|Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles|
The first page of the Chronicles of Mann; from BL Cotton MS Julius A. VII, f. 31r
|Location||British Library in London|
The Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles (Latin: Chronica Regum Manniæ et Insularum) or Manx Chronicle (London, British Library, Cotton MS Julius A. VII, ff. 31r-52r) is a medieval Latin manuscript relating the early history of the Isle of Man.
The main part of the manuscript is believed to have been composed and written in 1261 or 1262 at Rushen Abbey on the island, shortly after the time of the Cistercian abbey's dedication in 1257, which is the final event retold by the original scribe. The manuscript is written in ink on vellum, with pages roughly 15 cm (6 in) by 20 cm (8 in).
The Chronicles are a look back, year-by-year from 1016, over the significant events in Manx history of that time. Written in Latin, it records the island's role as the centre of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, and the influence of its kings and religious leaders, as well as the role of Rushen Abbey itself - which was founded at the invitation of Olaf I Godredsson, one of the Norse kings. The original scribe also wrote a list of popes (ff. 3r-14r) which ends with Pope Urban IV (1261-4). It is probable that the Chronicles were written for the new abbey on its foundation.
Entries for the earlier years are notably shorter than those towards the end of the original section of the manuscript, no doubt due to later events having occurred within living memory of the time of writing, and thus more detail being available. Many of the dates of the earlier annals are put around 15 years earlier than the actual event, and none of these entries before 1047 are directly related to the Isle of Man, having been copied from a source shared with the Chronicle of Melrose.
Several further notes were later added by the abbey's Cistercian monks, taking the Chronicles up to 1316. The manuscript also contains a copy of Bonizo of Sutri's Cronica Romanorum pontificum (ff. 15r-30r) and a territorial survey (ff. 53r-54v). A record of the bishops of the Western Isles to John Donkan (Bishop of Man and the Isles from 1374 to 1387) is appended to the Chronicles.
After the abbey was dissolved in 1540 the manuscript is thought to have passed through a number of private hands until being presented by Roger Dodsworth (d. 1654) to Sir Robert Cotton (d. 1631) in 1620/1. Cotton's collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts was one of the founding collections of the British Museum and is now cared for by the British Library in London.
There have been campaigns to move the Chronicles permanently to the Isle of Man.