Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Eccleston, Thomas of

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ECCLESTON, THOMAS of (fl. 1250), Franciscan, studied at Oxford (De Adventu Minorum, p. 39), and entered the Franciscan order probably soon after its settlement in England. Everything that is to be known of him can only be ascertained from his work, ‘De Adventu Fratrum Minorum in Angliam.’ He speaks of personal intercourse with William of Nottingham, minister-general of the order, who died in 1250, and of Adam de Marisco, who died in 1257 or 1258, as dead, and thus his approximate date is known. His work, for which he was collecting materials for twenty-five years, is dedicated to Simon de Esseby; it gives a narrative of some thirty years of the settlement of the Franciscans in England, describing their work and their poverty with the vividness of an eye-witness. It was partially known by some extracts in Leland's ‘Collectanea,’ iii. 341 (1770), but was not printed till 1858, when it was published in Mr. Brewer's ‘Monumenta Franciscana,’ in the Rolls Series.

[Leland, De Scriptor. Brit. p. 298, an account copied and falsely added to by Bale; Wadding's Annales Minorum, vii. 169, who gives a very erroneous date; Brewer's Preface to the Monumenta Franciscana, pp. lxxi–lxxvi.]

H. R. L.