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William Reynolds (1625 - 1698), Presbyterian minister

William was born in Bures St Mary, Suffolk on 28th October 1625. He was the second son of William Reynolds of London. His father was a cloth worker and merchant who traded with Russia. William was educated first by Mr Ashley at Bilson near Hadley and then at Charterhouse School, London. He matriculated as a pensioner from emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1641. He graduated with a BA in 1644. In the previous year he had started his lifelong friendship with John Whitlock.

His career proceeded as follows:

  • For a short period Reynolds was a factor in Russia for the family business, but due to the death of his father and financial problems within the business William was forced to return to England.
  • 1646 his friend Whitlock was appointed to the living in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire and he invited Reynolds in December of that year to join him in a shared ministry.
  • 1647 Reynolds and Whitlock preached in Wokingham, Berkshire
  • 1648 Reynolds proceeded MA from Cambridge
  • 1649 Reynolds and Whitlock incorporated at Oxford and preach at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
  • 1649 refused to take the engagement and consequently lost his post
  • Appointed assistant to Whitlock at St Mary's Nottingham
  • 1651 became a lecturer
  • 1651 ordained at St Andrew Undershaft, London
  • Prominent in the establishment of the presbyterian classis in Nottingingham, attending meetings 1656-60
  • 1662 excommunicated for failing to read common prayer (although this was later rescinded)
  • July 1662 both Reynolds and Whitlock were suspended from their posts and ejected from their livings
  • 1665 both Whitlock and Reynolds were imprisoned for twelve weeks in Nottingham for preaching.
  • 1668 both Whitlock and Reynolds moved to Mansfield where they remained for the next nineteen years
  • 1672 Reynolds was licensed as a presbyterian, and preached fortnighly at Nottingham.
  • 1685 as a result of entering Newark, both Whitlock and Reynolds were imprisoned for five months
  • 1687 Reynolds returned to Nottingham and with Whitlock took charge of the prebyterian congregation in the town

In his personal life, on 10th May 1652 Reynolds married Susanna Mellor, daughter of alderman Richard Mellor of Derby. The couple had two sons and two daughters. At Reynolds death in Nottingham on 26th February 1698 he had only the one surving child, Sarah.