An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Ravenscroft, John Stark

(May 17, 1772-Mar. 5, 1830). Bishop and high churchman. He was born in Blandford in Prince George's County, Maryland. Ravenscroft studied law at the College of William and Mary, but he never practiced law. He settled in Lunenburg County, Virginia, where for eighteen years he exhibited no interest in religion. Around 1810 he had a conversion experience, joined the Republican Methodists, and became a lay preacher. After a short while, he was confirmed in the Episcopal Church. In 1817 Ravenscroft became the rector of St. James' Church, Mecklenburg County, some months before his ordination. He was ordained deacon on Apr. 25, 1817, and priest on May 6, 1817. He was consecrated the first Bishop of North Carolina on May 22, 1823. While he was bishop, he served as rector of Christ Church, Raleigh, and then as rector of St. John's Church, Williamsborough. He was a high churchman in the tradition of Bishop John Henry Hobart. He held a high view of episcopacy and apostolic succession. He insisted on strict adherence to the liturgy and offices of the BCP. At times he could be brusque and blunt. Some called him “mad Jack.” He died in Raleigh.

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.