The derivation of the name ‘Gilbert Way’ is fairly clear. Most of the other roads in Bishopdown are named after previous Bishops of Salisbury. Examples are Jewell Close, Seth Ward Drive and Hoadley Garden.
Gilbert Road is the same. It’s named after Bishop John Gilbert, who was Bishop of Salisbury from 1689 until 1715.
Bishop John Gilbert
Bishop Gilbert was born on 18 October 1693. His father was a warehouse keeper for the East India Company. His grandfather was connected with the church – he was prebend at Exeter Cathedral
Gilbert was was first employed in the Diocese of Exeter, in 1721. In 1726, he became a canon of Christ Church. He seems to have traveled heavily armed – on a visit to Christ Church he arrived “‘with pistols, with holsters that would become a major-general’ preceded by a black servant carrying a long gun”
Gilbert was appointed Bishop of Llandaff in 1740.
In 1748, Gilbert was ‘translated’ from Llandaff to Salisbury. He said that he was pleased to leave the ‘most disagreeable situation’ of Llandaff.
In 1757, Gilbert left Salisbury to become Archbishop of York. The appointment was strongly favoured by King George II.
Gilbert was not a universally popular man. Horace Walpole said that he was ‘composed of that common mixture of ignorance, meanness, and arrogance’ and that when he was appointed to York ‘the bells were rung backwards in detestation of him’.
He participated in the chronic disputes between the Diocese and the City of Salisbury. He objected to the civic mace being carried on church land – once going so far as to scuffle with the mace bearer.
He died in Twickenham in 1761.
- The first roads named after Salisbury bishops was in the slightly older development on the other side of the hill – Moberly Road, Ridgeway Road, Wordsworth Road and Donaldson Road. Hamilton Road is either named after Bishop Hamilton, or Emma Hamilton [↩]
- According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary ‘prebendary’ means
1: a clergyman receiving a prebend for officiating and serving in the church
2: an honorary canon in a cathedral chapter
- M. E. Clayton, ‘Gilbert, John (1693–1761)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/10692 (Oxford DNB article: Gilbert, John), accessed 17 Sept 2012] [↩]