Ridley, Nicholas

(c. 1500-Oct. 16, 1555). Bishop and Protestant martyr. He was born in Willimoteswick, Northumberland. Ridley attended Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he later became a fellow. In 1527 he was ordained priest. He then studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and at Louvain. He returned to Cambridge and in 1540 was appointed the king's chaplain and master of Pembroke Hall. In 1541 he was made a canon of Canterbury and in 1545 a canon of Westminster. He was an outstanding preacher and very effective in preaching the themes of the Reformation. Ridley was consecrated Bishop of Rochester on Sept. 25, 1547, and on Apr. 1, 1550, he was made the Bishop of London. When Mary became Queen of England in 1553, his Protestant views were opposed and he was deposed in July 1553. Ridley, Thomas Cranmer, and Hugh Latimer were the foremost leaders of English Protestantism. Ridley and Latimer were burned at the stake in Oxford. Ridley said before he died, "So long as breath is in my body, I will never deny my Lord Christ and his known truth." The witness and martyrdom of Ridley, Cranmer, and Latimer are commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Oct. 16.

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