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decline, and Ridley has given a picture by no means favourable of the then prevailing style of disputation among its members. His absence was not long, for we find him, in 1530, Junior Treasurer of Pembroke Hall. He signed, as Proctor, in 1534, the Decree against the Pope's supremacy, and continued steadily rising in his University career. 1538 he appeared in a new capacity, that of a parishpriest. The Vicarage of Herne, in Kent, was bestowed upon him; and with the intense but well-directed zeal which formed so essential a part of his character, he applied himself to the duties of his new situation. So successful was he as a preacher, that he attracted to his church numbers who had hitherto altogether omitted the duty of attendance on the services of the church; nor was he less attentive to the other parts of his parochial duty.
His subsequent history will be given in the words of Fox, which, brief as they are, form nearly all that can be known of this great and good man's life.
The Life and Story" of Bishop Ridley preserved in the "Acts and Monuments", is valuable and interesting, more especially as it gives many particulars of his domestic life, which are preserved in no other author. The martyrologist, after some introductory remarks, proceeds thus:
Among many other worthy and sundry histories and notable acts of such as of late days have been turmoiled, murdered, and martyred for the true gospel of Christ in queen Mary's reign, the tragical story and life of Dr Ridley I thought good to commend to chronicle, and leave to perpetual memory: beseeching thee, gentle reader, with care and study well to peruse, diligently to consider, and deeply to print the same in thy breast, seeing him to be a man beautified with such excellent qualities, so ghostly inspired and godly learned, and now written doubtless in the book of life, with the blessed saints of the Almighty, crowned and throned
Ridley born berland.
amongst the glorious company of martyrs. First descending of a stock right worshipful, he was born in Northumberland- Nicholas shire, who being a child, learned his grammar with great in Northumdexterity in Newcastle, and was removed from thence to Ridley the University of Cambridge, where he in short time became Newcastle. so famous, that for his singular aptness he was called to higher functions and offices of the University, by degree attaining thereunto, and was called to be head of Pembroke Nicholas Hall, and there made Doctor of Divinity. After this, de- Master of parting from thence, he travelled to Paris, who at his return Hall in Camwas made Chaplain to King Henry the Eighth, and pro- Ridley made moted afterwards by him to the Bishoprick of Rochester: Divinity. and so from thence translated to the See and Bishoprick Henry's of London in King Edward's days'.
occu- bishop of
whole- Ridley made
Bishop Ridley in
"In which calling and offices he so travelled and pied himself by preaching and teaching the true and some doctrine of Christ, that never good child was singularly loved of his dear parents, than he of his flock diligence of and diocese. Every holiday and Sunday he lightly preached preaching in some one place or other, except he were otherwise letted by weighty affairs and business, to whose sermons the people resorted, swarming about him like bees, and coveting the sweet flowers and wholesome juice of the fruitful doctrine, which he did not only preach, but shewed the same by his
1 Ridley was not promoted to the see of Rochester till after the king's death, but it would appear that he was intended to be placed in that see as soon as the death of Longland, the aged bishop of Lincoln, made a vacancy for the translation of Holbeach, then bishop of Rochester. Gloucester Ridley remarks, that the historians of the latter part of Henry's reign and the beginning of that of Edward VI. speak of him as having been appointed to preach the funeral sermon of Francis I. at St Paul's, calling him elect of Rochester; but that even in this particular they are inaccurate, as this sermon was preached on the 19th of June, 1547, and the congé d'élire was not issued to the chapter of Rochester till the first of August following, Henry VIII. having died on the 28th of January in the same year. Gloucest. Ridley's Life of Bishop Ridley, pp. 184, 210, 211.
ley of great memory and reading.
than truth and right required.
life, as a glittering lantern to the eyes and senses of the blind, in such pure order and chastity of life (declining from evil desires and concupiscences), that even his very enemies could not reprove him in any one iota thereof.
"Besides this, he was passingly well learned, his memory was great and he of such reading withal, that of right he deserved to be comparable to the best of this our age, as can testify as well divers his notable works, pithy sermons, and sundry his disputations in both the Universities, as also his very adversaries, all which will say no less themselves. "Besides all this, wise he was of counsel, deep of wit, and very politic in all his doings. How merciful and careful he was to reduce the obstinate Papists from their erroneous opinions, and by gentleness to win them to the truth, his gentle ordering and courteous handling of Doctor Heath, late Archbishop of York, being prisoner with him in King Edward's time in his house one year, sufficiently declareth. In fine, he was such a prelate, and in all points so good, godly, and ghostly a man, that England may justly rue the loss of so worthy a treasure. And thus hitherto concerning these public matters.
Bishop Ridley comely of proportion and
"Now will I speak something further particularly of his person and conditions. He was a man right comely and complexion. well proportioned in all points, both in complexion and lineaments of the body. He took all things in good part, bearing no malice nor rancour from his heart, but straight
ways forgetting all injuries and offences done against him.
The fair con- He was very kind and natural to his kinsfolk, and yet not
ditions of Bishop Rid
ley, tender bearing with them anything otherwise than right would re
to his kin
dred, yet not quire, giving them always for a general rule, yea to his
own brother and sister, that they doing evil should seek or look for nothing at his hand, but should be as strangers and aliens unto him, and they to be his brother or sister, which used honesty and a godly trade of life.
ley a great mortifer of
"He using all kinds of ways to mortify himself, was given Bishop Ridto much prayer and contemplation: for duly every morning, himself. so soon as his apparel was done upon him, he went forthwith to his bedchamber, and there upon his knees prayed the space of half an hour, which being done, immediately he The order of went to his study, (if there came no other business to in- and diet, terrupt him,) where he continued till ten of the clock, and then came to common prayer, daily used in his house. The prayers being done he went to dinner, where he used little talk, except otherwise occasion by some had been ministered, and then was it sober, discreet, and wise, and sometimes merry, as cause required.
"The dinner done, which was not very long, he used to sit an hour or thereabouts talking or playing at the chess: that done, he returned to his study, and there would continue, except suitors or business abroad were occasion of the contrary, until five of the clock at night, and then would come to common prayer, as in the forenoon, which being finished he went to supper, behaving himself there as at his dinner before; after supper recreating himself in playing at His order chess the space of an hour, he would then return again to per. his study; continuing there till eleven of the o'clock at night, which was his common hour to go to bed, then saying his prayers upon his knees, as in the morning when he rose. Being at his manor of Fulham, as divers times he used to be, he read daily a lecture to his family at the common The careful prayer, beginning at the Acts of the Apostles, and so going Bishop Ridthroughout all the Epistles of St Paul, giving to every family. man that could read a New Testament, hiring them besides with money to learn by heart certain principal chapters, but especially the thirteenth chapter of the Acts; reading also unto his household oftentimes the one hundred and first Psalm, being marvellous careful over his family, that they might be a spectacle of all virtue and honesty to
ley in instructing his
other. To be short, as he was godly and virtuous himself, so nothing but virtue and godliness reigned in his house, feeding them with the food of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
"Now remaineth a word or two to be declared of his gentle nature and kindly pity in the usage of an old woman called Mistress Bonner, mother to Doctor Bonner, sometime bishop of London: which I thought good to touch, as well for the rare clemency of Doctor Ridley, as the unworthy immanity and ungrateful disposition again of Doctor Bonner. Bishop Bishop Rid- Ridley, being at his manor of Fulham, always sent for the
ley to Doc
tor Bonner's said Mistress Bonner, dwelling in an house adjoining to his
house, to dinner and supper, with one Mistress Mungey, Bonner's sister, saying, Go for my mother Bonner; who coming, was ever placed in the chair at the table's end, being so gently entreated, welcomed, and taken, as though he had been born of her own body, being never displaced of her seat, although the king's council had been present, saying, when any of them were there (as divers times they were), By your lordships' favour, this place of right and cus
The courte- tom is for my mother Bonner. But how well he was re
sy of Ridley,
the currish- compensed for this his singular gentleness and pitiful pity scribed and after at the hands of the said Doctor Bonner, almost the least child that goeth by the ground can declare. For who afterward was more enemy to Ridley than Bonner and his?
Who more went about to seek his destruction than he?
Bishop Rid- recompensing his gentleness with extreme cruelty. As well
and kind to appeared by the strait handling of Ridley's own natural sister,
Bonner un- and George Shipside her husband, from time to time: whereas
churlish to the gentleness of the other did suffer Bonner's mother, sister, Bishop Rid
ley's sister, and other his kindred, not only quietly to enjoy all that
the death of
his brother- which they had of Bonner, but also entertained them in
in-law. his house, shewing much courtesy and friendship daily
unto them whereas on the other side Bishop Bonner, being