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Portrait by Claude Laudius Guynier, 1716

John Covel (2 April 1638 – 19 December 1722) was a clergyman and scientist who became Master of Christ's College, Cambridge and vice-chancellor of the University.[1]

Covel was born at Horningsheath, Suffolk, the son of William Covel. He was educated at Bury St Edmunds school and Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was made a fellow in 1659.[2] In 1670 he went to Constantinople as Chaplain to the Levant Company. For a time he was in sole charge of the embassy there. He travelled widely in Asia Minor and described the buildings and plants which he saw. He purchased many Greek manuscripts (including codices 65, 110, 321, 322, and ℓ 150). After his return and a period as Chaplain to the Princess of Orange in The Hague (1681-1685), he was elected the fifteenth Master of Christ's in 1688, a position he held until 1723.[3] In his later years he developed the study of fossils.[4]


  1. ^ Elisabeth Leedham-Green, ‘Covel , John (1638–1722)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 23 Dec 2007
  2. ^ "Covel or Covill, John (CVL654J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ Christ's College website – list of previous masters
  4. ^ Christ's College Magazine No 154, Easter term 1942


  • Jean-Pierre Grélois (Éd.): Dr John Covel, Voyages en Turquie 1675-1677. Texte établi, annoté et traduit par Jean-Piere Grélois, avec une préface de Cyril Mango (Réalités Byzantines 6). Paris 1998. ISBN 978-2-283-60456-4

Further reading

Academic offices
Preceded by
Ralph Cudworth
Master of Christ's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
William Towers

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.