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Nicholas Ridley (martyr)

Nicholas Ridley (died October 16, 1555) was an English clergyman. He came from a prominent family in Northumberland, and was born early in the sixteenth century. He was educated mainly at the University of Cambridge, where he received his Master's degree in 1525. Soon afterward he was ordained as a priest and went to the Sorbonne, in Paris, for more education.

After returning to England around 1529 he became the senior proctor of Cambridge University. Around that time there was significant debate about the Pope's supremacy. Ridley was well versed on Scripture, and through his arguments the University came up with the following resolution: "That the Bishop of Rome had no more authority and jurisdiction derived to him from God, in this kingdom of England, than any other foreign bishop."

In 1540 he was made one of the King's Chaplains, and was also presented with a prebendal stall in Canterbury Cathedral.

He succeeded to the Bishopric in 1549-50, and shortly after coming to office, directed that the altars in the churches of his diocese should be removed, and tables put in their place to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

He was martyred for his teachings along with Hugh Latimer on October 16, 1555 in Oxford. A metal cross in a cobbled patch of road marks the site, and the event is also commemorated by the Martyrs' Memorial, a few hundred yards away.


Nicholas Ridley was also the name of a prominent British MP in the 1980s: see Nicholas Ridley (politician).