Monday, 30 March 2009

Thomas Gibbon of Exeter

Christow Church MI to Elizabeth Gibbon wife of Thomas Gibbon, 1660. bearing the Gibbons and Davy arms

Elizabeth Gibbon, scion of the illustrious house of Canonteign, beautiful, chaste and pious wife of Thomas Gibbins Esquire who bore his four sons and three young daughters, she being heavy with child died of an excessive haemorrhage and was buried on the same day on the 6th day of July in the year of Our Lord 1660.

Look again at the mournful view of the well remembered spouse and darling of her husband, once his sweet ornament death destroyed by the poured out blood of the double life. But for itself death became with the birth the foetus a new life. The ghostly chains of terrible death are broken and for both there now remains a quiet peace that will not die.

This is the confusion over Thomas Gibbon of Exeter, was he from Wales or Somerset, or, were there two men of the same name in Exeter in the mid 1600s? Was he a relative to Edward of the Cathedral? Edward's 2nd wife was a Mary Bluett of Holcomb Rogus.

How do I know that Thomas of Christow was the MP? --- I don’t have any thing to confirm that.
ECA book 61 1619 page 201 Edward Gibbons of the Canonton.[Canonteign] in Christow. This reference relates to Edward, musician, (c. 1598 – 1645) of Exeter Cathedral and if that is correct then Edward and Thomas's father may well be related.

Edward was chucked “out of doors” by Cromwell’s gang aged 80 in 1645 from his house in the Christow/ Dunsford area. Dr. John Walker's "Suffering of the Clergy" written 1714

Major Gibbons 1646, appointed Governor of Exeter Castle, 13 Mar. From: 'Index: A-J', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 5: 1646-1648 (1802), pp. 1-38. URL: Date accessed: 09 September 2005.

Gibbons Thomas son of William of Holcomb, Devon, pleb. Lincoln Coll. Matric. 17 Apr 1635 age 19, barrister at law, Inner Temple 1646. MP for Exeter 1654 /5 and 1659. (see Foster's Judges and Barristers) born c. 1616. [from the Oxford Alumni]

Freemen of Exeter List by D&CRS.
Thomas Gibbons, gent. 10 Jul 1654 by order of the Mayor and Council.

DCNQ Vol 68 page 108
Thomas Gybbons paid £27 when parliament sat for 86 days 27 Jan to 22 Apr 1659

Devon Documents chapter 39 page 165. Devon Justices of Peace 1643 - 60
Thomas Gibbons 8 Jul 1659 (Restored Commonwealth)
From: 'List of speakers: Parliaments of 1656 and 1658-9', Diary of Thomas Burton esq, volume 4: March - April 1659 (1828), pp. 487-99. URL: Date accessed: 06 October 2005. Gibbons, Colonel, Exeter, 1654, 1658-9.

Deed references in DRO
Thomas Gibbons c. 1662 ref. 484m/T5/1
Thomas Gibbons of Christow,
Land at Mamhead, Harcombe Wood, Cockland . With Kirkham

Thomas Gibbons c. 1663 ref. 484m/T19/10D
Land at Farringdon . Little Dodsfield. With Kirkham of Pynhoe

Thomas must have left Canonteign to live in Whitestone c. 1660. This was the year his wife Elizabeth Davey died. I am wondering if Thomas lived at Canonteign courtesy of his wife and then had to leave on her death.

The coat of arms in Christow Church are very similar to ones use by Gibbons from Kent, Dorset and one of the Norfolk Gibbon families.

I need to work out how Thomas came to have the arms. Did Thomas “borrow” the arms to match his status as an MP or was he granted them? Is he a descendant of the Norfolk family and Edward Gibbons of the Cathedral? Orlando, Edward's brother used this coat of arms, so perhaps not:
Or the family of Kent and Edward the Historian? I can find no evidence that Edward of the Cathedral used a coat of arms. Where does William of Holcomb Rogus, father of Thomas, the MP fit in?
This article below adds more confusion.

[Ref: Dev & Corn. RS, Exeter Parish Registers II Vol. 2 - 3 page 612 / 3]

This was taken originally from extracts printed in the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette from Nov 1881 to Jul 1883 by Robert Dymond.

Memorial Stones Allhallows, Goldsmith Street

A stone with a long Latin inscription records the burial of the infant son Edmund, the youngest child of Thomas Gibbon Esq. And Grace, his wife. The inscription is undated, but the register shows that the child was bapt. 19 Dec 1684, and bur. 11 Apr 1685. The father was recorder of Exeter in times when the holder of the office usually resided in the city, and was more intimately concerned with municipal affairs than is now the case. Thomas Gibbon served the office for four years, from 1684, having been appointed by the crown on the surrender of the city charter. He was of Welsh extraction, his grandfather, William Gibbon, who practised as an attorney in Devonshire, being the younger of the two sons of William and Wenllion Gibbon of Pendoylon, co. Glamorgan. William Gibbon, the attorney, had a son, Thomas, of Christow, who, being destined to the higher branch of the legal profession, was admitted a student of the Inner Temple in Nov 1637 and called to the Bar in 1646. His two sons, Thomas and Edmund, were also barristers, the former appearing as “Councellor Gibbon” in the parish register in 1690, when he and “Councelloer Row” were godfathers to a son of the Rev. Thomas Rundle the minister of Allhallows. Thomas Gibbon, the Recorder, was appointed Serjeant at Law in 1700, and was buried at St. Laurence, Exeter, 21 Sep 1715. The learned Serjeant was twice married. In addition to Edmund he had, by his first wife, a son, Thomas, (who died unmarried and a lunatic), and George, who became Lieut. Governor of Plymouth town and citadel but, dying childless 1 Feb 1746, his extensive estates at Offwell and elsewhere in Devon were escheated to the Crown (by Inquisition 15 Jul 1746), though afterwards restored (by a judgment of 22 Geo. II [1749]) to his kinsman Thomas Gibbon of Whitchurch, co. Glamorgan, a lineal descendant of the eldest son of the Sergeant’s great grandfather. The Serjeant’s second wife was Margery, one of the daughters of Sir George Cary of Tor Abbey knt. This lady was born 22 Oct 1672, her marriage settlement is dated 15 Jan 1707 and, having survived her husband, she died without issue in 1717.
No mention of a MP here!!

Oxford Alumini gives us this: CD version page 560.

Gibbons Thomas (Gibbens) son of William of Holcomb Devon, pleb. Lincoln Coll. Matric. 17 Apr 1635 age 19, barrister at law, Inner Temple 1646. MP for Exeter 1654 /5 and 1659. (see Foster's Judges and Barristers) [born c. 1616, died 1667 in Whitestone]

Gibbon Thomas son of Thomas of Whitstone Devon, gent. Wadham Coll. Matric. 30 Mar 1666 age 16. Poss. Barrister at Law Inner Temple 1673 (as of Oxford, gent. ), bencher and serjeant at law 1700. Father of next…. (see Foster's Judges and Barristers) [born c. 1650]

Gibbon Thomas son of Thomas of London [?] arm. Wadham Coll. Matric. 18 Mar 1696/7 age 16, student of Inner Temple 1701. [born c. 1681]
(see Foster's Inns of Court Reg.)

Fosters Judges & Barristers. These are 5 vols of 15ins x 9ins x 2ins of soft leather spines and rather worn marbled front and back covers and inside page after lined page of tiny writing , presumably J Foster`s own, of names and details , so:-

1) Edmund of the parish of Christow , Devon , adm to Lyons Inn 22nd Nov 1672, Inner Temple 1682

2) Edmund son and heir of Edmund of the Inner Temple adm 1683

3) George 2nd son of Thomas of Exeter, adm to Middle Temple 1697

4) Thomas son and heir of William late of co Devon gent decd , adm Inner Temple 1638 barr 1646 .
Thank you for reading all this, I would love to hear from you if you can add to this, or have be able to research these men.


  1. Hi there

    Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery here. Stumbled upon your research whilst attempting to find more information about a portrait of George Gibbon in our collection - the one who became Lt Governor at Plymouth - and was buried at St Andrew's, Plymouth on 5 February 1745. Thought you'd like to know about the be displayed here in a new portrait exhibition, from 13 December 2014. SEE:

    Do you know when this George was born please? A son of Thomas Gibbon (1650-1715) and Grace Chudleigh...

    1. Thank you for the link to the portrait. Sadly I cannot add his birth details. Would love to find them as it may untangle the confusion and confirm or deny the Welsh connection!

    2. George Gibbon (d.1745), the one time Lt Governor of Plymouth, was baptised at St Margaret's, Westminster on 25 September 1684. He and his branch of the Gibbon family seemingly had Welsh connections, as referenced in the extracts from the 'Exeter and Plymouth Gazette' above.