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Edmund Gibson

1669-1748. Bishop of London. Educated at Bampton Grammar School and Oxford, he was successively domestic chaplain to Archbishop Tenison, archdeacon of Surrey, and bishop of Lincoln before moving to London. Offered the see of Canterbury, he declined. Gibson was distinguished in several fields; his huge work on English ecclesiastical law (1713) became a standard work of reference and earned for him the nickname “Dr. Codex.” He was an enemy of ecclesiastical abuses, and though a Whig was a moderate High Churchman who strove to reconcile the Tory Power Clergy and the universities to the Hanoverian Succession. He was chief adviser to Walpole in church matters till they quarreled in 1736. He wrote fiercely against Deists and freethinkers, Catholics, intemperance, and Sabbath-breaking. Toward the Methodist revival he was at first sympathetic, but later he became a hostile critic. A patron of the arts, he tried to improve the academic standards of the universities and began the cataloging of the Lambeth Library.