Ripon's Famous People

Among the famous people associated with Ripon are:

St Wilfrid

Wilfrid (634-709) is one of England's greatest and most controversial Saints. He directly influenced the move away from Celtic to the more orderly Roman church practices and is best known for championing and winning the case for the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic method of calculating the date of Easter at the famous Synod of Whitby in 664. He became Bishop of York with a See covering the whole of Northumbria, built magnificent stone churches at Ripon and Hexham and completed and restored the stone church at York started by the newly converted king Edwin. He acquired vast landholdings and established monasteries in Northumbria, Mercia, Sussex and the Isle of Wight and converted Sussex, the last vestige of paganism, to Christianity. He was the confidant of kings and rulers across Europe but made many powerful enemies and was twice banished from Northumbria. He made three journeys on foot and horseback through Europe to Rome and was not afraid to seek papal jurisdiction over both crown and church where he felt badly treated. His life was threatened many times being shipwrecked and nearly killed by natives off the coast of Sussex, imprisoned in Northumbria by the king and twice nearly murdered whilst travelling abroad. He died at Oundle (Northamptonshire) in 709/10 his body was brought back to Ripon, his first and favourite foundation. Wilfrid was buried in Ripon Cathedral to the south of the high altar.

John Aislabie

John Aislabie (1670-1742) inherited the Studley estate in 1693. A politically ambitious man, he first became the Tory Member of Parliament for Ripon in 1695 and in 1718 became Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1720 Aislabie was a principal sponsor of the South Sea Company scheme, the bill in Parliament was promoted by him personally. After this collapsed (the South Sea Bubble), he was expelled from Parliament and disqualified for life from public office.

Aislabie returned to Yorkshire and created the gardens. After his death in 1742, his son William extended his scheme by purchasing the remains of the Abbey. Between them, the two created what is arguably England's most important 18th century Water Garden

Lewis Carroll

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-98) was more commonly known as Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. His father became a residentiary canon of the Cathedral in 1852. During his many visits to Ripon, Carroll wrote Ye Carpette Knyghte and several pages of Through the Looking-Glass, as well as a number of mathematical papers.

Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) was perhaps the finest English poet of the First World War. He served on the Somme before being sent home in 1917 suffering from shell-shock.

After a period of convalescence in Scotland, Captain Owen returned to light regimental duties. In March 1918, he was posted to the Northern Command Depot at Ripon. A number of poems were composed in Ripon, including 'Futility' and 'Strange Meeting'. His 25th birthday was spent quietly in the Cathedral.

Owen rejoined his battalion at Amiens in September 1918, and was immediately awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. He was killed in the early morning of 4 November, during the last week of the war.

Others include Richard Hammond, the TV presenter, Bruce Oldfield, fashion designer and David Curry, previous local MP - all of whom attended Ripon Grammar School.

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