William's baptism in Madrid is recorded in the Register of St. Mary Major, Exeter, see Additions of 1927 in the book 'Antony & Dorothea Gibbs' by J.A. Gibbs, p.XVI (4). He was employed in Cadiz, Lisbon and England in his father's business 1802-5; in his uncle George's (George Gibbs of Redland) business (Gibbs Richards and Gibbs) in Bristol, 1806-8; in London under his father in the Portuguese Commission 1808-9; in London in Antony Gibbs and Son 1809-12. Partner in Antony Gibbs & Sons 1813-75; resident in Cadiz in charge of their House there 1813-22: head of A. Gibbs & Sons 1843-75 and sole partner 1843-7. During his headship the South American business prospered exceedingly. Member of Lloyds 1812-75.
After marriage his successive residences in London were 13 Hyde Park Street (number since changed) 1840-8, Gloucester Square 1849, Sussex Square 1850, 16 Hyde Park Gardens 1851-75, all in Paddington. He bought the estate and house of Tyntesfield, Wraxall, north Somerset in April 1844 from Reverend George Turner Seymour, at various times (notably 1862-4) greatly altered the house (John Norton one of the architects) and at the end of his life built the beautiful chapel to it (Sir A. W. Blomfield, architect). He added to his property in 1865 the adjoining estate and house called Charlton (in Wraxall parish) buying it from the Kingston family, and in 1870 he reunited Belmont and Tyntesfield, buying Belmont from his nephew George L. M. Gibbs.
In Devon he bought back Pytte the ancient home of the family in Clyst St. George from the executors of General Doveton, in 1859, made other purchases in that parish, rebuilt cottages, and amongst other benefactions to the village and church gave a memorial window (1860) to his grandfather (George Abraham Gibbs of Pytte). He also bought from Lord Devon in 1873 an estate in Alphington, nr. Exeter (which extended into Whitestone). At Littlemore, Oxon, he bought in 1872 the house of his cousin and former partner Charles Crawley. The village school and school-master's house at Clifton Hampden, Oxon, in 1847, and the Church at Flaxley, in Gloucestershire, in 1856 were both built at his cost (the architect being G. Gilbert Scott): so also in 1861 were St. Michael and All Angels Church in Star Street, Paddington, and its vicarage (architect Rhode Hawkins).
Also in Devon, he built in 1868 the Chapel-of-Ease of St. Antony at Cowley in memory of his parents and of his own life there, and at the same time and with the same architect (R. Hawkins) the Church of St. Michael and All Angels and its vicarage in the parish of St. David, Exeter; and in 1872 he enlarged the church at Exwick and in 1874 built its vicarage on the site of the grounds of his father's one time residence Exwick House.
Moreover, he contributed largely to the restoration of Exeter and Bristol Cathedrals. The endowments of the livings of Exwick, St. Michael's Exeter, and St. Michael's Paddington, were also gifts from him. He acquired the advowsons of Clyst St. George (1857), Exwick, St. Michael's in Paddington, Stowe-nine-churches, North Newton in Somerset, and Otterbourne in Hampshire (the latter because of its connection with Rev. John Keble). He founded in 1859 at Brixham, Devon, a Mission to Seamen of ships sheltering in Torbay, and in 1860 there the British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home for the Western Counties, his interest in that parish being due to his temporary tenancy of Berryhead House there, the home of Rev. John Hogg.
Of all his gifts the most famous was the chapel of Keble College Oxford. He offered it to the College in 1872, on the suggestion of his friend Sir John Taylor Coleridge, (#5758 on the family tree) and himself laid the foundation stone on St. Mark's Day (25 April) 1873. He died in 1875, and his son Antony formally presented it at the opening service on St. Mark's Day 1876, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The same day Lord Salisbury (Chancellor of the University) laid the foundation stone of the block of buildings given to the College by William's sons Antony and Martin. W. Butterfield was architect both of chapel and block, as of the rest of the College.
William was an original (1832) member of the City of London Club and a member of the Athenaeum Club. Memorial Inscription in Wraxall church and churchyard at Tyntesfield chapel, Barrow Court chapel, Flaxley church, St. Michael's Paddington (rose window erected by the parish in his memory), St. Michael's Exeter, Keble College Chapel, Cowley chapel, Exwick chapel and St. Martin's Brighton.
Our thanks to the Gibbs Family website, 2016