Bocking, Ralph (DNB00)

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BOCKING, RALPH (d. 1270), Dominican, is stated to have been a native of Chichester. He was the private confessor of Richard Wych, who held the see of Chichester from 1245 till his death in 1253. Ralph lived for many years on very intimate terms with the bishop, and on the latter's canonisation, early in 1262, was requested by Isabel, countess of Arundel, and Robert de Kilwardby (chief of the Dominican order in England, and afterwards archbishop of Canterbury) to write St. Richard's life. Ralph readily performed the task, and dedicated it to the Lady Isabel. His style is declamatory; but he utilises much information derived from the bishop, and he describes much that he himself witnessed. A thirteenth-century manuscript of the life is in the British Museum (MS. Sloane, 1772, ff. 25-70). It was printed in the Bollandists' 'Acta Sanctorum,' 1675. under 3 April. A popular abridgment of Ralph's life by John Elmer, manuscripts of which are extant in the British Museum (MS. Cotton, Tib. e, 1), in the Bodleian (MS. Tanner, 15), and at York, is printed in Capgrave's 'Nova Legenda Angliæ.' fol. 269 b. Bale attributes to Ralph a series of sermons, but of them nothing is now known.

[Hardy's Descriptive Catalogue, iii. 136-8, 179; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Bollandists' Acta Sanctorum, Aprilis, i. 282-318.]

S. L. L.