Ecclesiastical Law Journal


Famous English Canon Lawyers: VIII Edmund Gibson, D.D. († 1748) and David Wilkins, D.D. († 1745)

J. H. Bakera1

a1 Professor of English Legal History, Cambridge

Since our next pair were not lawyers at all. it may seem rather incongruous to include them in the company of ‘canon lawyers’. Yet it would be pedantic to exclude them from a survey of English canonistic literature for want of the requisite formalities, especially since their collections of legal sources have been so widely consulted by ecclesiastical lawyers down to the present. Both their endeavours were prompted, indirectly, by a fierce controversy over the constitution of the Church of England and the historic role of Convocation; but, unlike much of the polemical literature spawned by that debate, the works of Gibson and Wilkins each made a more enduring contribution to the history of English ecclesiastical law.