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Nicholas Ferrar

1592-1637. Founder of the Little Gidding community. A brilliant academic career at Cambridge, a period of continental travel, work with the Virginia Company, and a year in Parliament all preceded his establishment at Little Gidding in 1625 of a small religious community based on biblical and Anglican principles. In 1626 William Laud* ordained him deacon, but he was never priested. At Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, the Anglican offices were said in church, and the other canonical hours in the manor oratory. Vigils were kept throughout the night, and life was ordered by rule. Everyone learned a trade, and the community specialized in bookbinding. There was a free school for local children, and many charitable works were done in the locality. In 1633 Charles I visited the community and was greatly impressed. Puritans, however, were hostile, and the institution was attacked in a pamphlet called The Arminian Nunnery (1641). In 1647 the community was sacked by the parliamentary army.