Wynne, John (1667-1743) (DNB00)

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WYNNE, JOHN (1667–1743), bishop of St. Asaph and of Bath and Wells, the second son of John Wynne of Maes y Coed, Caerwys, Flintshire, was born in that parish in 1667. He was educated at Northop school and then at Ruthin school, Denbighshire. He matriculated from Jesus College, Oxford, on 31 March 1682, graduated B.A. 1685, became a fellow in that year, and proceeded M.A. in 1688, B.D. in 1696, and D.D. on 24 Jan. 1705–6. He was appointed vicar of Nantglyn in 1696, and vicar of Llansilin (both in Denbighshire) in 1706. He obtained these preferments through college influence, but in the meanwhile he had accompanied the Earl of Pembroke abroad as his chaplain, and he was, upon his return, given the rectory of Llangelynin in the diocese of Bangor, and the prebend of Brecon in the diocese of St. David's. From 1705 to 1715 he held the Lady Margaret professorship of divinity, holding with it, as was customary, a canonry at Worcester. In 1713 he obtained in addition the rectory of Llandyssil, Cardiganshire. In August 1712, being already vice-principal, after a somewhat bitter party struggle he was elected principal of Jesus College, Oxford, but he remained in Oxford barely eighteen months, for on 11 Jan. 1714–15 he was nominated to succeed William Fleetwood as bishop of St. Asaph; he was consecrated on 6 Feb. 1714–1715, and it so happened that he was the first bishop appointed by George I. His popularity was not increased at Oxford by his retaining the principalship of Jesus along with the bishopric until his marriage in 1720. Great exception was taken to his ‘unblushing whig propagandism.’ He was a considerable benefactor to the cathedral church and the episcopal palace at St. Asaph, and he expended upwards of 600l. in repairing the damage occasioned by the hurricane of 2 Feb. 1715. He was translated to the bishopric of Bath and Wells upon the death of Bishop Hooper on 11 Nov. 1727, and ruled that see for sixteen years, being a bishop altogether for the long space of twenty-nine years. In 1732 he purchased the Soughton estate in the parish of Northop, and he died there on 15 July 1743. He was buried in the chapel of Northop church, under a flat blue marble slab bearing his arms. He married, in 1720, Anne, daughter and heiress of Robert Pugh of Bennarth, the ceremony being performed at Lambeth Palace by the archbishop of Canterbury. He left two sons—John and Sir William Wynne (1729–1815), a judge of the admiralty, privy councillor, and master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, from 1803 till his death—and two daughters, Margaret (d. 1822), and Mary (d. 1744), who married Henry Fane, brother to the Earl of Westmorland.

Wynne published separately four sermons, one preached before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in February 1724–5; a second, preached before the Societies for the Reformation of Manners in January 1725–6. But he is only remembered for his ‘Abridgement of Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding’ (1696, 8vo; 1700, 1731, 1752, 1770), which was commended by Locke himself, as well as by Thomas Hearne and other scholars, and was translated into French and Italian.

Four oil portraits of Wynne are in existence, but none of these appears to have ever been engraved. One is at Wells Palace, a second at Jesus College, Oxford, a third at Soughton, and a fourth in the possession of the descendants of his daughter Margaret (Banks).

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Gent. Mag. 1743; Williams's Dict. of Eminent Welshmen, p. 550; Browne Willis's Survey of St. Asaph, i. 143–4; Freeman's Cathedral Church of Wells, xv; Abbey's English Church and its Bishops, 1700–1800; Hardy's Hist. of Jesus College, 1899; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

T. S.