The Annals of Dunstable Priory Now Translated to English

There was a full house this evening at the monthly meeting of the Dunstable and District History Society to hear Stephen Williams, the vicar of Harlington, give a talk on a forthcoming new English translation of The Annals of Dunstable Priory.

This is the first complete translation into English of the annals, which were first written in Dunstable between 1210 and 1300. Today, this new hard-back translation went into print ready for a launch and book signing, next month. Until now only scholars with a good working knowledge of medieval Latin could read this unique year-by-year account of local, national and international affairs, as recorded by the canons of Dunstable Priory.

Publication of this translation by David Preest has been prompted by the local team behind the recent “Medieval Dunstable” project. Stephen Williams, who has watched work on the translation unfold, told the story tonight behind this publishing coup. And if it was not for him wearing an old school scarf, he may never have spoken to David Preest, who recognised it as his old school scarf, too! Mr Preest, a classics master,  agreed to do the translation as a retirement project.

The new translation is based on the original salvaged parts from a fire in 1731, and from a transcript of the original by Humphrey Wanley that was printed in 1733 and is now quite rare.

The priory at Dunstable was founded by Henry I as a house of Augustinian canons. Prior Richard de Morins (prior from 1202 to 1242) started the work basing it on borrowed works from others for its background, and it was continued with a specific 'view from Dunstable' flavour.  The writers speak of good times as well as bad, a year when there was so much beech-mast in the Chilterns that the priory's pigs grazed there all winter. The writings tell of the priory's dealings with the town and the uneasy relations between the prior and the leading citizens, and of the priory's slow financial decline during the latter half of the thirteenth century. The text is full of observed detail as well as of great historical events. The work of different people, the writings catalogue a broad knowledge of history written in English monasteries at this period, on which knowledge of the thirteenth century often depends.

Included in the work is text regarding the events of the Ninth Crusade, the crisis of the Second Barons' War in the reign of Henry III, and the conquest of Wales under Edward I. Told with humour, outrage, and truthful detail, the Annals offer a lively and accessible account of an important and turbulent period of English history.

It is hoped that libraries around the world will be interested in holding copies of this important work. You can pre-order copies at the reduced price of £59.95, otherwise the publication price is £75; publisher Boydell and Brewer

To make further enquiries about the offer price and ordering contact Medieval Dunstable

If you enjoyed this post and never want to miss out on future posts please Follow by Email


Dunstable News Desk

DND Facebook Page
Contact DND
DND Twitter
DND Pinterest
- - - - - - - - -
Dunstable News Desk administers these Facebook Groups:
1. Images of Dunstable, South Bedfordshire & Nearby Past & Present Public Group, photography and art.
2. News Desk Business Group Public Group* for business recommendations
3. Job Vacancies in South Bedfordshire Public Group for jobs
4. Bus News Desk (Dunstable & Houghton Regis) Public group
5. News Desk Conversation Group (Houghton Regis & Dunstable) Private Group, discuss local issues *Public Group - anyone, including non members, can read comments.
Private Group - what is discussed here is for members eyes only.

Search Dunstable Town Council website
Dunstable - Preserving the Past for the Future - Facebook site that watches and discusses planning applications.

Other Group Sites
Luton News Desk
Houghton Regis News Desk
Donate to help Alan here