Papers of Edmund Gibson (1669-1748), Bishop of London, and his descendants, 1388-1797

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 161 MSS. Eng. b. 2042-4, c. 3190-202, d. 2405-11
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      23 shelfmarks

Scope and Content

Gibson's papers include:

  • Collections for Camden's Britannia
  • Correspondence and papers
  • Drafts, commentaries, annotations and miscellaneous collections
  • Financial papers
  • Miscellaneous papers

Administrative / Biographical History

Edmund Gibson (1669-1748) was one of the foremost churchmen of his age, important both as an ecclesiastical statesman and as a bishop. He was elevated to the episcopate as Bishop of Lincoln in 1716, and translated in 1723 to the see of London, where he remained until his death. He was not only the author of numerous devotional and pastoral works, but also published two monumental volumes on ecclesiastical law, Synodus Anglicana (1702) and Codex Juris Ecclesiae Anglicanae (1713), and made a major contribution to antiquarian studies with his new English edition of William Camden's Britannia (1695). Further details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

Deposited in the Bodleian in 1960 by Gibson's descendant Major-General Sir Charles J.G. Dalton, from whom they were purchased in 1988.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection is available online at

Custodial History

The papers now in the Bodleian formed part of a collection which was apparently retained in the hands of Gibson's immediate descendants for some years after his death, and eventually offered for sale in 1889 by a Mr. George Collis, to whose father they had been given. The papers were bought by the Revd. Dr. W.J. Sparrow Simpson, Librarian of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, who estimated that they comprised about ninety volumes. They were handed over to the Dean and Chapter for retention in the Cathedral Library, where some were bound. (See Simpson's article in Archaeologia, Vol. 53, pp. 155-60, and MS. Eng. c. 3202, fols. 66-7). In 1896 a successful claim to the papers was made by three of Gibson's descendants, but certain items considered to be church property and some manuscripts relating to Charles I, once part of MS. Eng. d. 2406, were retained at St. Paul's (see MS. Eng. c. 3202, fol. 67v). The remainder were divided between the claimants, Mr. C.J. Hill, Captain E. Poore, and Colonel J.C. Dalton. It is the latter portion which is represented by the Bodleian's holdings.

Related Material

A substantial collection of 'Codices Gibsoniani' is preserved at Lambeth Palace Library. These include many papers given by Archbishop Tenison to Gibson, then his chaplain and librarian at Lambeth. On Gibson's instructions, his executors deposited them in Lambeth Palace Library with many more papers which Gibson had collected himself. This collection is described in A Catalogue of the Archiepiscopal Manuscripts in the Library at Lambeth Palace (1812) and more fully in a separate unpublished catalogue available only in Lambeth Palace Library. A microfilm of the collection is available in the Bodleian as MSS. Film 285-92. The greater part of Mr. Hill's portion of the collection is preserved in the library of the University of St. Andrews (for a list of these, see MS. Eng. c. 3202, fols. 113-17), but three volumes formerly in his possession were bought by Lambeth Palace Library in 1960. They are described in E.G.W. Bill, A Catalogue of Manuscripts in Lambeth Palace Library (1972), pp. 225-34, as Nos. 1741-3. The whereabouts of Captain Poore's portion is not known. Part of it at least was sold by Hodgson & Co. on 19 October 1928 (catalogue no. 1, 1928-9, lot 763), as having been in the possession of Dr. H.G. Rosedale. A list of the collection as reclaimed from St. Paul's in 1896, together with the known locations in 1960, is MS. Eng. c. 3202, fols. 69-112. Many printed pamphlets collected by Gibson are in the library of Sion College, London.