John Newton was an English Anglican cleric. As a young man, he was forcefully recruited into the navy and worked on slave ships in the slave trade for several years. He later converted to Christianity, following which he denounced slavery and became an abolitionist. He was then ordained as a Church of England cleric.
An important figure in the English religious history, John Henry Newman was a nineteenth century theologian, scholar and poet. Famed for leading the Oxford movement in the Church of England, he later switched to the Roman Catholic Church, eventually becoming the Cardinal Deacon of St. George in Velabro. Also an influential educator and writer, he was canonized in October 2019.
Pope Adrian IV was the only Englishman to have served as the pope. Initially aspiring to study law, he later began his spiritual journey by joining the abbey of St Ruf. His reign as the pope lasted a little more than 4 years but was plagued by crisis and controversy.
N. T. Wright is an English New Testament scholar. Also a Pauline theologian and Anglican bishop, he served as the bishop of Durham from 2003 to 2010. He calls for a biblical re-evaluation of theological matters and has authored several books and seminars about theology and Christian life. He is highly regarded in academic and theological circles.
Robert Runcie was born to middle-class parents, and had been part of the Scots Guards during World War II. He later became the bishop of St. Albans, before taking over as the archbishop of Canterbury. A life peer, he had also penned works such as One Light for One World.
Anglo Saxon king Oswald of Northumbria, son of King Aethelfrith, was the first to build Celtic Christian missionaries in his kingdom. He and his brother had converted to Christianity after being expelled from Northumbria by their uncle, King Edwin. Oswald was eventually killed by pagan king Penda.
Eighth-century Anglo-Latin poet and cleric Alcuin served as the head of the Palatine school, established by Charlemagne. A significant figure of the Carolingian Renaissance, he introduced English learning methods into Frankish schools and reformed Roman Catholicism. He also wrote extensively on education, philosophy, and theology.
Charles Freer Andrews was a Christian missionary and Anglican priest. He was also an educator and social reformer. A close friend of Indian freedom fighters Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, he supported the Indian struggle for independence. Gandhi fondly called him Deenabandhu, or "Friend of the Poor". Even today, Andrews is widely respected in India.
Margery Kempe was an English Christian mystic. She is credited with dictating The Book of Margery Kempe, a literary work regarded by some as the first autobiography in the English language. She made extensive pilgrimages to holy cities and had mystical conversations with God. Even though she was never named a Catholic saint, she is honored in the Anglican Communion.
Swithin was an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester in the 9th century. He subsequently became the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. According to Christian traditions, he is recorded as a witness to nine charters. More than a century after his death, he was adopted as patron of the restored church at Winchester. Several miracles are attributed to him.
Best known for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Venerable Bede was an Anglo Saxon theologian and historian. An English Benedictine monk, he was taken to the monastery of St. Peter at age 7. He is now revered as the patron saint of English writers and historians.
Anglican priest Titus Oates is infamous for making up the 1678 Popish Plot, suggesting that Roman Catholics were plotting to kill King Charles II and seize power. His fake plot created mayhem in London and strengthened the Whig Party. He was later arrested and imprisoned for sedition.
Catholic Jesuit priest Saint Edmund Campion was hailed as a martyr after being hanged for treason at Tyburn by Queen Elizabeth I’s government. Born to a bookseller in London, Campion taught at Oxford, before being ordained. He was later canonized as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
English Jesuit priest Henry Garnet was initially an Anglican but later converted to Roman Catholicism. After teaching Hebrew at a college in Rome, he went back to England as a missionary. Accused of being involved in the Gunpowder Plot against King James I, he was hanged to death in 1606.
John Ball was a 14th-century English priest famous for taking a prominent part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. He disagreed with many Christian tenets of his time and preached 'articles contrary to the faith of the church.' He supported the doctrines of John Wycliffe and advocated for social equality. He was imprisoned on several occasions for defying authorities.
English geographer Richard Hakluyt is remembered for his marked political influence and his continuous support of the British colonization of North America. A priest, he was associated with the Westminster Abbey. He also penned reports such as Discourse of Western Planting, which was appreciated by Queen Elizabeth I.
English Protestant martyr and bishop Nicholas Ridley had an illustrious career as a scholar at Cambridge. Named a master of Pembroke Hall, he converted Cambridge into a Reformist seminary for Protestantism. He ended up being accused of heresy and was burned at the stake at Oxford, thus becoming one of the Oxford Martyrs.
Born into a family of Anglican rectors, Geoffrey Fisher had served as the bishop of Chester and of London, before becoming the archbishop of Canterbury. He later officiated the marriage of Princess Elizabeth and also crowned her as Queen Elizabeth II. He was later made a life peer, as Baron Fisher of Lambeth.
Bishop of Chichester Richard de Wych, or Richard of Chichester, was also a chancellor of Oxford. He also served St. Edmund Rich, or Edmund of Abingdon, and propagated his ideals. He is still revered as a patron saint of coachmen and of Sussex, and is depicted with a chalice at his feet.
Anglican archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker had faced hostility under Roman Catholic queen Mary I’s reign but got his privileges back when Elizabeth I came to power. Among his many works was his own translation of the Bible. He had also been the vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge.
Justin Welby is the most senior bishop in the Church of England and the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. In the past, he was the vicar of Southam, Warwickshire, and has also been the bishop of Durham. He is known for exploring the evangelical tradition within Anglicanism in his theology. He worked in the oil industry before his ordination.
Michael Ramsey was an English Anglican bishop, educator, theologian, and supporter of Christian unity. He is best remembered for serving as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury. Also a life peer, Ramsey received several honors during his lifetime. He also held honorary degrees from several prestigious universities, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Durham, Manchester, and Kent.
British naturalist and biologist John Needham was also a Roman Catholic priest who became the first Catholic clergyman to be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. He supported the theories of spontaneous generation and vitalism. He also served the Imperial Academy in Brussels as its director.
Bishop of Exeter Myles Coverdale is best remembered for releasing the first printed translation of the Bible in English. He had been a major figure of the Reform cause. He escaped being burned at the stake during Roman Catholic Mary I’s reign by moving to Denmark.
Orderic Vitalis was an English Benedictine monk and chronicler. He is credited with writing one of the most popular chronicles of the 11th and 12th-century Normandy. His works are considered important as they give a detailed description of the history of the Normans from the founding of Normandy; his works are viewed as a reliable source by modern historians.
George Crabbe was an English surgeon, poet, and clergyman. He began his career as a doctor's apprentice in the 1770s and later become a surgeon. After a few years, he pursued a living as a poet and also served as a clergyman in various capacities. He wrote poetry mainly in the form of heroic couplets. He was also a coleopterist.
William of Wykeham served as the Chancellor of England and Bishop of Winchester. He is credited with establishing New College School and New College, Oxford in 1379. He is also credited with establishing Winchester College in 1382. A reputed builder during the reign of King Edward III, William helped reconstruct Windsor Castle. A rich man, William patronized many schools.
Theodore of Tarsus, who later became the archbishop of Canterbury, scripted history as the first archbishop to reign over the whole of the English Church. He arranged the first general synod of the English Church and put an end to Celtic practices. He applied the Roman model of a centralized church to England.
Initially named the bishop of Elmham, Stigand later became the bishop of Winchester and, eventually, the archbishop of Canterbury. Some historians also believed he was probably English king Canute’s priest. He was excommunicated and eventually deposed for holding the bishoprics of Winchester and Canterbury simultaneously. He died in prison.