An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Ferrar, Nicholas

(Feb. 22, 1592-Dec. 4, 1637). Deacon and founder of Little Gidding. He was born in London. Ferrar received his B.A. in 1610 and his M.A. in 1613, both from Clare College, Cambridge. In 1626 Ferrar, his widowed mother, and the families of his brother and brother-in-law established a religious community at Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, England. They said the Daily Offices, kept vigils throughout the night, and practiced meditation. Every person there was to learn a trade. The Puritans called Little Gidding a “Protestant nunnery,” and in 1641 it was attacked in a pamphlet entitled The Arminian Nunnery. Early in 1647 the manor house and the chapel were destroyed by the Parliamentary army. Ferrar died at Little Gidding. The poet T. S. Eliot used Little Gidding as the inspiration and title of one of his Four Quartets (1935-1942). Ferrar is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Dec. 1. See Little Gidding.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.