REYNELL, Richard (c.1681-1734), of East Ogwell and Denbury, nr. Ashburton, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1702 - 1708
17 Mar. 1711 - 1734

Family and Education

b. c.1681, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Reynell† of East Ogwell by Elizabeth, da. of James Gould, merchant, of Exeter, Devon and London, wid. of William Vincent of Exeter.  educ. I. Temple 1689. unm.  suc. fa. 1698.1

Offices Held


Reynell’s family had been seated at East Ogwell for many generations and had close connexions with the nearby borough of Ashburton. His father, a patron of the town’s many Dissenters, had represented the borough in several Parliaments, standing down in 1690 in favour of his younger brother Sir Richard, 1st Bt.*, who was shortly to become lord chief justice of Ireland. Reynell himself was returned unopposed for Ashburton in 1702 at about the time he came of age. A moderate Tory, he voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Whig Lords’ amendments to the bill for extending the time for taking the oath of abjuration. Late in 1704 he was lobbied by Robert Harley* against the Tack and accordingly either opposed it or was absent upon the division on 28 Nov. On 7 Feb. 1705 he was teller in favour of an amendment to the recruitment bill, requiring volunteers to record their consent to enlistment before a justice or a constable; and on 12 Mar., in connexion with a measure to prevent abuses in tax collection, he told against the Lords’ omission of a clause specifically concerning the receiver for Devon. In the next Parliament, when he was listed as ‘Low Church’, he voted against the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705. He took charge of a private bill in mid-March 1707, and on 7 Jan. 1708 was given a month’s leave of absence. At the 1708 election he was defeated, and failing to recover his seat in 1710, was subsequently seated on petition by the House on 17 Mar. 1711. He was listed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who during the 1710–11 session helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. Towards the end of this Parliament, however, he began to feature openly as a ‘whimsical’ Tory, going so far as to demonstrate a sympathy with Dissent on 27 May 1713 when he served as a teller against a proposed addition to the expiring laws bill, a clause debarring Quakers from voting in parliamentary elections. He voted against the French commerce bill on 18 June and was classed as ‘whimsical’. This probably explains why he was thought of and described as a Whig in the Worsley list, while the compilers of two other comparative lists of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments classed him as a Tory. His continuing Tory identity under Hanoverian rule is confirmed in a voting list compiled by Francis Gwyn* in 1723. He was finally defeated in the election of May 1734 and died the following month, there being a record of his burial at East Ogwell on 14 June.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 644; Trans. Devon Assoc. xxxii. 249.
  • 2. Trans. Devon Assoc. xciv. 213; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 410, 694; Parlty. Hist. xv. 357.