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end of the reign of Williain the Conqueror; the exact date is not known, but it was probably about 1085.
Sir Josceline held gifts of land from William in Lincolnshire, notably the manor and lordship of Sempringham.
Gilbert's mother was a Saxon lady, and they “dwelt in the midst of their people.”
A reform of monastic abuses was at this date taking place in England, and St. Albans became a school of holy discipline under Paul, its first Norman abbot.
Gilbert, a puny, plain, shy child, was destined from his earliest years to be a clerk. He was sent to be educated in Paris, but his master is unknown. After a time he returned to England, and opened a school in his own old home of Sempringham. Neglected in his childhood, now that he was a scholar he was much respected, and as a schoolmaster was greatly honoured. His parents favoured him, and Pope Alexander III supported the school, to which both girls and boys Hocked, and Gilbert found himself the “happy guide of youths and maidens who praised the Lord.”
His father appointed him rector of two parishes which were in his gift ; and Gilbert being a clerk, but not yet a priest, employed chaplains to do the ecclesiastical duties.
Robert Bloet, Bishop of Lincoln, sent for him to the Palace, and kept him some time, liking his simple unselfish ways and his knowledge; be seems to have been quite unspoiled by the luxury and brilliant Court life. After long hesitation, he yielded to the Bishop's wishes,' and was ordained priest, leaving the Palace in 1130.
He was now, after his father's death, a rich man, Lord of the Manor of Sempringham, and, being anxious for the honour of God and the welfare of his parishioners, he founded, at the earnest request of seven maidens, a nunnery. He built a cloister for their residence, which was consecrated by Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln. Lay sisters as well as professed nuns became its inmates.
Gilbert was much attracted by the Cistercian rule of St. Benedict, and went to Citeaux to consult St. Bernard how to govern his rapidly-increasing flocks, and what rules to draw up for their guidance. He met St. Malachi, who had come over from Ireland to Citeaux, and both the Fathers made him a present of a staff when he left.
He had established a monastery also before he went to France, and on his return thence a perfect enthusiasın for the Gilbertine Order commenced: in spite-perhaps because—of the more than ordinarily austere rule.
Now was built the first Priory at Sempringham, upon land given by Gilbert of Ghent, who was the overlord of the district.
The peculiarity of this Order consisted in the institution of a certain number of canons to be the spiritual guides and confessors
of the nuns, who were the first religious instituted: the “ White Gilbertines”—they used a white habit-an austere Order.
The canons were necessarily clerks and students. The rule of St. Augustine became partially grafted into their own.
Unmurmuring obedience was the first requirement; then purity of life and poverty; there were two separate churches, and canons and nuns never saw each other, save at the hour of death.
Gilbert finally took the habit, and the Pope appointed him First Prior of the Order.
In the quarrels between the King and Thomas a' Becket, Gilbert embraced the cause of the Archbishop; a poor brother of Sempringham stood by his side, and guided him at his fall and flight across fen and marsh to Sempringham Priory, where he rested secretly for three days.
Gilbert was sent for to London to give an account of himself and his Order, and to answer charges against his monks : lay brothers being, as usual, always a great trouble and causing scandal. Reproofs and reproaches were borne with patience, but Gilbert remained staunch to the Archbishop and to his Order. King Henry greatly admired his courage, and went to his lodgings to beg his blessing
Queen Eleanor also brought her sons to see him. William, Bishop of Norwich, wrote a letter to Pope Alexander, praising Gilbert and his Order.
After long detention in London, he was permitted to return to his beloved Priory and his simple, self-denying life.
There were several offshoots from Sempringham: one in London, one in Yorkshire (Watton, in lonely marsh-lands), one at Cadney, a lonely island monastery in Lincolnshire Fens, where Gilbert lay ill to death when he was somewhat over a hundred years old; but his monks and chaplains carried him from those wretched and inhospitable surroundings to Sempringham, where he was buried in his Priory church, February 4th, 1189.
The Order did not spread much after the death of its founder, and never out of the country of its birth. The religious houses were suppressed by Henry VIII, but the Gilbertine priors seem to have still had a house in London, for Robert Holgate, Archbishop of York in Mary's reign, himself a Gilbertine, died there. And the Priory church of Sempringham still exists, the Bishop of Lincoln having lately (September, 1899,) opened a new porch, towards the erection of which the Queen was a subscriber.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH, 1900.
Parts II and 111, vol. x, 1900.
vii, Parts 1 and 11.
brensis," July, October, 1900.
Ser., vol. ix.
Part 1 ; and for “ Feet of Fines for Essex.”
Academy," vol. vii, 1897-9.
Ser., vol. vii, Parts III and iv.
Village,” by J. A. Viddler.
Parts I and 11.
The following Members were duly elected :
Rev. C. H. Evelyn-White, F.S.A., Rampton Rectory, Cambridge.
At the Council Meeting in the afternoon, Mr. Patrick, Hon. Sec., had brought up the question of Whitgift's Hospital at Croydon, which, it appears, is still threatened with demolition at the hands of the Town Council of that borough. He now reported that the Council, at his suggestion, had appointed three delegates, Mr. Hovenden, F.S.A., Mr. Kershaw, F.S.A. (if they would agree to act), and himself to meet the members of the Croydon Antiquities Protection Committee, with the delegates of other Societies interested, to discuss measures to avert the threatened disaster.
A most interesting lecture was given by Mr. Newstead, the Curator of the Grosvenor Museum at Chester, upon the Roman remains recently discovered in that city. The lecture was abundantly illustrated by over sixty photographs of the various objects found and the sites of the several discoveries, which were capitally displayed by the limelight lantern. Within the past two years extensive alterations have been carried on within the boundaries of the city of Chester, which have yielded very many relics of the Roman occupation. One of the most important architectural relics of ancient Deva was discovered in the summer of 1898, and consisted of a semicircular structure composed of brickwork and masonry, resting upon a floor of thick concrete and large tiles. The inner surface was covered with three grades of plaster, the first being finely-powdered brick, the second chiefly of coarse sand, and the third a finishing coat of finely-ground quartz. The site of the building is in Godstall's Lane (off Eastgate Street North), and the depth at which the remains were found is 8 ft. 11 ins. Mr. Newstead considers the structure was probably a Lararium. Close alongside was found a wooden spade, similar to those used by the Romans in their mining operations. East of this structure, but at a higher level, was a rough concrete floor made of fragments of Roman roofing tiles faced with cement, and upon this floor were quantities of fine charcoal and many slips of waste sheet bronze, two bronze fibulæ of the harpshaped type, and a curious implement somewhat resembling a "bit” used by a modern joiner. One of the most interesting things here
discovered was a slip of bronze, with a buckle-shaped attachment, bearing the motto, in green and red enamelled letters, VTERE Felix. During the last three months extensive excavations have been made in the rear of premises in Eastgate Street, a few paces west of Godstall's Lane, which brought to light considerable traces of Roman work in a series of drains having a base of flat, broad roofing tiles, with the sides and top of roughly-dressed masonry. On October 9th, about 15 ft. of lead water-pipes in differing lengths were dug out, portions of which bear inscriptions to Agricola. One of these inscriptions is on a raised band 3 ft. 101 ins. long by 2 ins. broad, the letters practically filling the whole space, and is as follows :
IMP. VESP. VIIII. T. IMP. VII. COS. CN. IVLIO AGRICOLA LEG. AUG.
The inscription was submitted to Mr. Haverfield, who considers the date to be A.D. 79, as Agricola governed Britain from A.D. 78 to A.D. 85; but the occurrence of Agricola's name on the pipes does not imply any special action or presence of his at Chester, but is due to the common method of dating. It is satisfactory to know that these most interesting relics of the Roman city have been preserved by Mr. Newstead's efforts, and have been presented by the owners of the property and the contractor for the works to the Chester Archæological Society. The various distances and depths, and the exact nature of the several localities at which all the relics were discovered, together with their relative positions, are all accurately recorded by Mr. Newstead.
This Paper will, we hope, be printed in full, with illustrations, in a future number of the Journal.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 21st, 1900.
C. H. COMPTON, Esq., V.-P., IN THE CHAIR. The following Member was duly elected :
Hubert R. H. Southam, Esq., F.S.A., Innellan, Shrewsbury. Mr. Patrick, Hon. Sec., reported as to “ WhitgifT HOSPITAL" :
On November 17th, Mr. Kershaw, M.A., F.S.A., Mr. Hovenden, F.S.A., and G. Patrick, Hon. Sec., the delegates appointed by the Council, attended at Whitgift Hospital, Croydon, and met the members of the Croydon Antiquities Protection Committee. Delegates from other Societies were also present; and after considerable discussion as to