Birth: 19 July 1852

Place or Registered Place of Birth: St. George's, Bloomsbury, London, Middlesex

Baptism: Not Known

Place of Baptism: Not Known

Death: 12 June 1938

Place or Registered Place of Death: Nobles, Dormansland, Surrey

Date of Burial: 15 June 1938

Place of Burial: St. John's Church, Dormansland, Surrey

Father: Rev. Robert William Dibdin (1805-1887)

Mother: Caroline Thompson (1812-1897)

Spouse(s): Marianne Aubrey Pinder

Date of Marriage: 21 April 1881

Place or Registered Place of Marriage: Holy Trinity Church, Exeter, Devon


Marianne Stewart Dibdin (1882-1955)
Lewis George Dibdin (1883-1965)
Humphrey Senhouse Dibdin (1885-)
Robert John Dibdin (1886-)
Charles William Dibdin (1888-1912)
Elizabeth Caroline Dibdin (1890-1970)
Aubrey Dibdin (1892-1958)


Dean of the Arches, Sir Lewis was an ecclesiastical lawyer.

The Pall Mall Gazette
Friday 22 Apr 1881
DIBDIN - PINDER At Holy Trinity Church, Exeter, Lewis T. Dibdin, of Lincoln’s-inn, Barrister-at-law, son of the Rev. Robert W. Dibdin, M.A., of West-street Chapel, St. Giles, London, to Marianne A., daughter of the Rev. Humphrey S. Pinder, M.A., late Rector of Bratton Fleming, North Devon, and sometime Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, April 21.

The Times, Monday 13 Jun 1938, pg.1
LEWIS TONNA DIBDIN - On Sunday, June 12, 1938, at Nobles, Dormansland, Sir Lewis Tonna Dibdin, D.C.L., sometime Dean of the Arches, aged 85. Arrangements for funeral (for family and neighbours) and memorial service in London will be announced in Tuesday's paper.

The Times, Tuesday 14 Jun 1938, pg.1
On Sunday, June 12, 1938, at Nobles, Dormansland, Sir Lewis Tonna Dibdin, D.C.L., sometime Dean of the Arches, aged 85. Funeral (for family and neighbours) Dormansland Church, 10am, tomorrow (Wednesday). Memorial service Lincoln's Inn Chapel, 4.30pm on the same day. Will anyone wishing to send flowers, please address to Dormans Station.

The Times, Monday 13 Jun 1938, pg.16

The Times, Thursday 16 Jun 1938, pg.18
Obituary by Lord Daryngton

The Times, Thursday 16 Jun 1938, pg.10
Memorial Service: The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by the Rev. A. Sargent at a memorial service for Sir Lewis Dibdin, K.C., which was held yesterday in Lincoln's Inn Chapel. The Rev. R.V.G. Tasker, Chaplain, officiated, assisted by the Rev. F.H. Bartlam. Family present at the memorial were: Mr. L.G. Dibdin, Mr. R.J. Dibdin, Mr. Aubrey Dibdin, Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs. H.S. Pinder, Mr. Humphrey Paget, Mr. Charles Greenwood, the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. B. Bussell, Mrs. Harold E, Greenwood, Mr. D.H. Dibdin, Mr. E.J. Dibdin, Miss Dibdin (niece), Mr. E. Rimbault Dibdin.
(A list of others attending the service also appears in the report)
The funeral of Sir Lewis Dibdin took place yesterday at St. John's, Dormansland. The Rev. F.H. Bartlam officiated. Family present at the funeral were: Mr. L.G. Dibdin (son), Mr. And Mrs. R.J. Dibdin and Mr. And Mrs. Aubrey Dibdin (sons and daughters-in-law), Miss Dibdin (daughter), Lieutenant-Colonel Pinder.
(A list of others attending the service also appears in the report)

The Times, Friday 17 Jun 1938, pg.9
Primate's Tribute

The Times, Thu 6 Jun 1939, pg.1
Memorial Bell at Dormansland Church

Monday 13 Jun 1938, pg.16
SIR LEWIS DIBDIN - Sir Lewis Dibdin, D.C.L., for 31 years Dean of the Arches, died at his home, Nobles, Dormansland, Surrey, yesterday. He was best known as one of the small group of able lawyers who give special attention to ecclesiastical matters, but up to the time of his appointment as Dean of the Arches he had also a large general practice in the Chancery Division. As Dean of the Court of Arches from 1903 to 1934 he was called upon to give decisions on more than one important case, while as Auditor of the Chancery Court of York, Master of the Faculties, and an Ecclesiastical and Church Estates Commissioner his influence in Church affairs was far-reaching. He was a man of sound judgment, content to stand in the old ways of ecclesiastical procedure, an earnest defender of the Church as established by law in these kingdoms, and a conserver of its temporalities.

Lewis Tonna Dibdin was the third son of the Rev. R.W. Dibdin, of St. Giles's, London, and brother of the late Sir R.W. Dibdin, ex-president of the Law Society, and was born on July 19, 1852. He went to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was afterwards elected an honorary Fellow, graduating in 1874 as a senior Optime, and then read for the Bar at Lincoln's Inn. He became K.C. in 1901. He gradually acquired a large Chancery practice, and from 1895 to 1903 was official counsel to the Attorney-General in charity matters. Early in his career Dibdin became known as an ecclesiastical lawyer, and appeared in all the leading ecclesiastical suits. He was, for instance, offered briefs by all the parties to the litigation which arose out of the confirmation of Dr. Gore's election to the Bishopric of Worcester, being finally claimed by the Crown. He was also leading counsel in the memorable Lambeth hearings on Incense and Reservation. Almost from its establishment, in Archbishop Benson's time, Sir Lewis took an important part in the deliberations of the Canterbury House of Laymen, and for some years was its vice-chairman. He resigned from this body only because he thought that his judicial office made his withdrawal advisable. He had been Chancellor of the dioceses of Rochester, Exeter and Durham.

The Royal Commission on Church Discipline was appointed in 1904. For some time before ritual troubles had seriously disturbed the peace of the Church, and the clamour against what was described as the lawlessness of some of the clergy was so urgent that the Government was compelled to institute an inquiry into the real state of affairs. Sir Lewis Dibdin was appointed a member of the Commission, and took a prominent part in drawing up the report.

In 1903, the year he was knighted, Sir Lewis was appointed Dean of the Arches in succession to Sir Arthur Charles, and it was in this capacity that it became his duty to deliver judgment in what was known as the Deceased Wife's Sister Case. He decided that Canon Thompson, at the time vicar of Eaton, Norwich, was not entitled to repel from Holy Communion Mr. and Mrs. Bannister, who had been married in Canada, the latter being the sister of her husband's first wife. Canon Thompson obtained a rule nisi calling upon Dibdin to show cause why a writ should not issue, but the Divisional Court discharged the rule, and when the case came before the Court of Appeal the Court unanimously upheld that decision. The validity of this judgment was then made the subject of an appeal to the House of Lords, but it was again upheld. Thus the soundness of Dibdin's judgment was affirmed. Naturally such a result caused no small degree of anxiety among a number of Churchmen, but the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Davidson) promptly pointed out, in reply to a letter from the Bishop of London, that the judgment and Act on which it was founded left the Church's law unchanged. The Deceased Wife's Sister Act, 1907, had expressly legalized and validated such a union, and although it was still ecclesiastically irregular, those who contracted it could not be called "open and notorious evil livers."

The Royal Commission on Divorce, which Sir Lewis was a member, sat at frequent intervals between 1909 and 1912. In the end the members found themselves in two sections. While the majority report strongly advocated a wide extension of the conditions of divorce in this country, the minority report sought to restrict it within the limits already fixed by the law, except that it urged that it should be amended to procure equality of treatment of the sexes. The minority report was signed by Sir Lewis Dibdin, the Archbishop of York (Dr. C.G. Lang), and the late Sir William Anson.

In 1914, with the assistance of the late Sir Alfred Kempe and the late Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey, Sir Lewis Dibdin, at the request of the Archbishops, drew up a report on the issue of faculties for securing the protection of ancient churches and preventing undue alterations in ancient fabrics. The report was of real value and had as a result the formation in most dioceses of committees which included experts whose advice could be taken before alterations in fabrics were allowed.

Upon the vexed question of the Revised Prayer-book Dibdin's attitude was a moderate one. Probably he would have preferred to leave the Prayer-book as it was, but he realized that the neglect of the Bishops to enforce, and of the clergy to obey, the law of strict uniformity had brought about a serious situation. He therefore supported the new Book, though always maintaining the right of parliament to accept or reject it.

Sir Lewis resigned from his many offices, including that of Vicar-General of the Province of Canterbury, which he had held since 1925, in 1934 on account of age. Many legal and other works were written or edited by him; among them may be mentioned "Church Courts," 1881; "The City Livery companies," 1886; "Monasticism in England," 1890; "The English Church Law and divorce" (with the late Sir Charles Chadwyck-Healey, 1912; and in 1932 a valuable volume on Establishment in England," a collection of essays written across many years and containing nmuch information and learning upon the relations of Church and State not easily accessible to the general reader interested in such matters.

In 1881 Sir Lewis married Marianne Aubrey, daughter of the late Rev. H.S. Pinder. She died in 1927. They had three sons and two daughters.

SIR LEWIS DIBDIN - Lord Daryngton writes:

May I be permitted to add to the excellent notice in The Times on Monday in reference to Sir Lewis Dibdin's work, especially as First Church Estates Commissioner and Chairman of Committees of Queen Anne's Bounty.

He succeeded the sixth Lord Stanhope as First Church Estates Commissioner in 1905, and held the post until his resignation in December 1930. Those 25 years saw great developments. In 1907 the first attempt establish a pension scheme for incumbents, otherwise than by charge on the living, was made. In 1908 the first scheme of augmentation of poor benefices established a minimum income of £150 a year, and was extended in 1909-10 to raise the minimum to £200. Then came the War, and the system of War-time bonuses to the clergy to meet the rising cost of living, and, after the War, in 1921-27, the entirely new augmentation schemes, which have benefited three-quarters of the benefices in England and made a minimum income of £300 possible. This represents only a fraction of his work.

On the establishment of the Church Assembly in 1920 Dibdin played a prominent part. He was largely himself responsible for a series of measures relating to the Commissioners and to various reforms in disciple, patronage, and in Episcopal endowments. I can testify to the keen personal interest he took in all those schemes for the benefit of the Church. He was that rare phenomenon, lawyer, judge, administrator, all in one, and long will be remembered. I should like to add that he was at all times a personal friend if Archbishop Lord Davidson, who realized his great ability and administrative power.

The Times
Friday 17 Jun 1938, pg.9
SIR LEWIS DIBDIN - Primate's Tribute to Late Sir Lewis Dibdin.
At the monthly General Court of the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who presided, alluded to the death of Sir Lewis Dibdin, and said it would not be right for the occasion to pass without some reference to the debt which the Governors owed to him. Sir Lewis Dibdin became a Governor as long ago as 1902, and was appointed Chairman in 1915; and from that time onwards, until his resignation in 1927, took an active interest in the affairs of the Bounty. It was under him that the fruitful cooperation between the Bounty and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was established. In a reference to Sir Lewis Dibdin's resignation in 1927 the Archbishop thought that it might have been caused by the burden of the tithe administration following the passing of the Tithe Act, 1925. He had a most rare and deep sympathy with the clergy of the Church of England, and a constant and pious loyalty to that Church, as well as being one of its most faithful sons.

Probate Records
National Probate Register 1939
Lewis Tonna Dibdin of Nobles, Dormansland, Surrey, Knight, died 12th June 1938. Probate London 4th August 1939 to Lewis George Dibdin, barrister at law & Robert John Dibdin, chartered accountant. Effects £27,808 1s 1d.

St. John's College Magazine
Our Chronicle - Lent Term, 1893
Mr. Lewis Tonna Dibdin (B.A. 1874), Chancellor of Durham, Exeter, and Rochester, was returned to the House of Laymen at the top of the poll for the Diocese of London.

The Rev. Robert William Dibdin, son of Charles Isaac Mungo Dibdin, an author, and Mary Bates, was born at St. James in Clerkenwell, Middlesex on 9 October 1805. Robert died, aged 81, at 62 Torrington Square, London on 23 July 1887 and was buried at the Hampstead Cemetery, Finchley Road, Hampstead in London on 28 July 1887.

Caroline Thompson was the daughter of a barrister of the Middle Temple, William Thompson. Caroline was born about 1812 at St. Pancras in Middlesex and she died, aged 85, at 62 Torrington Square, London on 8 August 1897.

The Rev. Robert William Dibdin and Caroline Thompson were married at St. George's, Bloomsbury in Middlesex on 4 August 1846.

The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 180 - 1846
At St. George's, Bloomsbury, the Rev. R.W. Dibdin, M.A., Minister of West-st. Episcopal Chapel, St. Giles's, to Caroline, only child of the late William Thompson, esq., of the Temple.

Rev. Robert William Dibdin, M.A., of West Street Episcopal Chapel, St. Giles in the Fields, London, who d. 1887, m. Caroline, dau. of the late William Thompson, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.

The Times, Wednesday 27 Jul 1887, pg.1
ROBERT WILLIAM DIBDIN - On the 23rd inst., at his residence, 62, Torrington-square, the Reverend Robert William Dibdin M.A, Minister of West-street Chapel, St. Giles’s, in the 82nd year of his age. Funeral service at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, on Thursday the 28th inst. At 11 o’clock. Interment at Hampstead Cemetery (Finchley-road) at 12.30.


1851 Census:

62, Torrington Square, Saint George Bloomsbury, Finsbury, Middlesex
Robert William Dibdin - Head - Married - 45 - 1806 - Clergyman of West Ward Episcopal Chapel - St. Giles - Clerkenwell, Middlesex
Caroline Dibdin - Wife - 39 - 1812 - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Mary Dibdin - Daughter - 3 - 1848 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Robert William Dibdin - Son - 2 - 1849 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Charles Dibdin - Son - 1 - 1850 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Caroline Dibdin - Daughter - 3 Months - 1851 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Ann Augusta Dibdin - Sister - 40 - 1811 - St. James, Clerkenwell, Middlesex

1861 Census:

62, Torrington Square, Saint George Bloomsbury, Finsbury, Middlesex
Robert W. Dibden - Head - Married - 55 - 1806 - Clergyman of Ward St. Episcopal Chapel - Clerkenwell, Middlesex
Caroline Dibdin - Wife - 49 - 1812 - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Mary A. Dibdin - Daughter - 13 - 1848 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Robert W. Dibdin - Son - 12 - 1849 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Charles Dibdin - Son - 11 - 1850 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Caroline S. Dibdin - Daughter - 10 - 1851 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Lewis S. Dibdin - Son - 8 - 1853 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Emily Dibdin - Daughter - 6 - 1855 - Scholar - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Ann A Dibdin - Sister - Unmarried - 50 - 1811 - Clerkenwell, Middlesex

1871 Census:

62, Torrington Square, Saint George Bloomsbury, Finsbury, Middlesex
Robert W. Dibdin - Head - Married - 65 - 1806 - Clergyman, Minister of West St. Episcopal Chapel, St. Giles - London
Caroline Dibdin - Wife - 59 - 1812 - London
Mary Ann Dibdin - Daughter - 23 - 1848 - London
Robert William Dibdin - Son - 22 - 1849 - Solicitor - London
Charles Dibdin - Son - 21 - 1850 - Savings Bank Deposit, General Post Office - London
Caroline S. Dibdin - Daughter - 20 - 1851 - London
Lewis T. Dibdin - Son - 18 - 1853 - Undergraduate, Cambridge - London

1881 Census:

62, Torrington Square, Saint George Bloomsbury, Finsbury, Middlesex
Robert W. Dibdin - Head - Married - 75 - 1806 - Clergyman, West St. Chapel, St. Giles - Clerkenwell, Middlesex
Caroline Dibdin - Wife - 69 - 1812 - St. Pancras, Middlesex
Robert W. Dibdin - Son - Single - 33 - 1848 - Solicitor - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Mary Dibdin - Daughter - 32 - 1849 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Lewis T. Dibdin - Single - 28 - 1853 - Barrister in Practice - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Emily Dibdin - Daughter - 26 - 1855 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Caroline Larve - Daughter - Married - 30 - 1851 - Bloomsbury, Middlesex
Caroline A. Larve - Granddaughter - 4 - 1877 - Finsbury, Middlesex


The Times, Tuesday 10 Aug 1897, pg.1
CAROLINE DIBDIN - On the 8th inst., after four days illness, Caroline Dibdin, of 62, Torrington-square, widow of the late Reverend Robert William Dibdin M.A., aged 85.
(Also reported in the Daily News, 11 Aug 1897; Issue 16029)


1891 Census:

62, Torrington Square, Saint George Bloomsbury, Finsbury, Middlesex
Caroline Dibdin - Head - Widow - 79 - 1812 - Living on Own Means - St. Pancras, London
Mary A. Dibdin - Daughter - 43 - 1848 - Bloomsbury, London
Emily Dibdin - Daughter - 36 - 1855 - Bloomsbury, London

The children of The Rev. Robert William Dibdin and Caroline Thompson were

:Mary Dibdin (1847-)
Robert William Dibdin (1848-1933)
Charles Dibdin (1849-1910)
Caroline Dibdin (1851-)
Sir Lewis Tonna Dibdin (1852-1938)
Emily Dibdin (1855-1938)

Sir Lewis Tonna Dibdin, K.C.