Henry of Huntingdon accuses Gilbert of excessive avarice. To the surprise of his contemporaries he died without making a will, and Henry I confiscated his ‘infinite’ wealth (Henry of Huntingdon, De Cont. Mundi, pp. 307–8). When appointed to London, Gilbert's reputation was almost unequalled, and he had no peer from England to Rome (ib.) Harpsfeld suggests that he owed his cognomen ‘Universal’ to his encyclopædic attainments (Harpsfeld, p. 350). His nephew tells us that he was a great benefactor to his diocese (De Mirac. Sancti Erkenwaldi, by his nephew, quoted in Wharton, pp. 51–2; cf. Hardy, i. 294); St. Bernard commends his humility, and the church of Auxerre celebrated the anniversary of his death in recognition of wealth it had received from him (Auxerre Martyrology, p. 716).
The ‘Auxerre Martyrology’ styles Gilbert ‘veteris et novi testamenti glossator;’ his nephew assigns him a treatise on the Old Testament, written before his elevation to London (Wharton, p. 51); and St. Bernard speaks of his eagerness ‘divinam … revocare et renovare scripturam’ (Ep. 24). These phrases seem to point to an exposition of the whole Bible, which, however, appears to be now lost, except a treatise on Lamentations. This compilation, of which in the last century there were two copies at St. Aubin's, Angers, winds up with the words ‘Hæc … hausi Gislebertus Autissodoriensis ecclesiæ diaconus’ (Hist. Lit. p. 240). Gilbert may also be the author of treatises on other parts of scripture (Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Psalms, &c.), which in some manuscripts are joined to this exposition. But his writings appear to have been partly confused with those of his namesake, Gilbert of Auxerre, who is said to have died in 1223 (ib. pp. 240–2), and even with those of Gilbert Foliot [q. v.], bishop of London (ib.) The whole question as to his works is discussed in the ‘Histoire Littéraire,’ Fabricius, Tanner, and the other writers cited below. His great renown may be inferred from the ascription of so many works to his pen; from his nephew's boast ‘ut supra vires [esset] illius actus describere, quæ universa Latinitas laudat;’ from Henry of Huntingdon's words, ‘artibus eruditissimus … singularis, unicus;’ and from Richard of Poitiers' testimony, which couples him with Alberic of Rheims, as two of the greatest teachers of the time (Wharton, p. 52; Henry of Huntingdon, p. 307; Richard of Poitiers, p. 414). He is styled ‘the Universal’ by Florence's continuator, Henry of Huntingdon, Orderic, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and nearly all the contemporary writers who mention him.
[Histoire Littéraire de France, vol. xi.; Stubbs's Registrum; Le Beuf's Histoire d'Auxerre, ed. 1855; Hardy's MS. Materials for English Hist. (Rolls Ser.); Henry of Huntingdon (Rolls Ser.), ed. Arnold; Ralph de Diceto (Rolls Ser.), ed. Stubbs; Anglo-Saxon Chron. (Rolls Ser.), ed. Thorpe; Matt. Paris (Rolls Ser.), ed. Luard; Margam Annals in Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), ed. Luard; Orderic Vitalis, ed. Le Prevost (Soc. de l'Hist. de France); Epistolæ Sancti Bernardi ap. Migne, vol. cxxxii.; Martyrology of Auxerre ap. Martène's Ampliss. Collectio, vol. vi.; Richard of Poitiers ap. Bouquet, vol. xii.; Pipe Roll of Henry I, ed. Hunter; Florence of Worcester, ed. Thorpe (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Wharton's Historia de Episcopis Londiniensibus.]
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).]
GILBERT the Great or the Theologian (d. 1167?), abbot of Cîteaux, is described as an Englishman in an epistle prefixed to the commentary ‘In Oraculum Cyrilli,’ of which he is said to be the author (cf. Tanner). Going to France he entered the Cistercian order, and in 1143 became abbot of Ourcamp. In 1163 he succeeded Fastradus as eighth abbot of Cîteaux and general of the order (Recueil des Historiens, xiii. 278). In this capacity he drew up statutes for the knights of Calatrava in 1164, and in 1165 obtained from Alexander III a charter exempting his order from all episcopal jurisdiction. He supported