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Gledhill grew up in Gratwich, Staffordshire, a small village near Uttoxeter, as the daughter of the local vicar. She is married to Alan Franks, a writer for The Times and The Guardian, a playwright and musician. They have one son, Arthur.
Gledhill began her career in Uttoxeter with the Uttoxeter Advertiser and then moved to the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Evening Mail before joining the Daily Mail in 1984 and The Times in 1987; she became The Times religion correspondent in 1989.
She co-authored (with Tim Webb) a guide to Birmingham entitled Birmingham is not a Boring City. She also edited The Times Book of Prayers and The Times Book of Best Sermons, published for six years in connection with The Times Preacher of the Year Award.
Gledhill has argued in favour of the "benefits of schism" within the Anglican Communion, taking a critical stance against Peter Akinola and other church leaders with conservative views on homosexuality.
- Turvill, William (15 May 2014). "Fleet Street's last religious affairs position axed as Ruth Gledhill leaves Times after 27 years". Press Gazette. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "Birmingham is Not a Boring City". ISBNdb.com. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
- Gledhill, Ruth (14 February 2007). "It is time for the Anglican Luthers to divorce". The Times. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2012.