J. C. Ryle – Christian Preacher and Author With Derbyshire Connections
One of my favourite Christian writers from former days is J. C. Ryle. Whether it is his sermons, books, tracts or short articles, he always seems to be so topical and up-to-date with his thoughts and observations. So-much-so that what came from his informative and challenging pen almost seems that it could well have been written yesterday.
Imagine therefore my surprise and delight when a friend passed me a small news clipping he had come across dated 1861, and published in a local newspaper, the Derby Mercury. I was intrigued to discover that the same J. C. Ryle actually visited my home village of Crich in Derbyshire, in 1861. Sadly it wasn’t to speak at the small Baptist Church then located down Roes Lane, and which had only been built in 1839. Rather it was, predictably I suppose, to visit and address the gathered congregation of the Anglican church following some considerable ‘Restoration’ work there.
J. C. Ryle does in fact have some quite local connections. His mother Susanna, was in fact born in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, only about 6 miles from Crich. Susanna came from a notable local family, the Hurts, and was the daughter of Charles Hurt. Susanna Hurt married J. C. Ryle’s father, also named John, in Wirksworth, on the 6th February 1811. Their son, John Charles Ryle, was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, on the 10th May 1816. On his visit to speak at the Anglican church in Crich it appears that he also attended at the home of his mother’s relatives, Emma, Elizabeth and Selina Hurt, at Crich Chase. Their home was a substantial house located between Crich and Whatstandwell.
Here then is a Notice advertising the meeting, andthe text of the news clipping giving some detail about J. C. Ryle’s visit to Crich:
A report from the Derby Mercury – 5th June 1861
J. C. Ryle – His Sermons Text
I do find the text from which J. C. Ryle preached those sermons in Crich to be most telling, and typical of the man.
The Evangelical Bishop
J. C. Ryle went on to become the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, where he was installed as such on the 10th April 1880. His term as Bishop lasted until 1st March 1900. He died, aged 84, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, on 10th June 1900. He is buried at All Saints Church, Childwall, Liverpool.
J. C. Ryle – Resources
The Internet has a great many sites where accounts of Ryle’s life and ministry are made available, but I warmly commend those listed below as a starting point:
The audio (mp3) of a talk given here at Crich Baptist Church by Dr. Nick Needham, pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church, Inverness, Scotland – Also Lecturer in Church History at The Highland Theological College.