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Edmund Bishop

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Edmund Bishop

Edmund Bishop (Totnes, 17 May 1846 – Barnstaple, 17 February 1917) was an English Roman Catholic historian of the Christian liturgy. He collaborated with Francis Aidan Gasquet, OSB, in the writing of two notable works in this field.


  • Life 1
  • Main Publications 2
  • Works about Bishop 3
  • References 4
  • See also 5


Bishop was born at Totnes, Devon, in 1846. His early schooling was received in Ashburton and then at the Exeter School. Afterwards he was sent to a Catholic school in Belgium. Upon his return, he began his career in London as a secretary to the noted scholar, Thomas Carlyle. The one printer who could read Carlyle's handwritten manuscripts had died, and it became necessary for him to find someone who could make clear copies of his writings. This must have been a severe test of Bishop's intelligence, as Carlyle wrote on any odd slip of paper that came to his hand, scribbled, scrawled, and added or corrected in every margin and corner of the paper, hooking together the scattered sentences with rapid slashes of the pen. After reviewing Bishop's first attempt at rendering his own script, Carlyle cast an eye over both the copy and copyist, and then made the observation that the handwriting was out of the ordinary, and so, he was inclined to think, was the writer. Bishop's relations with Carlyle continued to be easy and pleasant, and afterwards he cherished fond memories of "the old Curmudgeon".[1]

In 1864 Bishop was hired by the Education Department of the papal letters dating from the 5th to the 11th centuries. Unable to find a publisher in England, he handed over the whole document to Monumenta Germaniae Historica, who released the work.[2]

Bishop retired from the Education Office in 1885, having resolved to make trial of a calling which he felt to the monastic life. In April 1886 he was accepted by Downside Abbey, where he remained as a postulant until 1889. His frail health finally prevented him from being received as a monk.[2]

In 1893 Bishop took lodgings together with Dom Francis Aidan Gasquet, OSB, a monk of Downside Abbey, whom he had come to know during his time there as a candidate. They lived and worked together till Gasquet's election as Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation in 1901. The following year he retired to the home of his sister in Barnstaple, Devon.[2]

Bishop died in 1917. He was granted the privilege of having his body buried in the monastic cemetery at Downside Abbey.[2]

Main Publications

Works about Bishop


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  2. ^ a b c d

See also

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