Jocelin of Brakelond was a monk in the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds. His narrative of events between 1173 and 1202, presented here in translation, provides an insight into the life of a medieval religious community and the management of a vast feudal estate in late 12th and 13th century England. For over 500 years St Edmond's Abbey dominated East Anglia. Local and regional government came under the Abbey, which was also the landlord of extensive estates. The monks owned and controlled the town, the markets, the mills, the hospitals and the inns and as Jocelin tells us, the community impinged on every activity, charitable, educational and commercial. The Abbey was famed throughout England and was also known in Europe. Jocelin's account is intensely personal, for he sets down his thoughts in a confidential, almost confessional style that is in contrast to many of the other more moralizing chroniclers. The reader is able to see something of the daily worship in the Abbey church and the beliefs and values that the monks shared, together with some of the tensions, disagreements and factions that occurred.
Beyond the precinct walls can be seen something of the bustling life of the market town of Bury and the not too distant society of the king and the ecclesiastical potentates whose power was sometimes protective, sometimes threatening towards the security of Jocelin's world. This book represents the first modern translation from the Latin of Jocelin of Brakelond's chronicle since that of H.E.Butler in 1949. Diana Greenway is the author of a collection of "Charters of the Honour of Mowbray" and the general editor of the Oxford Medieval Texts series. Jane Sayers is author of "Papal Judges Delegate in the Province of Canterbury, 1198-1254" and "Papal Government and England during the Pontificate of Honorius III (1216-1227)".show more