REYNELL, Sir George (c.1563-1628), of Southwark, Surr.

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.1563, 4th s. of Richard Reynell† (d.1585) of East Ogwell, Devon and Agnes, da. of John Southcote† of Bovey Tracey, Devon; bro. of Sir Carew Reynell*.1 educ. Broadgates Hall, Oxf. 1587, aged 23.2 m. (1) Aug. 1596, Elizabeth (d.1601), da. of Sir Valentine Browne† of Croft, Lincs., wid. of Edward Tyrrell (d.1596) of Waltons, Essex, warden of the Fleet, 1s.;3 (2) 29 May 1603,4 Ethelred (d. 11 Sept. 1618), da. and h. of Sir Edward Peacock of Finchley, Mdx., marshal of k.b., 3s. 3da. (2 d.v.p.).5 kntd. 23 July 1603.6 d. 12 July 1628.7

Offices Held

Warden of the Fleet 1596-c.1605;8 dep. marshal, k.b. 1604-6, marshal 1606-11, 1616-d.;9 carver to Anne of Denmark by 1605-19.10

Commr. sewers, Kent and Surr. 1625.11


Reynell’s ancestors can be traced back in Devonshire to the twelfth century, and first provided a Member of Parliament in the reign of Edward III.12 His first marriage brought him the wardenship of the Fleet, which he exercised by deputy.13 His profits in eight years were estimated at £3,000, but in 1604 he was ordered to hand the office over to his stepson, who had appealed to the master of the Wards, Sir Robert Cecil†.14 Reynell unsuccessfully contested the Court of Wards decree, appealing to Cecil, now 1st earl of Salisbury, and launching a counter-suit in Chancery which he finally lost in 1608. He was still in post in May 1604 when the House of Commons summoned him, as the ‘lessee of the Fleet’, concerning the case of a prisoner, Sir Thomas Shirley I*, who had claimed parliamentary privilege. Reynell finally resigned sometime the following year, and, perhaps in compensation, received a post in the queen’s Household.15 On his second marriage, Reynell took up residence in Southwark, and became deputy to his father-in-law Sir Edward Peacock, marshal of the King’s Bench prison. In 1606, on Peacock’s death, Reynell bought out the reversion to the marshalcy, with the assistance of Henry Spiller*. However, he was obliged to resign the post in 1611 after a decree in Chancery declared his reversionary grant invalid because it had been made for 31 years and not for life.16

Reynell had connections in Lincolnshire through his first wife, but he owed his election for Grantham in 1614 to his office as carver to Queen Anne, who owned the manor. He left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament, and never stood again. In 1616 he regained the marshalcy of King’s Bench from Sir William Smith*.17 Nevertheless, his administration was marked by regular complaints of abuse and mismanagement.18 It was rumoured in June 1618 that he had been discharged from the queen’s service for sympathizing with another of her servants, Sir Robert Lloyd*, who had been disgraced for fraud; in any case he lost his connection with the Court on her death in the following year.19

Reynell sent his ‘near ally’ Sir Francis Bacon*, to whom his wife was distantly related, a gift of £200 to congratulate him on becoming lord chancellor in 1618, and gave him a diamond ring when a suit involving his second wife’s family was actually before Chancery.20 At Bacon’s trial for corruption in 1621, Reynell was obliged to testify before the Lords, and he was also produced as a witness in the case against Sir John Bennet*, a judge in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury likewise disgraced for accepting bribes.21 Reynell died on 12 July 1628, and was buried at St. George’s, Southwark.22 In a nuncupative will he left the marshalcy to his eldest son, Carew Reynell, and £500 apiece to his three younger sons.23 Little is known of his descendants, none of whom entered Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 643-4.
  • 2. Al. Ox.
  • 3. Morant, Essex, ii. 541; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 181; Add. 38170, f. 262.
  • 4. Mdx. Par. Regs. ed. T.M. Blagg (Phillmore’s Par. Reg. Ser. ccxxiv), vii. 9.
  • 5. J. Aubrey, Antiqs. Surr. v. 84.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 116.
  • 7. PROB 11/154, f. 2.
  • 8. C78/292/1; Add. 12504, f. 200; HMC Hatfield, vi. 533; APC, 1597-8, p. 309;
  • 9. Coke, Reps. ix. 95-96.
  • 10. Add. 27404, f. 36; LC2/5, f. 32.
  • 11. C181/3, f. 161v.
  • 12. Vivian, 643-4.
  • 13. HMC Hatfield, vi. 533; APC, 1597-8, pp. 309, 415, 432, 545; A. Harris, Oeconomy of the Fleet (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxv), 115-17.
  • 14. Add. 38170, ff. 261-2; WARD 9/535, pp. 21, 35, 69; C78/292/1.
  • 15. HMC Hatfield, xvi. 177, 187; xvii. 48, 217, 365; CJ, i. 209b; Add. 12504, ff. 199-200.
  • 16. Coke, ix. 95-9.
  • 17. CSP Dom. 1611-18, pp. 367, 402.
  • 18. Harris, 170-1; Royal 17A xii; CSP Dom. 1611-18, p. 550; 1619-23, pp. 165, 168, 172.
  • 19. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 77.
  • 20. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon ed. J. Spedding, vii. 228, 258; CD 1621, ii. 252; W. Rendle, Old Southwark, 85-6; Harris, 191.
  • 21. CD 1621, iii. 15; LJ, iii. 60a, 80a, 86a, 100a.
  • 22. Add. 25495, f. 54.
  • 23. PROB 11/154, f. 2.