Ancestry of the Grand Master
Direct descendant to one of the first Norman Barons of England
Whose descendants include:
Lord Marshall of England
Devisor of English and Norman Laws,
Principal to King William Rufus
First Justice of Ayre
Keeper of the King’s Forests, Parks and Chases of England
In the time of Henry I, Lord Chancellors of England
In the time of Henry II became benefactors to St Gilbert founded the only English monastic order. 'The Gilbertines' the first Order that allowed women.
GILBERT of Sempringham
Gilbert was born in about 1085 at Sempringham near Billingborough, Lincolnshire and was the son of Jocelin, a Norman knight, who came from Normandy with William the Conqueror. His mother was a Saxon 'of inferior origin' and was said to have dreamed before Gilbert's birth that she was holding the round moon in her lap, which was taken to be a sign that the child would rise to greatness.
Because of a deformity Gilbert was unable to follow the knightly pursuits of his father. It is believed he was shunned because of his repulsive appearance. He went to France, probably to the monastery of Citeaux, and on his return to England in 1123 his father gave him the livings of Sempringham and Torrington.
Gilbert gave the revenue of these benefices to the poor and founded and taught in free schools in his parishes. Gilbert lived in a room over the porch in the church at Sempringham and he decided to found a convent to which women could retire from the world in order to devote themselves to study and worship. The priory of Sempringham was founded in 1135 and the new Order of Gilbertines was approved by the Pope, the King and Bishop Alexander of Lincoln.
Gilbertine Priories were founded at Alvingham, North Ormsby, Six Hills, West Torrington and Lincoln. Others followed until there was a total of thirteen houses for women.
Men were introduced into the house to help with the heavy work but were kept strictly separate from the nuns. Although Gilbert was renowned for his gentleness, he made strict rules for discipline.
Gilbert was particularly interested in education and taught by example. He set a high example not only by his own learning and piety but also by his humility and energy. Numerous miracles were ascribed to him. In London, fire consumed the houses surrounding the one in which he was staying but he remained praying and the fire consumed all but the room in which he was situated.
In 1165 Gilbert and his Priors were summoned to Westminster, charged with assisting Thomas Becket. Gilbert said he would suffer exile rather than say he was innocent of the charge because he believed he was right to assist the Archbishop as head of his Church. The charge was dismissed by Henry II.
After Gilber’s death in 1189 at the supposed age of 104, the Order continued to grow and at the Dissolution there were twenty-six Gilbertine houses in England.
"The Lost Princess of Wales"
Ellen, Simon de Montfort's daughter, had married Prince Llewellyn of Wales in Worcester Cathedral in October 1278. The Prince, anxious for an heir to the Welsh throne, was greatly distressed when in June 1282 Ellen died in childbirth. The baby - a girl - lived, and was given the name of Gwenllian. Llewellyn was disconsolate at the loss of his wife whomtruly loved, and, being very busy with the affairs of Wales, he gave Gwenllian into the care of his brother Davydd Ap Gruffydd and Elizabeth his wife. Not long after, in December 1282, Llewellyn himself was killed in battle against King Edward. His severed head was sent to London and with him the Welsh nation state had collapsed.
When the Kings men brought from Wales the coronet called Arthur's Crown, together with a fragment of the true Cross, they brought Gwenllian as well, the only daughter of the true Prince of Wales. Her very presence posed a political problem.
What was the King to do with her? In 1283 Edward wrote to the Prior and Prioress of Sempringham, in Lincolnshire ..... "having the Lord before our eyes, pitying also her sex and age, that the innocent may not seem to atone for the iniquity and ill doing of the wicked, and contemplating especially the life of your Order .... ".
King Edward's idea was that the child should simply disappear- and for the sum of £20 a year (a great deal of money in those days) she was to be kept in Sempringham Priory. There Gwenllian would live the ordered life of a nun, having no visitors, destined not to marry or have children - never to be heard of again. She died at the age of 54.
In the reign of King John, a Chancellor of England and a Cardinal of England
In the reign of Richard II, Lord of West Easefield Castle in Yorkshire,
Supreme Lord Treasurer of England
In the reign of Edward IV 1461-1483, the founder of the Monastry of St. Catherine "Knights Templar Order",(named after the original Monastry in the Sinai purported to be the site of the burning bush) one of the last Knights Templar Orders formed before the inquisitions started, which led the Monastry to became Knights Hospitallers. The Knights Hospitallers of St Catherine along with other Knights Hospitallers remained until the dissolution 1538 when Henry VIII took possession of them all, it survived the dissolution and remained a Hospital for all.
In the reign of Henry VIII, Land Sergeant of Westmoorland and Lord of Bowes Castle
In the reign of Henry VIII, Baron of Brough, Westmoorland and the King gave him the Nunnery of Minkillery.
For services to the crown at the Battle of Solway-moss Standard Bearer to Henry VIII and was made Knight.