I have been asked to be a contributor on topics of Anglican moral theology and history on another blog and facebook page. The problem with the new way Facebook is doing its group pages, all the Admins appear to be the same person. As such, I am writing my blurb about the Feast Day of Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, who share a feast day on the Anglican Calendar of Saints for October 16th. I will upload this page to the other Facebook blog page, and we will see how that works, which is why I am posting this a day early.
I have always been somewhat baffled as to why Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer all get crammed into one feast day given their prominence as English Reformers, when we have feast days on the calendar devoted solely to people like Robert Grosseteste and Wulfstan (who I have to look up on their respective days to refresh my memory on). I won't even get into the bizarre gumbo of new saints the Episcopal church is trying to push through buckshot in the Holy Women, Holy Men trial calendar.
I do, perhaps, understand the pairing of Latimer and Ridley, who were colleagues that were both burned at the stake side by side under the Counter-Reformation zealotry of Henry VIII's daughter, Mary I ("Bloody Mary"), when she ascended to the throne of England. Cranmer was burned at the stake about six months later. Ridley was for a time the personal chaplain to Cranmer and then to Henry VIII himself, before becoming a bishop for a time. (See drawing depiction)
Latimer and Ridley made their names as Protestant theologians in Cambridge. They later took positions in Oxford, where they died. I have a few pictures from my time in Cambridge concerning them both. The following is Latimer's pulpit at St. Edward, King and Martyr's parish church in Cambridge. The parish ironically now known for having a Goth Eucharist (I kid you not. I went once just to see what the hoo-hah was about, and it was truly bizarre. Copious amounts of incense in the dark with a guy in a leather cassock walking about. It was like Taize gone horribly wrong.)
Ridley was known to preach at St. Mary's the Greater, which is right across the courtyard from the famed King's College-Cambridge. That church is seen here:
Little St. Mary's in Cambridge, which is higher than the Pope's ear liturgically is where I attended when I was there, about 4 blocks south on Trumpington. Little St. Mary's is where George Washington's grandfather was vicar in the early 1700's, and he still lies in the churchyard.)
Ridley was known as quite the theological liberal at the time, being loudly Protestant. Ironically, the other Anglican seminary in Cambridge (I attended Westcott House) is known as Ridley Hall, and is now known as the conservative, "happy clappy" Evangelical Anglican seminary. I believe the Ridley draft of the current Anglican Covenant originated at Ridley Hall. I can only guess what Ridley thinks of all that.
Latimer and Ridley are probably most famously known for what Latimer is claimed to have said to Ridley as they were being tied to the stake, "
constant in faith and zealous in witness," and that, "like your servants, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer, we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."