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Church History Genealogy

Nicholas Ridley, the Oxford martyr, is part of my family story

A recent discovery

My wife, Gail, is an avid genealogist, and she recently made a marvelous discovery. Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London, who was burned at the stake in Oxford, on October 16, 1555, in the reign of “Bloody Mary,” is part of my family story because he is my 12th great-uncle.  My direct family line runs from Nicholas’s older brother by two years, Hugh, who is my 11th great-grandfather.

In the course of our lives, we lived in Oxford for about 16 months, so we have very frequently walked by the Martyr’s Memorial which is located at the intersection of St Giles’, Magdalen Street, and Beaumont Street, to the west of Balliol College. Now, I wish that I had known of its importance in the history of my own family, because I would have seen it with quite different eyes.

The inscription on the base of the Martyrs’ Memorial reads:

“To the Glory of God, and in grateful commemoration of His servants, Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned, bearing witness to the sacred truths which they had affirmed and maintained against the errors of the Church of Rome, and rejoicing that to them it was given not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for His sake; this monument was erected by public subscription in the year of our Lord God, MDCCCXLI [1841].”

In this post, I’ll remind you of the inspiring story of Bishop Nicholas Ridley, and then I’ll lay out the genealogical details of my ancestral connection.

The life of Nicholas Ridley, my 12th Great-Uncle

For brevity, I will simply refer to Nicholas Ridley as “Ridley,” because you know whose story I’m recounting.  I pondered doing some research to construct my own account, but my purpose in the first part of this post is simply to enable you to understand why I am so delighted to be related to Bishop Ridley. Consequently, I am going to give the late R. E. Nixon, formerly Principal of St. John’s College, Nottingham, England, the honor of contributing to my post his article on Ridley, in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church for which J. D. Douglas served as general editor.

RIDLEY, NICHOLAS (c. 1500-1555). Reformer and bishop of London. Born near Haltwhistle in Northumberland, he went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1518. In 1524 he became a fellow of Pembroke and in 1527 went to the Sorbonne and Louvain, where he may have witnessed some of the Reformation controversies. He came back to Pembroke and in 1527 went to the Sorbonne and Louvain, where he may have witnessed some of the Reformation controversies. He came back to Pembroke in 1530 where he spent much of his time reading the Scriptures and learning them by heart. In 1537 he was appointed chaplain to Cranmer and the following year vicar of Herne, Kent, in Cranmer’s diocese. In 1540 he became a chaplain to the king, and master of Pembroke. In 1547 he was consecrated bishop of Rochester and in 1550 was translated to London.

Ridley’s long involvement in academic life was to stand him in good stead for the brief period of his episcopate. He seems to have been won round toward reformed views of the Eucharist through the study of De Corpore at Sanguini Domini, the work of a ninth-century monk, Ratramnus, or Bertram, who was refuting transubstantiation. He had previously thought transubstantiation to be primitive doctrine. From 1545 Ridley was convinced of the error of transubstantiation, and the following year he persuaded Cranmer, who in his turn persuaded Latimer. His influence was recognized by Brooks, who said at his trial, “Latimer leaneth to Cranmer, Cranmer to Ridley, and Ridley to the singularity of his own wit.” Ridley helped compile the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and its revision in 1552, in which his eucharistic theology was given clearer liturgical expression. He was prominent in carrying through reforms in both his dioceses and when in London took the lead in the removal of stone altars and the substitution of wooden Communion tables. He was active in preaching on social questions and promoted the foundation of schools and hospitals.

He was to have returned to his native see of Durham, but on the death of Edward VI he supported the attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne, and when that failed he was deprived and imprisoned. In 1554 he was taken with Cranmer and Latimer to Oxford, where they had to engage in various disputations. He stood firm by his views and, after burning of the Reformers had begun in 1555, Ridley and Latimer were sentenced to die at the stake. As the fires were lit Latimer cried out, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out!”

In Oxford, on Broad Street, adjacent to Balliol College, there is a granite cross in the middle of the street, to mark the place where Latimer and Ridley were burned, followed some months later by Cranmer – as a permanent witness to that terrible event.

On a wall nearby, a plaque describes what happened there.

I thank God for his work of grace in the life of my 12th Great-Uncle Nicholas, and I pray that his example will serve to encourage and inspire many others who suffer similarly for their faithfulness to the truths which they believe to have come from God. Until the Lord returns, there will always be a need in the world for “candles” like Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer.

My genealogical connection to Nicholas Ridley

These details will probably be of interest primarily (or only) to other members of the Tiessen clan, but there may be an occasional genealogist who will have reason to examine it as well.

We can trace my father’s line back into the 15th century, to my15th great-grandfather. This is the line I’m going to trace, although it identifies links to a multitude of other lines, through the great-grandmothers that are significant figures in my ancestry. The further back we go, the greater the number of our ancestors.

Generation 1

My 15th great-grandfather was Nicholas Ridley (b. 1400)

Nicholas Ridley was born in Willmontswick, Northumberland in 1400. He married Alice Skelton in about 1420, in Willmontswick.

Generation 2

My 14th great-grandfather was Sir Nicholas Ridley (b. 1424)

This Nicholas Ridley was also born in Willmontswick, Northumberland, in 1424, and he died in 1467. There he married Anne Eaglesfield in 1450. She had been born in 1432, and she died in 1500.

Generation 3

My 13th great-grandfather was Sir Nicholas Ridley of Wythsmode

Sir Nicholas Ridley of Wythsmode, Knight was born in about 1450 in Northumberland, and he married Mary Elizabeth Curwen, thedaughter of Sir Christopher Curwen and Anne Pennington, in 1470, in Workington Hall, Cumberland, England. She had been born in Workington Hall in 1452, and she died in 1506, in Willmontswick, Northumberland.

Generation 4 

My 12th great-grandfather was Christopher Ridley

Christopher was the son of Nicholas Ridley of Wythsmode [b. 1450] and of Mary Elizabeth Curwen of Workington Hall, Cumberland [1452-1506]), and he was born in about 1475 in Uthank Hall, Willmontswick, Northumberland. He died in 1540, in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. He married Anne Blenkinsop, who was born in 1475, also in Willmontswick.

In 2014, Gail and I walked across England (from Newcastle west to Bowness on Solway), by Hadrian’s Wall Path, in ten amazing days, without a drop of rain. On the night that our walk stopped in Once Brewed, we headed south to Hunter Crook Lodge, near Bardon Mills, and it is fun to realize now that we were fairly close to the manor house in which Nicholas and Hugh Ridley are commonly deemed to have been born.

“Willimoteswick (or Willmontswick) is a fortified manor house situated on the south side of the South Tyne near Bardon Mill and is clearly visible as you travel east [via the highway]. The Willmontswick family occupied the Manor in the 12th century until it passed to the Ridley family in 1279. It is generally accepted as having been the birthplace of Bishop Ridley, who was burned at the stake in October 1555 for his teachings and support of Lady Jane Grey. Willimoteswick is now a family farm.” (Heart of Hadrian’s Wall)

Generation 5

Christopher and Ann (Blenkinsop) Ridley are reported to have had six children:

  • Jane Ridley was born in 1497 in Willmontswick, and she died in 1562 and was buried in St. Saviour, London.
  • Hugh Ridley of Unthankhall (b. 1498) – see below.
  • Richard Ridley was born in about 1500 in Willmontswick.
  • Anne Ridley was born in about 1500 in Walltown, Northumberland.
  • The Nicholas Ridley who figures prominently in this family history was born about 1500. He is the one whose biography I detailed in the previous section of this post. He was Bishop of London and he died as a martyr, in Oxford, on Oct 16, 1555.
  • Alice Ridley was born in 1502 in Willmontswick.

My 11th great-grandfather was Hugh Ridley

Hugh Ridley of Unthankwas theoldest son of Christopher and Anne, born about 1498 in Willmontswick, Northumberland, and he died in 1555. He married Isabel Heron in about 1511, in Willimontswick. She had been born about 1490 in Chipcase, Northumberland.

My 12th great-uncle was Nicholas Ridley

Hughes’ younger brother, Nicholas Ridley, was bornabout 1500 (or 1503), in Tyndale, Northumberland, and he died on October 16, 1555 in Oxford. I have told his story above.

Another 11th great-grandfather is known only as “Tiessen,” but he is a significant figure at the point where my English line merges into the Dutch one.

In this generation, a man known only as “Tiessen” shows up for the first time in our records, and all we know is that he was born about 1520 in either Belgium or the Netherlands. The important thing is that he was the father of Francis (Thijssen) Tiessen.

Generation 6

Hugh and Isabel (Heron) Ridley had two children that we know of:

  • Thomas Ridley was born about 1514 in Willmontswick, he married Elizabeth and he died some time after 1573.
  • Baldwin Ridley.

My 10th great-grandfather was Baldwin Ridley

Baldwin was born about 1545, in Willmontswick, Northumberland.

At some point in his life, he moved to Vlissingen, Zeeland, Netherlands. There he served as Bishop of the diocese of the English church which ministered to a large English community in that area, including the neighboring cities of Middleburg and Veere.

[“Vlissingen was historically called ‘Flushing’ in English. In the 17th century Vlissingen was important enough to be a town that English speakers referred to and that had acquired its own English name. For example, Samuel Pepys referred to the town as ‘Flushing’ in his diaries. In 1673 Sir William Temple referred to Vlissingen as ‘Flushing’ once and ‘Flussingue’ twice in his book about the Netherlands. Some English writers in the Netherlands also used the Dutch name.”  (Wikipedia)]

Until we discovered our English roots, through the Ridleys, I had always thought of my heritage as Dutch on my father’s side and Irish on my mother’s. I now realize, however, that my heritage was more varied, and that a lengthy English period occurred prior to the Dutch line, on my father’s side. Given the long line of English ancestors prior to this point, credit for our Dutch history goes to Baldwin Ridley, whose church work had taken him to Vlissingen.

Another of my 10th great-grandfathers was Francis (Thijssen) Tiessen

Francis Tiessen was born in 1545, in Ghent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Generation 7

My 9th great-grandmother was Apollonia Ridley

Appolonia Ridley was the daughter of Baldwin. She was born in Vlissingen, Zeeland, the Netherlands, about 1570, and she died in 1640.

My 9th great-grandfather was Daniel Francis Tiessen

Apollonia Ridley married Daniel Francis (Thijssen/Tysson) Tiessen in Vlissingen, Zeeland, about 1590. He had been born in 1565, in Ghent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium, as the son of Francis Thijssen, who had also been born in Ghent, in 1545. Francis and his family had fled from there to Vlissingen, in 1579, during the counter-revolution under Duke Alba, because he was a Protestant. Daniel died in 1647, in Vlissingen, Zeeland.  

Generation 8

Daniel Francis and Apollonia (Ridley) Tiessen had four children:

  • Daniel R. Tiessen was born about 1590 in Vlissingen, Zeeland, and he died in 1647 in Goeteborg, Vasta Gotaland, Sweden.
  • Martin Daniel Tiessen was born in 1598, in Vlissingen, Zeeland, he married Louwysa, and he died in Goeteborg, Sweden, in 1657.

Martin is remembered particularly for his outstanding naval service. He was the Dutch vice-admiral at the Battle of Albrolhos (1631) and, when the fleet returned to the Netherlands in 1634, he became master-attendant and munitions-master at the Admiralty of Zeeland in Vlissingen. After the outbreak of the war between Sweden and Denmark, the Dutch-Swedish industrialist Louis De Geer equipped at his own expense a Dutch squadron under Martin Thijssen (Tiessen), in order to strengthen the Swedish navy. Tiessen then performed outstandingly in the joint Dutch and Swedish operation at the Battle of Fehmarn (1644), where the Dutch squadron took four Danish ships at an early stage in the battle. The Danish were soundly defeated. Tiessen then took the Dutch squadron back to Vlissingen, but he returned to Sweden in 1645, becoming Admiral of the naval command at Gothenburg, which he successfully held in face of a siege by Danish naval and ground forces. When the peace with Denmark was concluded, he commanded the naval force that escorted a Swedish trading expedition to Portugal, on the return voyage successfully fending off a Royal Navy squadron that demanded salute in the Channel. Tiessen remained in command at Gothenburg until his death on May 21, 1657, before which he had been raised to the Swedish nobility by Swedish Queen Christine in 1644. At that time he was named Baron Martin Ankerhelm (or Marten Anckarhielm). [Much of this information comes from Wikipedia]

  • Clawes Tiessen was born in 1603, in Vlissingen, Zeeland, and he died in Sweden.

My 8th great-grandfather was Francis Tiessen (b. ca. 1624)

  • Francis Tiessen was born about 1624, in Vlissingen, Zeeland, but he went back to England, perhaps because of connections dating back to the departure from England of his grandfather, Baldwin. He married Dorothy Callant, the daughter of Garrett Gerard Collent and Alice Coxe, on September 25, 1649, in Austin Friars Church in London. Dorothy had been born about 1630. Francis died in about 1699, in Hackney, London, and Dorothy died on August 11, 1703, in St. John’s, Hackney.

In 1666, Francis was made an elder in Austin Friars Church. In his will (made in 1690), he made bequests to the Church, and to its poor, and also to a church and some relatives in Vlissingen. “His fortune is unexplained but may have had American origins, in that he advanced money for French Protestant emigrants to Carolina, in 1698, and was later described as an agent for the Carolina proprietors. He left land in Antigua to his surviving son (who left the Bridge Plantation in Antigua  to a younger son Samuel) together with property in London, where his house was in Philpot Lane, and in Middlesex and other counties.” [cited from The Tyssens: Lords of Hackney, by Tim Baker]

It is worthwhile to pause here for some comment on the Austin Friars Church in London, where Francis and Dorothy were married, because the church strikes me as an interesting meeting point between the English and Dutch lines in my family story. The Dutch Church, Austin Friars (Dutch: Nederlandse Kerk Londen), is a Reformed church in the Broad Street Ward, in London. Dating back to 1550, it is the oldest Dutch-language Protestant church in the world and, as such, it is known in The Netherlands as the mother church of all Dutch reformed churches.

It is located on the site of the 13th-century Augustinian friary, and the original building was granted to Protestant refugees for their church services in 1550, but it was destroyed during the London Blitz. The present church {seen in the picture inserted here, which is by John Salmon] was built between 1950 and 1954 and is a familiar landmark in the Broad Street Ward.

“By 1570, the Dutch community was the largest group of expatriates in London, numbering 5,000 out of the 100,000 total population of the time. About half of the Dutch in London were Protestants who fled the Flemish Low Countries due to religious persecution. Others were skilled craftsmen, including brewers, tile makers, weavers, artists, printers and engravers, who came to England for economic opportunities. Engraver Martin Droeshout, famous for his 1623 portrait of William Shakespeare, was among the Flemish Protestant emigrants who arrived in London.

“A century later, the arrival of William of Orange brought a second wave of Dutch emigrants to London. This second group included noblemen, bankers, courtiers, merchants, architects and artists.” [Wikipedia]

“The church remains active today, with weekly Dutch-language church services, confirmation classes, and meetings for various groups. The church also does outreach to the Dutch community in London, including ministering to the elderly. The church is home to two other UK registered charities: The Netherlands Benevolent Society (NBS) and The Dutch Centre. On 24 April 2015, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands was honorary guest in the Dutch Church for a jubilee celebration to mark 150 years since the founding of the NBS. On the same day the Dutch Centre was officially opened by Laetitia van den Assum, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the United Kingdom, Liesbeth Knook, Chairman of the Church Council and Paul Beiboer, General Manager of London branch of Rabobank.” [Wikipedia]

Generation 9

Francis Tiessen (b. 1624) and Dorothy Callant Tiessen had four children:

  • John Tiessen was born on May 25, 1651 at Austin Friars, London. He died on Sep 11, 1681, in Hubbard, London.
  • Francis Tiessen was born in 1653 in Austin Friars, London, and he died Dec 6, 1710, in St. John, Hackney, England. He married Susannah Mathews on Sep 21, 1678 in St. George’s Chapel, Hanover Square, London. She had been born about 1659 in St. Swithins, London. Sadly, she died later in the year that they were married (1678).

Eight years after Susannah’s death, Francis then married Mary Western on Dec 30, 1686, in Shacklewell Chapel, Hackney, London. She had been born on Sep 28, 1661, in St. Dunstan East, London, and she died on Apr 22, 1731.

During the first 13 years of their 24 years of marriage, they had 10 children.

  • Peter Callant Tiessen (see below).
  • Samuel Tiessen was born in 1657 and registered in Austin Friars Church. He died on Dec 6, 1710 and was buried at St. John’s Anglican Church, in Hackney. London.

My 7th great-grandfather was Peter Callant Tiessen

Peter Callant Tiessen (the son of Francis Tiessen and Dorothy Callant) was born on Dec 10, 1655 in Austin Friars, London. He died on Apr 15, 1715 and was buried in St. John at Hackney, London. He married Esther Peters about 1675. She had been born in 1655, and she died on Nov 17, 1718, in Prussia.

This appears to be the generation in which my Tiessen ancestors, while living in England, became Mennonites, since their children, Peter and Martin, were both born in Prussia, just a few years after Peter Callant and Esther were married, and Prussia was where many Dutch Mennonites fled in order to avoid military conscription. I find it interesting that Peter died in England, but Esther died in Prussia, just about three years later.  

Generation 10

My 6th great-grandfather was Peter A. Tiessen

Peter A. Tiessen was born in 1680 in Steegenwerder, Neugenerwerder, Prussia, and he died in Prussia. In 1711, he married my 6th great-grand grandmother Elizabeth Elske Wiebe, who was born in Prussia in 1687.

Generation 11

Peter A. Tiessen and Elizabeth Elske Wiebe had the following five children:

  • Martin Tiessen was born in 1715, in Tiegenhagen, Prussia
  • Peter Wiebe Tiessen (b. 1717) – see below
  • Willhelm Tiessen was born in 1718 in Tiegenhagen, Prussia, and he died on May 20, 1787, in Tiegenhagen.
  • Franz Tiessen was born in 1718 in Tiegenhagen, Prussia.
  • Dirk Tiessen was born in 1727 in Tiegenhagen, Prussia.

My 5th great-grandfather was Peter Wiebe Tiessen

Peter Wiebe Tiessen was born in 1717 in Tiegenhage, Prussia. He died on Jun 28, 1779, in West Preussen, Deutschland. He married my 5th great-grandmother, Anna Woelke on Feb 12, 1742 in Orloff, Prussia. She had been born about 1721 in Freienhuben [Siebenhuben, Grosswerden] Prussia, and she died on Apr 25, 1764 in Orloff, Prussia. Peter Wiebe Tiessen then married Barbara Braun.

Generation 12

In 1787, a group of about 228 Mennonite families left Prussia and immigrated to S. Russia.  A second group of about 342 families, known as the “Molotschnaers,” which included our Tiessen ancestors, immigrated from 1800-811 and settled in the village of Pordenau, which was in the Molotschna colony.

Peter Wiebe Tiessen and Anna Woelke had five children:

  • Johann Hans Tiessen was born in 1745, in Orloff, Prussia, and he died on Sep 26, 1784 in Altmunsterberg, Russia. He married Agneta Wiens, who died on Sep 29, 1783, in Altmunsterberg, Russia.
  • Peter Woelke Tiessen (b. 1749) – see below.
  •  Katharina P. Tiessen was born in Sep, 1751 in Orloff, Prussia, and she died on Apr 16, 1804 in Pordenau, Russia. She married Klaas Harder in Oct 15, 1776 in Ladekopp, Prussia.
  • Anna P. Tiessen was born in 1759 in Orloff, Prussia. She died on Jan 30, 1791, in Pietzkendorf, Russia. She married Peter Enns, who had been born in 1759, in Prussia.
  • Aganetha P. Tiessen was born in 1761 in Orloff, Prussia, and she died there on Jan 12, 1781.

My 4th great-grandfather was Peter Woelke Tiessen

Peter Woelke Tiessen was born on Nov 25, 1749, in Orloff, Prussia, and he died on Feb 19, 1824 in Pordenau, Russia. He married my 4th great-grandmother, Anna Esau (daughter of Arend Esau [1729-1797] and Anna Dick [1738-1799]), on Mar 1, 1784, in Mennoniten, Ladekopp, Westpreussen, Prussia. She had been born on Feb 12, 1761 in Ladekop, Stade, Niedersachsen, Germany, and she died on Dec 22, 1818 in Pordenau, Russia.

Peter Woelke had been too poor to go along with an earlier group emigrating to Russia, so he stayed in Prussia for three more years, during which time he worked hard in a wagon factory until he had enough money to buy two horses and some food and clothing. He made a wagon of his own, at home, and he married Anna Esau before they went with a group to Russia.

Generation 13

Peter Woelke Tiessen and Anna Esau had 12 children:

  • Derk Tiessen was born on Nov 27, 1784, in Prussia, and he died there on Jan 31, 1785.
  • Aaron Peter Tiessen was born on Nov 25, 1785, in Prussia, and he died on Dec 17, 1831, in Kl Montau, Prussia. He married Katharina Loepp on Feb 8, 1820, in Altmuensterberg, Prussia. She had been born on Jan 27, 1797, in Tiegenhagen Prussia.
  • Derk Peter Tiessen was born on Oct 24, 1787, in Prussia, and he died in Parshau, Prussia, on Sep 1, 1788.
  • Peter Esau Tiessen was born on Aug 3, 1789 in Pordenau, Prussia, and he died in Pordenau, S. Russia, in 1873. He married Elizabeth Driedger on Feb 23, 1819, in Gross Lichtenau, Prussia. She had been born on Jun 16, 1796, in Prangenaderfeld, Prussia, and she died in the USA.
  • Johann Peter Esau Tiessen was born on July 1, 1791, in Prussia. He married Sara Wall on Feb 23, 1819, in Mennoniten, Ladekopp, Westpreussen, Prussia. She had been born on Mar 10, 1792, in Laase, Prussia, and she died on Mar 11, 1850.
  • Dietrich Peter Esau Tiessen was born on May 31, 1793, in Podenau, Prussia. He died on Apr 25, 1854, in Klein Lichtenau, Prussia. He married Katharina Harder, in Leske, Prussia, on Mar 4, 1827. She had been born on July 11, 1805, in Marienburg, Hildesheim, Niedersachsen, Germany, and she died on Oct 30, 1866, in Lichtenau, Ansbach, Bayern, Germany.
  • Agneta Regier Tiessen was born in 1795, in Prussia, and she was adopted by Peter Woelke and Anna Esau. She married Jacob Loewe on Mar 16, 1820. He had been born in 1796.
  • Anna Tiessen was born on Nov 17, 1795, in Prussia, and she died on May 4, 1796, in Parshau, Prussia.
  • Jacob Peter Esau Tiessen was born on Mar 13, 1797, in Pordenau, W. Prussia.
  • Abraham Peter Tiessen was born on Aug 10, 1798 in Prussia, and he died there in the same year.
  • Abraham Esau Tiessen (b. 1798) – see below
  • Anna P. Tiessen was born on Mar 6, 1803 in Gross Lichtenau, Prussia, and she died in 1825.

My 3rd great-grandfather was Abraham Esau Tiessen

Abraham Esau Tiessen was born on Sep 18, 1800 in Mennoniten, Gross Lichtenau, Westpreussen, Prussia, and he died on Jun 4, 1851 in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia. He married Judith A. I. “Edith” Lepp (Loepp), my 3rd great-grandmother, on Nov 7, 1824 in Gross Lichtenau [Altmuensterberg], Grosswerder, Prussia. She had been born on Jul 11, 1802 in Altmuensterberg, Grosswerder, Prussia, and she died on Oct 27, 1874 in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia.

Generation 14

Abraham Esau Tiessen and Judith A. I. “Edith” Lepp had ten children:

  • Aaron Lepp Tiessen was born on Aug 21, 1825 in Pordenau, Prussia. He died on Mar 19, 1901 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA. He married Maria Wiebe on Jun 22, 1848, in Russia. She had been born on Mar 27, 1820 in Pordenau, Russia and she died on Apr 16, 1907 in Mountain Lake Minnesota USA.

Aaron was a charter member of First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, and he had come to the US on the SS Kenilworth on July 17, 1876 at New York, which had sailed from Antwerp.

  • Anna LeppTiessen was born on Jul 19, 1827, in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia and she died in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA. She had married Friedrick Kunkel in Sparrau, South Russia, and he had been born in 1825 in Molotschna Colony, South Russia. They immigrated to the US on Jun 29, 1877 on the SS Vaderland.
  •   Peter Abraham Lepp Tiessen was born on Aug 16, 1828 in Danzig, West Prussia (Poland). He died on Sep 27, 1910 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He married Maria Dueck on Nov 19, 1850 in Pordenau, Russia. She had been born on Jan 17, 1827 in Sparrau, Russia, and she died on Dec 10, 1911 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, USA.

They traveled to the US from Antwerp on the SS Vaderland, and they arrived in Philadelphia on June 29, 1877

Peter Abraham was a charter member of First Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, MN.

  • Abraham Lepp Tiessen (b. 1831) – see below.
  • Sara Tiessen was born Sep 2, 1832 in Danzig, West Prussia (Poland), and she died on May 10, 1910 in Marion, South Dakota, USA. She married Heinrich J. Berg on Jun 9, 1853, in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia. He had been born on Nov 17, 1831 in Marienthal, Molotschna, South Russia, and he died on Dec 16, 1915.

They traveled to the US from Hamburg and Havre, on the SS Cimbria, arriving in New York on Aug 27, 1874.

  • Johann Lepp Tiessen was born on Feb 11, 1835 in Sparrau, Russia. He died on Apr 5, 1914, and he was buried in Kelstern Elim Mennonite Brethren Cemetery, Saskatchewan. He married Susanna Fast on Nov 7, 1857, in Sparrau, S Russia. She had been born on Jan 23, 1836 in Molotschna, South Russia, and she died on Mar 23, 1892, in Mountain Lake, Cottonwood, Minnesota, USA.

They had come to the US on the SS Vaderland, arriving on Jun 29, 1877.

Two years after Susanna’s death, Johann married Sarah Boldt Goertzen (a widow) on Mar 4, 1894. She had been born on Nov 5, 1851, and she died on Mar 25, 1922, in Kelstern, Sask., where she was buried in Elim Mennonite Brethren Cemetery.

They had moved to Rosehill, Cavalier County, N. Dakota in 1898 and then they moved to a homestead in Hodgeville, Saskatchewan in 1910, along with the children from Johann’s first marriage.

  • Dietrich Lepp Tiessen was born on Jul 13, 1837 in Danzig, West Prussia (Poland), and he died on Apr 5, 1895 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He married Anna Flaming on May 2, 1861 in Margenau, Molotschna, Russia. She had been born on Dec 23, 1841, in Kleefeld, Molotschna, Russia. She died on Feb 13, 1904 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota.

They had 22 children, only two of whom survived into adult, most of them dying at or soon after birth, which is tragic to contemplate.

They had travelled to the US on the SS Strasbourg, arriving on July 2, 1878.

They were charter members of First Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, MN.

  • Susanna A. Lepp Tiessen was born on Feb 28, 1840, in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia, and she died on Jun 16, 1916 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, where she was buried in the Mennonite Brethren Cemetery. She married Johann Abraham Lepp (Loepp) on Jun 17, 1866. He had been born on Apr 10, 1820 in Nassenhueben, Prussia, and he died on Sep 20, 1892 in Mountain Lake, Cottonwood, Minnesota.

They had travelled to the US on the SS Strasbourg, which departed from Bremen and arrived in New York on July 2, 1878.

  • Jacob Abraham Lepp Tiessen was born on Oct 20, 1842 in Sparrau Rrussia. He died on Apr 19, 1912 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He had married Anna Kunkel on Nov 10, 1862 in Hiershau, Molotschna, Russia. She had been born on Dec 16, 1832 in Pordenau, Molotschna, Russia, and she died in 1912 in Mountain Lake, Cottonwood, Minnesota.

They traveled to the US on the SS Vaderland, departed from Antwerp and arrived in Philadelphia on June 29, 1877.

They were charter members of First Mennonite Church, Mountain Lake, MN.

  • Katharina A. Lepp Tiessen was born on Mar 5, 1844 in Sparrau, Molotschna, South Russia. She died on Jan 5, 1933 in Dallas, Oregon. She married Dietrich D. Loewen on Aug 31, 1864 in Sparrau, Molotschna, Russia. He had been born on Dec 19, 1845 in Sparrau, and he died on May 2, 1904, in Mountain Lake Minnesota.

They travelled to the US from Bremen on the SS Strasbourg, arriving in New York on July 2, 1878.

My 2nd great-grandfather was Abraham Lepp Tiessen

Abraham Lepp Tiessen was born on Feb 2, 1831 in Danzig, West Prussia (Poland), and he died in 1901 in Saskatchewan Canada. He married Anna Regier Neufeld (my 2nd great-grandmother) on Mar 9, 1854 in Pordenau, Russia. She was the daughter of Jacob Neufeld and Helena Regier, and she had been born on May 23, 1832 in Margenau, Molotschna Colony, Russia, and she died on Aug 1, 1906 in Saskatchewan Canada.

(Uncle Abe remembered, from when he was 12, that he had seen his Uncle Abraham Lepp, in Saskatchewan.)

Generation 15

Abraham Lepp Tiessen and Anna Regier Neufeld had 12 children:

  • Henry Tiessen was born on Mar 23, 1856 in Russia and he died in Sep 1856 in Russia.
  • Sarah Tiessen was born on Sep 20, 1857 in Russia and she died on Feb 7, 1859 in Russia.
  • Henry Abraham B Neufeld Tiessen (b. 1859) – see below.
  • Anna Tiessen was born on Aug 6, 1860 in Russia and she died on 09 Oct 1860 in Russia.
  • Abram Tiessen was born on Oct 27, 1862 in Russia and he died on Aug 10, 1863 in Russia.
  • Jacob Tiessen was born on Nov 11, 1864 in Russia and he died on Oct 19, 1868 in Russia.
  • Anna Tiessen was born on Feb 16, 1866 in Russia and she died on Feb 1, 1905 in Saskatchewan, Canada. She married Johann A. Derksen, who was born on May 2, 1866 in S. Russia and died in 1944 in Dallas, Oregon.
  • Aaron Tiessen was born on Sep 7, 1867 in Russia and he died on Nov 23, 1868 in Russia.
  • Frank Tiessen was born on Feb 17, 1869 in Russia and he died on Apr 27, 1869 in Russia.
  • Helena Tiessen was born on Jun 3, 1870 in Russia and she died on Oct 14, 1952 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. She married Henry A. Derksen on Jan 20, 1891 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He had been born on Jul 15, 1871 in Hirshau, South Russia, and he died on Aug 1, 1955 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota.
  • Edith Tiessen was born on Jun 19, 1872 in Russia, and she died on Nov 5, 1908 in Saskatechwan, Canada. She emigrated to Canada in 1902, and she married Jacob Wiebe.
  • Deitrich Abraham Neufeld Tiessen was born on Apr 28, 1874 in Russia. He died in 1960, in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada. He had married Sara Neufeld on 08 Mar 1895 in Mountain Lake Minnesota. She was born on Mar 8, 1873 in Russia and she died on Oct 4, 1942 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

My great-grandfather was Henry Abraham B. Neufeld Tiessen

Henry Abraham B. Neufeld Tiessen was born on May 6, 1859 in Sparrau, Russia, and he died on Oct 29, 1923 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. He married Anna Derksen (my great-grandmother) on Dec 2, 1884 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota and they emigrated to Canada in 1902. Anna had been born on Sep 22, 1859 in Russia and she died on Feb 9, 1929 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan.

Generation 16

Henry Abraham B. Neufeld Tiessen and Anna Derksen, had 12 children:

  • Anna Tiessen was born on Nov 6, 1885 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. She died on Jan 29, 1965 in Saskatchewan. She married Jacob Wolfe on Feb 26, 1905 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. He had been born on Mar 24, 1881 in Manitoba, Canada, and he died on Apr 13, 1985 in Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan.
  • Jacob Tiessen was born about 1886 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He died of diphtheria in the train station in Osler, Saskatchewan, in 1901.
  • Elizabeth Tiessen was born on Apr 20, 1887 in Mountain Lake Minnesota. She moved to Saskatchewan in 1902, and she died there on Feb 11, 1935, being buried in the Dalmeny Bible Church Cemetery. She had married Jacob Goosen on Jul 8, 1906, in Saskatchewan. He had been born on Apr 20, 1887 in the USA, and he died on Aug 9, 1949 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan.
  • John Tiessen was born about 1888 in Mountain Lake, Minnestoa. He died of diphtheria in the train station in Osler, in 1901. in Osler, Saskatchewan, along with his older brother Jacob.
  • Katharina Tiessen was born on Jun 16, 1889 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. She moved to Saskatchewan in 1902, and she died there on Nov 23, 1971. She had married Jacob Jansen on Aug 8, 1909 in Saskatchewan. He had been born on Sep 30, 1885, in Russia, and he died on Aug 16, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Dietrich Tiessen was born about 1890 in Mountain Lake Minnesota USA. He died of diphtheria, in the train station in Osler, Saskatchewan, in 1901, along with his two older siblings, which means that Henry and Anna lost three sons there in that tragic time, in the midst of their move to Canada.
  • Abraham Tiessen was born on Jan 31, 1891 in Mountain Lake Minnesota, and he emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1902. He died on Oct 7, 1973 in Vancouver, BC. He had married Mary Dyck on Jul 15, 1916 in Canada. She was born on Apr 20, 1892, and she died on Jun 20, 1979 in British Columbia, Canada.
  •  Henry Derksen Tiessen (b. 1892) – see below.
  • Frank Tiessen was born in 1899, in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, and he died in 1907 in Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • Maria Tiessen was born on Apr 29, 1901, in Mountain Lake, Minnestoa and she died in 1986, in Saskatchewan. She had married Henry Boehr on Dec 12, 1920 in Saskatchewan, to which Maria had emigrated in 1902. Henry had been born on Aug 20, 1896 in Lushton, North Dakota and he died on Apr 19, 1980 in Saskatchewan.
  • Helen Tiessen was born on Mar 13, 1903, in Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan, and she died on Apr 5, 1988 in Haddonfield, Camden, New Jersey. She married Freidrich Tiessen on Dec 17, 1925 in Marion South Dakota. He was born on Dec 26, 1899 in Marion South Dakota, and he died on Nov 26, 1991 in Marion South Dakota.
  • Dietrich Tiessen was born on Feb 26, 1905, in Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan and he died there. He married Mathilda Rempel on Oct 24, 1945 in Saskatchewan, where she had been born on Jun 4, 1916.

Henry Derksen Tiessen was my grandfather. Genetically, my grandmother was Helena Derksen but she had died long before I was born, so Mary Funk, my father’s step-mother, was the wonderful woman whom I knew as my “grandmother.”   

Henry Derksen Tiessen was born on Sep 22, 1892 in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. He died on Mar 4, 1973 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He married Helena Derksen on Oct 21, 1913 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, in the Mennonite Brethren Church. She was born on Oct 12, 1892 in Langdon, North Dakota, and she died on Jan 3, 1923, in Warman, Saskatchewan.

Henry D. then married Mary Funk on Aug 19, 1923 in Warman, Saskatchewan. She was born on Jul 26, 1905 in Lucky Lake, Saskatchewan, and she died on Sep 20, 1967 in Abbotsford, BC.

Henry D. married Martha Neufeld on Jul 18, 1968.

Generation 17

Henry Derksen Tiessen and Helena Derksen had just two children, Frederick and Annie:

Annie Tiessen was born on Aug 18, 1915 in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan. She

died on Mar 7, 2003 in Toms River, Ocean, New Jersey. She married Peter G. Reimer on 25 Jun 1939 in Warman, Saskatchewan. He was born on May 10, 1911 in Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada and he died on Mar 19, 1991 in Kansas City, Clay, Missouri.

My father was Frederick Tiessen

Frederick Tiessen was born on Jul 26, 1914, in Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, and he died on May 2, 2005 in St. Catharines, Ontario. He married Ella Irene Wellwood on Jan 31, 1939, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She had been born on Jul 31, 1911 and she died on Mar 12, 2019, in Vineland, Ontario, a bit short of her 108th birthday!  

Most of the “Uncles” and “Aunts” I knew, on the Tiessen side, were children of Henry D. and Mary Funk, my grandfather’s second wife.

My mother’s Wellwood ancestors were of Scottish and then Irish descent, so her heritage was more akin to the English (Ridley) line on my father’s side than to the Tiessens, who hailed from Belgium and the Netherlands prior to connecting with my English roots.

A wonderful Christian heritage runs through all of these lines which constitute my ancestry, and I am deeply grateful to God for that fact. I tell the story now because of my delight at having learned of my family connection to the godly Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London and martyr for his faith. To him, I am sincerely grateful for his contribution to the development of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer with its superb liturgy, by which I am often richly nourished spiritually at this point in my life. [A more recent edition of the Book of Common prayer is available in pdf format, and you’ll notice that Nicholas Ridley is remembered in the church calendar, on Oct 16, (p. 28).]

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By Terrance Tiessen

I am Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, Canada.

10 replies on “Nicholas Ridley, the Oxford martyr, is part of my family story”

Thanks for this history of Uncle Fred and Auntie Ella. It was so nice when we could visit with them in Saskatoon or Rosthern. I am Kathy (Stover) Hails, youngest child of Glen and Esther (Wellwood) Stover.

Wow. This is very interesting indeed. I never got around to doing anything like Gail is doing but maybe I will now. This is something that is very worthwhile knowing. Great stuff

Wonderful work. We will have to take time to absorb this at much greater length! Congratulations, very well done!
Beryle and I were just little kids with our respective families at OXFORD Baptist Church in Woodstock, in the early 1950s, when the church called from somewhere in the U.S. a new young pastor (maybe a grad of Dallas Theological College) named Ridley Latimer!!
I (John) when I was sick a couple of years ago read a rather ponderous biography of Thomas Cranmer, who as you know also was martyred by Queen Mary, having recanted his recantation! The memorable line by Latimer belongs to the ages!

Beryle has piggy-backed on research done by a cousin of hers and is soon to receive her U.E.L. certificate tracing her family on her mother’s side through Pennsylvania and New York back to German Palatine immigrants in 1646.
It is also possible, though yet to be verified, that our grandkids can someday trace their lineage back through their father (the Sider clans) to a brother (and thence to the father) of Martin Luther! I studied Luther at length on the 500th anniversary of the 1517 dawning of the Protestant Reformation.
What fun! I on the other hand have a lot of Scottish work to do to get even to the beginning of the 19th century!

Superb work, amazing! Thanks for sharing.
John and Beryle

Thanks for telling me about your own genealogical research experience, John. It is fun to hear about Ridley Latimer at Oxford Baptist Church.

As Nicolas Ridleys death is October 16th today being the 15th I was reading what I could find about him. I came upon this article and it convinced me again that I am probably connected generationally to people I meet, but never know it. I live in Abbotsford BC. I have not researched as deeply as you have to find out exactly which great uncle Nicolas Ridley was to me. However my maternal grandmas maiden surname was Ridley. Another of my cousins found the connection to Nicholas Ridley. So thank you cousin for your detailed article. I enjoyed it immensely. Lois Billingham Currie.

Lois, thank you for sharing your own Ridley family connection with me. Perhaps this will motivate you to dig into your maternal grandma’s line. My wife does all the genealogical research in our family. She greatly enjoys the search process. I simply benefit from the fruits of her labour.

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