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The Church of England, having with great deliberation reformed itself in a lawful Synod, with a care as much as was possible of reducing all things to the pattern of the first and best times, was interpreted, by such as would have it so, to desert from the Church Catholic; though for the manner, they did nothing but warranted by the continual practice of their predecessors; and in the things amended had antiquity to justify their actions : so that nothing is further off truth than to say that such as reformed this church made a new religion; they having retained only that which is truly old and catholic, as Articles of their faith. Thus was religion reformed, and thus by the Queen established in England, without seeking any new way not practised by our ancestors, but using the same courses which had been formerly traced out unto them, for stopping profaneness and impiety.
Sir Roger Twisden.
The reformation of our church was begun and carried on with so much piety, wisdom, and fulness of due authority; that a faithful and exact account is the best vindication and defence of it.
Henry WHARTON. The cause why I do dissent from the Romish religion is not any study of vayne glory or of singularitie, but of conscience, of my bounden duty towardes God, and towardes Christes church, and the salvation of myne owne soule ; for the which, by Goddes grace, I will willingly jeopard here to lose life, lands and goods, name and fame, and what else is or can be unto me pleasant in this world.
Among manie other worthy histories and notable acts of such as of late daies have been turmoiled, murthered and martyred for the true gospel of Christ, in queene Maries raigne, the tragicall story and life of doctour Ridley, I thought good to commend to chronicle, and leave to perpetual memory : beseeching thee gentle reader, with care and studie well to peruse, diligentlie to consider, and deepelie to print the same in thy brest, seeing him to be a man beautified with such excellent qualities, so ghostlie inspired and godlie learned, and now written doubtlesse in the booke of life, with the blessed saints of the Almightie, crowned and throned amongst the glorious companie of martyrs.
First descending of a stocke' right worshipfull, he was borne in Northumberlandshire ; who being a childe, learned his grammar with great dexteritie in Newcastle, and was removed from thence
Descending of a stocke.] “He was born in the beginning of the sixteenth century,” says Dr. Glocester Ridley, in his accurate and well-written life of this great prelate, p. 2, from which it is to be inferred, that the exact year of his birth is not ascertained. Dr. Turner, who knew him well, in a letter to Fox, the martyrologist, among other particulars, communicates the following. “ He was born in my native county of Northumberland, and sprung of the gentile pedigree of the Ridleys. One of his uncles was a knight, and another was doctor of divinity, who, by the name of Robert Ridley, was famous, not only at Cambridge, but at Paris, where he long studied; and throughout Europe, by the writings of Polydore Virgil. At the charges of this doctor was our Nicholas long maintained at Cambridge, afterwards at Paris, and lastly at Louvain. After his return from the schools beyond the seas, he lived with us for many years in Pembroke Hall : but at length was called away from us to the bishop of Canterbury, whom he served faithfully: and Lastly, was raised to the dignity of a bishop. The town where he was born was called Willowmontiswich, now Willowmont.”—Strype's Eccles. Memor., vol. ii. p. 229.
to the university of Cambridge ?, where he in short time became so famous, that for his singular aptnes, he was called to hyer functions, and offices of the universitie, by degree attaining thereunto, and was called to bee head of Pembroke hall, and there made doctour of divinitie. After this, departing from thence, he travelled to Paris, who at his returne was made chaplaine to king Henrie the eight, and promoted afterwards by him to the bishopricke of Rochester: and so from thence translated to the see and bishopricke of London in king Edwards daies.
In which calling and offices he so travelled and occupyed himselfe by preaching and teaching the true and wholesome doctrine of Christ, that never good childe was more singularlie loved of his deare parents, than he of his flocke and dioces. Every holieday and sundaie he lightlie preached in some one place or other, except he were otherwise letted by weightie affaires and busines : to whose sermons the people resorted, swarming about him like bees, and coveting the sweet flowers and wholesome juice of the fruitfull doctrine, which hee did not onelie preach, but shewed the same by his life, as a glittering lanterne, to the eies and senses of the blinde, in such pure order and chastitie of life (declining from evill desires and concupiscences) that even his verie enemies could not reproove him in any one jote thereof.
Besides this, he was passinglie well learned, his memorie was
University of Cambridge.] Dr. Richardson, in the notes to his edition of bishop Godwin's book, De Præsulibus, p. 192, gives us the following dates, in the Life of Ridley. “Fellow A. D. 1524; A.M. 1526; B.D. 1534; D.D. 1540. Also in 1533 Proctor of the University, and in 1547 Rector of Soham.” He was elected Master of Pembroke Hall in 1540—Le Neve's Fasti, p. 424 — consecrated bishop of Rochester, Sept. 5, 1547; Le Neve, p. 251 ; and translated to London April 1, 1550.-Ibid. p. 180. There is little doubt but that his studying at Paris must have been anterior, and not subsequent to his taking the degree of D.D. See Ridley's Life, p. 94. In the Life of Latimer we saw his notice of the disorderly disputations which he had witnessed at the Sorbonne, above, vol. ii. p. 606.
3 Promoted afterwards by hiin.] Not by Henry, but by king Edward VI. See Le Neve's Fasti, p. 251; and Ridley's Life of Bishop Ridley, p. 211.
• His memorie.] But we saw above, Life of Latimer, vol. ii. p. 576, note (1), that he himself speaks with great diffidence of his powers of memory.—The following circumstances, communicated by Dr. William Turner to Fox, must not be omitted : “ Concerning his memory, and his manifold knowledge of tongues and arts, although I am able to be an ample witness (for he further instructed me in a knowledge of the Greek tongue), yet without my testimony, almost all Cantabridgians, to whom he was sufficiently knowen, can and will