Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 4.djvu/862

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DICETO


778


DICUIL


both by the exiled English Catholics and by Louis XIV of France, and to whom Dieconson's oldest brother William was tutor. The queen was of course his mother, the widowed Mary of Modena, whose kindly interest in Douai College is shown by more than one entry in the diary. He mentions also a week spent by him in May, 1705, at Cambrai, whither him- self and the President of Douai conducted three of the young Howards, then students at the college, to meet their brother the Duke of Norfolk. The illustrious Fenelon was then Archbishop of Cambrai, of whose " extremely obliging and respectful ' ' reception of the duke the diary makes particular mention.

After being employed for some time at Paris in con- nexion with the college funds, Dicconson left Douai to work upon the English mission in 1720, and for some years was chaplain to Mr. Giffard of Chillington in Staffordshire, acting at the same time as vicar-general to Bishop Stonor, Vicar Apostolic of the Midland Dis- trict. At the time of his own nomination to the Northern Vicariate Dicconson had gone to Rome as envoy-extraordinary of the secular clergy. He was consecrated on 19 March, 1741, at Ghent; passing from there to Douai, he confinned some of the students, besides ordaining others. On reaching his vicariate he fixed his residence at Finch Mill in Lancashire, a place belonging to his family. He had then reached the age of seventy, and in 1750 he had to petition for a coadjutor in the person of Dr. Francis Petre. After an episcopate not marked by any great events he died at Finch Mill and was buried in the family vault be- neath the parish church of Standish. Li the reports supplied to the Holy See on the several occasions when his name was brought forward for a bishopric, he is described as " a wise man of singular merit, of learn- ing, application to business, and dexterity in manag- ing affairs — though not very successful in the econ- omy of Douai, and with an impediment of tongue, which made preaching difficult." The fact is also noted that in 1714 "he had accepted the Constitution Unigenitus [against Jansenism], and insisted on its acceptance by the students." He collected a. largo number of controversial works of the sevoiitti'iith and eighteenth centuries (now in the Library of TTshaw College), on the fly-leaves of which he wrote valuable biographical and bibliographical comments.

Brady, Episcopal Succcssian (Rome, 1877),^ III; Douai Papers in JJshaw Magazine (December, 1903); Gillow, Bibl. Diet. Eng. Cath. (London, 1885), s. v.

G. E. Phillip.s.

Diceto, Ralph de, dean of St. Paul's, London, and chronicler. The name "Dicetum" cannot be cor- rectly connected with any place in England; it is pos- sible'thercfore tliat Ralph was born in France. The date of his birth must be placed between 1120 and 1130; he died 22 Nov., 1202. He was twice a student at Paris. His first preferment was the archdeaconry of Middlesex to which he was nominated in 1152. In 1180 he became dean of St. Paul's. He was the friend, during fifty years, of the successive bishops of London, including Gilbert. Foliot, the leader of the royalist party among the bishops and the adversary of the Archbishop. St. Thomas. This friendship and his admiration for Henry II drew him towards the royal- ist side in the Becket controversy, but not altogether; he had something of the wide, cosmopolitan, twelftli- century outlook, and he showed his sympathy witli his archbishop at the Council of Northampton in 11()4. He was an active dean and took part in the survey of the lands belonging to the chapter which is known as the Domesday of St. Paul's. His writings include two substantial historical works: " Abbrevnationes Chroni- corum", a compilation from many sources going back to 1147, and "Ymagines Historiarum", a much more important work. It covers the years 1 149 to 1202, and in its earlier portion is based on the historical writings of Robert de Monte (or "de Torigny "). It was begim


probably in the closing years of Henry II's reign. Ralph's important position in ecclesiastical circles, his friendship with many prominent men, such as William Longchamp and Walter of Coutances, the help he re- ceived from them, the documents he incorporates, and his own moderate temper render his work of capital importance in spite of some chronological vagueness. The best edition of Ralph's historical works is that edited for the "Rolls Series" by Bishop Stubbs in 1876. The prefaces to the two volumes contain an admirable account of the historian, of the society in which he moved, and of the writings themselves.

F. F. Ukquhart.

Dichu, Saint, the son of an ITlster chieftain, was the first convert of St. Patrick in Ireland. Bom in the last decade of the fourth century, he succeeded to the petty kingdom of Lecale, which included Saul, in the present Covmty Down. On St. Patrick's arrival at Tubber Slain (the estuary of the Slaney near Loch Cuan or Strangford Lough), in 432, Dichu, then a pagan, strongly opposed his landing, and even at- tacked the saint, but was miraculously touched with Divine grace and embraced the Faith of Christ. Thereupon Dichu, after baptism, presented St. Patrick with the Sabhall (Saul), for a church, and thus Saul became the first Irish foundation of the national apostle, being afterwards known as Sabhall-Pndhraic. Saul was a particular favourite with St. Patrick, and he frequently sought a resting-place there during his arduous missionary labours. St. Dichu, from the day of his conversion, was a model of sanctity and, from a man of warlike proclivities, became a man of peace. The details of his later career are obscure, but we know that two of his sons, who had been detained as hostages by Laoghaire, King of Ireland, were released at the prayer of St. Patrick. His feast is noted in the "Martyrology of Donegal" as "Diochu of Sabhall", under date of 29 April. As Ls well known, it was at Saul that St. Patrick died, and this monasteiy became in afterdays a famous abbey, under the rule of the Regular Canons of St. Augustine.

CoLGAN, Trias Thaumaturga; Acta Sanctorum, III; Todd AND Reeves, Martyrologi/ of Donegal (Dublin, 1864); O'Lav- ERTT, Doum and Connor (Dublin, 1878), I; 0'Hani.on. Lives of the Irish Saints, IV ; He.vly, Life and Writings of St. Patrick (Dublin, 1905).

W. H. Grattan-J'lood.

Dicuil, Irish monk and geographer, b. in the second halt of the eighth centuiy; date of death unknown. Of his life nothing is known except that he belonged probably to one of the niunerous Irish monasteries of the Frankish Kingdom, l.iecame acquainted, by per- sonal observation, with the islands near England and Scotland, and wrote between 814 and 816 an astronom- ical, and in 825 a geographical, work. The astronom- ical work is a sort, of computus in four books; in prose and verse, preserved only in a manuscript which formerly belonged to the monastery of Saint-Amand, and is now at Valenciennes. More famous is the " De mensura Orbis terra? ' ', a summary of geography, giv- ing concise information about various lands. This work was based upon a "Mensuratio orbis" prepared by order of Theodosius II (435), a manuscript copy of which had found its way to the Carlovingian cotu't. Godescalc had already made use of this copy (781-83) in the composition of his celebrated "Evangelis- tarium". Dicuil draws also upon Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, Isidore of Seville, and other authors, and adds the results of his own investigations. In the nine sec- tions he treats in turn of Europe, Asia, Africa, Egypt, and Ethiopia, (he area of the earth's surface, the five great rivi is, (■i'it:iin islands, the length and breadth of the Tyrrlicnian Sea, .and the six (highest) mountains. Although mainly a compilation, this work is not with- out value. Dicuil is our only source for detailed in- formation of the surveys carried out under Theodosius