Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ketel, William

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1443090Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 31 — Ketel, William1892Charles Lethbridge Kingsford

KETEL or CHETTLE, WILLIAM (fl. 1150), hagiographer, was a canon of Beverley. He wrote a narrative ‘De Miraculis Sancti Joannis Beverlacensis,’ wherein he says that he had only entered things of which he had personal knowledge or which he had learnt from others worthy of credit. Almost all that he relates took place during the reign of William I (1066–87). Ketel dedicated his work, according to the version in the ‘Acta Sanctorum,’ to Thurstin, prior of Beverley in 1101, or, according to Leland, to Thomas, prior of Beverley. One Thomas was prior in 1092 and another in 1108. But Mr. Raine points out that the treatise contains quotations from Aelred of Beverley, whose chronicle was written about 1150, and that there was a prior Thurstin who died in 1153 or 1154. Tanner is clearly mistaken in giving Ketel the date 1320. The editors of the ‘Histoire Littéraire’ consider that Ketel (or Kecel as they spell it) was a Norman or French name; Leland suggests that it is a corruption of Aschetel.

The ‘De Miraculis’ is given in the ‘Acta Sanctorum,’ 7 May, 172–9, 3rd edit.; in the original edition it was printed from a transcript supplied by Leander Pritchard; in the last edition this version is collated with a copy in Cotton. MS. Faustina B. iv. ff. 164 b–178 a. It is also printed by Mr. Raine in ‘Historians of the Church of York and its Archbishops,’ i. 261–91 (Rolls Ser.) Ketel's style is pious and diffuse, and his work is of little interest; he is named as the author by a continuator of slightly later date. Bale ascribes to him two other treatises, ‘De Rebus Beverlacensis Ecclesiæ’ and ‘Vita S. Joannis Beverlacensis;’ but his statement is not substantiated.

[Leland's Comment. de Scriptt. p. 175; Bale, v. 5; Pits, p. 411; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 176; Hist. Litt. de la France, viii. 317–18; Hardy's Descript. Cat. Brit. Hist. iii. 369; Bollandists' Acta Sanct. 7 May, 172–9, and App.; Raine's Historians of the Church of York and its Archbishops, i. p. liv.]

C. L. K.