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The dates of his birth and death are unknown, but he was still living in 1259. He was an Oxford Franciscan, possibly a Master of Arts of that university, who had studied for a time in Paris (1238), and then returned to Oxford. He was chosen with Haymo of Faversham to go to Rome to oppose the minister-general Elias. In 1250 he was lecturing at Oxford on the "Sentences", till he was driven away by the riots, when he returned to Paris and continued lecturing there, gaining the title Philosophus Admirabilis; but according to Roger Bacon his teaching was very mischievous, and produced evil results for the next forty years. He was again at Oxford in 1255 as regent-master of the friars. Several works, all still in MS., are attributed to him. These are: "Commentaries on the Master of the Sentences", a work formerly at Assisi; "Commentary on Bonaventure's third book of Sentences" (Assisi); and a similar commentary on the fourth book (Assisi); Pits ("De illustribus Angliae scriptoribus") denies his identity with Richard Rufus on the ground that Rufus was born at Cirencester in Gloucestershire, and not in Cornwall.

Monumenta Franciscana, ed. BREWER AND HOWLETT in R. S. (London, 1858-82); WADDING, Annales Minorum, IV (Lyons and Rome, 1650); 2nd ed. (Rome, 1731-45); and supplement by SBARALEA (1806); PARKINSON, Collectanea Anglo-Minoritica (London, 1726); LITTLE, The Grey Friars in Oxford (Oxford, 1892); DENIFLE, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis (Paris 1889); see also tr. of THOMAS OF ECCLESTON by FR. CUTHBERT, The Friars and how they came to England (London, 1903), and The Chronicle of Thomas of Eccleston (London, 1909).