(c. 1100—1159) abbot of Newminster

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(c.1100–59), Cistercian abbot. He was born at Gargrave (North Yorkshire), studied at Paris (where he wrote a lost treatise on the Psalms), was ordained priest, and became the rector in his home town. He then joined the Benedictines at Whitby, but became one of the founders of Fountains Abbey in 1132. In 1138 Robert was chosen as abbot of Newminster (Northumberland), a new foundation on land given by Ralph of Merly, lord of Morpeth. Newminster grew rapidly and founded dependencies at Pipewell (Northants.) in 1143, Roche (S. Yorkshire) in 1147, and Sawley (N. Yorkshire) in 1148.

Little is known of Robert: his biographer praised his singleness of purpose and his zeal for poverty and prayer; his collection of prayers and meditations survived him in the monastic library. Visions and diabolical encounters were also related of him. In 1147 some of his monks accused him of excessive familiarity with a pious woman; he cleared himself of the charge at Cîteaux and Bernard, in token of his recognition of Robert's innocence, gave him a girdle, which was kept at Newminster for healing the sick. Robert also met Pope Eugenius III, who asked the bishop of Durham to give Newminster some land at Wolsingham. Robert was also a friend of Godric of Finchale, who saw a vision of Robert's soul going up to heaven like a sphere of fire.

This was on the day of Robert's death, 7 June. He was buried in the chapter-house at Newminster, but was later translated to the church. Miracles reported at his tomb included one of a monk who fell to the ground from a ladder unharmed, while whitewashing the dormitory. The cult was Cistercian and local. Feast: 7 June.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.

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