West of the B1177, between Billingborough and Pointon, is the Abbey Church, considered the birthplace of Saint Gilbert, founder of the Gilbertines, the only English monastic order. Tours of the abbey are normally scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays. Born between 1083 and 1089, St. Gilbert of Sempringham, as he is known, died in Sempringham in 1189. His father, Jocelin, was Norman, his mother an Englishwoman of humble rank. Gilbert was reportedly deformed and not held in favour by his father, so he was sent to France to study. He returned to England and took a position under the Bishop of Lincoln. When his father died in 1131, Gilbert returned to Sempringham as Lord of the Manor. It was here that he established the Gilbertine Order.
Ian PATERSON tells us that it's a SIGN! on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2008.
In 1165 Gilbert was summoned before Henry II's judges at Westminster and charged with having sent help to the exiled St. Thomas a Becket. Asked to take an oath that he had not done so, Gilbert refused. Twelve years after his death, at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was canonized by Innocent III, and his relics were brought to Sempringham Church, his shrine becoming a centre of pilgrimage. The Gilbertine Order, founded on rules of poverty, flourished and became rich. In 1534, with the dissolution of the monasteries by the Crown, the Gilbertine Order disappeared.
You may want to find a copy of: "The Revolt of the Lay Brothers of Sempringham," by M. D. KNOWLES, in the English Historical Review, Vol. 50, No. 199 (Jul., 1935).
The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Andrew.
The church has portions of Norman origin, but the dates of construction are unknown.
The church was restored in 1868-69.
The church seats 250.
Here is a photo of St. Andrew's Church, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):
An Anglican church, Christ Church, was built in 1892 of iron in Pointon township.
An Anglican Mission Church, dedicated to St.John the Evangelist, was built in 1892 in Pointon township.
Here is a photo of Christ Church in Pointon, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):
Sempringham is both a hamlet and a parish 106 miles north of London and 7 miles northeast of Bourne. Dowsby parish lies to the south and Billingborough to the north. The South Forty Foot Drain completes the eastern border.
The hamlet of Birthorpe and the small town (township, actually) of Pointon (sometimes "Poynton") are situated in Sempringham parish.
If you are planning a visit:
The B1177 road passes through the center of the parish.
Gwenllian of Wales was the daughter of the last native Prince of Wales. She was captured by the army of Edward I in 1283 and sent here, to Sempringham Abbey, where she was kept as a Nun. Edward did not want her to have a son who could lay claim to being the rightful Prince of Wales. He took the title and granted it to his heir-apparent, as has been done ever since. The princess was confined here for 50 years and died here in 1337.