Thirteenth-century Friar Minor and chronicler, dates of birth and death unknown. He styles himself simply "Brother Thomas" and Bale seems to have first given him the title "of Eccleston". He appears to have entered the order about 1232-3 and to have been a student at Oxford between 1230 and 1240. After the latter year he was stationed at the convent in London, but he does not appear to have ever held any office in the order. He is chiefly famous for his chronicle "De Adventu Fratrum Minorum in Angliam", which extends from the coming of the friars into England under Agnellus of Pisa, in 1224, up to about 1258, when the work was probably completed. Eccleston declares that he spent twenty-six years collecting material for his chronicle, most of the information it contains being derived from personal knowledge or verbal communication, although he seems to have had access to certain wrtten documents now lost. His "De Advetu" is a collection of notes rathe than a finished work. He describes with extreme simplicity and vividness what has been called the heroic period of the Franciscan movement in England. In spite of the absence of dates and of any chronological sequence and of its tendency to extol the English province above all others, his chronicle is very valuable and is accurate and reliable in all that concerns the establishment and spread of the Friars Minor in England. Incidentally it throws some light on the trend of early Franciscan events and thought in general. Four manuscripts of the "De Adventu", all of which go back to one lost archetype, are known to scholars. The chronicle has been often edited; in part by Brewer in the "Monumenta Fraciscana" (Rolls Series, London, 1858); and by Howlett in the same series (1882); by the Friars Minor at Quaracchi (in Analecta Franciscana, I, 1885, 217-57); by Liebermann in the "Monumenta Germaniæ" (XXVIII, Hanover, 1885, 560-69). A critical edition of the complete text is much needed. There is an English translation of Eccleston's work by Father Cuthbert, O.S.F.C., "The Friars and how they came to England" (London, 1903).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online