Ratcliffe, Thomas (DNB00)

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RATCLIFFE or RATLIFFE, THOMAS (d. 1599), divine, matriculated as a pensioner of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in June 1573, his christian name being erroneously given as Robert. He migrated to Trinity College, and proceeded B.A. in 1578. He afterwards studied divinity, and was elected in 1585 a chaplain of St. Saviour's, Southwark, where he officiated and 'caterkised on the Saboth day afternoon,' at a salary of twenty marks a year (Vestry Minute-books). When St. Saviours-with-St. Mary-Overie became the parish church, Ratcliffe continued to act as priest or minister. The preface of his 'Short Svmme of the whole Catechisme wherein the Question is propounded and answered for the greater ease of the common people and children of Saint Saueries in Southwarke,' is dated from Southwark, 22 Oct. 1592. The work is extremely rare. Watt and Ames (Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, 1277) both mention an octavo edition published by William Barley, Gracechurch Street, London, 1594, which is presumably the first. The Bodleian Library contains another octavo edition, London, 1619, but the British Museum has only a copy of a later, possibly altered, duodecimo edition printed in London by Edw. Allde in 1620. Ratcliffe died at Southwark, and was buried at St. Saviour's on 6 Feb. 1599.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 580; Manning and Bray's Hist. of Surrey, iii. 580; Hist. and Antiquities of St. Saviour's, Southwark, by the Rev. W. Thompson (pp. 89, 91), who also kindly contributed information from the register and vestry minutes.]

C. F. S.