Gilbert Ironside the elder

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The Right Reverend
Gilbert Ironside
Bishop of Bristol
Bp Gilbert Ironside the Elder.jpg
Diocese Diocese of Bristol
In office 1661–1671
Predecessor Thomas Howell
(vacant since 1646)
Successor Guy Carleton
Personal details
Born (1588-11-25)25 November 1588
Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire[1]
Died 19 September 1671(1671-09-19) (aged 82)
Buried Bristol Cathedral[1]
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Spouse (1) Elizabeth Frenchman
(2) Alice Glisson[1]
Alma mater Trinity College, Oxford

Gilbert Ironside the elder (1588–1671) was Bishop of Bristol.


He was elder son of Ralph Ironside, rector of Long Bredy and of Winterbourne Abbas and was born at Hawkesbury, near Sodbury, Gloucestershire, on 25 November 1588.[2] The second son, Ralph Ironside (1590–1683) became rector of Long Bredy in succession to his father, who died in 1629,[3] and was also Archdeacon of Dorset.

Gilbert Ironside matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, 22 June 1604, and became scholar of his college 28 May 1605, B.A. 1608, M.A. 1612, B.D. 1619, and D.D. 1620, and Fellow of Trinity 1613. In 1618 he was presented to the rectory of Winterbourne Steepleton, Dorset, by Sir Robert Miller. In 1629 he succeeded his father in the benefice of Winterbourne Abbas. He was also rector of Yeovilton in Somerset. Anthony à Wood says that he kept his preferments during the protectorate, but this is doubtful.[3]

Either by marriage or other means he amassed a large fortune before the Restoration. On 13 October 1660 he was appointed to a prebendal stall in York Minster, but resigned the post next year, when on 13 January 1661 he was consecrated bishop of Bristol. As a man of wealth he was considered fitted to maintain the dignity of the episcopate with the reduced revenues of the see.[3]

At Bristol Ironside showed forbearance to nonconforming ministers. Edmund Calamy gives particulars of a long conference between him and John Westley, grandfather of John Wesley. Ironside died on 19 September 1671, and was buried in his cathedral without any memorial, near the steps of the bishop's throne.[3]


He was the author of Seven Questions of the Sabbath briefly disputed, Oxford, 1637[4]


He married (1) Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Frenchman of East Compton, Dorsetshire, and (2) Alice, daughter of William Glisson of Marnhull, Dorsetshire. By his first wife he was father of four sons, of whom Gilbert Ironside the younger was the third.[3]


  1. ^ a b c  Venables, Edmund (1892). "Ironside, Gilbert (1588-1671)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ Pedigree of Ironside in the Counties of Durham and Dorset, compiled 1787 by George Harrison, Norroy King of Arms, and Benjamin Pingo, York Herald. There are slightly different versions of this pedigree, in Surtees' History of County Durham and Hutchins' History of Dorset.
  3. ^ a b c d e  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1892). "Ironside, Gilbert (1588-1671)". Dictionary of National Biography. 29. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  4. ^ Bibliotheca Britannica; or, A general index to British and foreign literature by Robert Watt, 1824. Available online at DNB has the title, apparently incorrectly, as Ten questions of the Sabbath freely described.


Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Howell
vacant since 1646
Bishop of Bristol
Succeeded by
Guy Carleton