Nicholas Ridley Britain Unlimited FacesBritain Unlimited Logo
Cleric and Oxford Martyr


When and Where was Nicholas Ridley born?

1503, South Tynedale, Northumberland, England.

Family Background:

Nicholas Ridley was the son of Protestant parents.

Education:

Cambridge University. Universities of Paris and Louvain.

Chronology/Biography of Nicholas Ridley:

Chaplain to Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and King Henry the Eighth.

1540: Becomes Master of Pembroke College, Oxford.

1547: Becomes Bishop of Rochester.

1550: Nicholas Ridley becomes Bishop of London. He was an outspoken performer and helped Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury prepare the “Thirty Nine Articles”.

1553: 16th July. Preached at Paul’s cross on the Death of the young King Edward the Sixth. He denounced both Mary and Elizabeth, daughters of Henry the Eighth, as being illegitimate and described Mary as a Papist. The crowd shouted him down. On the failure of the plot to place Lady Jane Grey on the Throne, the Catholic Mary succeeded as Queen and he was imprisoned.

Martyrs memorial
Memorial in St Giles, Oxford commemorating the Oxford Martyrs.
(© Anthony Blagg)

1554: April. Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were taken from the Tower of London to Oxford to take part in a theological “discussion” about “transubstantiation” with Catholic theologians in the Divinity School of the University. The presiding Prolocutor Weston condemned them as heretics despite their brave intellectual defence. 2nd May. The Privy Council to the Queen discussed burning them but the Heresy Act of 1401 and Henry the Eighth’s Statutes about burning heretics had been repealed by King Edward the Sixth. A new bill to restore the Act was eventually passed by the House of Commons but not the House of Lords. October. The three were tried again and again condemned to death as Protestant heretics by a commission acting under the authority of Cardinal Pole the Papal Legate to England.

Marriage:

Never married.

When and Where Did he Die?

16th October 1555. Burned at the Stake next to Balliol College, Oxford, England.

Age at Death:

52.

Site of Grave:

Ashes scattered after execution.

Cross marking burning at stake
Cross marking the spot in Broad Street, Oxford
where Ridley was burnt at the stake.
(© Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

OXFORD.

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