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Title: The archaeology of the Monastic Order of the Gilbertines
Author: Townend, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 8346
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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The Order of St Gilbert of Sempringham was founded around 1130 and was notable both for its double houses, containing canons and nuns, and the claim of later historians that it was the only truly ‘English Order’. Rose Graham and Brian Golding have studied the history of the Gilbertines, however the archaeology of the order has never been comprehensively researched. Of the original 27 monastic houses, 13 have been destroyed or have had their original monastic plans obscured by later buildings. For the remaining 14 houses, there is good archaeological evidence surviving. Using this data, and especially the elements that enable the spatial reconstruction of each site, this thesis focuses on establishing the layout of the monastic buildings and precincts. The thesis takes a holistic approach to the study of the subject utilising a range of sources including data from excavation, geophysical survey, topographic survey and aerial photography. The thesis recreates the layouts of double and single houses in order to understand the relationship between the men and women of the Gilbertine order. It also identifies and addresses the transition from the Gilbertine double house to the prevalence of the single house following the death of St Gilbert c.1190 and the order’s subsequent decline. The study argues that the Gilbertine order formulated a number of distinctly Gilbertine forms of monastic layout, usually related to their distinctive role of accommodating both men and women, which are mostly visible on the sites of double houses in the first instance. This distinctive style was continued to a less extent in the foundation of later single houses through the recurrent placement of cloisters to the north of the priory church.
Supervisor: Willmott, Hugh Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available