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Edward Reynolds
Bishop of Norwich
ChurchChurch of England
In office1660–1676
Consecration6 January 1661
by Gilbert Sheldon
Personal details
BornNovember 1599
Died28 July 1676
Previous post(s)Bishop
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. He was elected to the See on 28 November 1660, confirmed 24 December, and consecrated a bishop on 13 January 1661.[3] 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 affected 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.



  1. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c d "Reynolds, Edward" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  3. ^ Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541–1857, vol. 7, 1992, pp. 37–41

2 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley Footnote: Edward Reynolds, D.D., Preacher of Lincoln's Inn; Dean of Christ Church, 1648-1650; Bishop of Norwich, 1660-1676. He died July 28th, 1676, aged 76.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Edward Reynolds, preacher at Lincoln's-Inn, and one of the assembly of divines, was by authority of parliament, preferred to the deanry of Christ-church in Oxford, on the 12th of April, 1648, soon after the ejection of Dr. Samuel Fell. About two years after, he was himself ejected, and Dr. John Owen, who was as highly esteemed and revered by the independents, as Dr. Reynolds was by the Presbyterians, was promoted to that deanry, which he enjoyed for about nine years. In 1659 Dr. Reynolds was again restored; but the next year was obliged to give place to Dr. Morley, who was appointed dean by royal authority. The king, soon after his Restoration, endeavoured to bring over to the church some of the most eminent divines among the dissenters, by offering them dignities. They all refused, except Dr. Reynolds, who accepted of the bishopric of Norwich. He was universally allowed to be a man of extrordinary parts, and discovers in his writings a richness of fancy, as well as a solidity of judgment. He died the 29th of July, 1676, and was buried in the new chapel belonging to his palace, which he built at his own expence.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

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