Catholic Dictionary




The only purely English monastic order, founded about A.D. 1130 by St. Gilbert (1083-1189) at Sempringham, England, beginning with seven women. Eventually monasteries of men were also established, all following the Rule of St. Augustine. Absolute authority was vested in a master, called "Prior of All." By the time of St. Gilbert's death, there were thirteen foundations in England. The Gilbertines were favored by the crown until Henry VIII dissolved the order, which then had twenty-five monasteries. The last master was Robert Holgate.