Edward Cridge

Edward Cridge, dean of British Columbia, bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church (b at Bratton Flemming, Devonshire, Eng 17 Dec 1817; d at Victoria, BC 6 May 1913).

Cridge, Edward

Edward Cridge, dean of British Columbia, bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church (b at Bratton Flemming, Devonshire, Eng 17 Dec 1817; d at Victoria, BC 6 May 1913). For some reason Cridge did not enter university until his late 20s and received his BA from St Peter's College (Peterhouse), Cambridge, in 1848. He was then ordained, became deacon in 1848, priest in 1849 and served as curate of North Walsham, Norfolk, and later curate of West Ham and perpetual curate (vicar) of Christ Church, West Ham of Christ Church, Stratford, London.

In 1854 Cridge was appointed to the chaplaincy of the HUDSON'S BAY CO at Victoria. He and his wife, Mary, reached Victoria on 1 April 1855. For the next few years he was the only missionary in the vicinity. George HILLS, consecrated in 1859 as the first bishop of British Columbia, arrived in Victoria in 1860, bringing several other clergy with him. Relations between Cridge and Hills became increasingly difficult after the bishop invited W.S. Reece, archdeacon of Vancouver, to preach at one of the opening services of the new cathedral in 1872. Cridge was furious and at the end of the service made a public protest.

In 1874 the bishop proposed to establish a diocesan synod. Cridge objected violently, seeing it as another infringement upon his rights. Cridge wrote to the bishop on 9 January 1874, stating his belief that "every congregation, with its accepted pastor, is a complete church, ... that the scriptures alone are binding on the consciences of churchmen, and therefore are the virtual law," and finally that "the only accountable and lawful expounder and interpreter of this law ... is the pastor of the congregation ... to whom not even the Bishop can dictate." This was a completely untenable position and the bishop had no alternative but to inhibit him.

A bitter and unpleasant dispute followed which was finally resolved by an appeal to the civil courts. As a result Cridge was ousted from the cathedral. On the following Sunday he organized a rival congregation which was soon admitted to the new Reformed Episcopal Church. Cridge himself was elected as missionary bishop for the Pacific Coast in 1875. Although churchmanship was undoubtedly a factor and Cridge was an extreme Evangelical, the real cause was probably a clash of personalities between Cridge and his moderate high church bishop, George Hills.


Further Reading

  • F.A. Peake, "The Cridge Controversy," The Anglican Church in British Columbia (1959).