Gilbert of Glenluce

Gilbert of Glenluce

infobox bishopbiog
name = Gilbert

religion=Roman Catholic Church
See = Diocese of Galloway
Title = Bishop of Galloway
Period = 1235–1253
consecration = September 2, 1235
Predecessor = Walter
Successor = Henry of Holyrood
post = Abbot of Glenluce (resigned 1233) | ordination =
bishops =
date of birth = Probably late 12th century
place of birth = unknown
date of death = 1253
place of death =

Gilbert (died 1253) was a 13th century Cistercian monk, abbot and bishop. His first appearance in the sources occurs under the year 1233, for which year the "Chronicle of Melrose" reported that "Sir Gilbert, the abbot of Glenluce, resigned his office, in the chapter of Melrose; and there he made his profession". [Anderson, "Early Sources", vol. i, p. 489.] It is not clear why Gilbert really did resign the position of Abbot of Glenluce, head of Glenluce Abbey in Galloway, in order to become a mere brother at Melrose Abbey; nor is it clear for how long Gilbert had been abbot, though his latest known predecessor is attested last on May 27, 1222. [Watt & Shead, "Head of Religious Houses", p. 86.] After going to there, Gilbert became the Master of the Novices at Melrose.Anderson, "Early Sources", vol. i, p. 495.]

The "Melrose Chronicle" tells us that "Sir Gilbert, master of the novices at Melrose, and formerly abbot of Glenluce, was elected bishop by the whole people and the clergy on Galloway, excepting the prior and the convent of Whithorn". This occurred on the first Sunday of Lent, i.e. on Sunday February 25, 1235. [Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128.] The "Melrose Chronicle" however, supportive of Gilbert and his election, failed to note the significance of those who did not elect him, as the "prior and convent" of Whithorn believed that they enjoyed the right of election, and it is not clear who in Galloway actually did support Gilbert's election except the Archdeacon of Galloway, Michael. [Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", p. 183, 184; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128] The Prior of Whithorn and the canons of Whithorn Priory chose to elect, March 11, their own candidate, Odo Ydonc; the latter was himself a fellow Premonstratensian and canon of Whithorn, and was formerly Abbot of Dercongal. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 356; Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", p. 183; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128.]

The "election" of Gilbert was supported by King Alexander II of Scotland, who gave his assent to the election on April 23. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 356; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128.] Richard Oram and other historians argue that Gilbert was actually forwarded by King Alexander, part of a general effort to impose "Scottish" [i.e. crown] control on Galloway in the aftermath of the annexation of the province following the death of Alan, Lord of Galloway, and amidst the Galwegian revolt of 1235 led by Gille Ruadh. [Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", pp. 141-6, 182-3.] There proceeded various appeals to both the Archbishop of York and the Pope himself; despite the protests of the canons and their argument about the "illegality" of Gilbert's election, Gilbert secured consecration by Archbishop Walter de Gray at York on September 2. [Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", p. 184; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128.] An investigation by Pope Gregory IX had already been started, June 9, in which the Pope had issued a mandate to the Bishop of Rathlure, the Bishop of Raphoe, and the Archdeacon of Raphoe, authorising them to investigate the legality of Odo's election, and if they found it to have accorded with canon law, to consecrate him as Bishop of Galloway and compel Gilbert to restore everything he had taken; the results of this investigation are unknown, and Gilbert retained his bishopric. [Dowden, "Bishops", pp. 356-7.]

Gilbert's twelve year episcopate left a few notices of his activity. He confirmed to Dryburgh Abbey the gift of the church of Sorbie granted by his predecessor Walter, amalgamating the two churches of Sobrie Minor and Sorbie Maior, and granting to that abbey the church of Borgue with provision for a vicar set aside. [Dowden, "Bishops", p. 357; Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", p. 186.] He was also activie in England, particular in the Bishopric of Durham during vacancies in that bishopric, when Gilbert could perform episcopal functions there like granting indulgences and dedicating altars. [Oram, "Lordship of Galloway", p. 186.] He died in 1253, his obituary being noted by both the "Melrose Chronicle" and the "Lanercost Chronicle". [Anderson, "Early Sources", vol. i, p. 574; Dowden, "Bishops", p. 357; Watt, "Fasti Ecclesiae", p. 128.]



* Anderson, Alan Orr, "Early Sources of Scottish History", 2 vols, (Edinburgh, 1922)
* Cowan, Ian B. & Easson, David E., "Medieval Religious Houses: Scotland With an Appendix on the Houses in the Isle of Man", Second Edition, (London, 1976)
* Dowden, John, "The Bishops of Scotland", ed. J. Maitland Thomson, (Glasgow, 1912)
* Keith, Robert, "An Historical Catalogue of the Scottish Bishops: Down to the Year 1688", (London, 1924)
* Oram, Richard, "The Lordship of Galloway", (Edinburgh, 2000)
* Watt, D. E. R., "Fasti Ecclesiae Scotinanae Medii Aevi ad annum 1638", 2nd Draft, (St Andrews, 1969)
* Watt, D. E. R.,& Shead, N.F. (eds.), "The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries", The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001)

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