Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Jocelin de Brakelond

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An English chronicler, of the late twelfth century. He was the monk of Bury St. Edmund's whose history of the abbey under the feeble Abbot Hugh and the energetic Abbot Sampson furnished Carlyle with the material for the powerful and sympathetic second book of "Past and Present". When Jocelin entered the abbey in 1173 Sampson was his novice-master and when nine years later Sampson became abbot he chose Jocelin as his chaplain and constant companion. He filled this office from 1182 to 1188. Ten years later he was guest-master and in 1212 he was almoner. There is no record of his death. He is Iast mentioned on 24 April 1215 when Abbot Hugh II consulted him as to the abbey manors. His chronicle covers the history of the abbey from 1173 to 1202 and includes the story of Henry of Essex. It was first edited for the Camden Society by J. G. Rokewood in 1843, this edition was used by Carlyle. It has been re-edited by Thomas Arnold in the "Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey", Rolls Series, 1890. His book on St. Robert, the boy alleged to have been murdered by Jews, is not extant. Jocelin's work is marked by shrewd observation and kindly humour. Carlyle wrote of him: "The man is of patient, peaceable, loving, clear-smiling nature; open for this and that. A wise simplicity is in him; much natural sense; a veracity that goes deeper than words." He is described by a brother monk as a man "eximiae religionis, potens sermone et opere."

Memorials of St. Edmund's Abbey: Introduction by ARNOLD, I, lix in Rolls Series (London, 1890); Cronica Joscelini, ed. ROKEWOOD (Camden Soc., London, 1840); The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, ed. CLARKE (London, 1903).

EDWIN BURTON