John Charles Ryle was born at Macclesfield and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford. He was awakened spiritually in 1838 while hearing Ephesians 2 read in church. He was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. He was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. Ryle was also known as "The man of granite, with the heart of a child."