Ranyard, Ellen Henrietta (DNB00)

RANYARD, ELLEN HENRIETTA (1810–1879), founder of the female bible mission, born in the district of Nine Elms, London, on 9 Jan. 1810, was eldest daughter of John Bazley White, cement maker. At the age of sixteen she and a friend, Elizabeth Saunders, caught a fever while visiting the sick poor. Her friend died, and from that time Miss White regularly visited the poor, collected pence for supplying them with bibles, and interested herself in the bible society. After her family removed to Swanscombe in Kent, she married there, on 10 Jan. 1839, Benjamin Ranyard. In 1852 she wrote ‘The Book and its Story, a Narrative for the Young, on occasion of the Jubilee of the British and Foreign Bible Society. By L. N. R., with an Introductory Preface by the Rev. Thomas Phillips, Jubilee Secretary.’ The book proved extraordinarily popular. In 1857, with her husband and family, she took up her residence at 13 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London. Soon afterwards she founded, in Seven Dials, a missionary society for the supply of bibles, and described her labours in a periodical, which she supported, called ‘The Book and its Missions, past and present’ (vols. i. to ix. 1856–64). From 1865 the magazine was wholly devoted to furthering her mission, and was renamed ‘The Missing Link Magazine, or Bible Work at Home and Abroad’ (1865–79). In 1879 upwards of 170 bible women were employed in the work of the mission. In 1868 Mrs. Ranyard commenced training nurses, and eighty were ultimately engaged in attending on sick poor in the poorest districts of London. She died, of bronchitis, at 13 Hunter Street, London, on 11 Feb. 1879. Mrs. Ranyard's work was continued as the London Bible and Domestic Female Mission, whose doings are chronicled in ‘Bible Work at Home and Abroad,’ vol. i. 1884. Her husband died a month later, on 10 March 1879, aged 86. Both were buried in Norwood cemetery. Her son, Arthur Cowper Ranyard [q. v.], is noticed separately.

Under the signature of L. N. R., besides tracts and short stories, Mrs. Ranyard wrote: 1. ‘Nineveh and its Relics in the British Museum,’ 1852. 2. ‘The Bible Collectors, or Principles in Practice,’ 1854. 3. ‘Leaves from Life,’ 1855. 4. ‘The Missing Link, or Bible Women in the Homes of the London Poor,’ 1859. 5. ‘Life Work, or the Link and the Rivet,’ 1861. 6. ‘The True Institution of Sisterhood, or a Message and its Messengers,’ 1862. 7. ‘Stones crying out and Rock-Witness to the Narratives of the Bible concerning the Times of the Jews,’ 1865; 2nd edit. 1865. 8. ‘London and Ten Years Work in it,’ 1868. 9. ‘The Missing Link Tracts Series,’ 1871, a set of seven tracts. 10. ‘The Border Land, and other Poems,’ 1876.

[The World's Workers, 1885, memoir of E. H. Ranyard, pp. 99–128, with portrait; Woman's Work, 1879, viii. 103–7; Watchman, 19 Feb. 1879, p. 60; Hamst's Fictit. Names, p. 85; information from the late Arthur Cowper Ranyard, esq., barrister-at-law.]

G. C. B.