'A Sermon for Easter Day' by Rev. Gilbert White

Scope and Content

Photocopy of manuscript notes of a sermon delivered by White on more than 30 occasions

Administrative / Biographical History

Gilbert White was born at his father's vicarage at Selbourne, Hampshire on 18 July 1720. He was educated at the Holy Ghost School before going to Oriel College Oxford. He followed his father taking deacon's orders in 1746 and ordained in 1749. He served as curate in the near-by parishes of Newton Valance and Faringdon, returning to Selbourne in 1758 on the death of his father.

In 1789 White published 'The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne' based upon a series of letters with Thomas Pennant a leading zoologist concerning local bird animal and plant life. He advocated study through observation rather than the collection of specimens and was able to distinguish similiar looking birds through their song. He is considered by many to be the first ecologist. He collated his studies of Hampsire with those of William Markwick in Sussex and between them they recorded over 400 plant and animal species.

His house, The Wakes, now contains the Gilbert White Museum and the Selborne Society, founded in 1895, promote awareness of his work including the creation of Perivale in West London as the first Bird Sanctuary in the UK. Richard Mabey's biography Gilbert White won the 1986 Whitbread Biography of the Year award and in 2006 a documentary on White was presented by historian Michael Wood for the BBC.

The item was offered for sale at Sotheby's in March 1926.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by AJH Reeve, August 1982. The original was (in 1982) in the possession of Miss M. Parker, Godalming, Surrey

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Letters of Rev. F O Morris and Rev. M C F Morris, 1850-1926 [Ref U DP180]