Ferrar, Nicholas

Ferrar, Nicholas fĕrˈər [key], 1592–1637, English theologian. He was associated (1618–23) with the Virginia Company and, with his brother John, played a notable role in its affairs. He retired from Parliament and founded (1625) an austere religious community at Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire; the community consisted of 30 persons engaged in charitable works and intense study of the Scriptures. It was visited and approved (1633) by Charles I, but it was later attacked as an “Arminian nunnery” because of its monastic tendencies and disbanded by Parliament in 1647.

See biography by H. P. Skipton (1907); J. E. Acland, Little Gidding and Its Inmates in the Time of King Charles I (1903); B. Blackstone, ed., The Ferrar Papers (1938); A. M. William, ed., Conversations at Little Gidding (1970).

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