Annals of St Neots

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Annals of St Neots
Datec. 1120 x c. 1140 (Dumville's dating)
ProvenanceBury St Edmunds
Manuscript(s)Cambridge, Trinity College, MS R.7.28 (770), pp. 1-74
Length75 leaves, five quires; approximately 165 x 113 mm (originally larger format, but the margins have been cut down)[1]
Period covered60 B.C. - 914
Sourcesinclude Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum; Cuthbert's Epistola de Obitu Bedae; Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; West-Saxon king-lists; Asser's biography of King Alfred; Abbo's Passio Sancti Eadmundi; Norman annals; Annales Regni Francorum; Flodoard's Chronicle; Visio Eucherii; Visio Karoli Crassi; Visio Rollonis; Vita Sancti Neoti; John of Worcester

The Annals of St Neots is a Latin chronicle compiled and written at Bury St Edmunds in the English county of Suffolk between c. 1120 and c. 1140. It covers the history of Britain, extending from its invasion by Julius Caesar (60 B.C.) to the making of Normandy in 914. Like the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it is chiefly concerned with Anglo-Saxon history, but it differs from it in adopting a distinct East Anglian perspective on certain events and weaving a significant amount of Frankish history into its narrative.


Contrary to what the modern title may suggest, the work was not compiled at St Neots (Huntingdonshire). It owes its present title to antiquary John Leland, who in the 1540s – at the time of the dissolution – discovered the sole surviving manuscript at St Neots Priory.[2][3] Palaeographical analysis has shown that two hands using Late Caroline script were at work, Scribe A for the first quire (pp. 1–18) and Scribe B for the remaining part.[1] The script is typical of the first half of the 12th century and both hands have been detected in other manuscripts from Bury St Edmunds. According to Dumville, the evidence suggests then that the manuscript was compiled at Bury St Edmunds between c. 1120 and c. 1140.[4]

After Leland's discovery, the manuscript passed into the possession of Matthew Parker (d. 1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, who supplied various annotations. Later, the dean of the college, Thomas Neville, donated the manuscript to Trinity College, Cambridge, where it is preserved up to this day, under the shelfmark R.7.28. It is bound together with several unrelated documents, forming the first 74 leaves of the compilation.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Dumville, Annals of St Neots, p. xv
  2. ^ Hart, "The East Anglian Chronicle", p. 249
  3. ^ Leland, Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, ed. Hall, vol 1, p. 152.
  4. ^ Dumville, Annals of St Neots, p. xvi


  • Hall, A., ed. (1708). Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, auctore Joanne Lelando Londinate. 2 vols. Oxford.
  • D. Dumville; M. Lapidge, eds. (1984). The Annals of St Neots with Vita Prima Sancti Neoti. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: A Collaborative Edition 17. Cambridge.
  • Hart, C.R. (1981). "The East Anglian Chronicle". Journal of Medieval History. 7: 249–82. doi:10.1016/0304-4181(81)90003-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • John, Eric (2004). "The Annals of St Neots and the Defeat of the Vikings". In R. Evans (ed.). Lordship and Learning: Studies in Memory of Trevor Aston. Woodbridge. pp. 51–62.