Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Gibson, Alexander Craig

GIBSON, ALEXANDER CRAIG (1813–1874), antiquary, born at Harrington, Cumberland, on 17 March 1813, was the eldest son of Joseph Gibson, a native of that place, by his wife Mary Stuart Craig, who was of a Moffat family. He served his time to the practice of medicine in Whitehaven, and after studying at Edinburgh began his professional duties at Branthwaite and Ullock in his native county, where he remained about two years, removing to Coniston in 1843. Here he married in May 1844 Sarah, daughter of John Bowman of Hoadyood in Lamplugh. In 1849 he removed to Hawkshead, but in 1857, finding the work too heavy, settled at Bebington in Cheshire, where he remained in practice until his failing health compelled him to retire in 1872. Gibson was from his youth a contributor to newspapers. His first separate book, ‘The Old Man, or Ravings and Ramblings round Coniston’ (Kendal, 1849, 12mo), had already been printed in chapters in the ‘Kendal Mercury.’ It was an attempt to carry out a suggestion of Professor Wilson (Christopher North) that each locality in the Lake district should be carefully described by one well acquainted with it. The book went through several editions. About the same time he contributed to ‘Tait's Magazine’ a ballad in the Annandale dialect, ‘The Lockerbie Lycke.’ This he reprinted in his volume entitled ‘The Folk-speech of Cumberland and some Districts adjacent, being Short Stories and Rhymes in the Dialect of the West Border Counties’ (Carlisle, 1869, 12mo, 2nd ed. 1873). This work has much interest from Gibson's intimate acquaintance with the dialect of the district, and from his keen sense of the humour of the dales-folk. He contributed largely to the ‘Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire’ and other antiquarian associations. He was also author of ‘The Geology of the Lake Country’ in Miss Martineau's ‘Guide;’ and of numerous articles in medical and other periodicals. He was F.S.A., M.R.C.S. Engl. 1846, L.S.A. 1855, and L.M. Edinb. (Univ. Edinb.). He died at Bebington on 12 June 1874.

[Whitehaven News, 18 June 1874; Medical Directory, 1871; private information.]

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