Cridge, Reverend Edward
b. 1817-12-17
d. 1913
Edward Cridge was a minister, and later a bishop, on Vancouver Island from his arrival in 1854 to his death in 1913. Cridge was also the superintendent of education from 1856-1865, and active in social work throughout his life, playing roles in the establishment of the Protestant Orphan's Home (now the Cridge Center for the Family), Victoria's first hospital, the Victoria YMCA, and Central High School.1 In official correspondence to Lord Russell, Governor Douglas notes that Cridge is highly esteemed and respected by all his hearers.2
Born in Devonshire, England, 17 December 1817, Cridge involved himself in education throughout his life. His father, a widower, worked as a schoolteacher. In 1837, at 19 years of age, Cridge became the third master of Oundle Grammar School. In 1848, he graduated from Cambridge with a Bachelor of Arts, and passed his theological examination the same year.3
In 1854, Cridge applied to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), in response to the death of the Reverend Staines (the former minister of Vancouver Island), and Andrew Colvile's request for a replacement.4 Cridge wed Mary Winmill, 14 September 1854, and they departed for Victoria a week later.5
In 1859, when the HBC, Cridge's employer, lost their grant to Vancouver Island, Cridge asked Governor Douglas if his tenureship could be renewed by the colonial government. Douglas forwarded the request to the HBC, who, having no further jurisdiction in the affair, forwarded the letter to the Colonial Office.6 The colonial authorities left the decision to colony's House of Assembly, noting that to make a government recommendation would impose a state church, which of all things [is] most unpopular to North Americans.7 The colony's Assembly declined Cridge's request for an income, but Cridge appealed to the HBC to follow through on their promise to grant him land.8 Neither the HBC, the Colonial Office, nor the Bishop of Columbia objected to Cridge taking on the parsonage and glebe for his own use.9 However, in a move of religious tolerance (or diplomacy), Newcastle instructed Douglas to allow all Christian sects to continue using the graveyard.10
In 1860, Cridge appealed to the Church of England to send more clerics to support him, likely seeking junior priests. Instead, the church sent Bishop George Hills. The two men initially worked well together, but in 1872, Hills invited Archdeacon Reece from Vancouver to give a sermon. Reece advocated ritualism, a tenant Cridge vehemently opposed. Cridge stood up at the end of the service and publically denounced the sermon. This sparked a series of letters, published in the local papers, between the two men, culminating in Cridge rejecting the bishop's authority. An ecclesiastical court tried Cridge and found him guilty on several counts, forcing Bishop Hills to revoke Cridge's license. Cridge forced the case to go before a secular court, but Chief Justice Matthew Begbie ruled against him.11
In response, Cridge joined the Reformed Episcopal Church. Many of Victoria's prominent figures followed him, including Governor Douglas, who donated land at Humboldt and Blanshard for a new church. Cridge's new church appointed him a bishop in 1875, and Cridge continued ministering the church on Humboldt and Blanshard until 1895.12
Cridge died in 1913, well into his ninety-fifth year.13
Mentions of this person in the documents