Our History Little Gidding, England Nicholas Ferrar

Our Community had its beginnings with a man named Nicholas Ferrar at Little Gidding, England in 1626. The religious community he established was always small and never numbered more than thirty or forty, most of whom were members of Ferrar's own family. It ended in 1657 during the turmoil and unrest of the English Civil War. To this day there continues to be a group in England known as The Friends of Little Gidding that look after the historic site and chapel and publish books relevant to the Ferrars and their remarkable way of life at Little Gidding.

Although small and short-lived, the original community is significant in Anglican history and spirituality. It was the first to be established after the dissolution of the monasteries during the reign of King Henry VIII. It was founded specifically for 'persons of regular station in life' — people who worked for a living but believed that the grace of the Holy Spirit could mold them in holiness and personal sanctification despite the secular demands made on their time.

The idea that average citizens could form a community based on religious principles and fellowship was considered revolutionary in its day. Up until then the only people thought 'worthy' to study Sacred Scripture and share monastic fellowship were the monks and nuns who lived in monasteries and convents.

Community members were known throughout the land for their piety, faithfulness and profound commitment to both regular prayer and to the Bible. They produced harmonies of the Gospels that survive today as a testament to their fine work and dedication to the preservation and study of Holy Writ.

Holy Writ

This is what the LORD says:

"Stand at the crossroads and look,

Ask for the ancient paths;

Ask where the good way is and walk in it,

And you will find rest for your souls."

Jeremiah 6:16