Gillingwater, Edmund (DNB00)

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GILLINGWATER, EDMUND (1735?–1813), topographer, born at Lowestoft, Suffolk, about 1735, was the son of Edmund and Alice Gillingwater of Lowestoft. He was apprenticed to a barber. When about twenty-two years of age he removed to Norwich, which he left on 5 Dec. 1761 for Harleston, Norfolk. There he carried on a small business as stationer and bookseller in the Old Market Place, and was appointed an overseer of the poor. While holding the latter office he published ‘An Essay on Parish Work-Houses; containing Observations on the present State of English Work-houses; with some Regulations proposed for their improvement,’ 8vo, Bury St. Edmunds, 1786. Gillingwater retired from business about 1788. Two years later he brought out by subscription ‘An Historical Account of the ancient Town of Lowestoft in the County of Suffolk. To which is added some cursory remarks on the adjoining parishes and a general account of the Island of Lothingland,’ 4to, London [1790]. Another useful compilation was his ‘Historical and descriptive Account of St. Edmund's Bury … the Abbey,’ &c. [with an appendix], 12mo, Saint Edmund's Bury, 1804. He also made considerable, though not very valuable, collections for a history of Suffolk, consisting chiefly of extracts from printed books. These after his death came into the possession of H. Jermyn, and were sold at his auction. Samuel Burder in the preface (p. xiii) of his ‘Oriental Customs,’ 1802, acknowledges his ‘obligations to Mr. Gillingwater, of Harleston in Norfolk, for the very liberal manner in which he favoured him with his manuscript papers,’ which consisted of additions to, and corrections of, Harmer's ‘Observations on divers Passages of Scripture.’ Gillingwater died 13 March 1813, aged 77, and was buried in the churchyard of Redenhall-with-Harleston, beside his wife, Mary Bond, who had died 18 May 1802, aged 65. He left no children.

[Tymms's East Anglian, iv. 253–5, 276; manuscript note by David Elisha Davy, in a copy of ‘An Essay on Parish Work-Houses,’ in the British Museum; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 200; Nichols's Illustr. vi. 545–9.]

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