William Gostling Memorial in the Cloisters

William Gostling (1696-1777) antiquary, son of the Rev. John Gostling (q.v.), by Dorothy, wife, was born at Canterbury in January 1695-96, and baptised in the cathedral on 30 Jan. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, where he was a king's scholar, and at St. John's College, Cambridge, entering in 1711, and taking the degrees of B.A. in 1715, M.A. in 1719. All his after life was passed in or near Canterbury, and he served in the diocese as curate or parish priest from 1720. He was instituted to the rectory of Brook, near Wye, Kent on 23 Sept. 1722. He held a minor canonry at Canterbury from 1727 until his death. His father died on 18 July 1733, and thereby vacated the vicarage of Littlebourne, a few miles from the cathedral city, to which Gostling succeeded, vacating the benefice of Brook. The living of Littlebourne was surrendered in 1753, on his being appointed to the vicarage of Stone in Oxney. He was thoroughly versed in the history of Canterbury, and delighted to act as cicerone to strangers. For nearly twenty years before his death his infirmities confined him to his room, where he passed his hours in completing his "Walk in and about the City of Canterbury," while his friends corrected his description by personal observation. Gostling died at his house in the Mint Yard Canterbury on 9 March 1777, and was buried in the cloisters on 15 March. He married at the cathedral on 3 Oct. 1717, Hester Thomas, when they were both described as of the precincts; she died on 24 Feb 1760, aged 64, and was buried in the cloisters on 3 March. A large family kept them in poor circumstances all their days. Six of their children died young; two sons and one daughter survived. They were all commemorated on an oval marble tablet on the west side of the cloisters at Canterbury, and the volume of the cathedral registers issued by the Harleian Society in 1878 abounds in references to them.

Gostlings "Walk in and about the city of Canterbury" appeared in 1774, and passed into a second edition in 1777, when it was completed from his corrected copy of the first impression. This issue was for the benefit of his surviving daughter, Hester Gostling. A subscription was raised for her, and numerous friends contributed additional plates. Other editions were issued in 1779, 1796, 1804 and 1825, and to the later impressions were prefixed the old man's portrait, aetat....His library was sold by William Flackton of Canterbury in 1778.


Hester Gostling Memorial in the Cloisters



July 3, 1798 Mrs. Hester Gostling, in the West Cloister (register book Canterbury Cathedral)

May 31, 1804 The Reverend John Gostling, in the Cloysters, Aged 79

November 5, 1804 Captain William Gostling, R.A., in the Cloysters, aged 74

September 4, 1806 Mrs Gostling, Relict of Captain William Gostling, in the Cloysters

May 26, 1727 Ann Margarett, daughter of ye Revd Mr. Wiliam Gostling and Hester his wife, born May ye 6th

May 23, 1728 William son of ye Revd Mr. William Gostling, Minor Canon, & Hester his wife

May 25, 1729 Thomas, son of the Rev. William Gostling and Hester his wife

June 5, 1730 William, son of William Gostling and Hester his wife, born May 23

March 29, 1725, John the son of William Gostling, Clerk & Hester his wife, born March 10th, 1724

February 17, 1725, Ann, daughter of William Gostling, Clerke, and Hester his wife, born Feb. 6th

December 16, 1732 Mary, daughter of ye Revd Mr. William Gostling, Minor Canon, and Hesther his wife, born November 23



© T. Machado 2016