By Sarah L. Peverley
The Medieval Chronicle III: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on the Medieval Chronicle Doorn/Utrecht 12 – 17 July 2002, ed. by Erik Kooper (Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2004)
Abstract: Composed during a period of increased dynastic awareness and political tension, John Hardyng’s late fifteenth-century Chronicle survives in two versions. Previous scholars have labelled the first version a ‘Lancastrian’ account of history, written with little purpose other than to elicit financial reward and advocate the conquest of Scotland; the second is regarded as a ‘Yorkist’ revision. This article assesses Hardyng’s representation of the kings and their kingdom, with particular emphasis on the depiction of division within the realm; it demonstrates that Hardyng’s portrayal of Henry VI in the first version, and his use of commonplace imagery and themes, are conscientiously crafted to facilitate a wider-ranging political focus and concern with late medieval affairs than previously accepted. Conversely, comparable examples from the second version show that it is not exclusively concerned with fortifying the Yorkist dynasty, but that it promotes the same call for peace and good governance as the first version.