Gilbert, Ashurst Turner (DNB00)

GILBERT, ASHURST TURNER (1786–1870), bishop of Chichester, son of Thomas Gilbert of Ratcliffe, Buckinghamshire, a captain in the royal marines, by Elizabeth, daughter of William Long Nathaniel Hutton, rector of Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire, was born near Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire, 14 May 1786, and educated at the Manchester grammar school from 1800 to 1805, when he was nominated to a school exhibition, and matriculated from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 30 May. At the Michaelmas examination of 1808 he was placed in the first class in literis humanioribus, one of his four companions being Sir Robert Peel, bart. He graduated B.A. 16 Jan. 1809, and succeeded to one of Hulme's exhibitions on 8 March following. Having been elected to a fellowship, he proceeded M. A. 1811, and B.D. 1819. He was actively engaged for many years as a college tutor, and in 1816-18 was a public examiner. On the premature death of Dr. Frodsham Hodson in 1822 he was elected principal of Brasenose on 2 Feb., and took his D.D. degree on 30 May. For twenty years he filled that post, and discharged the duties of his office with dignity and kindness. From 1836 to 1840 he was vice-chancellor of the university. On the death of Dr. P. N. Shuttleworth he was nominated by the Duke of Wellington to the bishopric of Chichester, 24 Jan. 1842, and consecrated at Lambeth Palace on 27 Feb. On retiring from Brasenose he received from the fellows and graduate members a costly service of table plate. To the oversight of his diocese Dr. Gilbert brought the same zeal, energy, and kindness which had previously marked his university career. He took much interest in Lancing College and other educational institutions. Though his personal leanings were in favour of high church opinions, he was averse to any approach to Romanism and romanising ceremonials, and on 14 Oct. 1868 he interdicted the Rev. John Purchas from using ultra-ritualistic services at St. James's Chapel, Brighton. This case led to much litigation, and eighteen works were printed in connection with the matter. Gilbert died of paralysis of the lower bowels at the palace, Chichester, on 21 Feb. 1870, and was buried in Westhampnett Church, Sussex, on 25 Feb. He married on 31 Dec. 1822 Mary Anne, only child of the Rev. Robert Wintle, vicar of Culham, Oxfordshire, who died in the palace, Chichester, 10 Dec. 1863. His blind daughter, Elizabeth Margaretta Maria, is separately noticed.

Gilbert was the author of:

  1. 'A Pastoral Letter to the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Chichester,' 1843.
  2. 'Church Questions: a Letter to Colonel Wyndham, M.P.,' 1845.
  3. Sermons, 1847, 1854, 1856, 1859, and 1862, being six pamphlets.
  4. 'A Course of Sermons preached in St. Paul's Church, Brighton. By the Bishop of Winchester and others. Edited by the Rev. H. M. Wagner,' 1849.
  5. 'Memorial of the Parishioners of the Parish of Westbourne to the Bishop of Chichester, with his reply, also a Letter from H. Newland, rector,' 1851.
  6. 'Pictorial Crucifixes: a Letter to the Rev. A. D. Wagner,' 1852, to which there was a reply entitled 'Pictorial Crucifixes: a Letter to the Bishop of Chichester. By a Priest,' 1852.
  7. Charges, 1853, 1856, 1859, three pamphlets.
  8. 'A Statement of the Proceedings of the Bishop of Chichester against John Mason Neale, the Warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead,' 1853.
  9. 'Teaching and Practice in the Parish of Lavington: a Correspondence between the rector, R. W. Randall, and the Bishop of Chichester,' 1859.

[Times, 22 Feb. 1870, p. 10, and 26 Feb. p. 5; Illustrated London News, 5 March 1870, p. 259, and 28 May, p. 563; Manchester School Register, ii. 221-4; Guardian, 23 Feb. 1870, p. 215; Our Rulers in the Lord, a Sermon on the Sunday after the Funeral of the Bishop of Chichester, by the Rev. H. B. W. Churton, 1870.]

G. C. B.