REYNOLDS, Owen (c.1519-76/77), of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. c.1519, prob. yr. s. of John Reynolds of Melcombe Regis. m. Emma, 4s. 4da.2
Mayor, Melcombe Regis 1553-4, 1558-9, 1560-2, 1566-7, Weymouth and Melcombe 1575-6; customer, port of Weymouth by 1562-d.; chamberlain, Weymouth and Melcombe 1570-1.3
Owen Reynolds’s grandfather was born in Somerset at Langport, but on his appointment as customer of Weymouth he had settled at Melcombe Regis. The tie between his family and the customs, established by his grandfather, lasted for several generations, and some 50 years after his grandfather had enjoyed the office Reynolds was customer himself. Reynolds was one of the leading figures in Melcombe, where he was mayor five times before its union with Weymouth and once afterwards, and thus he was a natural choice as one of the town’s Members. He is first known to have been elected to Parliament on 11 Sept. 1553. At Michaelmas he succeeded Thomas Samways II as mayor of Melcombe and on x Oct. he acknowledged receipt of 47s.4d. from Samways and others towards his parliamentary wages: this payment may have been a (somewhat unusual) contribution in advance or a discharge of the town’s debt to Reynolds if he had sat with John Wadham in the Parliament of March 1553. During the first Parliament of Mary’s reign there was an inevitable conflict of opinion in the House, and Reynolds was one of those noted as having ‘stood for the true religion’, that is to say for the Protestant cause.4
Reynolds was never described as a merchant, and his name rarely appears in the customs accounts, but in November 1558 Henry Newman and he, acting together, imported Gascon wine, salt and paper. Under Elizabeth he played a leading part in Melcombe’s controversy with Weymouth over the harbour which the two ports shared and was returned to the Parliament which settled the issue by amalgamating the two. He died between the completion of his only mayoralty of the two united towns and September 1577 when his house in St. Thomas’s Street was granted by the corporation to his widow for her life, with remainders to their four sons and four daughters.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis mss Sherren pprs. 16.
- 2. Aged 50 ‘or thereabouts’ in 1569, E134/11 Eliz., Easter 3. Vis. Dorset, ed. Colby and Rylands, 42-43; Weymouth and Melcombe Regis ms M 2, f. 9.
- 3. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis mss M 2, f. 3, Sherren pprs. 29-31, 34; St. Ch.5/M30/14.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, i; Weymouth and Melcombe Regis mss Sherren pprs. 16; Bodl. e Museo 17.
- 5. E122/123/2; St.Ch.5/M30/14; Weymouth and Melcombe Regis ms M 2, f. 9.