English vicar apostolic; b. Petersfield, Hampshire, England, May 20, 1762; d. London, Nov. 26, 1827. Sent to the English College at Douai, France, by Bp. Richard Challoner, he was ordained (1786) and remained as prefect of studies at the college. Imprisoned during the French Revolution, he returned to England as vice president of the new College of St. Edmund, Old Hall Green (1795), becoming its president in 1801. In 1803 he was consecrated coadjutor to Bp. John Douglass of the London District. He succeeded to the vicariate at Douglass's death (1812), but retained the presidency of St. Edmund's until 1813. During his episcopate, Poynter opposed the rough controversial methods of Bp. John milner and won the support of leading Catholic laymen who had been dissatisfied with the position of the bishops on the Relief Act of 1791. Poynter also served after 1816 as the spokesman for English bishops seeking compensation for property lost during the French Revolution.
Bibliography: t. cooper, The Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 16:276–277. j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time, 5 v. (London-New York 1885–1902; repr. New York 1961) 5:358–361. b. n. ward, Dawn of the Catholic Revival in England, 1781–1803, 2 v. (New York 1909); Eve of Catholic Emancipation, 3 v. (London 1911–12); The History of St. Edmund's College, Old Hall (London 1893).