Holinshed’s Chronicles donated to Special Collections

On Monday 27th February, Special Collections & Archives invited academics from the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies to an event, marking a very exciting addition to their collections. The Marlowe Society have generously loaned the University their 1587 copy of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland, in order for the books to be more accessible to students, staff and the wider public.

Holinshed’s Chronicles, first published in 1577, are one of the most famous history texts written during the Tudor period. The Chronicles were written by Holinshed alongside a number of collaborators, which gave readers the chance to read history through varied viewpoints. The 1587 edition, now held here in the Templeman Library, was significantly revised and expanded from the original 1577 work. What makes the Chronicles particularly important is that they were used as a historical source by early modern playwrights of the time – including William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. Given Kent’s numerous research activities in the Early Modern field across the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Chronicles will greatly enhance research and teaching within the campus community.

To celebrate the Chronicles arriving at Kent, Special Collections & Archives hosted a reception near the Templeman Gallery. Short addresses were given by Professor Catherine Richardson from the School of English, Professor Kenneth Pickering, Chair of the Marlowe Society, The Lord Mayor of Canterbury and Richard Wilson, the Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare at Kingston University, followed by some light refreshments.  Guests were then invited into the Reading Room to view the Chronicles in situ alongside other pre-1630 material held in Special Collections. Out on display were a variety of texts relating to the literary world the Chronicles formed part of, including Ben Jonson’s 1616 Folio, the works of Beaumont and Fletcher and a 1598 edition of Chaucer’s writing containing The Canterbury Tales.

If you would like to see Holinshed’s Chronicles – for research or for pleasure – they can be requested through LibrarySearch, or you are welcome to email the team at specialcollections@kent.ac.uk.