Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Monday, 17 November 2014

Saint Hugh Of Lincoln (1135 - 1200). Bishop And Confessor. Feast Day 17 November.

Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

Other Articles, on Saint Hugh of Lincoln, can be read at NOBILITY.ORG

English: Altarpiece from the Carthusian Monastery of Saint-Honoré,
Thuison-les-Abbeville, France, depicting Saint Hugh of Lincoln with his Swan.
Français: Retable provenant de la chartreuse de Saint-Honoré, à Thuison-les-Abbeville, France, représentant saint Hugues d'Avalon (ou de Lincoln) accompagné de son cygne.
Artist: Unknown.
Date: 1490-1500.
Current location: Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
Credit line: Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1933.1060.
Source/Photographer: Art Institute of Chicago.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Hugh of Lincoln, (the Carthusian Order, also called the Order of Saint Bruno, O.Cart,) (also Hugh of Avalon or Hugh of Burgundy); 1135 – London, 16 November 1200, was, at the time of the Reformation, the best-known English Saint, after Thomas Becket.

Hugh was born at the Château of Avalon, France, at the border of the Dauphiné with Savoy, the son of Guillaume, Seigneur of Avalon. His mother, Anne, died when he was eight, and, because his father was a soldier, he went to a Boarding School for his education. William (Guillaume) retired from the world to the Augustinian Monastery of Villard-Benoît, near Grenoble, France, and took his son, Hugh, with him.

At the age of fifteen, Hugh became a Religious Novice and was Ordained a Deacon at the age of nineteen. About 1159, he was sent to be Prior of the nearby Monastery at Saint-Maximin, presumably already a Priest. From that Community, he left the Benedictine Order and entered the Grande Chartreuse, then at the height of its reputation for the rigid austerity of its rules and the earnest piety of its Members. There, he rose to become Procurator of his new Order, in which Office he served until he was sent, in 1179, to become Prior of the Witham Charterhouse, in Somerset, the first Carthusian House in England.

The remains of the Shrine of Saint Hugh of Lincoln,
in Lincoln Cathedral.
Illustration: PORTA CAELI

The Nave,
Lincoln Cathedral.
Saint Hugh became Bishop of Lincoln in 1186.

On Saint Hugh's death, in 1200, he was buried close to The High Altar in Lincoln Cathedral.
King John helped to carry the coffin up "The Steep", to the Cathedral, and he, with the King of Scotland, several Archbishops, fourteen Bishops and 100 Abbots, attended the funeral.

King Henry II of England, as part of his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket, in lieu of going on Crusade, as he had promised in his first remorse, had established a Carthusian Charterhouse some time before, which was settled by Monks brought over from the Grande Chartreuse. There were difficulties in advancing the building works, however, and the first Prior was retired and a second soon died. It was by the special request of the English King that Saint Hugh, whose fame had reached him through one of the Nobles of Maurienne, France, was made Prior.

Saint Hugh found the Monks in great straits, living in log huts and with no Plans yet advanced for the more permanent Monastery building. Hugh interceded with the King for Royal Patronage and, at last, probably on 6 January 1182, King Henry II issued a Charter of Foundation and Endowment for Witham Charterhouse.

The High Altar,
Saint Hugh of Lincoln Church,
United States of America.

Saint Hugh's first attention was given to the building of the Charterhouse. He prepared his Plans and submitted them for Royal Approbation, exacting full compensation from the King for any tenants, on the Royal Estate, who would have to be evicted to make room for the building. Hugh presided over the new House, till 1186, and attracted many to the Hermitage. Among the frequent visitors was King Henry, for the Charterhouse lay near the borders of the King's Chase, in Selwood Forest, a favourite hunting ground. Hugh admonished Henry for keeping Dioceses vacant, in order to keep their Income for the Royal Chancellery.

In May 1186, Henry summoned a Council of Bishops and Barons, at Eynsham Abbey, Oxfordshire, England, to deliberate on the state of the Church and the filling of vacant Bishoprics, including Lincoln. On 25 May 1186, the Cathedral Chapter of Lincoln was ordered to elect a new Bishop and Hugh was elected. Saint Hugh insisted on a second, private, election by the Canons, securely in their Chapter House, at Lincoln, rather than in the King's Chapel. His election was confirmed by the result.

Saint Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, receiving Saint Bruno, Founder of The Carthusian Order. The seven stars (above Saint Hugh's head) represent Saint Hugh’s dream, telling him where to guide Saint Bruno, and his six companions, in order to Found the Grande Chartreuse Monastery.
Illustration: NOBILITY.ORG

Hugh was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln, on 21 September 1186, at Westminster. Almost immediately, he established his independence of the King, Excommunicating a Royal Forester and refusing to seat one of Henry's Courtly Nominees as a Prebendary of Lincoln, but softened the King's anger by his diplomatic address and tactful charm.

As a Bishop, he was exemplary, constantly in residence or travelling within his Diocese, generous with his Charity, scrupulous in the appointments he made. He raised the quality of education at the Cathedral School. Hugh was also prominent in trying to protect the Jews, great numbers of whom lived in Lincoln, in the Persecution they suffered at the beginning of King Richard I's Reign, and he put down popular violence against them in several places.

Lincoln Cathedral had been badly damaged by an earthquake in 1185, and Bishop Hugh set about rebuilding and greatly enlarging it, in the new Gothic Style; However, he only lived to see the Choir Well begun. In 1194, he expanded Saint Mary Magdalen's Church, Oxford, which lay within his Diocese.

Saint Hugh of Lincoln and his Swan,
depicted in a Stained-Glass Window
in Saint Germain's Church, Lincoln.
Photo: 4 July 2009.
Source: From
Author: Richard Croft.
(Wikimedia Commons)

As one of the premier Bishops of the Kingdom of England, Hugh more than once accepted the role of diplomat to France, for King Richard, and then for King John, in 1199, a trip that ruined his health. He consecrated Saint Giles' Church, Oxford, in 1200. There is a Cross, consisting of interlaced circles cut into the Western Column of the Tower, that is believed to commemorate this. Also in commemoration of the Consecration, Saint Giles' Fair was established, and continues to this day each September. While attending a National Council in London, a few months later, he was stricken with an un-named ailment, and died two months later on 16 November 1200. He was buried in Lincoln Cathedral.

Bishop Hugh was responsible for the building of the first (wooden) Bishop's Palace, at Buckden, in Cambridgeshire, half way between Lincoln and London. Later additions to the Palace were more substantial and a tall brick Tower was added in 1475, protected by walls and a moat, and surrounded by an Outer Bailey. It was used by the Bishops until 1842. The Palace, now known as Buckden Towers, is owned by the RC Missionary Congregation, known as the Claretians, and is used as a Conference Centre. A Catholic Church, dedicated to Saint Hugh, is located on the site.

Saint Gilbert and Saint Hugh's Church,
Gosberton Clough, Lincolnshire, England.
Unusual wood-and-render Church,
out in The Fens, Lincolnshire.
Photo: 8 April 2006.
Source: From
Author: Terry Butcher
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church of Saint Gilbert and Saint Hugh was designed by William Bucknall and
Sir John Ninian Comper, and built in 1902-1903. It is a lovely little Church.
Please see our Website 
 for photos.
Born in 1864, Comper is known as one of the last of the great Gothic Revival architects, designing both Churches and Stained-Glass Windows. Comper met Bucknall in 1888 and set up a partnership with him in Westminster. Comper married Bucknall's sister and they had six extraordinarily successful children, including Nick Comper, one of Britain's most brilliant and influential aeronautical engineers of the early 1930s. He was best known for the design
and manufacture of the 'Comper Swift' light aircraft.

The newly-restored Church of Saint Gilbert and Saint Hugh.
View of the West Gable, Porch and Vestry.
Illustration: ROBERT WARREN

Sir John Ninian Comper's father, a Priest, died suddenly whilst giving strawberries to poor children in Cuthie Park, Aberdeen, and so, from 1903, the strawberry became Comper's signature. The Church of Saint Gilbert and Saint Hugh, which was completed in 1903,
includes his strawberry signature.
Sir John was Knighted in 1950 and, following his death in December 1960, his ashes were buried beneath the windows he designed in Westminster Abbey.

Hugh was Canonised by Pope Honorius III on 17 February 1220, and is the Patron Saint of sick children, sick people, shoemakers and swans. Hugh is honoured in the Church of England, and in the Episcopal Church (USA), on 17 November.

Hugh's Vita, or "Written Life", was composed by his Chaplain, Adam of Eynsham, a Benedictine Monk, and his constant associate; it remains in Manuscript form in The Bodleian Library, in Oxford.

Hugh is the eponym of Saint Hugh's College, Oxford, where a 1926 statue of the Saint stands on the stairs of the Howard Piper Library. In his right hand, he holds an effigy of Lincoln Cathedral, and his left hand rests on the head of a Swan.

Lincoln Cathedral.

At the site of Avalon, a Round Tower, in the Romantic Gothic Style, was built by the Carthusians in the 19th-Century, in Hugh's honour.

Hugh's primary emblem is a White Swan, in reference to the story of the Swan of Stowe, which had a deep and lasting friendship with the Saint, even guarding him while he slept. The Swan would follow him about, and was his constant companion while he was at Lincoln. Hugh loved all the animals in the Monastery Gardens, especially a Wild Swan that would eat from his hand, and follow him about, and yet the Swan would attack anyone else who came near Hugh.

A number of Churches are Dedicated to Saint Hugh of Lincoln, including: Episcopal Churches in Elgin, Illinois, and Allyn, Washington; Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Roman Catholic Church, Huntington Station, New York; and Saint Hugh of Lincoln, Roman Catholic Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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