Reynolds, Richard, St.
REYNOLDS, RICHARD, ST.
English Bridgettine priest, martyr; b. Devon, c. 1487; hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn (London), May 4, 1535. At the age of 16 he went to Cambridge, where, receiving his A.B. (1506) and his M.A. (1509), he became a fellow of Corpus Christi College. His particular interest in the Scriptures led to the D.B. in 1513, when he was also appointed University Preacher. This same year he became a Bridgettine monk at Syon Abbey, Isleworth, the last of the large medieval monastic foundations and the only house of the order in England. Little is known of his next 20 years beyond his reputation as a preacher and spiritual counselor. When Henry VIII began his divorce proceedings, Reynolds was consulted by many who were perplexed about the "King's great matter," as well as about the prophecies of Elizabeth barton, the Holy Maid of Kent. Barton was executed in April 1534, but before her arrest she had visited Syon several times; according to the depositions of St. Thomas More, Reynolds had distrusted her. Anxious to secure the backing of Syon, the King sought its submission, but agents of Cromwell failed.
Sometime before April 20, 1535, Reynolds was arrested and with three Carthusian priors, John houghton, Robert lawrence and Augustine webster, was imprisoned in the Tower, where, when visited by Cromwell, he spoke fearlessly against the king's supremacy over the Church. On April 28 he was indicted on the charge of high treason at Westminster, and found guilty by a jury that had been intimidated by Cromwell and the king's secretary. On May 4 all four were hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. From the window of his cell Thomas more watched them passing to their execution, and remarked to his daughter, "Lo, dost thou not see, Meg, that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage."
Feast: May 11 (Archdiocese of Westminster, Bridgettine nuns); Oct. 25 (Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales); May 4 (Feast of the English Martyrs in England).
See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.
Bibliography: d. knowles, The Religious Orders in England 3:214–218. f. r. johnston, Bl. Richard Reynolds (Postulation Pamphlet; London 1961). a. hamilton, The Angel of Sion (n.s.1905). r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924; repr. Farnborough 1969). b. camm, ed. Lives of the English Martyrs …, 2 v. (New York 1904–14). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 2:277–280. j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present Time (New York 1961) 5:408–409.