Geoffrey de Gorham

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Geoffrey de Gorham (Goreham, Gorron), sometimes called Geoffrey of Dunstable or of Le Mans (d. at St Albans, 26 February 1146), was a Norman scholar who became Abbot of St Albans Abbey, 1119 to 1146.


He was from the province of Maine, then annexed to the Dukedom of Normandy. He was invited by Richard d'Aubeney, Abbot of St Albans, 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.

He staged a miracle play on St. Katherine. A chronicle relates how he had borrowed some copes from St Albans Abbey for the performance, but had the misfortune to lose his books and the copes in a fire at his house in the night 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 Albans Abbey.[1]

Here he rose to be prior, and finally was elected abbot on the death of Richard, in 1119. He ruled for twenty-six years, and the abbey prospered. He succeeded in saving the Abbey when it was threatened with destruction during the Anarchy during the reign of King Stephen.

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 August 1129.

Geoffrey endowed the nunnery at Sopwell, and founded another at Markyate, in Hertfordshire, for his friend and counsellor, Christina of Markyate the recluse. He also opened a leper hospital near St Albans.


  1. ^ Richard Axton, European Drama of the Early Middle Ages (1974), p. 161.