Turpines’s Story (A Middle English Version of the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle)

Bibliographic Information


Medieval Title: 

Turpines Story






Late Fifteenth-Century



Textual Information

Brief Summary:

Turpines Story depicts the battle of Roncevaux as well as Charlemagne’s wars in Spain and his pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James. Charlemagne begins his campaign in Pamplona, where after he prays to St. James, the city walls collapse. Bishop Turpin himself baptizes those who would become Christian, while those who refused conversion were taking prisoner or killed. The text summarizes how Charlemagne conquered many Spanish cities and towns, explaining that he destroyed any Saracen idols he found. It describes in detail the idol that was called Maumeth, stating that this statue is said to have great power, including the ability to kill Christians and heal Muslims. The narrative relates events of numerous battles including the Battle of St. Fagon, the fight in Agens, and a battle in the City of Saintes in France. The text is incomplete, and ends abruptly after the Christians have suffered defeat at the Battle of Roncevaux, and Roland is gathering the surviving Christian soldiers and preparing to find the Saracen leader, Marseri.

Relics in this text play a relatively small role, appearing only in the description of Charlemagne. The texts describe Charlemagne as having a number of relics and saint’s bodies enshrined in gold and silver. The text also states that Charlemagne travelled to the Lord’s sepulcher and returned with the Holy Cross, though the narrative does not provide detail on this event.


Relics Appearing in Text:

True Cross


Manuscripts, Editions, and Translations


San Marino, California, Huntington Library, MS HM 28,561, ff. 326r-337v. (Sometimes referred to as the “Burghley polchronicon”)


List of Editions of the Medieval Text: 

Turpines Story: A Middle English Translation of the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle. Edited by Stephen H.A. Shepherd. EETS o.s. 322. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Available online: https://archive.org/details/turpinesstorymid00shep



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