On the approach path to the Abbey Church at St. Andrew at Sempringham there is a Memorial to Princess Gwenllian. The Princess Gwenllian Society feel proud to have erected this memorial to a Welsh lady who was 'enclosed' in the Gilbertine Priory from the eighteenth month of her life until her death 54 years later. That could have been the end of the story except for an extraordinary quirk of fate. When our Memorial stone was raised to the upright position the silhouette of a nun became evident - this can be seen as you approach the little bridge over the stream by the memorial site. No hammer or chisel has touched the side of the stone; it is just as it was when blasted out of the Quarry rock.
During the years that I have been involved with the Princess Gwenllian Society I have visited the Sempringham site on a number of occasions and have become increasingly aware of the enormous tradition around me. Today the words 'Neighbourhood School' and 'Further Education' are regarded as a modern concept. It was exactly these ideas that prompted St. Gilbert to begin Schools for boys and girls of the village area; to include girls was a surprising fact for that time! In order to proceed into the phase of Further Education, St. Gilbert then went on to build accommodation for seven maidens whom he had previously taught. Can you imagine the present day reaction to the building of any educational facility for just seven students? It is to these seven "local girls" that my mind turns when I see the silhouette in the Memorial stone.
Stand in front of the stone and read about 'our' Princess, stand facing the bridge side of the same stone and you will see a reminder of 'your' history.
Today's big shopping bargain is "two for the price of one", how wonderful it is that for both Sempringham 'locals' and members of The Princess Gwenllian Society to be able to share a Memorial bargain!
I hope that all of you will be able to view 'the Nun' with the same degree of pride as we have in our hearts for our Princess Gwenllian. As you look at the Nun take care of her and all that she stands for.
Both Nun and Princess are worthy of remembrance.