Copyright © All rights reserved.

Old Malton St Mary’s Priory Church News Music Gilbertines Prayer Cycle Beyond Dissolution

Our Sunday services are according to the Book of Common Prayer and are:

8.00 a.m Holy Communion (said)

(2nd and 4th Sundays in month)

11.15 a.m Mattins (sung)

(Sung Holy Communion on 1st Sunday)

6.30 p.m Evensong (sung)

(Sung Holy Communion on 3rd Sunday)

(Benefice Songs of Praise on 5th Sunday)

Please feel free to contact the Vicar with enquiries and requests for clergy help Tel. 01653 692370 

A church for you War memorial

The present church at Old Malton is all that remains of a priory of the Gilbertine Order, the only fully English monastic order, founded by Gilbert of Sempringham in about 1131.

Gilbert was born around 1083, the crippled son of a Norman knight called Jocelyn and a Saxon mother. Jocelyn, disappointed that his heir would clearly be unable to make a success of military life set him up for a career in the church, sending him to study in France. On returning to Sempringham from university with a Master’s degree, he was given the livings of Sempringham and West Torrrington. As he was not a priest, he appointed a priest to serve as his vicar while he himself lived in poverty in the vicarage and by his teaching and example made his parish a model of devout and temperate living. Rhe was appointed household clerk to the Bishop of Lincoln in 1122.  The bishop ordained him priest and offered him a well-endowed archdeaconry, which Gilbert refused, returning instead to Sempringham after Jocelyn’s death as both manor lord and rector. Gilbert set up an order originally for enclosed contemplative nuns. He soon expanded it to include lay sisters and brothers under a rule drawing on Cistercian and Benedictine traditions, and ultimately canons who lived under a variant of the Augustinian rule. Most houses had nuns, lay brothers and sisters, and canons, but Malton was simply a house of canons. Gilbertine austerity made these houses popular and relatively cheap for benefactors to endow; poor land could be made use of and most Gilbertine houses were on heavy waterlogged soils (often prone to flooding. The order laid strong emphasis on the care of the poor, the sick and travellers.

As Master, Gilbert continued his austere manner of life, traveling from house to house in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, working at copying manuscripts, making furniture, and building. At the age of nearly ninety, he was confronted with a rebellion of the lay brothers, whose main grievances were that there was too much work and not enough food. Despite being slandered by the leaders of the dissenters and their support by magnates in Church and state, the papacy upheld Gilbert, who received the rebels back into the Order, with some improvement being made in the brothers’ food and dress.

Despite his disability (Gilbert’s crutch is the symbol of the order) Gilbert himself remained responsible for the running of the order until he was about 95. Roger of Malton was appointed as his successor until Gilbert died aged 106. Gilbert was canonised in 1202.

At the time of his death there were thirteen Gilbertine houses in existence mainly in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The order never spread beyond England and terminated with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and Malton is the only church built by the order still in use.

St Gilbert of Sempringham as portrayed in Victorian stained glass in the Priory Church.

He died on 4th February 1189 and we celebrate this date as our Patronal Festival.

The Gilbertine Order