Jan Craeynest went to primary school in Oostrozebeke, next he attended the St. Joseph college in Tielt. There he was influenced by the “Blauwvoeterie”, which had approached from Roeselare. As a fifth form student Craeynest became a member of the local Davidsfonds branch in Tielt, which was created in 1875. Then he studied at the minor seminary for a year, and started at the major seminary in Bruges in October 1878. In 1881 he began studying at the university in Leuven, where he earned a degree in philological and linguistic sciences after two academic years. He was ordained priest in August 1882.
In September 1883 he became sixth form teacher at the Saint Louis college in Bruges. He remained a teacher there until August 12 1892. In the meantime he published in De Vlaamsche Vlagge (Flemish Flag) (using the pseudonym Craye) and in Rond den Heerd (By the Fireside). He was involved in the creation of the magazine Het Belfort (The Belfry) (1886) and contributed linguistic articles. He also supplied expressions and words to Loquela. Craeynest was a co-founder of the Biehalle in 1887. He participated in the first literary contest of the Royal Flemish Academy for Linguistics and Literature. The competition started on February 18th, 1887 and concerned the establishment of an alphabetical list of words taken over from other languages. He was an active member of the Biekorf (Beehive) editorial team ever since the first installment in 1890. He remained a diligent contributor and published quite a number of articles.
Craeynest helped Gezelle with the translation of "Goddelijke beschouwingen" (Reflections on the Divine) from 1898 onwards. One year after Gezelle’s death he was appointed chaplain at the prison in Bruges. He was encouraged to finish the translation of "Meditationes Theologicae" and continued its translation from the point where Gezelle had stopped. However, its translation was never finished. In 1904 Craeynest was appointed priest at the Saint Michael’s parish in Bruges. That same year he also published "Woordkunst van Guido Gezelle" (Guido Gezelle’s Word Art). In 1907 the dictionary Loquela was published, ordered alphabetically by the carmelite Hyacinthus. Caesar Gezelle assisted him with this task. Jan Craeynest was asked to write the introduction, which prompted him to helping with the compilation of the dictionary.
Craeynest with pupils, College of Saint Louis 1884-1885.
Craeynest with pupils, College of Saint Louis 1890-1891.
Online Edition of the Gezelle Letters
Here you can find the digitized letters next to the full searchable text. The letters are enriched with biographical and contextual information.