The ‘Northern Recension’ of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: An Integrated Digital Edition

The so-called ‘Northern Recension’ of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the primary Old English historical authority for early medieval England, is one of the most important lost vernacular chronicles for the period. It survives in two of the constituent codices of the Chronicle—the mid-late eleventh century Worcester Chronicle (London, British Library, MS. Cotton Tiberius B. IV) and the twelfth-century Peterborough Chronicle (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Laud Misc. 636). Compiled probably in the early eleventh century, the Northern Recension is worthy of special interest, being a foundational historiographical text which no longer survives. Distant in time and space from the centre of West-Saxon power, a very different vision of English history emerges from the ideological framework of the manuscripts that preserve it.

The character and uneven distribution of the sources for Anglo-Saxon England and the fragmentary, complex nature of the manuscript tradition both contribute to the complexity of historical analysis of the period. They represent the ideal environment to apply computer-assisted methods for textual criticism and data modelling, in order to offer a more comprehensive and cohesive understanding of Anglo-Saxon England and its history.

As a longer-term goal, this edition aims to lay the foundations for a major desideratum—an overarching project which digitally bridges the seven extant manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.