Nicholas Ridley

(c. 1500—1555) bishop of London and protestant martyr

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(c. 1500–55).

One of the celebrated ‘Oxford martyrs’, Ridley played a significant role in shaping the protestant Church of England under Edward VI. A Northumbrian by birth, he studied at Newcastle, Cambridge, Paris, and Louvain, and around 1524 became a fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1537 Archbishop Cranmer chose him as a chaplain; in 1540 he returned to Pembroke as master. Soon after the accession of Edward VI, he was made bishop of Rochester. As bishop of London (1550) Ridley introduced some of the explicitly protestant liturgical innovations which were adopted nationally in the second Book of Common Prayer (1552). He was implicated in the duke of Northumberland's plot to divert the succession to Lady Jane Grey; however, it was for heresy rather than treason that Mary I pursued him. At the Oxford disputation of 1554, he defended himself bravely. He was executed by burning at Oxford on 16 October, alongside the former bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer.

Subjects: History — Religion.

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