Gibson, William (1738-1821) (DNB00)

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GIBSON, WILLIAM, D.D. (1738–1821), catholic prelate, fifth son of Jasper Gibson of Stonecrofts, near Hexham, Northumberland, was born on 2 Feb. 1738, and educated in the English College at Douay, where he was ordained priest. He came back on the mission in 1765, and for many years he resided in the family of the Silvertops of Minster-Acres. He was president of Douay College from 1781 till 1790, when he was appointed vicar-apostolic of the northern district of England in succession to his elder brother, Matthew Gibson [q. v.] His consecration as bishop of Acanthos, in partibus, took place at Lulworth Castle, 5 Dec. 1790. He entered actively into the disputes between the bishops and the ‘catholic committee’ on the question of catholic relief [see Butler, Charles, 1750–1832], and was mainly instrumental in establishing a new college for the refugees from Douay, by which the famous English College has been perpetuated at Ushaw [see Allen, William, cardinal, and Eyre, Thomas]. He died at Durham, which had always been his episcopal residence, on 2 June 1821, and was buried at Ushaw College.

He compiled a French grammar for the use of Douay College, and translated from the French of M. de Mahis ‘The Truth of the Catholic Religion proved from the Holy Scriptures,’ Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1799, 8vo. ‘A Conversation between the Right Hon. Edmund Burke and the R.R. Dr. Gibson,’ in reference to the proposed government veto on the appointment of catholic bishops, appeared at London, 1807, 8vo.

His portrait, drawn by W. M. Craig, and roughly lithographed by Vowkes, is inserted in the ‘Catholic Miscellany’ for September 1825. There is a fine full-length portrait of him in the refectory at Ushaw.

[Gillow's Chapels at Ushaw, with an historical introduction (Durham, 1885); Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Brady's Episcopal Succession, iii. 268; Douay Diaries, p. 71; Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall, p. 40; Petre's Colleges on the Continent, p. 4; Amherst's Hist. of Catholic Emancipation, i. 169, ii. 40, 54, 81, 127, 132.]

T. C.