Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Geoffrey of Dunstable

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Also known as GEOFFREY OF GORHAM.

Abbot of St. Alban's, d. at St. Alban's, 26 Feb., 1146. He was a scholar from the province of Maine, then annexed to the Dukedom of Normandy, who was invited by Richard, Abbot of St. Alban's, to become master of the Abbey school. On his arrival, he found that owing to his long delay another had been appointed, whereupon he opened a school at Dunstable. Having borrowed some copes from St. Alban's Abbey for a miracle play to be acted by his scholars, he had the misfortune to lose his house and all its contents by fire on the evening after the performance. To make up to God and the saint for the loss of the copes, he determined to become a monk of St. Alban's Abbey. Here he rose to be prior, and finally was elected abbot on the death of Richard, in 1119. He ruled firmly for twenty-six years, and the abbey prospered under his wise administration. He added to the building an infirmary with chapel attached, and spent large sums on a new shrine to which he translated the body of St. Alban, 2 Aug. 1129. Geoffrey endowed the nunnery at Sopwell, and founded another at Markyate, in Bedfordshire, for his friend and counsellor, Christina the recluse. He also opened a leper hospital near St. Alban's. Finally, he succeeded in saving the abbey, when it was threatened with destruction during the Civil War in the reign of Stephen.

EDWIN BURTON