Edmund Geste 1514-1577

From Book Owners Online

Edmund GESTE or GUEST 1514-1577

Biographical Note

Born at Northallerton, son of Thomas Geste of Rough Heath, Worcestershire. Fellow of King's College, Cambridge 1539, BA 1541, MA and vice-provost 1544, BTh 1551. He published various doctrinal works during his Cambridge years, and remained in England during the reign of Mary, despite being of protestant convictions. He became archdeacon of Canterbury in 1559, and bishop of Rochester in 1560; in 1571 he was translated to Salisbury. He was a close associate of Matthew Parker, and was involved in the production of the Bishops' Bible in 1568.


Geste bequeathed his books to Salisbury Cathedral, where just over 1200 items in ca.700 volumes remain today, from a library which would originally have been somewhat larger. He acquired books throughout his life, including many bought during his years in Cambridge. The contents are predominantly theological, covering a wide range of Biblical and doctrinal works, with extensive holdings of texts relating to the Reformation and the debates of his time. The library has been catalogued and described in detail by David Selwyn, whose monograph includes extensive analysis of its content and context.

Characteristic Markings

Geste's books were marked by him in various ways, including inscriptions and initials stamped onto bindings. He was also a copious annotator and some of his books can be recognised from his marginalia, or sometimes his fore-edge titles. Many of his books acquired in Cambridge were bound there and retain their original bindings, making the library a valuable quarry of evidence for typical Cambridge binding work of the middle decades of the 16th century. He had many tracts in simple limp parchment bindings as well as blind-stamped leather work. Again, this aspect of the library is well documented by David Selwyn, who reproduces many examples of Geste's bindings and characteristic markings.