Joseph Gillow (5 October 1850 in Preston, Lancashire – 17 March 1921 in Westholme, Hale) was an English Roman Catholic antiquary, historian and bio-bibliographer, "the Plutarch of the English Catholics".
Born in Frenchwood House, Lancashire, to a recusant English Roman Catholic family able to trace an uninterrupted pedigree back to Conishead Priory in 1325, Gillow was the son of a magistrate, Joseph Gillow (1801-1872), and his wife, Jane Haydock (1805-1872), a descendant of Christopher Haydock, a Lancashire politician and a member of another prominent recusant English Roman Catholic family, the Haydocks of Cottam  Joseph Gillow was educated at Sedgley Park School, Wolverhampton (1862-1863) and St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw (1864-1866), where his brothers and uncles had studied for the priesthood.  At Ushaw, Gillow developed an abiding interest in Lancashire Catholicism, resulting in the publication of The Tyldesley Diary in 1873. 
In 1878 Gillow married Eleanor McKenna, daughter of John McKenna, of Dunham Massey Hall,  with whom he had seven children. In marrying into the McKennas, Gillow secured himself a private income which allowed him to pursue his antiquarian interests..
Gillow published various researches into the history of Roman Catholicism in Lancashire, but his greatest achievement was the Biographical and Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics (5 vols, 1885-1902). To fit his material into the five volumes allotted him by his publishers, he needed to abbreviate the later volumes. Cardinal Gasquet described the dictionary as a ‘veritable storehouse of information’, however, until 1986, no index was available.
- Paulyn Gillow
- Cardinal William Allen
- Richard Gillow
- Robert Gillow
- Brian Gillow
- Leighton Hall, Lancashire
- Eulogio Gillow y Zavalza
- Gillows of Lancaster and London
- Thomas Bridgett, in The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook, 1908; quoted in ODNB.
- J.F.X. Bevan, ‘Gillow, Joseph (1850–1921)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; accessed 1 August 2008
- Bevan, J. F. X., Index and finding list to the bibliographical dictionary, 1986
- Catholic Records Volume List 1-76 Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, catholic-history.org.uk; accessed 21 October 2014.
- Burnand, Francis Cowley Burnand. "Gillow, Joseph", The Catholic Who's who and Yearbook, Burns & Oates, 1908, p. 171
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