Gibbons, John (DNB00)

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GIBBONS, JOHN, D.D. (1544–1589), jesuit, born at or near Wells, Somersetshire, in 1544, was sent to Oxford in 1561, and became a member, as Wood surmises, of Lincoln College, but left the university without taking a degree, and proceeding to Rome spent seven years in the German College there, and in 1576 was created doctor of philosophy and divinity. Afterwards Gregory XIII collated him to a canonry in the collegiate church of Bonn in Germany. In 1578 he entered the Society of Jesus at Trèves, eventually became rector of the jesuit college there, and was ‘much admired by all for his great humility, gravity of manners, zeal, and charity, and, above all, for his admirable regimen of that house’ (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 555). He died on 3 Dec. 1589, while on a visit to the monastery of Himmelrode, near Trèves.

He was the author of ‘Concertatio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ in Anglia, adversus Calvino-Papistas et Puritanos, a paucis annis singulari studio quorundam hominum doctrina et sanctitate illustrium renovata,’ Trèves, 1583, 8vo. Some of the lives of the martyrs in this valuable historical and biographical work were written by John Fenn [q. v.] The work was afterwards greatly enlarged by John Bridgewater [q. v.], the latinised form of whose name is Aquepontanus. An account of its multifarious contents will be found in the Chetham Society's ‘Remains,’ xlviii. 47–50.

Southwell asserts that Gibbons was the real author of ‘Confutatio virulentæ Disputationis Theologicæ, in qua Georgius Sohn, Professor Academiæ Heidelbergensis, conatus est docere Pontificem Romanum esse Antichristum a Prophetis et Apostolis prædictum,’ Trèves, 1589, 8vo; but it is distinctly stated on the title-page that John Aquepontanus, or Bridgewater, was the author.

[De Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus (1869), col. 2116; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 146; Foley's Records, iv. 480, vi. 526, vii. 298; Gillow's Bibl. Dict. i. 295, ii. 245, 437; Lansd. MS. 96, art. 25, 26; More's Hist. Missionis Soc. Jesu, p. 19; Morris's Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers, ii. 19 seq.; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, p. 312; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 103; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 788; Southwell's Bibl. Script. Soc. Jesu, p. 453; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 315.]

T. C.