John Mason Neale - Encyclopedia




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JOHN MASON NEALE (1818-1866), English divine and scholar, was born in London on the 24th of January 1818, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he was affected by the Oxford movement, and helped to found the Camden (afterwards the Ecclesiological) Society. Though he took orders in 1841, ill-health prevented his settling in England till 1846, when he became warden of Sackville College, an almshouse at East Grinstead, an appointment which he held till his death on the 6th of August 1866.

Neale was strongly high-church in his sympathies, and had to endure a good deal of opposition, including a fourteen years' inhibition by his bishop. In 1855 he founded a nursing sisterhood named St Margaret's. He occupies a high place as a hymnologist, but principally as a translator of ancient and medieval hymns, the best known being probably "Brief life is here our portion," "To thee, 0 dear, dear country," and "Jerusalem, the golden," which are included in the poem of Bernard of Cluny, De Contemptu Mundi, translated by him in full. He also published An Introduction to the History of the Holy Eastern Church (1850, 2 vols.); History of the so-called Jansenist Church of Holland (1858); Essays on Liturgiology and Church History (1863); and many other works.

See Life by his daughter, Mrs Charles Towle (1907); the Memoir by his friend, R. F. Littledale; and the Letters of John Mason Neale (1910), selected and edited by his daughter. For a complete list of Neale's works see article in Diet. of Nat. Biog. xl. 145.

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