Edward Reynolds

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Edward Reynolds
Bishop of Norwich
Edward Reynolds Merton.jpg
Church Church of England
See Norwich
In office1660–1676
Personal details
BornNovember 1599
Died28 July 1676
Previous postBishop
Arms of Edward Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich: See of Norwich (Azure, three mitres labelled or) impaling Reynolds (Argent, a chevron chequy gules and azure between three cross-crosslets sable). Lincoln's Inn Chapel, where he served as Preacher Lincoln's inn chapel 1 (14136012311).jpg
Arms of Edward Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich: See of Norwich (Azure, three mitres labelled or) impaling Reynolds (Argent, a chevron chequy gules and azure between three cross-crosslets sable). Lincoln's Inn Chapel, where he served as Preacher

Edward Reynolds (November 1599 – 28 July 1676) was a bishop of Norwich in the Church of England and an author. [1] He was born in Holyrood parish in Southampton, the son of Augustine (Austin) Reynolds, one of the customers of the city, and his wife, Bridget.



In 1615, Reynolds became postmaster of Merton College and in 1620, probationer fellow. In 1622 he was appointed Preacher at Lincoln's Inn (where he is memorialised by his arms sculpted on a corbel supporting the roof of a Hall) from 1627 to 1628 served as the thirty-seventh vicar of All Saints' Church, Northampton, and in 1631 rector of Braunston, also in Northamptonshire; but with the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, he sided with the Presbyterians. [1] In 1643 he was one of the Westminster Assembly divines, and took the covenant in 1644. In 1648 he became dean of Christ Church, Oxford and vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford. He refused the engagement (1651) and despite his promise of obedience to the law, but not subscription to the oath in Humble Proposals of Sundry Learned and Pious Divines (1649), this was insufficient to save him; he lost the vice-chancellorship in September 1650. He was ejected from his deanery the following March, despite a last minute pledge to subscribe in a limited sense. [2] He preached before parliament in January 1657, and the same year he became vicar of St Lawrence Jewry, London, but was restored to his deanery in 1659. [1]

After the death of Oliver Cromwell, he and other presbyterians sought an accommodation with Richard Cromwell, and on 11 October 1658, on behalf of himself and other London presbyterian ministers, Reynolds delivered an oral address to the new protector. In 1659 he preached at the opening session of parliament, and his sermons to parliament and London notables throughout 1659 and 1660 became increasingly pointed about the need for peace, unity, and moderation, codes for the restoration of the monarchy and a moderate episcopacy. [2]

After the Restoration

At the Restoration in 1660, he was made chaplain to Charles II. In the same year he was elected warden of Merton College, Oxford, and made bishop of Norwich. His contribution to the Book of Common Prayer is The General Thanksgiving prayer which is part of the office of Morning Prayer. [1] His collected works were published in 1658, again in 1679 and, with a memoir of his life by Alexander Chambers, in 1826. [2]

Later years and death

In his later years Reynolds was severely afflicted by the stone and strangury, and he died on 28 July 1676 at his bishop's palace. He was buried on 9 August in the bishop's chapel he had newly built at Norwich. He was survived by his wife Mary. [2] Their daughter Elizabeth married John Conant.


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  1. 1 2 3 4 Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. Prepared by the Rev. John M'Clintock, D.D., and James Strong, S.T.D. 1891. Vol. VIII:1078.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Reynolds, Edward"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Samuel Fell
Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Owen
Preceded by
John Owen
Dean of Christ Church, Oxford
Succeeded by
George Morley
Preceded by
Jonathan Goddard
Warden of Merton College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Thomas Clayton
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Joseph Hall
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Antony Sparrow