Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Thurcytel

THURCYTEL (d. 975), abbot of Crowland, was a clerk of royal race and of great wealth, the kinsman probably of Archbishop Oskytel [q. v.] of York. Having decided to renounce the world, he persuaded King Edred or Eadred to give him the abbey of Crowland, then a poor and struggling house surrounded by swamps and marshes. At Crowland Thurcytel became a monk in the first place probably about 946, but was shortly elected abbot. He restored the house, endowed it of his great wealth with six manors, and may be regarded as its second founder. The charter he obtained from King Edgar or Eadgar [q. v.] in 966 is still extant (Dugdale, Monast. Angl. ii. 115 sq.). He was the friend of St. Dunstan [q. v.], of Ethelwold (d. 984) [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, and of Oswald (d. 972) [q. v.], archbishop of York. From this fact, together with the accounts of his life, both legendary and authentic, it may be inferred that he took part in the struggle of the day between the secular clerks and the regular monks, and assisted in the revival of monasticism in this country in the tenth century. He died probably in July 975, and his work at Crowland was taken up successively by two of his kinsmen.

Thurcytel is perhaps chiefly known from the narrative of the false Ingulf, which gives a detailed but fabulous account of his life and work both before and after he went to Crowland. The trustworthy story from which this fable grew up is contained in the narrative of Orderic Vitalis, who makes no mention of the legends contained in Ingulf.

[Orderici Vitalis Hist. Eccles. ii. 281–3, ed. Le Prévost; see also the so-called Ingulf of Crowland ap. Savile's Angl. Rer. Script. post Bedam, pp. 872 seq.; Freeman's Norman Conquest, iv. 597; Dugdale's Monast. Angl. ii. 92 seq., which follows Ingulf.]

A. M. C.-e.