Edward Reynolds 1599-1676
Edward REYNOLDS 1599-1676
Born in Southampton, son of Augustine Reynolds, customer of the city. BA Merton College, Oxford 1618, fellow 1620, MA 1624, DD 1648. Preacher of Lincoln’s Inn 1622; vicar of All Saints, Northampton 1628-9, rector of Braunston, Northamptonshire 1631. He established a reputation as a preacher, of moderate puritan tendencies. He was appointed to the Westminster Assembly in 1643, and subscribed to the solemn league and covenant in 1644. Visitor to the University of Oxford 1647, Dean of Christ Church and Vice-Chancellor 1648, but removed in 1650, when he returned to Braunston. Minister of St Lawrence Jewry, London 1657. Recognised as a leader of the moderate Presbyterian clergy, he was restored to the Deanery of Christ Church in 1660 and became involved in discussions with the Crown on the post-Restoration ecclesiastical settlement. He accepted the offer to become Bishop of Norwich in 1661 (unlike his moderate Presbyterian colleagues Baxter and Calamy, who declined bishoprics). He was conscientious as a preacher and in attending to diocesan affairs, and continued to seek reconciliation by ordaining some dissenters. He wrote many devotional and expository works, with over 30 separate publications issued during his lifetime.
Reynolds specified a number of particular book bequests in his will, to his brother John Reynolds (who was to receive Calvin’s works, in 12 folio volumes) and his brother’s son in law, after which all the rest of his “books and library, with my written papers” were to go to his son Edward (1630-98, rector of St Peter’s Northampton). Edward was enjoined “to supply his good mother with some such few English books of practical divinity as may be most fit for her use and comfort”, on the grounds that these should be returned after her death. Reynolds also noted, in a codicil, that “I have bought several written paper books of Mr Henry King concerning the manners and courts belonging to the Bishoprick of Norwich at a great price” and made provision for these to be kept with the diocesan administrative records. Examples: Manchester UL Rylands 9848; Shrewsbury School H.X.27, O.I.35; Russell Library, Maynooth H.Sc 7/1 a.
Known Reynolds books have the inscription “Ed: Reynolds of Braunston” in the middle of the titlepage, to the left.
- Will of Edward Reynolds, The National Archives PROB 11/349/202.
- Atherton, Ian. '"Reynolds, Edward (1599–1676), bishop of Norwich."' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Armorials Database