N. Pocock). On St. Martin's day (11 Nov.) 1548 he preached a sermon at Paul's Cross which gave great scandal to old-fashioned people. He was clothed, ‘not as a bishop, but like a priest,’ and ‘spoke all manner of things against the church and the sacrament of the altar, and against vestments, copes, altars, and all other things’ (Greyfriars Chronicle, p. 48, Camden Soc.) He thus became widely known as a gospeller, and a little later was selected to help Cranmer in disputing against Heath and Thirlby for three whole days (Zurich Letters, 3rd ser. p. 645, Parker Soc.) But on some later occasion his unwillingness to conform to ecclesiastical propriety caused Cranmer to ‘labour in vain with him,’ and he was not brought to reason until the council ‘took him in hand.’ Hooper regarded him as one of the six or seven bishops who ‘entertained right opinions on the matter of the eucharist’ and were in general agreement with the Helvetic churches. Nothing but ‘fear for their property’ prevented such bishops from fully ‘reforming their churches’ (ib. pp. 72, 76; Burnet, iii. 350; cf. v. 197–205 for his opinions on ‘some abuses of the mass’). Ferrar was one of the bishops who protested against the act of November 1549 for making a new body of church laws (Burnet, iii. 362).
On arriving in his diocese, Ferrar encountered most serious difficulties. His greedy and turbulent chapter had already waged furious war against Barlow. They at once resisted the commission of Edmond Farlee, whom Ferrar had despatched to visit and reform them. They discovered technical errors in the wording of the commission, and maintained that the bishop by ‘omitting the king's authority,’ and grounding his appointment on ‘foreign usurped laws,’ had incurred the penalties of præmunire. Ferrar's ignorance or carelessness of law gave them an advantage which they employed to the utmost against him. In vain he sought to propitiate them by abandoning Farlee, and transferring the commission to the precentor Young, head of the chapter. Though Ferrar held as bishop the position of dean, the chapter under Young [see Young, Thomas, archbishop of York] and Rowland Meyrick refused all acknowledgment of his authority, and factiously opposed him in everything. They did their best to make his position impossible. Hot protestants complained that Ferrar did not preach or study enough, and that he sanctioned superstitious practices. His tact in conciliating sympathy was denounced as treasonable, and he was accused of stirring up envy between the Welsh and English. A reference to Merlin became an ‘encouragement of vain prophecies.’ He was accused of covetousness, and had given proof of folly by boasting that he would go to London on foot, and trying to explain the scarcity of fish. ‘He daily useth whistling to his son, and said he understood him when only three days old.’ ‘He said that by his whistling he made a seal tarry a whole hour.’ After the fall of his patron Somerset, fifty-six formal articles, embodying such complaints, were presented against Ferrar to the privy council by Hugh Rawlins, a disreputable Welsh preacher, and Thomas Lee, a broken-down merchant, brother-in-law of George Constantine [q. v.] Early in 1551 a commission was issued, and 127 witnesses were examined. Ferrar had been kept in London until the examination had been completed, but in July he returned to his diocese, only to be compelled to attend twice at Carmarthen to answer at the great sessions the charges of præmunire preferred against him. He was kept in prison until the accession of Queen Mary. The unsubstantial and factious character of the accusations hardly needs his own elaborate answers. There is even little to justify the contention of Willis ‘that he was a most miserable dilapidator.’ His opposition to their shamefaced robberies combined the reformers and the adherents of the old faith in their opposition.
After Mary's accession Ferrar was shut up in the Queen's Bench prison in Southwark, where he was ultimately joined by John Bradford (1510?–1555) [q. v.] and other protestants. He had consented to receive the communion in one kind on Easter-day 1554, when the arrival of Bradford turned him back to sterner protestant principles (Foxe, vii. 146). Ferrar was forced to obtain from Bradford a share in the alms sent by Lady Vane (Bradford, Works, ii. 96, Parker Soc.) Ferrar was, however, able to see his friends, and draw up with his fellow-prisoners important documents. In May 1554 they signed a refusal to take part in a proposed conference at Cambridge, on the ground that the question was prejudged, and that they had no means of study or composition.
In March 1554 Ferrar was deprived of his bishopric (Fœdera, xv. 370; Machyn, Diary, p. 58, Camden Soc.). But it was not until 4 Feb. 1555 that he was brought before Bishop Gardiner and the commissioners sitting in St. Mary Overies, Southwark. He was remanded until 14 Feb., and was then roughly examined by Gardiner, who charged him specially with the violation of his monastic vow of chastity. He was now sent down to Wales, where on 26 Feb. he was arraigned before his successor Bishop Morgan and his old