Studied at the University of Paris. Wrote a commentary on the Psalms, but it has been lost. Parish priest at Gargrave, England, and later a Benedictine monk at Whitby, England. With his abbot‘s permission, he joined the founders of the Cistercian monastery of Fountains Abbey in 1132. He headed the first Cistercian colony sent from Fountains in 1138. He established the abbey of Newminster near the castle of Ralph de Merlay, one in Morpeth, England, one in Pipewell, England in 1143, one in Roche, Cornwall in 1147, and another in Sawley, Lancashire, England in 1148. Friend of Saint Godric of Finchale. Reputed to have had supernatural gifts, received visions, and suffered encounters with demons.
At least one biography says that Robert was accused by his own monks of sexual misconduct with a local woman, and that he went abroad c.1147-1148, to defend himself before Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. However, there seems little support for this story except the desire by its originator to claim he was acquitted by the great Bernard.
Legend says that he fasted so rigorously during Lent that a brother monk pleaded with him to eat. Robert agreed, and was given some buttered oatcake. But he suddenly feared to commit the sin of gluttony, and asked it be given to the poor. A beautiful stranger at the gate took the cake – and the dish. As a brother was explaining the incident, the dish suddenly appeared on the table before the abbot; the brothers decided the stranger was an angel.
- 7 June 1159 at Newminster England of natural causes
- buried in Newminster, but later entombed in the local church
- Saint Godric of Finchale said that he saw Robert’s soul ascend to heaven as a ball of fire
- miracles reported at the tomb
- “Saint Robert of Newminster“. Saints.SQPN.com. 24 May 2014. Web. 4 March 2015. <>