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Arnold Fitz Thedmar

Arnold Fitz Thedmar (August 9, 1201 – 1274 or 1275) was a London chronicler and merchant; he was born in London.


Both Arnold Fitz Thedmar's parents were German in origin. The family of his mother migrated to the Kingdom of England from Cologne in the reign of Henry II of England; his father, Thedmar by name, was a citizen of Bremen who had been attracted to London by the privileges which the Plantagenets conferred upon the Teutonic Hanse.[1]

Arnold succeeded in time to his father's wealth and position. He held an honorable position among the Hanse traders, and became their alderman. He was also, by his own account, alderman of a London ward and an active partisan in municipal politics. In the Second Barons' War he took the royal side against the populace and the mayor Thomas Fitz Thomas. The popular party planned, in 1265, to try him for his life before the folkmoot (a "meeting of the people"), but he was saved by the news of the battle of Evesham which arrived on the very day appointed for the trial.[1]

Even after the triumph of Henry III of England, Arnold suffered from the malice of his enemies, who contrived that he should be unfairly assessed for the tallages imposed upon the city. He appealed for help to Henry III, and again to his son and successor Edward I, with the result that his liability was diminished. In 1270 he was one of the four citizens to whose keeping the muniments of the city were entrusted. To this circumstance we probably owe the compilation of his chronicle.[1]

Chronica Maiorum et Vicecomitum, which begins at the year 1188 and is continued to 1274.[2] From 1239 onwards this work is a mine of curious information. Though municipal in its outlook, it is valuable for the general history of the kingdom, owing to the important part which London played in the agitation against the misrule of Henry III. We have the king's word for the fact that Arnold was a consistent royalist; but this is apparent from the whole tenor of the chronicle. Arnold was by no means blind to the faults of Henry's government, but preferred an autocracy to the mob rule which Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester countenanced in London. Arnold died in 1274; the last fact recorded of him is that, in this year, he joined in a successful appeal to the king against the illegal grants which had been made by the mayor, Walter Hervey.[1][3]


  1. ^ a b c d Davis 1911.
  2. ^ "The Chronica Maiorum et Vicecomitum, with the other contents of Arnold's common-place book, were edited for the Camden Society by Thomas Stapleton (1846), under the title Liber de Antiquis Legibus" (Davis 1911).
  3. ^ H.W.C. Davis states that "our knowledge of Arnold's life comes from the Chronica and his own biographical notes. Extracts, with valuable notes, are edited in G. H. Pertz's Monumenta Germaniae historica, Scriptores, vol. xxviii. See also J. M. Lappenberg's Urkundliche Geschichte des Hansischen Stahl hofes zu London (Hamburg, 1851)." (Davis 1911)


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainDavis, Henry William Carless (1911). "Fitz Thedmar, Arnold". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 448.