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RITSCHEL, GEORGE (1616–1683), divine, eldest son of George Ritschel, a Bohemian, by Gertrude, his wife, was born at Deutsch Kana in Bohemia on 13 Feb. 1616. He was educated at the university of Strasburg (1633–40), and subsequently, on the expulsion of the protestants from Bohemia, relinquished his paternal inheritance to his younger brother rather than conform to catholicism. Travelling to England, he arrived in Oxford, and was admitted into the Bodleian Library on 3 Dec. 1641. On the breaking out of the civil wars he left England and visited The Hague, Leyden, and Amsterdam. He obtained the post of tutor to the sons of the Prince of Transylvania, and in 1643 he travelled in Denmark and spent above a year at Copenhagen and Sora. In 1644 he visited Poland, and from Danzig returned to England, where, after a stay in London, he settled in Oxford, at Kettel Hall, as a member of Trinity College. He was appointed chief master of the free school at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 29 Aug. 1648 (Brand, Hist. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, i. 91), and in the following year the common council of the town voted him an addition of 10l. to his salary in consideration of his industry and ability. In 1655 or 1656 he was appointed rector of Hexham, Northumberland, and as ‘pastor’ there signed the address to the Protector from the ministers of Newcastle and the parts adjacent in August 1657 (Thurloe, vi. 431; Diary of Ambrose Barnes, Surtees Soc. p. 418). He died in possession of the vicarage of Hexham on 28 Dec. 1683, and was buried in the chancel of his church, where an inscription was erected to his memory on a blue marble stone in the choir (Mackenzie, Northumberland, ii. 280; Wood, Athenæ Oxon. iv. 124). Of his sons, George (1657–1717), B.A. of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, succeeded him in the vicarage of Hexham; while John, of Trinity College, Oxford, and subsequently of Christ's College, Cambridge, was rector of Bywell St. Andrew, Northumberland, from 1690 to 1705 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.)

Ritschel wrote:

  1. ‘Contemplationes Metaphysicæ ex Natura Rerum et Rectæ Rationis lumine deductæ,’ &c., Oxford, 1648; dedicated to Sir Cheyney Culpeper and Nicholas Stoughton, esq.; reprinted at Frankfort in 1680, under the care of Magnus Hesenthalerus.
  2. ‘Dissertatio de Cærimoniis Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, qua usus earum licitus ostenditur et a superstitionis et idolatriæ crimine vindicatur,’ London, 1661, 8vo; this book gained Ritschel credit with his diocesan, Dr. John Cosin, and is favourably mentioned by Dr. Durell in his ‘Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ Vindiciæ,’ and by Kennett (Register).

Ritschel further sent to Hesenthalerus at Würtemberg his ‘Ethica Christiana,’ in 2 vols. 4to, with another Latin quarto called ‘Exercitationes Sacræ.’ Their fate is uncertain. He also left at his death, in his son's charge, two manuscripts ready for the press, one ‘De Fide Catholica,’ the other ‘Against the English Quakers,’ both in quarto and in Latin.

[Wood refers to a funeral sermon on Ritschel preached by Major Algood, rector of Simonbourne in Northumberland.]

W. A. S.