Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ingulf

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

INGULF (d. 1109), abbot of Crowland or Croyland in Lincolnshire, an Englishman, was secretary of William the Conqueror, and after having made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem entered the monastery of St. Wandrille in Normandy, where Gerbert, a man of much learning, was then abbot. He became prior, and when Ulfcytel, abbot of Crowland, was deposed, was in 1086 appointed by the Conqueror to his office. He interceded successfully for his predecessor, who was released from confinement at Glastonbury, and allowed to return to his old home, the monastery of Peterborough. Though much afflicted with gout, Ingulf was full of energy, and rebuilt part of his abbey church and other buildings which had been destroyed by fire. In 1092 he translated the body of Earl Waltheof [q. v.], beheaded in 1076, from the chapter-house to a place near the high altar of the church. He died on 16 Nov. 1109. He was one of the few Englishmen appointed to high office in the Conqueror's reign (Freeman, Norman Conquest, iv. 600).

Some fabulous notices of Ingulf's life are given in the forged ‘History’ which bears his name; his known relations with Gerbert, however, probably justify partial acceptance of the account of his learning contained in the forgery. The assertion that he wrote a life of St. Guthlac is founded only on a passage in the ‘History,’ and is not worthy of belief. The ‘History’ has been printed by Savile in his ‘Scriptores post Bedam,’ pp. 850–914, London, 1596, fol.; reprinted, Frankfort, 1601; by Fulman, with a continuation falsely attributed to Peter of Blois and other continuations, in his ‘Quinque Scriptores,’ pp. 1 sqq., Oxford, 1684, fol., a volume usually reckoned as the first of Gale's ‘Scriptores;’ separately by Mr. Birch in the ‘Chronicle of Croyland Abbey by Ingulph’ (Lat.), 1883; and in part in the ‘Recueil des Historiens,’ xi. 153–7; it has been translated by Riley in Bohn's ‘Historical Library,’ 1854. Five manuscripts of it are known to have existed, of which only one is supposed to be extant (Brit. Mus. Arundel MS. No. 178, 54 pages fol., written in a hand of the sixteenth century; printed by Mr. Birch). Selden, in his edition of ‘Eadmer’ (1623), speaks of a manuscript then kept at Crowland, and held to be Ingulf's autograph. He could not see it; Spelman, however, saw and used it for his ‘Concilia,’ i. 623 (1639). Selden used another manuscript for the so-called laws of William the Conqueror, given in his notes on ‘Eadmer.’ This manuscript is noticed by Camden in the dedicatory epistle to his reprint of Asser in his ‘Anglica,’ &c. (1602); it is supposed to have been burnt in the fire which destroyed part of the Cotton Library in 1731. A third manuscript was used by Fulman; it belonged to Sir John Marsham, and was said to have been carried off by Obadiah Walker (see Monumenta Historica Britannica, p. 11 n.) A fourth, imperfect, was used by Savile who gives no account of it.

From the foundation of the abbey to the thirty-fourth year of Edgar the writer professes to base his work on a chronicle of the house compiled under Abbot Turketul by a brother named Sweetman. The early part consists mainly of charters of donation connected by a slender thread of narrative. From the accession of Edward the Confessor the narrative becomes more prominent. The book contains a great many curious and evidently untrue stories. In Fulman's time the charters were used as evidence of title, and Dr. Caius, in his book on Cambridge (1568), and after him Spelman, Dugdale, Selden, and others, accepted the ‘History’ as authoritative. Wharton, however, in his ‘Historia de Episcopis et Decanis Londinensibus’ (1695), pp. 19, 24–6, pointed out that some of the charters were forgeries, and he was followed by Wanley, and more at length by Hickes in his ‘Thesaurus’ and his ‘Dissertatio Epistolaris.’ From that time the charters were rejected; but at the end of the eighteenth century Richard Gough [q. v.] maintained that the ‘History’ was by Ingulf, who, however, himself forged the charters. Gibbon noted the anachronism in the statement regarding the study of Aristotle at Oxford. In 1826 Sir Francis Palgrave, in an article in the ‘Quarterly Review,’ exposed some of the points which mark the book as a forgery, and in 1862 this was done more thoroughly by Riley in the ‘Archæological Journal.’ Among these points may be noticed the assertions that the abbey in Edred's days bore the French appellation of ‘curteyse;’ that Turketul, who is said to have been born in 907, is also said to have advised the consecration of bishops in 905; that Ingulf, the supposed author, was educated at Oxford, and read Aristotle there; that on visiting Constantinople he saluted the emperor Alexis (Alexius), who began to reign in 1081, and was received by the patriarch Sophronius, who died in 1059, that he was appointed abbot in 1075, and that there was a ‘vicar’ of a place called Wedlongburc in 1091. The spelling of place names belongs rather to the fourteenth than to the eleventh century, and many words and phrases occur which were certainly not in use in Ingulf's time. The motive of the forgery appears to have been the desire to defend the property of the abbey against the claims of the Spalding people. From the fifteenth-century continuation, which seems to be a bonâ fide work, Riley shows that it is probable that the forgery of the charters began about 1393. He further, with great ingenuity, assigns the compilation of the book to 1413–15, and regards it as the work of the prior Richard, then engaged, the abbot being blind, in a lawsuit with the people of Spalding and Multon on behalf of the abbey; the counsel for the abbey, Serjeant Ludyngton, afterwards justice of the common pleas, must, in Riley's opinion, have been cognisant of the affair. One of the absurdities of the book is the story of the five sempectæ or senior members of the house, who, in order to account for the preservation of the traditions of the convent, are made to live to immense ages, one to 168, another to 142 years, and one of them, a fabulous Aio, to about 125 years. In spite of the work of Palgrave, Riley, and others, and of the general consensus of scholars, H. S. English, in his ‘Crowland and Burgh’ (1871, 3 vols.), believes that the ‘History’ is a mutilated and altered edition of a genuine work written by Ingulf (i. 22); and Mr. Birch, in his ‘Chronicle of Croyland Abbey’ (1883), argues that the charters are a reconstruction of original documents, and that the book, as a whole, is not a wanton forgery. Neither of them accurately defines his position or supports it with adequate arguments.

[The only authority for the Life of Ingulf is the account given by Orderic, pp. 542, 543; see also Freeman's Norman Conquest, iv. 600–2, 690. For the character of the Crowland History see Quarterly Review (1826), xxxiv. 289 sqq.; Archæol. Journal (1862), xix. 32–49, 113–33; Hardy's Materials, I. ii. 816, ii. 58–64 (Rolls Series); Mon. Hist. Brit. pp. 11, 18, 19; Wright's Biog. Brit. Lit. ii. 28–33; and other works quoted in text.]

W. H.