Nicholas Ferrar - Encyclopedia




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NICHOLAS FERRAR (1592-1637), English theologian, was born in London in 15 9 2 and educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, graduating in 1610. He was obliged for some years to travel for his health, but on returning to England in 1618 became actively connected with the Virginia Company. When this company was deprived of its patent in 1623 Ferrar turned his attention to politics, and was elected to parliament. But he soon decided to devote himself to a religious life; he purchased the manor of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire, where he organized a small religious community. Here, in 1626, he was ordained a deacon by Laud, and declining preferment, he lived an austere, almost monastic life of study and good works. He died on the 4th of December 1637, and the house was despoiled and the community broken up ten years later. There are extant a number of "harmonies" of the Gospel, printed and bound by the community, two of them by Ferrar himself. One of the latter was made for Charles I. on his request, after a visit in 1633 to see the "Arminian Nunnery at Little Gidding," which had been the subject of some scandalous - and undeserved criticism. ¦

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