Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/John Capgrave

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Augustinian friar, historian, and theologian, b. at Lynn in Norfolk, 21 April, 1393; d. there, 12 August, 1464 (according to Pits, 1484). His name is known chiefly in connection with the "Nova Legenda Angliae", the first comprehensive collection of English saints' lives. But this work was really complied by John of Tynemouth, a Benedictine (born c. 1290), and Capgrave merely edited and re-arranged it, though it has ever since passed under his name. Yet quite apart from the "Nova Legenda", his own undoubted works prove him to have been a scholar of unusual eminence. But few facts-and these gleaned from his own works-are known concerning his life. He states that he was born at Lynn in Norfolk, and not in Kent as Bale and others have stated. His university is uncertain, both Oxford and Cambridge claiming him, but he certainly was ordained priest in 1417 or 1418, and was professed an Augustinian at Lynn. He became a doctor of Divinity, and subsequently provincial of his order. Many of his unpublished works exist in MS., but some are lost. His historical works are: "De illustribus Henricis" (R.S., London, 1858); "Vita Humfredi ducis Glocestriae"; Life of St. Gilbert of Sempringham"; "Metrical Life of St. Katharine" (Early English Test Soc., 1893); "Chronicle of England to A.D. 1417" (R.S., London, 1858); "Vita S. Augustini"; "De sequacibus S. Augustini"; "De illustribus viris O. S. A." His theological works, too numerous to detail (given by Hingeston, below), include commentaries on many books of the Bible, a work on the creeds, sermons, lectures and addresses to the clergy.

Hingeston, Capgrave's Chronicle of England (R.S., London, 1858); Maunde Thompson in Dict. Nat. Biog. (London, 1887), IX, 20; Horstman, Nova Legenda Angliae, Introduction (Oxford, 1901).

EDWIN BURTON