REYNELL, Sir Carew (c.1564-1624), of Charing Cross, Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1564,1 5th s. of Richard Reynell† (d.1585) of East Ogwell, Devon and Agnes, da. of John Southcote† of Bovey Tracey, Devon; bro. of Sir George*. m. 7 June 1604, Susan, da. and coh. of Sir Walter Hungerford† of Farleigh Hungerford, Som., wid. of Michael Erneley of Bishops Cannings, Wilts. and John Marvyn† of the Middle Temple, London, s.p.2 kntd. 12 July 1599.3 d. 7 Sept. 1624.4

Offices Held

Gent. pens. by 1593-at least 1608;5 gent. usher of privy chamber at d.6

Freeman, Southampton, Hants 1597;7 kpr. of Dartford mansion house, Kent 1603;8 steward, manor of Islingham, Kent. 1604.9

Capt. of ft. [I] by 1599-1600;10 capt. Duncannon Castle, co. Wexford 1599-1601.11


A younger son from a long established Devonshire family, Reynell became a courtier and a soldier. A gentleman pensioner by 1593, he was prevented from serving on the 1597 Azores expedition by a sudden illness, but nevertheless subsequently commanded a company in Ireland, where he distinguished himself by his courage and was knighted by the lord lieutenant, Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex, in July 1599. Though associated with Essex, he took care to cultivate Sir Robert Cecil†, to whom he may he may have owed his return for Callington in 1593. Consequently, although he was imprisoned after Essex’s rising in 1601, he was promptly released and suffered no apparent impairment to his career. It was almost certainly Cecil who was responsible for his election for Lancaster to the Parliament held later that year. Two years later Reynell attended Elizabeth’s funeral in his capacity as a gentleman pensioner.12

In 1603 Reynell was granted the reversion to the lieutenancy of Portland, Dorset, but he was never to hold the office.13 Shortly afterwards he married a widow, and settled with her in a house which he leased in Charing Cross.14 At the end of the year he obtained a reversionary lease of duchy of Lancaster lands to the value of £50 a year.15 He was still active at Court as a tilter as late as 1605, but in 1604 and again in 1607 he wrote anxiously to Cecil concerned that he had incurred the latter’s displeasure.16

In 1614 Lord Knollys (William Knollys†), treasurer of the Household and Reynell’s neighbour in Charing Cross, nominated him as a Member for Wallingford, where Knollys was high steward.17 He received only two committee appointments in the Addled Parliament, to consider bills for confirmation of a Chancery decree concerning the persistent Henry Jernegan (9 May) and for ‘the speedy recovery of small debts’ (11 May).18 He made at least seven speeches: on 11 Apr. he spoke after the first reading of the bill to settle the succession following the recent marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine and his bride, which he welcomed enthusiastically, successfully moving for its immediate second reading. The content of the speech he made four days later is unknown, but it probably related to the same measure, as the House proceeded to order Sir Ralph Winwood to take the bill to the Lords.19

On 7 May Reynell spoke on the Sabbath bill, probably in favour of it as he had approved a similar measure in 1601, and was thereby entitled to attend the committee.20 Six days later he unsuccessfully moved that Sir Robert Killigrew*, a relative by marriage, should be allowed to ‘acknowledge his error in the House but not at the bar’ in insulting Sir Roger Owen* during the committee of the whole House on 12 May concerning ‘undertaking’. On 14 May, after Owen’s report from the committee on undertaking and production of one of the ‘papers cast abroad’, he moved, ‘to proceed to the examination of the author’, immediately identified on his own confession as Sir Henry Neville I*.21

On 17 May Reynell was highly critical of Richard Martin* for his speech, as counsel, on the Virginia Company: ‘the more his knowledge and experience, the more his error worthy of punishment’. When John Osborne†, remembrancer of the Exchequer, asked to be heard on the bill for regulating the fees of certain Exchequer officers three days later, Reynell pointed out that Osborne had ‘produced an ancient patent, confirmed by an Act of Parliament, last Parliament’. In the debate on subsidy on the last day of this Parliament he spoke ‘against giving now’.22

In 1615 Reynell and his brothers were the dedicatees of the published version of the sermon preached at the funeral of their sibling Josiah by John Preston, not the famous puritan minister of that name, in which they were described as ‘lovers of true religion, and favourers of all true professors’.23 The same year Reynell was brought before the Privy Council over a quarrel with a Berkshire gentleman, Sir Thomas Vachell.24 Three years later, in more sober mood, he committed a letter against usury to Thomas Wilson*, keeper of the records, for eventual delivery to the king.25 He carried a bannerol at the funeral of Queen Anne in 1619, and at an uncertain date was appointed gentleman usher of the privy chamber.26

Reynell was returned for Cricklade to the third Jacobean Parliament probably at the nomination of Knollys’ father-in-law, Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk. In addition, Reynell was related by marriage to Sir John Hungerford*, who had represented the borough in 1604. He was appointed to seven committees and made two speeches. On 22 Feb. he was added to the sub-committee of the committee for courts of justice to receive petitions, and named to consider bills on recusants’ lands (2 Mar.), free trade in Welsh cloth and cottons (16 Mar.), the waste of gold and silver in clothing (21 Apr.), and the abatement of usury (7 May), as well as to two private bills (16 Mar. and 17 May). On 7 May he proposed that the House should command two quarrelsome Members, Sir Charles Morrison and Clement Coke, ‘not to meddle’ while their case was under consideration. A week later he was one of the three Members who spoke in grand committee in favour of the glass patent held by Sir Robert Mansell*, apparently on the ground that the king had power to prohibit imports and that drinking glasses had not been made in England before.27 He left no trace on the records of the second sitting.

In his will of 12 Jan. 1624, Reynell provided £100 for his burial. He bequeathed his Charing Cross lease to his ‘loving wife’ and residuary legatee. While leaving rings to various close relatives, he gave the 3rd earl of Essex ‘one tablet jewel’ set with diamonds, his father’s picture, and £30 ‘to be bestowed upon the making of the said jewel fit to receive the said picture’. He explained that this was in remembrance of the favours he had received from the 2nd earl, but gave no explanation of a bequest of £30 to a schoolboy, William Hyde, which was not to be put into his parents’ hands without good assurances. Although he made no reference to his physical health it is possible that he had been prompted to draw up his will by illness, which would explain why he was not elected to the 1624 Parliament. He died on 7 Sept. 1624, in his 61st year according to his funeral monument, and was buried a week later at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.28

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. J. Stow, Survey of London ed. J. Strype, vi. 69.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 643; Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv-vi), 56, 91; Regs. Bishops Cannings trans. J.H. Parry, 14; PROB 11/144, f. 202.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 96.
  • 4. Vivian, 643.
  • 5. E407/1/36; Lincs. AO, Worsley ms 1/30.
  • 6. Stow, vi. 69.
  • 7. HMC 11th Rep. III, 22.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1601-3, p. 19.
  • 9. E315/310, f. 22v.
  • 10. Sidney Letters ed. A. Collins, ii. 58; CSP Carew, 1589-1600, p. 311; CSP Ire. 1600, p. 215.
  • 11. CSP Ire. 1600-1, pp. 89, 232; APC, 1599-1600, pp. 181-2.
  • 12. CSP Carew, 1589-1600, p. 311; HMC Hatfield, xi. 13, 121; xiv. 173; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 284; LC2/4/4, f. 59v.
  • 13. Lansd. 1217, f. 8.
  • 14. LCC Survey of London, xvi. 118.
  • 15. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 163.
  • 16. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 292; xvii. 107; xix. 76.
  • 17. Pprs. of Capt. Henry Stevens ed. M.R. Toynbee (Oxon. Rec. Soc. xlii), 37, 70.
  • 18. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 175, 206.
  • 19. Ibid. 53, 85.
  • 20. Ibid. 172; HP Commons, 1558-1603, iii. 284.
  • 21. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 229, 244.
  • 22. Ibid. 273, 295, 441.
  • 23. J. Preston, Sermon Preached as Funerall of Mr. Josiah Reynel (1615), sig. A3.
  • 24. APC, 1615-16, pp. 158, 184, 271-2.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 551.
  • 26. LC2/5, f. 31v.
  • 27. CD 1621, iii. 259; vi. 262; CJ, i. 534a, 534b, 556a, 583b, 611a, 612a, 623b; E.S. Godfrey, Development of English Glassmaking, 112.
  • 28. PROB 11/144, f. 202; Stow, 69; St. Martin-in-the-Fields ed. J.V. Kitto (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxvi), 190.