Gilbert of Louth (DNB00)

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GILBERT of Louth (d. 1153?), abbot of Basingwerk, was sent by Gervase, founder and first abbot of Louth in Lincolnshire, about 1140 to an Irish king (M. Paris says to King Stephen, but it is clear from Henry of Saltrey that the king was an Irish one) in order to obtain a grant to build a monastery in Ireland. The grant was made, and on Gilbert complaining that he did not understand the language, the king gave him as an interpreter the knight Owen, who, according to the legend, had descended into purgatory. From Owen, Gilbert received an account of his vision, which he in his turn imparted to Henry of Saltrey, who wrote it down in the ‘Purgatorium S. Patricii’ (printed in Colgan and in Migne, vol. clxxx. col. 989). One manuscript (Vatican Barberini 270, ff. 1–25) has the title ‘Purgatorium Sancti Patricii curante Gilberto Monacho Ludensi post Abbate de Basingwerek in Anglia.’ There seems to be no other authority for making Gilbert the author of the ‘Purgatorium.’ Gilbert after spending some years in Ireland returned to England, became abbot of Basingwerk in Flintshire, and died about 1153 (Saltrey ap. Colgan, Acta Sanctorum, ii. 279).

[Hardy's Catalogue of British History, i. 72–7, ii. 247; Wright's Purgatorium Sancti Patricii; Matthew Paris, ii. 193–203 (Rolls Series).]

C. L. K.