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Capgrave, John

CAPGRAVE, JOHN

Historian, theologian; b. Lynn, Norfolk, England, April 21, 1393; d. Lynn, August 12, 1464. Probably the most important of the English augustinians, Capgrave became a doctor of theology at Cambridge c. 1430 and served as Augustinian provincial of England from 1453 to 1457. His Chronicle of England to 1417 (ed. F. C. Hingeston, Rerum Brittanicarum medii aevi scriptores ), dedicated to King Edward IV, was the first history of England not written in Latin. In his same Norfolk dialect he also wrote Ye solace of pilgrimes (ed. C. A. Mills, London 1911), an excellent description of classical and Christian Rome done in 1450; the Lives of St. Augustine, St. gilbert of sempringham and a Sermo (Early English Text Society 1910); and the metrical lives of St. Catherine of Alexandria (Early English Text Society 1893) and St. norbert (not yet edited). In Latin he wrote commentaries on almost all the books of the Bible, of which only those on Genesis, Exodus, and Acts of the Apostles are extant in manuscript; the De fidei symbolis; and the Liber de illustribus Henricis (ed. F. C. Hingeston, Rerum Brittanicarum medii aevi scriptores ), dedicated to King Henry VI; as well as other works now lost, such as a life of Humphrey of Gloucester, his chief patron. The Nova legenda Anglie (London 1901), Capgrave's most famous work, is actually only a rearrangement of the Sanctilogium of John of Tynemouth, OSB.

Bibliography: e. m. thompson, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 18851900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 190809, 192122, 1938; suppl. 1901) 3:929931. w. dibelius, "John Capgrave und die englische Schriftsprache," Anglia 23 (1901) 153194, 323375, 427472; 24 (1901) 211263, 269308. a. de meijer in Augustiniana 5 (1955) 400440; 7 (1957) 118148, 531575, bibliog.

[a. de meijer]

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