Author Archives: Gwyneth Turner

Medieval Chronicles Part III: The Supplementary Sources -Gwyneth

In this blog post, I will be providing a brief overview of some of the chronicle sources used to supplement the three major sources discussed in my previous post. One such source is the Historia Vitae et Regni Ricardi Secundi, which was composed by two monks at Evesham Abbey, the first writing from 1377 to 1390 and the second from 1390 to 1402. Since we already have plentiful information pertaining to the period covered by the first author, the second author is of much greater interest. However, the usefulness of the second monk is diminished by his brevity, frequent errors, clear hostility to the king, and tendency to focus on local rather than national politics (McHardy 13). While the second portion of the chronicle, composed under Richard’s usurper Henry IV, the first king of the house of Lancaster, is often accused of being “a vehicle for Lancastrian propaganda”, Given-Wilson refutes this claim by citing the fact that the chronicle does not use the ‘Record and Process’, the official Lancastrian account of the deposition. Given-Wilson goes on to praise the Vita, claiming that it is “a largely independent source, and as such has great value” (Given-WIlson 5). Nonetheless, it is difficult to believe that the second monk’s critical attitude towards Richard was not influenced by the Lancastrian regime under which he was writing. Continue reading

Medieval Chronicles Part II: The Major Sources for the Reign of Richard II -Gwyneth

As promised in my previous blog post, this week I will be discussing some of the most principle chroniclers active during the reign of Richard II. Of these, one of the most important and frequently cited is Thomas Walsingham (c. 1340 – c. 1422), a monk at the prominent Hertfordshire monastery of St. Albans. Although Walsingham is widely recognized as having been a prolific author, there remains scholarly debate as to exactly which of the numerous chronicles produced at St. Albans he contributed (Stow 69-70). Stow attributes the Chronicon Angliae, the Annales Ricardi Secundi, the Ypodigma Neustriae, and the Historia Anglicana to Walsingham. Although none of the books I have read cite the Ypodigma Neustriae, each of the other three sources are cited and attributed to Walsingham in at least two of my books, with the Historia Anglicana cited in all three books (Gundy; Fletcher; Saul). Thus it seems to me that these three texts can be said to have been definitively attributed to Walsingham by scholars. Continue reading

Medieval Chronicles (part one) -Gwyneth

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that the next step in my research project is to look at primary source material. Therefore, I thought it would be useful to talk about primary sources a bit more specifically in this blog post. In regard to the different types of written sources from the medieval period, Joel T. Rosenthal, editor of Understanding Medieval Primary Sources, provides a useful breakdown of the material into three major categories: narrative histories, government records, and private or personal records (Rosenthal 1-2). Since the first category – that of narrative history – has arguably been the most influential in shaping analyses of Richard’s reign, as well as the most easily accessible to amateur historians such as myself (there is even a Medieval Chronicle Society!), it is here that I will focus my post. Continue reading

Richard II’s Creation of a Royal Affinity, 1389-97: A Brief Overview and Discussion of Current Scholarship -Gwyneth

For my demonstration of learning last semester, I produced a review of literature pertaining to several important topics within Richard II’s reign (an overview of which can be found here) in the period between 1389-97. This period is not arbitrarily defined, but is marked by the two crisis which form its boundaries. Continue reading

Planning my End-of-Semester Work -Gwyneth


Since I am planning to continue my independent project next semester, during which time I will write my final paper, there was not a natural answer to the question of exactly what I will produce as my demonstration of learning for this semester. While meeting with T. Margaret a few weeks ago, we decided that I should create an extensive annotated bibliography to turn in at the end of the semester. Continue reading

My Project So Far -Gwyneth




MedievalMonk  During my time doing independent research this semester, I have learned a great deal about just how challenging it is to conduct research on my own. At the same time, I think I have accomplished a lot in spite of the difficulties of adjusting to this new structure of learning and working. Continue reading

1386: The Start of a Crisis -Gwyneth


For this blog post and those in the weeks to come, I plan on writing in greater detail about the crisis years of 1386-1388 and eventually the 1390s, since it seems likely that this is the time period I will end up focusing on in my research. To begin, I will discuss the tensions that erupted in 1386 as a result of the threat of a French invasion. Continue reading

The Thesis Hunt Begins -Gwyneth

I’ve gotten to the point in the year where the need to give my research a specific direction has become quite pressing. That is to say, I need to come up with a thesis very soon. Since this is a big and somewhat intimidating step that will determine what I will be doing for the rest of this project, I thought it would be useful to lay out some possible directions I could go in before making any decisions. Continue reading

Richard II’s Policy in the Localities, 1389-1397 -Gwyneth

For this week’s blog post, I want to get back to talking specifically about the work I have been doing on my independent project. So far, this has consisted primarily of reading. Last week, I finished a particularly interesting chapter in my current text, a local study of the West Midlands region by A.K Gundy entitled Richard II and the Rebel Earl, about Richard II’s attempts to increase royal control of the localities from 1389-1397. Continue reading

Racism, Sexism, and General Bigotry in Medieval Studies -Gwyneth

My first time witnessing discrimination in the world of Medieval studies occurred last spring, when I read this article from the website of the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, written by U Chicago medievalist Rachel Fulton Brown. In it, Fulton Brown criticizes the protests that prompted the cancellation of a talk scheduled to be given by alt-right political commentator and alleged white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkley. Continue reading