REYNELL, Carew (c.1563-1624), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. c.1563, 5th s. of Richard Reynell I of East Ogwell, Devon, by Agnes, da. of John Southcote of Bovey Tracey, Devon. m. aft. 1593, Susan, da. of Walter Hungerford, of Farleigh Castle, Som. and Hungerford, Wilts., wid. of Michael Erneley of Bishops Canning, Wilts., and of Sir John Marvyn, s.p. Kntd. 12 July 1599.1

Offices Held

Gent. pens. 1591/3-aft. 1606; Queen’s printer in Greek and Latin to 1597; capt. of Duncannon castle, Wexford 1599-1601; keeper of mansion house at Dartford, Kent 1603; gent. usher of privy chamber to James I.2

Biography

Reynell must have obtained his seat at Callington through either the 3rd Marquess of Winchester or the 7th Lord Mountjoy, joint patrons of the borough. Of the two, Winchester is more likely to have effected the young man’s sudden emergence as a fully fledged courtier in the early 1590s. He not only obtained a place as gentleman pensioner, but was in sufficient favour for the Queen to ask the dean and chapter of Exeter to grant him two manors in Devon. Quite possibly at court it was Sir Robert Cecil who asked one of the borough patrons for the Callington seat, as he almost certainly asked the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster for Reynell to be given a parliamentary seat at Lancaster in 1601. Apart from a procedural committee on which he may have served as one of the Lancaster burgesses, Reynell was named to two committees in 1601: on abuses of pluralism and nonresidence (16 Nov.), and for the more diligent resort to church on Sundays (2 Dec. 1601). He (not Carew Ralegh, as in D’Ewes) made his only recorded speech on this latter subject the same day, specifying various disasters that had overtaken Sabbath breakers. He asked that the ‘brutish exercise’ of bear baiting should ‘be used on some other day’ and reported the collapse of ‘the house of Paris Garden’ on a Sunday when 400 were crushed ‘yet by God’s mercy only eight were slain outright’.

Close to Cecil as Reynell may have been before 1597, in that year he sailed with the Earl of Essex on the Islands voyage, perhaps in command of the Foresight. He later accompanied Essex to Ireland, where he led a troop of foot and held the fort of Duncannon, ‘a place of great importance’. Knighted by Essex in Ireland, by June 1600 he had sold his company, and six months later had determined to surrender the captaincy of Duncannon.

When Essex was in disgrace early in 1600, Reynell asked to be allowed to attend him, writing, ‘I am particularly bound to my Lord of Essex; yet so that I will never betray the trust reposed in me’, and his moderation kept him clear of implication in the Essex rebellion itself. Imprisoned for a short time in February 1601, he was exonerated by the evidence of Sir Christopher Blount and Sir Charles Danvers. His loyalty to Essex’s memory, however, survived for another twenty years, for in his will he left to the Earl’s son ‘a tablet jewel set with four score and odd diamonds with his father’s picture and £30 to be bestowed upon the making of the said jewel, in remembrance and full satisfaction of all the favours and benefits which I received from his most noble father’.3

Throughout the period of his attachment to Essex, Reynell continued to cultivate Cecil. In 1594 he tried unsuccessfully to obtain command of the fort of Plymouth through Cecil’s agency, and in January 1601 he wrote offering him the gift of ‘an Irish hobby, which in my heart I have only devoted unto you. His pace is easy and I hope will prove fit for your saddle. I entreat you to do me the favour to accept of him’. At the time of his arrest, it was to Cecil that he appealed, asking ‘if anybody have accused me as privy or an actor in these rebellious actions, that I may be examined and brought face to face to answer the same for the better proof of my innocency’. He attributed even his release from prison to Cecil’s good offices, writing on 12 Mar.:

I cannot but hold myself greatly bound unto you for being a means for my enlargement, albeit I cannot as yet account myself at liberty, being denied her Majesty’s presence. I do humbly desire that you will finish that grace which you have begun.4

Reynell continued his court and parliamentary career for 20 years after Elizabeth’s death, dying 7 Sept. 1624. He was buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.5

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Irene Cassidy