Nicholas Ridley (martyr)

Nicholas Ridley (martyr)

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Nicholas Ridley was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

. Ridley was burned at the stake
Burned at the Stake
Burned at the Stake is a 1981 film directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Susan Swift and Albert Salmi.-Cast:*Susan Swift as Loreen Graham / Ann Putnam*Albert Salmi as Captaiin Billingham*Guy Stockwell as Dr. Grossinger*Tisha Sterling as Karen Graham...

, as one of the Oxford Martyrs
Oxford Martyrs
The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings....

, during the Marian Persecutions
Marian Persecutions
The Marian Persecutions were carried out against religious reformers, Protestants, and other dissenters for their heretical beliefs during the reign of Mary I of England. The excesses of this period were mythologized in the historical record of Foxe's Book of Martyrs...

, for his teachings and his support of Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

. Ridley is remembered with a commemoration in the Calendar of saints
Calendar of saints (Church of England)
The Church of England commemorates many of the same saints as those in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, mostly on the same days, but also commemorates various notable Christians who have not been canonised by Rome, with a particular though not exclusive emphasis on those of English origin...

 in some parts of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 on 16 October.

Early years and advancement (c.1500-50)


Ridley came from a prominent family in Tynedale
Tynedale
Tynedale was a local government district in south-west Northumberland, England. It had a resident population of 58,808 according to the 2001 Census, and was named after the River Tyne . Its main towns were Hexham, Haltwhistle and Prudhoe...

, Northumberland
Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

, and was born c.1500. He was the second son of Christopher Ridley, first cousin to Lancelot Ridley
Lancelot Ridley
Lancelot Ridley , was an English clergyman, known as a theological writer, and rector of St James' Church, Stretham, Cambridgeshire.- Life :...

 and grew up in Unthank Hall
Unthank Hall
Unthank Hall is a Grade II listed mansion house, situated on the southern bank of the River South Tyne east of Plenmeller, near Haltwhistle, Northumberland....

 from the old House of Unthank located on the site of an ancient watch tower or pele tower. The boy was educated at the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Royal Grammar School, Newcastle
Royal Grammar School Newcastle upon Tyne, known locally and often abbreviated as RGS, is a long-established co-educational, independent school in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It gained its Royal Charter under Queen Elizabeth I...

 and Pembroke College, Cambridge
Pembroke College, Cambridge
Pembroke College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college has over seven hundred students and fellows, and is the third oldest college of the university. Physically, it is one of the university's larger colleges, with buildings from almost every century since its...

, where he received his Master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in 1525. Soon afterward he was ordained as a priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 and went to the Sorbonne
Collège de Sorbonne
The Collège de Sorbonne was a theological college of the University of Paris, founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon, after whom it is named. With the rest of the Paris colleges, it was suppressed during the French Revolution. It was restored in 1808 but finally closed in 1882. The name Sorbonne...

, in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, for further education. After returning to England around 1529, he became the senior proctor of Cambridge University in 1534. Around that time there was significant debate about the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

's supremacy. Ridley was well versed on Biblical hermeneutics
Biblical hermeneutics
Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.While Jewish and Christian...

, and through his arguments the university came up with the following resolution: "That the Bishop of Rome had no more authority and jurisdiction derived to him from God, in this kingdom of England, than any other foreign bishop." He graduated B.D. in 1537 and was then appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from...

, to serve as one of his chaplains. In April 1538, Cranmer made him vicar of Herne in Kent.

In 1540-1, he was made one of the King's Chaplain
Honorary Chaplain to the King
Honorary Chaplain to the King is an office conferred to a chaplain in the United Kingdom. They are also known as Honorary Chaplains to the Sovereign....

s, and was also presented with a prebendal stall
Prebendal stall
A prebendal stall is a seat, usually in the back row of the choir stalls, where a prebendary sits. It was a place of honour for dignitaries who were members of clergy on the staff of a cathedral or collegiate church....

 in Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site....

. He was also made Master of Pembroke College
Pembroke College, Cambridge
Pembroke College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college has over seven hundred students and fellows, and is the third oldest college of the university. Physically, it is one of the university's larger colleges, with buildings from almost every century since its...

. In 1543 he was accused of heresy
Christian heresy
Christian heresy refers to non-orthodox practices and beliefs that were deemed to be heretical by one or more of the Christian churches. In Western Christianity, the term "heresy" most commonly refers to those beliefs which were declared to be anathema by the Catholic Church prior to the schism of...

, but he was able to beat the charge. Cranmer had resolved to support the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

 by gradually replacing the old guard in his ecclesiastical province
Ecclesiastical Province
An ecclesiastical province is a large jurisdiction of religious government, so named by analogy with a secular province, existing in certain hierarchical Christian churches, especially in the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches and in the Anglican Communion...

 with men who followed the new thinking. Ridley was made the Bishop of Rochester
Bishop of Rochester
The Bishop of Rochester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers the west of the county of Kent and is centred in the city of Rochester where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin...

 in 1547, and shortly after coming to office, directed that the altars in the churches of his diocese should be removed, and tables put in their place to celebrate the Lord's Supper
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. In 1548 he helped Cranmer compile the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 and in 1549 he was one of the commissioners who investegated Bishops Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner
Stephen Gardiner was an English Roman Catholic bishop and politician during the English Reformation period who served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I of England.-Early life:...

 and Edmund Bonner
Edmund Bonner
Edmund Bonner , Bishop of London, was an English bishop. Initially an instrumental figure in the schism of Henry VIII from Rome, he was antagonized by the Protestant reforms introduced by Somerset and reconciled himself to Roman Catholicism...

. He concurred that they should be removed from office. As Cranmer's former chaplain, Ridley was translated from the minor see of Rochester to the then-vacant diocese of London
Diocese of London
The Anglican Diocese of London forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England.Historically the diocese covered a large area north of the Thames and bordered the dioceses of Norwich and Lincoln to the north and west. The present diocese covers and 17 London boroughs, covering most of Greater...

 in 1550. John Ponet
John Ponet
John Ponet was the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Rochester, and a controversial Protestant religious leader.In his day, Ponet was an influential Protestant theologian...

 took Ridley’s former position. Incumbent conservatives were uprooted and replaced with reformers.

Vestments controversy (1550-3)


Ridley played a major part in the vestments controversy
Vestments controversy
The vestments controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments, but more fundamentally concerned with English Protestant identity, doctrine, and various church practices...

. John Hooper
John Hooper
John Hooper, Johan Hoper, was an English churchman, Anglican Bishop of Gloucester and Worcester. A Protestant Reformer, he was killed during the Marian Persecutions.-Biography:...

, having been exiled during King Henry's reign, returned to England in 1548 from the churches in Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 that had been reformed by Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger
Heinrich Bullinger was a Swiss reformer, the successor of Huldrych Zwingli as head of the Zurich church and pastor at Grossmünster...

 in a highly iconoclastic fashion. When Hooper was invited to give a series of Lenten sermons before the king in February 1550, he spoke against Cranmer's 1549 ordinal whose oath mentioned "all saints" and required newly elected bishops and those attending the ordination ceremony to wear a cope
Cope
The cope is a liturgical vestment, a very long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour....

 and surplice
Surplice
A surplice is a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church...

. In Hooper's view, these requirements were vestiges of Judaism and Roman Catholicism, which had no biblical warrant for Christians since they were not used in the early Christian church.


Summoned to answer to the Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

 and archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

—who were primarily concerned with Hooper's willingness to accept the royal supremacy, which was also part of the oath for newly ordained clergy—Hooper evidently made sufficient reassurances, as he was soon appointed to the bishopric
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

 of Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

. Hooper declined the office, however, because of the required vestments and oath by the saints. The king accepted Hooper's position, but the Privy Council did not. Called before them on 15 May 1550, a compromise was reached. Vestments were to be considered a matter of adiaphora, or Res Indifferentes ("things indifferent", as opposed to an article of faith), and Hooper could be ordained without them at his discretion, but he must allow that others could wear them. Hooper passed confirmation of the new office again before the king and council on 20 July 1550 when the issue was raised again, and Cranmer was instructed that Hooper was not to be charged "with an oath burdensome to his conscience".

Cranmer assigned Ridley to perform the consecration
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

, and Ridley refused to do anything but follow the form of the ordinal as it had been prescribed by Parliament
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

. Ridley, it seems likely, had some particular objection to Hooper. It has been suggested that Henrician exiles like Hooper, who had experienced some of the more radically reformed churches on the continent, were at odds with English clergy who had accepted and never left the established church. John Henry Primus also notes that on 24 July 1550, the day after receiving instructions for Hooper's unique consecration, the church of the Augustinian friars
Augustinians
The term Augustinians, named after Saint Augustine of Hippo , applies to two separate and unrelated types of Catholic religious orders:...

 in London had been granted to Jan Laski
Jan Laski
Jan Łaski, John Laski, Johannes Alasco, John a Lasco , was a Polish Protestant evangelical reformer. It is owing to his influential work in England Jan Łaski, John Laski, Johannes Alasco, John a Lasco (1499 – 8 January 1560), was a Polish Protestant evangelical reformer. It is owing to his...

 for use as a Stranger church
Stranger churches
Strangers' church was a term used by English-speaking people for independent Protestant churches established in foreign lands or by foreigners in England during the Reformation...

. This was to be a designated place of worship for Continental Protestant refugees, a church with forms and practices that had taken reforms much further than Ridley would have liked. This development—the use of a London church virtually outside Ridley's jurisdiction—was one that Hooper had had a hand in.

The Privy Council reiterated its position, and Ridley responded in person, agreeing that vestments are indifferent but making a compelling argument that the monarch may require indifferent things without exception. The council became divided in opinion, and the issue dragged on for months without resolution. Hooper now insisted that vestments were not indifferent, since they obscured the priesthood of Christ by encouraging hypocrisy and superstition. Warwick disagreed, emphasising that the king must be obeyed in things indifferent, and he pointed to St Paul's concessions to Jewish traditions in the early church. Finally, an acrimonious debate with Ridley went against Hooper. Ridley's position centred on maintaining order and authority; not the vestments themselves, Hooper's primary concern.

The Hooper–Ridley debate



In a Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 letter dated 3 October 1550, Hooper laid out his argument contra usum vestium. With Ridley's reply (in English), it marks the first written representation of a split in the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

. Hooper's argument is that vestments should not be used as they are not indifferent, nor is their use supported by scripture, a point he takes as self-evident. He contends that church practices must either have express biblical support or be things indifferent, approval for which is implied by scripture. Furthermore, an indifferent thing, if used, causes no profit or loss. Ridley objected in his response, saying that indifferent things do have profitable effects, which is the only reason they are used. Failing to distinguish between conditions for indifferent things in general and the church's use of indifferent things, Hooper then all but excludes the possibility of anything being indifferent in the four conditions he sets:
1) An indifferent thing has either an express justification in scripture or is implied by it, finding its origin and foundation in scripture.


Hooper cites Romans
Epistle to the Romans
The Epistle of Paul to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that Salvation is offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ...

 14:23 (whatever is not faith is sin), Romans 10:17 (faith comes from hearing the word of God), and Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 15:13 (everything not "planted" by God will be "rooted up") to argue that indifferent things must be done in faith, and since what cannot be proved from scripture is not of faith, indifferent things must be proved from scripture, which is both necessary and sufficient authority, as opposed to tradition. Hooper maintains that priestly garb distinguishing clergy from laity is not indicated by scripture; there is no mention of it in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 as being in use in the early church, and the use of priestly clothing in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 is a Hebrew practice, a type or foreshadowing that finds its antitype in Christ, who abolishes the old order and recognises the spiritual equality, or priesthood, of all Christians. The historicity of these claims is further supported by Hooper with a reference to Polydore Vergil
Polydore Vergil
Polydore Vergil was an Italian historian, otherwise known as PV Castellensis. He is better known as the contemporary historian during the early Tudor dynasty. He was hired by King Henry VIII of England, who wanted to distance himself from his father Henry VII as much as possible, to document...

's De Inventoribus Rerum.

In response, Ridley rejected Hooper's insistence on biblical origins and countered Hooper's interpretations of his chosen biblical texts. He points out that many non-controversial practices are not mentioned or implied in scripture. Ridley denies that early church practices are normative for the present situation, and he links such primitivist arguments with the Anabaptists. Joking that Hooper's reference to Christ's nakedness on the cross is as insignificant as the clothing King Herod put Christ in and "a jolly argument" for the Adamites
Adamites
The Adamites, or Adamians, were adherents of an Early Christian sect that flourished in North Africa in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, but knew later revivals.-Ancient Adamites:...

, Ridley does not dispute Hooper's main typological argument, but neither does he accept that vestments are necessarily or exclusively identified with Israel and the Roman church. On Hooper's point about the priesthood of all believers, Ridley says it does not follow from this doctrine that all Christians must wear the same clothes.
2) An indifferent thing must be left to individual discretion; if required, it is no longer indifferent.


For Ridley, on matters of indifference, one must defer conscience to the authorities of the church, or else "thou showest thyself a disordered person, disobedient, as [a] contemner of lawful authority, and a wounder of thy weak brother his conscience." For him, the debate was finally about legitimate authority, not the merits and demerits of vestments themselves. He contended that it is only accidental that the compulsory ceases to be indifferent; the degeneration of a practice into non-indifference can be corrected without throwing out the practice. Things are not, "because they have been abused, to be taken away, but to be reformed and amended, and so kept still."
3) An indifferent thing's usefulness must be demonstrated and not introduced arbitrarily.


For this point, Hooper cites 1 Corinthians 14 and 2 Corinthians 13. As it contradicts the first point above, Primus contends that Hooper must now refer to indifferent things in the church and earlier meant indifferent things in general, in the abstract. Regardless, the apparent contradiction was seized by Ridley and undoubtedly hurt Hooper's case with the council.
4) Indifferent things must be introduced into the church with apostolic and evangelical lenity, not violent tyranny.

In making such an inflammatory, risky statement (he later may have called his opponents "papists" in a part of his argument that is lost), Hooper may not have been suggesting England was tyrannical but that Rome was—and that England could become like Rome. Ridley warned Hooper of the implications of an attack on English ecclesiastical and civil authority and of the consequences of radical individual liberties, while also reminding him that it was Parliament that established the "Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 in the church of England".

In closing, Hooper asks that the dispute be resolved by church authorities without looking to civil authorities for support—although the monarch was the head of both the church and the state. This hint of a plea for a separation of church and state would later be elaborated by Thomas Cartwright, but for Hooper, although the word of God was the highest authority, the state could still impose upon men's consciences (such as requiring them not to be Roman Catholic) when it had a biblical warrant. Moreover, Hooper himself addressed the civil magistrates, suggesting that the clergy supporting vestments were a threat to the state, and he declared his willingness to be martyred for his cause. Ridley, by contrast, responds with humour, calling this "a magnifical promise set forth with a stout style". He invites Hooper to agree that vestments are indifferent, not to condemn them as sinful, and then he will ordain him even if he wears street clothes to the ceremony.

The outcome of the controversy


The weaknesses in Hooper's argument, Ridley's laconic and temperate rejoinder, and Ridley's offer of a compromise no doubt turned the council against Hooper's inflexible convictions when he did not accept it. Heinrich Bullinger, Pietro Martire Vermigli
Pietro Martire Vermigli
Peter Martyr Vermigli , sometimes simply Peter Martyr, was an Italian theologian of the Reformation period.-Life:...

, and Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer
Martin Bucer was a Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Bucer was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but after meeting and being influenced by Martin Luther in 1518 he arranged for his monastic vows to be annulled...

, while agreeing with Hooper's views, ceased to support him for the pragmatic sake of unity and slower reform. Only Jan Laski remained a constant ally. Some time in mid-December 1550, Hooper was put under house arrest, during which time he wrote and published A godly Confession and protestacion of the Christian faith. Because of this publication, his persistent nonconformism
Nonconformism
Nonconformity is the refusal to "conform" to, or follow, the governance and usages of the Church of England by the Protestant Christians of England and Wales.- Origins and use:...

, and violations of the terms of his house arrest, Hooper was placed in Thomas Cranmer's custody at Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore. It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200...

 for two weeks by the Privy Council on 13 January 1551. Hooper was then sent to Fleet Prison
Fleet Prison
Fleet Prison was a notorious London prison by the side of the Fleet River in London. The prison was built in 1197 and was in use until 1844. It was demolished in 1846.- History :...

 by the council, who made that decision on 27 January. On 15 February, Hooper submitted to consecration in vestments in a letter to Cranmer. He was consecrated Bishop of Gloucester on 8 March 1551, and shortly thereafter, preached before the king in vestments.

Downfall (1553-5)



On 2 February 1553 Cranmer was ordered to appoint John Knox
John Knox
John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536...

 as vicar of Allhallows Church in London placing him under the authority of Ridley. Knox returned to London in order to deliver a sermon before the king and the court during Lent after which he refused to take his assigned post. That same year, Ridley pleaded with Edward VI
Edward VI of England
Edward VI was the King of England and Ireland from 28 January 1547 until his death. He was crowned on 20 February at the age of nine. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first monarch who was raised as a Protestant...

 to give some of his empty palaces over to the city to house homeless women and children. One such foundation was Bridewell Royal Hospital, which is today known as King Edward's School, Witley
King Edward's School, Witley
King Edward's School, Witley is an independent co-educational boarding and day school, founded in 1553 by King Edward VI and Nicholas Ridley. The School is located in the village of Wormley , Surrey, England, having moved to its present location in 1867. The School became fully co-educational in 1952...

. Edward VI became seriously ill from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 and in mid-June the councillors were told that he did not have long to live. They set to work to convince several judges to put on the throne Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey
Lady Jane Grey , also known as The Nine Days' Queen, was an English noblewoman who was de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553 and was subsequently executed...

, Edward's cousin, instead of Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, daughter of Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 and Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

 and a Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. On 17 June 1553 the king made his will noting Jane would succeed him, contravening the Third Succession Act
Third Succession Act
The Third Succession Act of Henry VIII's reign was passed by the Parliament of England in July 1543, and returned both Mary and Elizabeth to the line of the succession behind Prince Edward....

. Ridley signed the letters patent giving the English throne to Lady Jane Grey. On 9 July 1553 he preached a sermon at St Paul's cross in which he affirmed that the princesses Mary and Elizabeth were bastards. By mid-July, there were serious provincial revolts in Mary’s favour and support for Jane in the council fell. As Mary was proclaimed queen, Ridley, Jane’s father, the Duke of Suffolk
Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk
Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, 3rd Marquess of Dorset, KG was an English nobleman of the Tudor period and the father of Lady Jane Grey.-Henry VIII's reign:...

, and others were imprisoned. Ridley was sent to the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

. Throughout February 1554 the political leaders of the supporters of Jane were executed, including Jane herself. After that, there was time to deal with the religious leaders of the English Reformation and so on 8 March 1554 the Privy Council ordered Cranmer, Ridley, and Hugh Latimer
Hugh Latimer
Hugh Latimer was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555, under Queen Mary, he was burnt at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.-Life:Latimer was born into a...

 to be transferred to Bocardo prison
Bocardo Prison
The Bocardo Prison in Oxford, England existed until 1771. Its origins were medieval, and the most celebrated prisoners were the Protestant martyrs Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley in 1555.-History:...

 in Oxford to await trial for heresy. The trial of Latimer and Ridley started shortly after Cranmer's with John Jewel
John Jewel
John Jewel was an English bishop of Salisbury.-Life:He was the son of John Jewel of Buden, Devon, was educated under his uncle John Bellamy, rector of Hampton, and other private tutors until his matriculation at Merton College, Oxford, in July 1535.There he was taught by John Parkhurst,...

 acting as notary to Ridley. Their verdicts came almost immediately and they were to be burned at the stake
Burned at the Stake
Burned at the Stake is a 1981 film directed by Bert I. Gordon. It stars Susan Swift and Albert Salmi.-Cast:*Susan Swift as Loreen Graham / Ann Putnam*Albert Salmi as Captaiin Billingham*Guy Stockwell as Dr. Grossinger*Tisha Sterling as Karen Graham...

.

Death and legacy



The sentence was carried out on 16 October 1555 in Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

. Cranmer was taken to a tower to watch the proceedings. Ridley burned extremely slowly and suffered a great deal, through no fault of the executioner: Ridley's brother-in-law foolishly put more faggots on the pyre, in order to speed Ridley's death, while in actual fact they caused only Ridley's lower parts to burn. Latimer is supposed to have said to Ridley, "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." This is quoted in Acts and Monuments
Foxe's Book of Martyrs
The Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe, more accurately Acts and Monuments, is an account from a Protestant point of view of Christian church history and martyrology...

by John Foxe, who put the story of their deaths to effective use. It is not, however, in the first edition of the book: there Foxe says that he can "learn from no man" what Ridley and Latimer said to each other.

A metal cross in a cobbled patch of road in Broad Street, Oxford
Broad Street, Oxford
Broad Street is a wide street in central Oxford, England, located just north of the old city wall.The street is known for its bookshops, including the original Blackwell's bookshop at number 50, located here due to the University...

 marks the site. Eventually Ridley and Latimer were seen as martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s for their support of a Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 independent from the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. Along with Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from...

, they are known as the Oxford Martyrs
Oxford Martyrs
The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings....

.

In the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, his death was commemorated by the Martyrs' Memorial
Martyrs' Memorial
The Martyrs' Memorial is a stone monument positioned at the intersection of St Giles', Magdalen Street and Beaumont Street in Oxford, England just outside Balliol College...

, located near the site of his execution. As well as being a monument to the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

, the memorial is even more so an interesting landmark of the 19th century Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

, propagated by John Keble
John Keble
John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, and gave his name to Keble College, Oxford.-Early life:...

, John Henry Newman and others. Profoundly alarmed at the Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 realignment the movement was bringing into to the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, low church
Low church
Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

 Anglican clergy raised the funds for erecting the monument, with its highly anti-Roman Catholic inscription, as a public propaganda move. As a result the monument was built 300 years after the events it commemorates.


In 1881, Ridley Hall in Cambridge, England, was founded in his memory for the training of Anglican priests. Ridley College
Ridley College
Ridley College is a co-educational boarding and day university-preparatory school located in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, 20 miles from Niagara Falls...

, a private University-preparatory school
University-preparatory school
A university-preparatory school or college-preparatory school is a secondary school, usually private, designed to prepare students for a college or university education...

 located in St. Catharines
St. Catharines, Ontario
St. Catharines is the largest city in Canada's Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, Canada, with 97.11 square kilometres of land...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, was founded in his honour in 1889. Also named after him is Ridley Melbourne - Mission & Ministry College, a theological college in Australia, founded in 1910. There is a Church of England church dedicated to him in Welling, southeast London. A famous excerpt from a dialogue between Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer is used in the novel Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1953 dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury. The novel presents a future American society where reading is outlawed and firemen start fires to burn books...

by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

. In this version, the line spoken by Latimer towards Ridley before their burning at the stake is rendered: "Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." Ridley, along with Latimer, is remembered with a commemoration in the Calendar of saints
Calendar of saints (Church of England)
The Church of England commemorates many of the same saints as those in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, mostly on the same days, but also commemorates various notable Christians who have not been canonised by Rome, with a particular though not exclusive emphasis on those of English origin...

 in some parts of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 on 16 October.

See also


  • List of bishops of Rochester
  • Saints in Anglicanism
    Saints in Anglicanism
    In a catholic sense the term "saint" refers to any spiritually saved person—however, since the 10th century, the title "Saint" is only given to persons who have been officially recognised by the Church for outstanding Christian service and conduct. In the days when the Church of England was...


External links

  • Keeping the Faith (BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4
    BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

    ), documentary on his story by the historian Jane Ridley, a descendent of his