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Carol Ballard - Dean Anthony Higgin Statue - Ripon Cathedral

Heritage Blog

Carol Ballard – Dean Anthony Higgin Statue

The black bust above the fireplace in the cathedral library is a memorial to Dean Anthony Higgin; it was badly damaged, losing its head and hands, during the Civil War. 

October 18, 2022

Article written by Carol Ballard

Anthony Higgin was born in Manchester around the middle of the sixteenth century. He studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and was ordained a priest. He was Rector at Kirk Deighton, Yorkshire, and then became Dean at Ripon Cathedral in 1608 until his death in 1624. He collected books all his life and amassed a library of around 2,000 books – a considerable private collection for that time. His books covered a range of subjects; about 750 were religious books, but the collection also included classical works, and books about maths, medicine, astronomy, law, geography and history. 

In his will, Higgin left his books to a cousin and a nephew on condition that, when they died, the books were given to Ripon Cathedral ‘for a liberairie’. The books from the medieval library at Ripon were scattered during the Reformation in 1547-8, and Higgin’s collection formed the basis of a new library for Ripon. 

The brass plaque above the bust is a memorial to Dean Higgin. It is in Latin, and translated it reads: 

Anthony Higgin, 

Most dignified Dean of Ripon, 

Most vigilant guardian and shepherd, 

Most faithful man of the Hospital of Well, 

Singular of doctrine, and unblemished life, 

Richard Hutton, soldier, erected this.

Sir Richard Hutton the Younger was High Sheriff of Yorkshire and Governor of Knaresborough Castle when the Civil War broke out in 1642. He joined the Royalist Army and died in 1645 at the Battle of Sherburn-in-Elmet.