Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 4 February 2011

St Gilbert of Sempringham

Today is the feast of St Gilbert of Sempringham (c 1085 - 1189). 

This long-lived Lincolnshire priest was the only Englishman to found a monastic order in the high middle ages.

There is a biography of him here,  There is another one here from the Friends of Chicksands Priory in Bedfordshire. Another site about St Katherine's Priory in Lincoln has an illustrated account of St Gilbert, his Order and the priory. It can be found here.

The Gilbertine Order has double houses for the nuns and the canons who were their spiritual directors, as well as houses just comprised of canons. They were nearly all in the dioceses of Lincoln and York, and particularly concentrated in Lincolnshire and the East Riding. 

As an Order it represented a response to the increased demand for spiritual direction and structures in the twelfth century, and one which is recorded in the Vita of St Gilbert as the response of a parish priest to particular local circumstances.

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