Ferrar, Nicholas (15921637)

Ferrar, Nicholas, a religious enthusiast in the reign of Charles I.; was elected a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1610; afterwards devoted himself to medicine and travelled on the Continent; subsequently joined his father in business in London, and entered Parliament in 1624; but a year later retired to the country, and at Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire, founded, with some of his near relations, a religious community, known as the “Arminian Nunnery,” some account of which is given in Shorthouse's “John Inglesant”; it was broken up by the Puritans in 1647; he was the intimate friend of George Herbert; this community consisted of some “fourscore persons, devoted to a kind of Protestant monasticism; they followed celibacy and merely religious duties, employed themselves in binding prayer-books, &c., in alms-giving and what charitable work was possible to them in their desert retreat, kept up, night and day, a continual repetition of the English liturgy, never allowing at any hour the sacred fire to go out” (15921637).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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