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Gibson, Thomas (d. 1562), printer and physician, was born at Morpeth, Northumberland. The Thomas Gibson who received an MB from the University of Cambridge in 1511 was probably the same man who was listed as a London barber–surgeon in March 1512; however, it is not clear whether this was the printer and publisher active in London between 1535 and 1539. Gibson's first publication was Coverdale's concordance of the New Testament which appeared in 1535; other publications included a plague tract, Lancelot Ridley's annotations on Jude, a corrected edition of the Great Herbal, an English primer, an English psalter, and an edition of the Tyndale Bible. On 21 July 1537 Bishop Latimer unsuccessfully recommended Gibson to Cromwell for the printing of The Institution of a Christian Man: ‘He is an honest good man, and will set it forth in a good letter [typeface] and sell it good cheap, whereas others sell too dear, which lets many to buy’ (LP Henry VIII, 12/2, no. 295, p. 122). The following year the city chamberlain paid Gibson 51s. 4d. for ‘diverse papers and other bookes prynted by him concernynge the thamyse [Thames] and ward mote enquests’, indicating that Gibson was the city printer at that time (Plomer, 17). Although the Dictionary of National Biography and other commentators have claimed that he wrote practically everything that he published STC credits him with only the authorship of A Breve Cronycle of the Bysshope of Romes Blessynge, published by John Day probably in 1548.

Gibson evidently fled England during Mary's reign as he, his wife, and daughter became members of the English protestant congregation at Geneva on 20 November 1557. He had returned by 1559, when he was granted a licence by the University of Cambridge to practise medicine. Bale claimed that Gibson's cures ‘were almost incredible’, and described him as a zealous defender of the Reformation (Hodgson, 438). John Hodgson, in his nineteenth-century history of Northumberland, remarked on the number of career parallels between Gibson and his much more famous contemporary and fellow native of Morpeth, William Turner. Gibson died in London in 1562.

I. Gadd


STC, 1475–1640 · E. G. Duff, A century of the English book trade (1905) · H. R. Plomer, ‘Notices of English stationers in the archives of the City of London’, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 6 (1901), 13–27 · LP Henry VIII, 12/2.122 · DNB · Venn, Alum. Cant. · J. Hodgson, A history of Northumberland, 3 pts in 7 vols. (1820–58), vol. 2/2, p. 438