Charles Ridgeway

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Ridgeway as Bishop of Chichester Charles(John) Ridgeway, Bishop of Chichester.jpg
Ridgeway as Bishop of Chichester

Charles John Ridgeway (14 July 1841 28 February 1927) was an English churhman, the Bishop of Chichester from 1908 to 1919. [1]



Ridgeway was born into an ecclesiastical family: his father Joseph Ridgeway was Vicar of Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells; [2] his younger brother of Frederick became Bishop of Salisbury. He was educated at St Paul's School, and matriculated in 1860 at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1864, M.A. 1885 and D.D. 1906. [3] [4]

Ordained in 1866, Ridgeway spent a curacy at Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells [5] before becoming Vicar of North Malvern, Rector of Buckhurst Hill, Vicar of Christchurch Lancaster Gate and Rural Dean of Paddington. From 1891-1894 he was a member of the London School Board, representing the Marylebone Division. [6]

After two years (1906–1908) as Dean of Carlisle Ridgeway was appointed Bishop of Chichester in 1908. [7] [8] His appointment was at the age of 66, and the result of a dispute between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Prime Minister, who was then the key figure in the nomination process for bishops. There was disagreement over rival candidates, and Ridgeway appears to have been a compromise. [9]

During World War I, Ridgeway provided support for soldiers in the large military camps in Sussex, and encouraged the recruitment of temporary chaplains. [10]

Ridgeway died on 28 February 1927 in London, and was buried at Limpsfield. [3] An obituary noted that he had " ... too much sense of humour ever to take himself heavily, and was too much a man of the world ever to lose his realism." [11]

A Freemason, Ridgeway was under the jurisdiction of the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1897 he was granted the honorific rank of Past Grand Chaplain in recognition of his services to English Freemasonry, as part of a series of similar honorary promotions intended to mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. [12]


Memorial within Chichester Cathedral P1300230CHRdg.JPG
Memorial within Chichester Cathedral

After his death Ridgeway's wife presented his pectoral cross to the Chichester Cathedral library, [13] and commissioned a memorial to him which can be seen in the nave. [14]


Ridgeway was twice married: [3]

  1. In 1866, to Susan Jane Fitzgerald, daughter of the Rev. Gerald Fitzgerald; their daughter Una Geraldine married in 1892 Ronald Montagu Burrows. [15]
  2. In 1899, to Katherine Margaret Johnston, daughter of the Rev. Hugh William Johnston.


  1. Malden Richard (ed) (1920). Crockford's Clerical Directory for 1920 (51st edn). London: The Field Press. p. 1270.
  2. “Who was Who” 1897-1990 London, A & C Black, 1991 ISBN   0-7136-3457-X
  3. 1 2 3 "Ridgeway, Charles John (RGWY860CJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. The Times, Friday, 27 November 1863; pg. 5; Issue 24727; col F University Intelligence. Oxford, Nov. 25.
  5. "The Clergy List, Clerical Guide and Ecclesiastical Directory" London, Hamilton & Co 1889
  6. "The London School Board. Result of the Poll". The Daily News . 28 November 1891.
  7. New Bishop Of Chichester The Times Tuesday, 17 December 1907; pg. 9; Issue 38518; col F
  8. Diocesan Registers
  9. Lambeth Palace Library, Davidson X. The story is also retold in High and Mitred by Bernard Palmer, SPCK, 1992, p 153-5
  10. Chichester Diocesan Gazettes, September 1914 to November 1918. They were published monthly.
  11. Church Times obituary, 4.3.1927
  12. Horsley (The Rev'd Canon), JW (1906). "Notes on the Grand Chaplains of England". Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. 19. London: Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle Ltd. p. 195.
  13. The Times, Friday, 2 October 1931; pg. 17; Issue 45943; col E Ecclesiastical News
  14. Panel described
  15. Clogg, Richard (21 March 2021). "Burrows, Ronald Montagu (1867–1920), classical scholar and university principal". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37248.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of Chichester
Succeeded by

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