FERRAR, NICHOLAS: English clergyman; b. in London Feb. 22, 1592; d. at Little Gidding (10 m. n.w. of Huntingdon), Huntingdonshire, Dec. 4, 1637. He studied at Clare Hall, Cambridge (B.A., 1610; M.A., 1613). From 1613 to 1618 he traveled and studied in Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, and on his return to England devoted himself till 1623 to the affairs of the Virginia Company, in which his family was interested. In 1624 he was elected to Parliament, and took part in the impeachment of the Earl of Middlesex. But he soon tired of public life, and, shrinking from the impending political disorders, with his widowed mother, and the families of his brother and his brother-in-law, John Collet, he settled at Little Gidding, and established there what the Puritans called his Protestant nunnery. In 1626 he was ordained deacon by Laud, but would never consent to take priest's orders, and the most flattering offers of valuable benefices were not sufficient to tempt him from his life of religious devotion. Matins and evensong were said daily by Ferrar in the church of Little Gidding, the other canonical hours being said in the manor house. One room was set apart as an oratory for general devotions, and there were two separate oratories for the men and women at night. Vigils were kept throughout the night; and Ferrar himself, who slept on the floor, arose at one o'clock in the morning for religious meditation. Everything was done by rule, and there was some definite occupation for every hour. It was Ferrar's theory that everybody should learn a trade; and bookbinding was taught in his institution. Numerous elaborate volumes bound here are still extant, including a copy of Ferrar's Harmony of the Gospels (1635) made for Charles I., who held Ferrar in great veneration and visited him in 1642, and again in 1646. Ferrar also provided a free school for the children of the neighborhood, and served himself as teacher. The institution soon attracted the enmity of Puritanism. In 1641 it was unjustly attacked in a pamphlet entitled The Arminian Nunnery; and early in 1647 the manor and the church at Little Gidding were sacked by the Parliamentary army. The church was carefully restored in 1853.