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A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE

OF

NICHOLAS RIDLEY, D.D.,

BISHOP OF LONDON, 1550— 1553.

Dr Nicholas Ridley' was born in the beginning of the sixteenth century (the exact date is not known), in North

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Ridley. The allusions made by Bp Ridley to his family in his letters, and especially in his “ Farewell,” where he specifically addresses its several branches, render it desirable to give some account of his relatives and their possessions. The origin of the name may be traced more satisfactorily than that of many others now equally illustrious. It appears to have been Scottish, and originally Riddle, or rather Ryedale, of which Riddle is a corruption; and the Riddles of Glenriddle might have traced their descent to a common stock with the Ridleys of Willymotswick. The Ridleys appear to have had their full share in the disturbances so frequent in the border territory, and in works which treat on Border History occur many instances both of their courage and their importance. Turner speaks of one of Ridley's uncles who was a knight; it is just possible that he may have been the same person with the Richard Ridley of Hardriding, of whom mention is made by Ridpath. A passage in the Border Minstrelsy mentions those branches of the Ridley family located at Willymotswick, Hardriding, Hawden and Waltown; the first of whom was probably the uncle of Nicholas Ridley, and father to the "worshipful cousin of Willowmountswick,” addressed by the Bishop in his last farewell. To this passage the editor appends the following note, the information of which he derived, he says, from Mr Surtees.

“ Willimoteswick” (the etymology of which name is given in a note to Appendix III.), “now called Ridley Hall, is situated at the confluence of the Allon and Tyne, and was the chief seat of the ancient family of Ridley. Walltown, where another branch of the same family was settled, was so called from its situation on the great Roman wall.”

. "A feud did certainly exist between the Ridleys and the Featherstonehaughs, another border family, and which led on more than

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(ridley.)

umberland, not far from the Scottish border. Thus much he states himself; and to this his friend and fellow-collegian, Dr Turner', adds, that the place of his birth was Wilmontswick. “His father,” says Dr Glocester Ridley, “was the third son of a very ancient family, which had been seated there through a long descent of knights for many generations; the second son was John, father to Dr Lancelot Ridley, and a fourth son was Dr Robert Ridley."

“Descended from this ancient stock, he degenerated not from the virtues of his ancestors, but gave a much greater lustre to his family than he derived from it." His school education he received at Newcastle upon Tyne, from whence he was removed, about A. D. 1518, to Pembroke College in Cambridge, at the expence of his uncle Dr Robert Ridley, then a Fellow of Queens' College.

The following dates of the chief events in Ridley's life are collected from Dr Glocester Ridley and Bp Godwin':

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Born in the beginning of the sixteenth century.
Entered at Pembroke College, about

.A.D. 1518 B. A.

1522 Elected fellow of University College, Oxford, but declined the honour

1524 Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge

1524

one occasion to fatal results, as may be seen by the following extracts from the Inquis. Calend. “24 Oct. 22do Henrici Svi Inquisitio capt. apud Hautwhistle sup. visum corpus Alex. Featherstone Gen. apud Greenselhaugh, felonice interfecti 21 Oct. per Nicolaum Ridley de Unthanke, Gen.--Hugon. Ridle. Nicolaum Ridle et alios ejusdem nominis.' Nor were the Featherstones without their revenge, for in 36to Henrici 8vi we have, ‘Ut legatio Nicolai Featherston ac Thomæ Nyxon, &c. pro homicidio Willmi. Ridle de Morale. These extracts are here given as much with a view to shew the various modes of spelling the name, Ridley-Riddle-Ridle—Rydley-of which the first only is now preserved, as to throw some light on the allusions in the Bishop's letters."

i See Appendix III.

* Ridley's Life of Dr N. Ridley, London, 1763, 4to. F. Godwini de Præsulibus Angliæ Commentarius (p. 192) with Dr Richardson's Notes. Cantabrigiæ, 1743. fol.

M.A.

1525

College agent for Tylney, Soham, and Saxthorpe Churches 1526

Went to Paris, and studied at the Sorbonne

1527

Returned to England. Junr. Treasurer of Pembroke College ... 1530

Senior Proctor

1533

Signed the decree against the Pope's Supremacy at Cambridge ... 1534

B.D. ....

1534

Chaplain to the University and Public Orator

1534

Chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer

1537

Vicar of Herne

1538

Master of Pembroke College, and D.D.

1540

Chaplain to Henry VIII.

1540

Prebendary of Canterbury

1541

Prebendary of Westminster

1545

Vicar of Soham

1547

Bishop of Rochester

1547

Commissioner to visit Cambridge

1549

Bishop of London

1550

Nominated Bishop of Durham

1553

Excepted from the Amnesty by Mary

1553

Committed to the Tower, July....

1553

Sent to Oxford to dispute

1554

Martyrdom, October 16

1555

From the preceding list of dates it will be seen that

the college career of Bishop Ridley was highly honourable
and equally successful; and so great were the hopes excited
by his learning and abilities, that a fellowship at University
College, Oxford, was offered for his acceptance. This honour
he thought it best to decline, preferring the prospects which his
own University presented him, and was accordingly the next
year elected a Fellow of his own College, to the Master-
ship of which he subsequently attained. Impelled by that
thirst for knowledge which ever distinguished him, he went
in the year 1527 to Paris, for the purpose of studying at
the Sorbonne; and here doubtless he availed himself of every
advantage presented to him by that then celebrated seat of
learning. But the University of Paris was already in its

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