CONFERENCES: Arnold Fitz Thedmar: an Early London chronicler
Another fascinating paper given at the Institute for Historical Research in central London. For those of you interested in chronicles, urban history and London, this paper was definitely for you. Ian Stone discussed his dissertation about thirteenth century London through the eyes of wealthy Alderman, Arnold Fitz Thedmar.
Who was Arnold Fitz Thedmar?
Arnold Fitz Thedmar was a London chronicler and the first lay man in the British Isles to compile such a book. Sadly, he is often overlooked by scholars but Stone’s thesis will attempt to shine light on his important work as a London chronicler.
Arnold had put down his family history in a 750 word source that was written in his own hand. His story goes a little something like this: His grandparents came to London from Germany in 1175 AD. They bore two children, Thomas and Juliana. Thomas died on Crusade in approximately 1203/04 AD and Juliana married Thedmar of Bremen. Juliana and Thedmar went on to have Arnold on August 9, 1201. Arnold Fitz Thedmar became the Alderman of the Germans in 1251 until his death in 1274. He was an important Londoner and he was extremely wealthy.
Like many medieval compilers, Arnold never claimed that he wrote his book Stone argues that there there is compelling evidence he did write it. His date of birth is mentioned in the chronicle, who would know such exact dates except the author? His chronicle draws to close in July 1274 near the time of his death. His death was noted in London records in February 1275 so it appears that he stopped writing around two months before his death.
What Does the Chronicle Tell Us About Arnold?