sep 17 '17 at 5:35
2

As far as I can see, the quote does not seem to appear in any of the surviving manuscripts or transcripts of William of Malmesbury's 'Chronicle of the Kings of England'. If we look at the footnote in question in full, it says:

Bromton [sic] (col. 1U13, x. Scrip.) ascribes to Malmesbury words which are no where to be found in this author, ' Willelmus Malmesbiriensis dicit, quod ille Willelmus regis primogenitus palam Anglis fuerat comminatug, quod, si aliquando super eos regnaret, faceret eos ad aratrum trahere quasi boves : sed spe sua coruscabili Dei vmdicta cum aliis deperiit.' " — Hardy.

This, in turn, is a reference to another footnote, this time in the transcription of William of Malmesbury's chronicle by Thomas Duffus Hardy (in Latin).

Hardy seemed to be clear that the quote did not appear in William of Malmesbury's chronicle. "Bromton" here seems to refer not to another translator, but rather to be a reference to the "chronicle" by John of Brompton which is held in the Bodleian Library.

As I understand it, the suggestion is that Brompton has incorporated the quote from Henry of Huntingdon (who was generally critical of William Adelin) into his "chronicle", wrongly ascribing it to William of Malmesbury.

A number of versions of William of Malmesbury's chronicle are available online, in both Latin and in English. I have been unable to find one which contains that quote.

|improve this answer|||||

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.