Rainolds, John (DNB00)
|←Rainolds||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47
RAINOLDS or REYNOLDS, JOHN (1549–1607), president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and dean of Lincoln, born at Pinhoe, near Exeter, ‘about Michaelmas Day,’ 1549, was fifth son of Richard Rainolds. His uncle, Thomas Rainolds, held the benefice of Pinhoe from 1530 to 1537, and was subsequently warden of Merton College, Oxford, and dean of Exeter. The family seems to have been comfortably settled at Pinhoe, and several of its members at various times held fellowships at Oxford. His brother William [q. v.] is noticed separately. John appears to have entered originally at Merton, but on 29 April 1563 he was elected to a scholarship at Corpus, where two of his brothers, Hierome and Edmond, were already fellows. He became probationary fellow on 11 Oct. 1566, and full fellow two years subsequently. On 15 Oct. 1568 he graduated B.A., and it must have been about this time, though the exact date is uncertain (see Fowler, Hist. of C. C. C. pp. 147, 148), that he was assigned as tutor to Richard Hooker. He was appointed to what was at that time the important college office of Greek reader in 1572–3. According to Wood's account of him (Athenæ Oxon.), his ‘fame grew’ from this lecture, as Jewel's had previously done from the Latin lecture, and Hooker's subsequently did from the logic lecture in the same college. ‘The author that he read,’ says Wood, ‘was Aristotle, whose three incomparable books of rhetoric he illustrated with so excellent a commentary, so richly fraught with all polite literature, that, as well in the commentary as in the text, a man may find a golden river of things and words, which the prince of orators tells us of.’ There still exists in the Bodleian Library the copy of the rhetoric (Morel, Paris, 1562) from which Rainolds lectured. It is interleaved, and contains an introduction, synopsis, index, and copious notes, together with a beautiful prayer following the index (see Hist. of C. C. C. p. 158), all written out in a clear, round, and print-like hand. In 1578 he resigned the office of Greek reader, and was, in consequence, embroiled in a controversy regarding the appointment of his successor to that office, who was objected to on the ground of his extreme youth and insufficient position in the college [see Spencer, John, (d. 1614)]. This and other differences within the college during the stormy presidency of Dr. Cole [see Cole, William, (d. 1600)] probably determined him at length to resign his fellowship in 1586, and to retire to Queen's College, where he lived, and seems to have taken part in the tuition, for many years.
Meanwhile Rainolds had been taking a prominent part and acquiring a considerable reputation in the wider field of the university. Thus, in 1576, he strongly remonstrated against the proposal of Leicester, the chancellor, that Antonio de Corrano [q. v.], a Spanish preacher in London, who was suspected of popish leanings, should be allowed to proceed D.D. In 1584, when Leicester passed some time in Oxford, a very evenly contested theological disputation was enacted before him at St. Mary's, between John and his brother Edmond (Wood, Annals). The latter was a moderate Romanist who had been expelled from his fellowship at Corpus by Elizabeth's commissioners in 1568. Fuller describes a disputation at an earlier date between John and another brother William, and represents Rainolds at the time as a zealous papist and William as earnest a protestant. ‘Providence so ordered it,’ Fuller proceeds, ‘that, by their mutual disputation, John Rainolds turned an eminent Protestant, and William an inveterate Papist.’ But this story seems apocryphal [see Rainolds, William].
In 1586 Rainolds was appointed to a temporary lectureship, founded by Sir Francis Walsingham for the confutation of Romish tenets, at a salary of 20l. a year. According to Wood, ‘he read this lecture in the Divinity School thrice a week in full term, had constantly a great auditory, and was held by those of his party to have done great good.’ In 1592, on the morning of Queen Elizabeth's departure from the university, she sent for the heads of houses and others, and among those present ‘she schooled Dr. John Rainolds for his obstinate preciseness, willing him to follow her laws, and not run before them.’
The fellows of Corpus were desirous that Rainolds should replace the unpopular president of the college, William Cole. But Cole was unwilling to resign, although it was suspected that he would retire if he could exchange the presidency for an ecclesiastical office of importance. In order to promote such an arrangement, Rainolds was made dean of Lincoln on 10 Dec. 1593. In a letter to Barefoot, archdeacon of Lincoln (29 July 1594), he described the dissensions of the Lincoln chapter as more acute even than those at Corpus. Sunday prayers in Lincoln Cathedral were suspended on account of the controversies, and the new dean's position was very difficult. In November or December 1598 Cole, having doubtless been assured of his succession to the Lincoln deanery, resigned the presidency, to which Rainolds was elected on 11 Dec. following. The college now had rest, and flourished greatly under its new president. So contented was Rainolds himself with his position, and so ‘temperate,’ according to Wood, ‘were his affections,’ that he declined a bishopric which was offered to him by Queen Elizabeth.
Rainolds was a skilled disputant and a voluminous and much-read author. His puritan tendencies were doctrinal rather than practical. He was a low-churchman with Calvinistic leanings. His most enduring titles to fame are the prominent position he occupied in the Hampton Court conference and his share in the translation of the Bible. At the conference, which met on 14 Jan. 1603–4, the puritan party was represented by four persons selected by the king. Of these Rainolds was in character, learning, and position the most eminent, and he was expressly called their ‘foreman.’ To him the king was throughout peculiarly gracious. When he took exception to the words in the marriage service, ‘With my body I thee worship,’ the king jokingly said to him, ‘Many a man speaks of Robin Hood who never shot in his bow: if you had a good wife yourself, you would think that all the honour and worship you could do to her were well bestowed.’
The Hampton Court conference led to that translation of the scriptures which is known as the Authorised Version. Rainolds may be said to have initiated the project, and he occupied a leading position among the translators. The company on which he was engaged was that for translating the Prophets. It met in Oxford. Wood (Annals, sub 1604) tells us that ‘the said Translators had recourse, once a week, to Dr. Raynolds his lodgings in Corpus Christi College, and there, as 'tis said, perfected the work, notwithstanding the said Doctor, who had the chief hand in it, was all the while sorely afflicted with the gout.’
Rainolds was dying, not of gout, but of consumption. ‘His exceeding paines in study,’ we are told, ‘had brought his withered body to a very σκελετόν.’ He died on 21 May 1607, when he was not yet fifty-eight. After three orations had been pronounced over his body, he was buried in the college chapel, where a monument was erected to his memory by his pupil and successor, John Spencer. From his will it is plain that his main property consisted of books. These he distributed among various colleges and his private friends, leaving the residue to be disposed of by his executors ‘among scholars of our University, such as for religion, honesty, studiousness, and towardness in learning (want of means and ability to furnish themselves being withal considered) they shall think meetest.’
Rainolds's abilities, high character, and learning were acknowledged by his contemporaries. Crackanthorpe, his pupil, dwells admiringly on his prodigious learning, his sound judgment, his marvellous memory, his lofty character, his courtesy, modesty, probity, integrity, piety, and, lastly, on his kindness and devotion to his numerous pupils. Bishop Hall, writing to a friend soon after Rainolds's death, says: ‘He alone was a well-furnished library, full of all faculties, of all studies, of all learning; the memory, the reading of that man were near to a miracle.’ Fuller, speaking of Jewel, Rainolds, and Hooker, as all Devonshire and all Corpus men, says: ‘No one county in England bare three such men (contemporary at large) in what college soever they were bred, no college in England bred such three men in what county soever they were born.’ Even Antony Wood, abominating, as he did, Calvinism and puritanism in all their forms, breaks out into enthusiastic praises of Rainolds.
There are two portraits of Rainolds in the president's lodgings at Corpus, but one is a copy of the other, or both are copies of the same original, which was undoubtedly the bust in the chapel. The engravings in Holland's ‘Herωologia’ and in the ‘Continuatio Secunda’ to Boissard are similar to the paintings at Corpus.
Rainolds published: 1. ‘Sex Theses de Sacra Scriptura et Ecclesia publicis in Acad. Ox. disputationibus propositæ,’ London, 1580; republished, with additions and a defence, London, 1602. 2. ‘The Summe of the Conference betwene John Rainolds and John Hart touching the Head and the Faith of the Church. Penned by John Rainolds and allowed by John Hart for a faithfull report,’ &c., London, 1584. 3. ‘Orationes duæ ex iis quas habuit in Coll. C. C., quum Linguam Græcam profiteretur,’ Oxford, 1587. 4. ‘De Romanæ Ecclesiæ Idolatria. Operis inchoati Libri Duo,’ Oxford, 1596. 5. ‘The Overthrow of Stage-Players, by the way of Controversie between D. Gager and D. Rainoldes, whereunto are added certaine Latin letters [between Reynolds and Albericus Gentilis, Reader of Civil Law in Oxford] concerning the same matter,’ no place, 1599 (in this controversy Rainolds condemns stage-plays, even when acted by students). The following works were published posthumously: 1. ‘A Defence of the Judgment of the Reformed Churches, that a man may lawfullie not onlie put awaie his wife for her adulterie, but also marrie another,’ no place, 1609. 2. ‘Censura Librorum Apocryphorum Veteris Testamenti,’ in 250 lectures, 2 vols. Oppenheim, 1611. 3. ‘The Prophecie of Obadiah opened and applied,’ &c., Oxford 1613. 4. ‘A Letter to his Friend, concerning his Advise for the Studie of Divinitie,’ London, 1613. 5. ‘Orationes duodecim cum aliis quibusdam opusculis. Adjecta est Oratio Funebris habita a M. Isaaco Wake, Oratore Publico,’ London, 1619. 6. ‘The Judgment of Doctor Reignolds concerning Episcopacy, whether it be God's Ordinance, expressed in a letter to Sir Francis Knowls, concerning Dr. Bancroft's Sermon at St. Paul's Crosse, preached Feb. 9, 1588,’ London, 1641. 7. ‘Sermons on the Prophecies of Haggai, “never before printed, being very usefull for these times,”’ London, 1648. To these works must be added the important part which Rainolds took in the translation of the Prophets in the ‘Authorised Version’ of the scriptures.[C. C. C. Register of Admissions; Fulman MSS. in C. C. C. Library, vol. ix. ff. 113–228; Fowler's Hist. of C. C. C. pp. 124, 127, 135, 137–144, 147, 151, 157–69; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (sub nomine) and Annals, sub 1576, 1584, 1586, 1592; Fuller's Church History of Britain, sub 1607; Cardwell's Conferences, 3rd edit. pp. 178, 140–1, 200, 187–8; Crackanthorpe's Defensio Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, cap. 69; Bishop Hall's Works, Epistles, Decade I, Ep. 7 (ed. Wynter, vi. 149–50).]