James RIDGWAY (1826–1881)
His wife Elizabeth Bennett RIDGWAY, née Edwards (c.1817–1891)
St Paul section: Row 9, Grave A16 [St Paul ref P.7]

Ridgway grave

Left short end of gravestone (not shown): TO THE GLORY OF GOD


Right short end of gravestone (not shown), lined up with James Ridgway’s name: CALLED TO REST JULY 19.1881

Right side of gravestone (not shown): MAKE THEM TO BE NUMBERED WITH THY SAINTS

James Ridgway was born in Huddersfield on 5 December 1826 and baptised at St Peter's Church there on 15 February 1827., He was the son of Tristram Ridgway, a wool stapler, and Sarah Shiers, who were married at St Peter's Church, Huddersfield on 5 May 1824.

At the time of the 1841 census, when he was 14, James was living at Towning Row, West Parade, Huddersfield with his father and his older sister Margaret (15), as well as a woman called Penelope Ridgway who may have been his aunt or stepmother. The family had one servant. He was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Lincoln College on 1 July 1847, aged 20, and obtained his B.A. in 1851. He was ordained the same year, and served as Curate of St Paul’s Church, Oxford until 1853, living in “one of a row of humble dwellings” in Walton Street.

Elizabeth Bennett Edwards (born in Hereford in 1816/17) was the daughter of the ironmonger John Edwards and his wife Martha Howell Bennett. Her father had been an Oxford ironmonger, but in the 1840s he had moved to Ramsgate in Kent with his family, and in 1851 Elizabeth (35) was running a school there with her sister Margaret. For full information about Elizabeth’s early years and her family, see the grave of her father and two of her sisters.

On 4 July 1854 at Ramsgate, James Ridgway married Elizabeth Bennett Edwards She was ten years older than he was (although she underestimated her age in the censuses), and they do not appear to have had any children.

From 1855 to 1862 Ridgway was the Principal of the North London College School. The 1861 census shows him at the age of 34 living with his wife Elizabeth (36) at 29 Oakley Square, St Pancras. They shared their home with thirteen boy boarders ranging in age from nine to seventeen.

Ridgway was the Principal of Culham Training College from 1862 to 1873, and while there he was awarded his B.D. (1868) and was appointed an Honorary Canon of Christ Church (1870).

By 1881 the Ridgways were living at 21 Beaumont Street, Oxford. James Ridgway went to Switzerland for his health soon after the census and died there in July that year:

† James Ridgway died of gastric fever in Pontresina in Switzerland at the age of 53 on 19 July 1881 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 July (in the St Paul’s section, because he had once been its curate: burial recorded in its parish register).

The following obituary appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 23 July 1881:

DEATH OF CANON RIDGWAY.— We regret to announce the death of the Rev. Jas. Ridgway, who expired on Tuesday last, at Pontresina, Engardin, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health. Canon Ridgway, who belonged to Lincoln College, graduated B.A. in 1851, M.A. in 1854, and B.D. in 1868. He was ordained in 1851 by the Bishop of Oxford, and was Curate of St. Paul’s, Oxford, 1851–53, and of Kirkham, Lancashire 1853–55. In the latter year he was appointed to the Vice-Principalship of the North London Collegiate School, which he relinquished in 1862, to become Principal of the Diocesan Training College, Culham, resigning the latter appointment in 1873. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1861, and was appointed an Honorary Canon of Christ Church in 1870 by the Bishop of Oxford. Canon Ridgway was well-known and much esteemed in this City and University, and his zealous labours whilst Curate of St. Paul’s are still gratefully remembered by many. Of late years he had resided in Oxford, and some time back he assisted in ministerial work in connection with St. George’s Chapel, St. Mary Magdalen parish, and occasionally preached elsewhere in this City. In 1873 he was Diocesan School Inspector, in which capacity he was exceedingly popular throughout the Diocese. His health had been failing for some time past, his death resulting from gastric fever. He was the author of several works, including “On Oxford Local Examinations,” 1858; “Outlines of English History,” 1860; “Plea for Church Music” (a Sermon); “The Mission of a Training College,” 1873; Editor of “Collins’s Progressive Series of Reading Books,” 1973; “Religious Readers,” 1875; “Life and Character of St. Paul;” “Sketches from the East,” 1875.

The following report on his funeral appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 30 July 1881:

FUNERAL OF CANON RIDGWAY. — The remains of Canon Ridgway … were conveyed from Pontresina, where he died, to Dover, and thence to Oxford, in charge of Mr. Webber Patterson, arriving here on Sunday evening. On Tuesday the funeral took place in St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Walton-street, in the presence of a large gathering, which included many of the parishioners of St. Paul’s, where some years ago Canon Ridgway was Curate, and personal friends, assembled to pay a last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased. The funeral was a walking one, and those who took part in it assembled at the residence of Mrs. Combe in the Clarendon Press quadrangle. At the head of the procession was the surpliced choir of St Paul’s Church, and following were Cannons Ince and Bright, and the Revs. F. J. Brown, C. N. Robarts, H. A. Pickard, H. A. Harvey, G. Tatum, and W. B. Duggan. The coffin was on a hand bier, and was covered by a handsome coloured pall. The mourners were Mrs. Ridgway, Miss Hewitt (niece of the deceased), Mrs. Combe, Miss Nightingale, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, Miss Edwards, Canon Furse, the Rev. Noel Freeling, the Rev. Father Benson, the Rev. S. Edwardes (Merton College), the Rev. J. Otter, &c. On the arrival at the Cemetery the opening sentences of the service were intoned by the Rev. C. N. Robarts, and the remainder of the service was performed at the grave. The Psalms having been chanted by the Choir, the Lesson was read by Canon Ince, after which the Hymn, “When our heads are bowed with woe,” was sung. Canon Bright then took a portion of the service, and after another hymn had been sung the Rev. H. A. Harvey continued it, the benediction being pronounced by the Rev. W. B. Duggan. A large number of beautiful floral tributes were deposited upon the coffin, which bore the following inscription:— “James Ridgway, B.D., priest, died July 19, 1881, aged 55. Jesu mercy.” The funeral arrangements were well carried out by Mr. Webber Patterson, of Broad-street.

His widow, Mrs Elizabeth Bennett Ridgway, was living at 28 Beaumont Street by 1887, when she acted along with her sister Mrs Martha Howell Bennett Combe as executor to her unmarried sister Miss Margaret Howell Bennett Edwards, who lived nearby at 40 Beaumont Street. She died there in 1881:

† Mrs Elizabeth Bennett Ridgway died at 28 Beaumont Street at the age of 74 on 28 November 1891 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 4 December (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).

Her personal effects came to £22,081 4s. 6d.



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