English Benedictine, one of the chief associates of Elizabeth barton, the Nun of Kent; b. c. 1490; d. Tyburn, April 20, 1534. Bocking was educated at Oxford (D.D., 1518), and elected prior of Canterbury College there. Later, he became cellarer at the Benedictine cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and in 1525 he headed a commission to inquire into Elizabeth Barton's prophecies. The result favored her, and Bocking was appointed her spiritual adviser after she had joined the Benedictine convent of St. Sepulchre's, Canterbury. The nun's reputation for sanctity grew, but trouble arose when her prophecies took on a political complexion at the time of the divorce, and the government was forced to take action in 1533. Dr. Bocking, in his dealings with Elizabeth Barton, had probably acted imprudently, but it is unlikely that he practiced willful deceit. His fate was inevitably linked with hers; and when she was condemned with others by attainder in 1534, after probably having made some sort of confession about her revelations, Bocking suffered with her and the rest. They were all executed at Tyburn on April 20, 1534.
Bibliography: d. knowles, The Religious Orders in England (Cambridge, Eng. 1948–60). h. a. l. fisher, History of England 1485–1547 (London 1906).
[j. e. paul]