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Ryle was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in 1836. He was an athlete who rowed and played cricket for Oxford in seven matches which have since been determined to be first-class cricket.,
In his academic life he took a first class degree in Greats and was offered a college fellowship (teaching position) which he declined. The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before choosing a path of ordained ministry. While hearing Ephesians 2 read in church in 1838, he felt a spiritual awakening and was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish priest, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings.
After holding a curacy at Exbury in Hampshire, he became rector of St Thomas's, Winchester (1843), rector of Helmingham, Suffolk (1844), vicar of Stradbroke (1861), honorary canon of Norwich (1872), and Dean of Salisbury (1880). However before taking the latter office, he was advanced to the new see of Liverpool, where he remained until his resignation, which took place three months before his death at Lowestoft. His appointment to Liverpool was at the recommendation of the outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. In his diocese, he formed a clergy pension fund for his diocese and built over forty churches. Controversially, he emphasized raising clergy salaries ahead of building a cathedral for his new diocese. He retired in 1900 at age 83 and died later the same year at age 84. He is buried in the All Saints' Church, Childwall, Liverpool.
Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.
Practical Religion; Knots Untied; Old Paths
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