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The Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker

The Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker

Translated by David Preest
Introduction and Notes by Richard Barber
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    The Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker
    Book Description:

    Geoffrey le Baker's chronicle covers the reigns of Edward II and Edward III up to the English victory at Poitiers. It starts in a low key, copying an earlier chronicle, but by the end of Edward II's reign he offers a much more vivid account. His description of Edward II's last days is partly based on the eyewitness account of his patron, Sir Thomas de la More, who was present at one critical interview. Baker's story of Edward's death, like many other details from his chronicle, was picked up by Tudor historians, particularly by Holinshed, who was the source for Shakespeare's history plays. The reign of Edward III is dominated, not by Edward III himself, but by Baker's real hero, Edward prince of Wales. His bravery aged 16 at Crécy is presented as a prelude to his victory at Poitiers, a battle which Baker is able to describe in great detail, apparently from what he was told by the prince's commanders. It is a rarity among medieval battles, because - in sharp contrast to the total anarchy at Crécy - the prince and his staff were able to see the enemy's manoeuvres. Throughout the chronicle there are sharply defined vignettes which stay in the mind - the killing of the Scottish champion on Halidon Hill, the drowning of Sir Edward Bohun, the earls of Salisbury and Suffolk as prisoners carried in a cart, the death of Sir Walter Selby and his two sons, the duel between Otho and the duke of Lancaster, John Dancaster and the lewd washerwoman. Baker writes in a complex Latin which even scholars find problematic, and David Preest's new translation will be widely welcomed by anyone interested in the fourteenth century. There are extensive notes and an introduction by Richard Barber.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-956-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Maps
    (pp. viii-x)
  5. Genealogy showing Edward III’s claim to the French throne
    (pp. xi-xi)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxviii)

    We know very little about Geoffrey le Baker’s personal circumstances. He himself tells us that he was from Swinbrook in Oxfordshire, and that he was a clericus living at Oseney in July 1347; this information comes from a note at the end of a very short chronicle which he wrote in that year for Sir Thomas de la More.¹ Otherwise, there is a record of him as Geoffrey Pachon from Swinbrook in 1326, described as a chaplain, when he is pardoned for an unspecified offence by Edward II on condition that he helps the king to repel the invasion of...

  8. The Chronicle of Geoffrey le Baker of Swinbrook
    (pp. 1-134)

    In the one thousand three hundred and third year after the birth of the onlybegotten omnipotent king Jesus Christ, in the eighth year of pope Boniface, the eighth pope of this name, and in the thirty-first year of the reign of the noble king Edward of Winchester, the son of Henry king of the English, the Scots slew and treacherously manhandled the guardians and officers whom Edward put in charge of the kingdom of Scotland and its castles. So around the time of Pentecost Edward rode across Scotland with an army, and, when he had captured and killed some of...

  9. Appendix Alternate text of the chronicle for 1327-1330
    (pp. 135-138)
  10. Index
    (pp. 139-155)
  11. Backmatter
    (pp. 156-156)