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The Church of St. Gilbert and St. Hugh, Gosberton Clough, Lincolnshire

This small book has been written to give you a background to the history of the Church of St. Gilbert and St Hugh, Gosberton Clough, and to help you to find many interesting features in the church. You will find more detailed notes about the lives of St. Gilbert and St Hugh at the back of this booklet.


The church was designed by Bucknall and Comper. It has a timber framed nave, and exterior pebbledash facing.

The late perpendicular windows are straight headed with round arched lights, two of them in the west front one above the other. In the chancel they are cusped.

Inside there are tie beams below a canted ceiling. The stained-glass window in the cast is by Comper.

(Ref: Buildings of Lincolnshire. Pevsner and Harris.)

To attend a church service during the latter part of the 19th. Century the people of this area had to either walk to Gosberton, which was at least three miles away, or attend services which were held in the local school, and the Marjoram school.

It was during this era that the people decided that the Parish needed a Church within the village.

The Vicar of Gosberton, Edgar Torr Hudson, had made widesweeping changes in the Church of St. Peter and Paul and in 1896 had a small surplus in the restoration fund. He decided to begin his next scheme which was the building of a church in Gosberton Clough. In the following years the money for building the Church was raised by means of public subscription, and the holding of fund raising events. The Hudson family made substantial contributions, and before the building fund was closed the Rev. Hudson had launched an endowment fund which was eventually used to augment the stipend when the church was constituted as a separate parish in 1912.

The land for the new Church was purchased from Mr. John Walters.

In December 1902 the foundation stone was laid, with full Masonic ceremonial, by Canon Bullock P. G. C. of England.

The Church was completed in 1903. On Saturday September 26th 1903 it was opened by the Reverend Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln.

It was dedicated to Saint Gilbert and Saint Hugh. A commemorative plaque on the Vestry door reads as follows: To the Glory of God, and in the Memory of Edgar Torr Hudson, Priest and Vicar of Gosberton. 1895-1905.

Until 1912 St. Gilbert and St. Hugh remained a daughter church to the Parish Church of Gosberton. It became an Ecclesiastical Parish between 1912 and 1913.

On Sunday June 9th 1913 the Reverend Walter Thomas French conducted Matins and Evensong. He was to become the first Vicar of the new Parish.

What to look for in our Church

The first pulpit was a gilt from Gosberton Parish Church. This was replaced fifty years later in 1963, with a gift from the Mothers’ Union on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee.

It was dedicated by the Bishop of Grantham on March 8th 1963.

The new pulpit was made by Mr. J. Palin of Allington, whose trademark is a small woodpecker. You can find the woodpecker if you look carefully on the side of the pulpit.

The East window was designed by Sir Ninian Comper, and given in memory of the men who gave their lives in the Great War.

It is dated 1920. It shows St. Hugh with a swan, and St. Gilbert. A memorial tablet in the North wall of the Chancel records the names of those who gave their lives in both the World Wars.

In 1927 the Communion rail was given by Mrs. W. E. Dickings, in memory of her late husband, John Enos Dickings, who had been the first Warden to the Vicar. Mr. Charles Smith was the first peoples Warden.

The Font was originally in the Chancel, but it was moved to the West end of the Church. The original Chalice and Paten were presented by the Communicants of Gosberton. In addition we now have another Chalice, Ciborium, and Paten which were given in memory of Mr. F.B. Chapman, who was a Churchwarden for many years, and Mrs. F. B. Chapman. The Four Angels were made by Belgian woodcarvers. Originally they were on the four posts which held the candles and Curtains around the altar. They were presented to the church in and are mentioned on the plaque on the door of the vestry.

In 1940 the reading desk and chair in the Chancel were given in memory of William Moore. a former Churchwarden.

You will notice five shields that were made and painted by the Kemp family, during the time that the Rev. William Kemp was Vicar 1953-1964. On the left facing the Altar there are the Coats of Arms of St. Gilbert, at the front, the church of S.S. Peter and Paul Gosberton, in the middle, and the diocese of Lincoln at the rear. On the right, the Coats of Arms of St. Hugh at the front, and the Arms of Canterbury at the rear.

In 1952 the Electric organ was given by F. B. Chapman to replace the pedal organ.

Originally the church had gas lighting, the gas being produced in a small wooden hut in the church yard. Electricity was very welcome when it came to the village.

On earlier days the only means of heating was a coke stove, situated just outside the vestry. Later central heating was installed, run from a coke boiler.

Today we have an oil fired boiler, which was given by Mr. Charles Mayfield, in 1962. We are very fortunate to have what must be one of the warmest churches in the diocese.

We have received many gifts over the years. It is not possible to name them all here, but the records are in the church safe, and can be obtained by applying to the person whose name and address is on the notice board.

The people of the parish owe much to the Mothers Union for the efforts they have made to make money for the furnishings of the church.

In 1953 it was agreed to get professional advice on redecorating the inside of the building. Originally the beams were black, and the walls white. It was suggested that there should be a new colour scheme. The result was as you see it today. Although it has been repainted a number of times since, the colour scheme has kept to the 1953 design.

St Hugh (1140-1200)

Hugh was born in the Burgundy area of South Eastern France, the youngest of three sons. His father was a knight, and his mother spent her time caring for the sick and the poor from their hone at the castle of Avalon. When his mother died, at a comparatively young age, Hugh was taken to be educated in the Austin Canons’ small monastery of Villabenoit, in the company of other sons of the nobility.

At 15 years old Hugh became a member of the order, and at 19 he was made a deacon. He was sent to a small parish to assist an elderly priest, but remained subject to his Prior. Nearby was Chartreuse, which was, and still is, the chief house of the Carthusian Order. Carthusian monks lived an austere life, given over to solitude and prayer.

Hugh was drawn to their way of life, and at 23 years old he joined their Community.

After ten years he became Procurator, with responsibility for the lay Brothers, and the outside business of the monastery. One of his duties was to provide hospitality for guests who were visiting the monastery, and in this way he came to make contact with King Henry 11 of England.

King Henry had given lands at Witham in Somerset for the founding of a Carthusian monastery. This was part of a penance for his involvement in the death of Thomas Becket in 1170.

The project was not working well, and eventually an embassy headed by the Bishop of Bath, in whose diocese Witham was situated, was sent to France to persuade the prior, Guigo 11 to allow Hugh to come to England, and run the monastery.

When Hugh arrived he found the few monks in a near destitute state, and without a proper monastic building. It required all his talents to move the peasants to better homes and to get the building of the monastery underway.

For seven years the Community grew, and with it Hugh’s reputation. In June 1186 a deputation from the Council of Eynsham arrived to tell him that he had been elected Bishop of Lincoln.

Not only was he thunderstruck by the unexpected news, he was also of the opinion that the election was null and void because it had not been held in the Lincoln Chapter House.

He sent a messenger to the Prior at Chartreuse, to seek his permission, and only then did he agree to become Bishop of one of the most important sees in England.

Hugh was enthroned as Bishop of Lincoln on the feast of St. Michael, September 29th 1186. The position of Bishop being very different to the frugal life that Hugh led as a monk.

At this time the Lincoln diocese included not only Lincoln, but Leicester, Northampton. Huntingdon. parts of Hertford and Oxford.

At one time the Bishop’s Palace situated at Dorchester. During his fourteen years as Bishop he would, for a month each year, return to the monastery at Witham to live as a simple monk.

Not only did he build the diocesan administration, he also set out to rebuild the Cathedral which had been severely damaged in “an earthquake.*

It was towards the end of his life that he came into contact with Gilbert of Sempringham, who was a very old man. He was asked to preside over the final settlement of a feud between Gilbert and his lay brothers.

After Gilbert’s death in 1189 Hugh was involved in his canonisation, which eventually took place in 1202, although Hugh did not live to see it.

He died on the 16th November 1200, at the London house of the bishops of Lincoln, the most notable bishop of the time.

Then followed a triumphal procession from London to Lincoln, taking six days. On arrival in Lincoln the coffin was carried on the shoulders of the King and other dignitaries.

After his burial twenty nine miracles were reported at his tomb.

St. Hugh is frequently depicted with a swan. His affinity to birds and animals was well known, but this particular bird would go to him and to no-one else. It would attack anyone who tried to get near, and always cried out when Hugh returned, as if it knew that he was coming.

Before his death the Swan refused to meet him, and had an air of wretchedness. Later people realised that it was saying farewell to its master.

(Bibliography: Saint Hugh of Lincoln, David Hugh Farmer.)

St. Gilbert (1083 -1189)

St. Gilbert was born in the small village of Sempringham, about eight miles from Gosberton Clough.

His father was a Norman who had come to England with William the Conqueror. His mother was Saxon. Before her child was born she dreamt that the moon came down and settled in her lap, and this she interpreted as a sign that her child would be great. In 1083 she gave birth to a son, and called him Gilbert.

Sadly he was deformed, and his father was bitterly ashamed of him because he could not follow the calling to Arms, It was only his mothers’ affection and early training which made him “pure, gentle, good and considerate.”

As a child he helped his mother to tend the poor and the sick, but as a young man he realised that this was not enough to earn him the respect of his father. He fled to France, and there learnt to be a clerk. When he returned home his father accepted him, as he now had an honourable profession.

He became well known in the area for his honesty and humility. By the year 1115 he had founded a number of village schools. His father began to Support him and gave money so that his son could gain souls for Christ. There were a number of Churches on their lands, which were given to Gilbert, but as he was not in Holy Orders he had to appoint a Chaplain. called Geoffrey. They lived in a room over the porch of the Church of St. Andrew.

He began training in Holy orders in Lincoln, and when his father died he became the owner of the large estate. He built accommodation within a cloistered enclosure of the North wall of the Church and started a small community of six Nuns. This attracted a lot of attention, and others came to join the group. It was from this beginning that the Sempringham Priory was established. By the year of his death, in 1189 he had founded a number of Abbeys and Priories.

Eleven years later, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hubert Walter, decided that Gilbert should be canonised. St. Gilbert’s Day is February 4th.

(Bibliography: St. Gilbert and The Gilbertines, Eric Iredale.)

Material for this booklet was gathered by Miss Rebecca Murphy and Mr. Herbert Chapman and it was written by Mrs. Mary Burton. Design & origination: S. A. Communications. Printing: Meltons of Lincoln. All proceeds will go to the Church of St. Gilbert and St. Hugh.

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