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Bishop J.C. Ryle's Autobiography

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John Charles Ryle (1816-1900), first Bishop of Liverpool, was one of the most influential evangelical clergymen of the nineteenth century. A popular platform speaker and prolific tract writer, his books are still widely read across the globe.

Edited by Andrew Atherstone, this critical edition of Ryle’s manuscript autobiography, dictated in 1873, is a rich and unparalleled account of the early decades of his life and ministry. He recalls his youthful pursuit of academic plaudits and sporting prowess at Eton College and Oxford University, before his evangelical conversion at the age of 21. He tells of the devastating collapse of the family bank and the enforced sale of their Cheshire estates, which ended his ambitions to enter parliament. Ryle describes his exploits as a young clergyman, his loves and losses, his evangelical networks, and the deaths of his first two wives. He offers a frank assessment of his joys and struggles, and the reasons behind his crucial life choices. Written for his children and never intended for publication, Bishop J.C. Ryle’s autobiography is essential reading for a proper appreciation of the man behind the headlines in the years before he reached national and international fame.

Bishop J. C. Ryle’s Autobiography also includes many photographs from the Ryle family albums, never before published. Seven substantial appendices examine the Ryle Family Bible, Ryle’s schoolboy speeches, his conversion, his earliest evangelical tracts, and his final will and testament.

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Table of Contents:

Ryle’s Autobiography

1. Family Background

2. Childhood

3. Early Education

4. Eton College

5. Oxford

6. Conversion

7. Henbury Hall

8. Bankruptcy

9. Exbury

10. Winchester

11. Helmingham


1. The Ryle Family Bible

2. The Eton Society

3. Herbert Ryle on his Father’s Schooldays

4. Canon Christopher on Ryle’s Conversion

5. Ryle’s Earliest Tracts

6. Ryle’s Funeral Tribute to Georgina Tollemache

7. Ryle’s Last Will and Testament