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Prynne, Williamlocked

  • William Lamont

William Prynne (1600–1669)

by Wenceslaus Hollar

Prynne, William (1600–1669), pamphleteer and lawyer, was born in Upper Swainswick, near Bath, Somerset, the son of Thomas Prynne, farmer, and his second wife, Marie, daughter of William Sherston (the first mayor of Bath under Elizabeth I's charter). He attended Bath grammar school from 1612, and from 1616 Oriel College, Oxford, owners of the land which his father farmed. He graduated BA on 22 January 1621 and was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn in the same year. He was called to the bar in 1628, and by then had produced the first of his more than two hundred pamphlets.

Early writings, 1628–1641

Prynne was tried twice, in 1633 and 1637, in Star Chamber for sedition. In his pamphlet against stage plays, Histriomastix of 1633, he had indeed denounced female actors at the same time as Queen Henrietta Maria was participating in a court masque. But Prynne's defence was that this huge work had been long in gestation (which was true), and even then it had been published a month before the queen's performance. This defence is not as impressive as it might seem. Prynne had inserted additional criticisms of female actors in an appendix while Henrietta Maria was rehearsing for the event. But, to the main charge, Prynne was not guilty. He had not attacked the crown, even if he had been rude about amusements patronized by it. Histriomastix is a crime against literature, not against the state. Samuel Butler rightly said that Prynne's real weakness was to cast holy things, not unto dogs, but into doggerel (S. Butler, Posthumous Works, 1732, 84). Another contemporary also had the wit to see that soured misanthropy on so generalized a scale robbed the attack of particular application: 'it was fitter to be called Anthropomastix than Histriomastix, the scourge of mankind rather than the Kings sacred person' (Bodl. Oxf., MS Douce 173, fol. 14). He was nevertheless found guilty of sedition, sentenced to have his ears cut off, fined £5000, and sentenced to life imprisonment. With the connivance of a friendly gaoler, he continued to smuggle pamphlets out of the Tower of London. Four years later, in 1637, he came for a second time before Star Chamber. Once more he was accused (and found guilty) of sedition, along with a divine (Henry Burton) and a doctor (John Bastwick). His ears, lightly cropped in 1633, now received the full treatment, his nose was slit, and the initials ‘S. L.’ burnt into his cheeks. They stood for 'Seditious Libeller'; to Prynne they stood for 'Stigma of Laud'. He described his sufferings in a pamphlet in 1641. The executioner had heated the iron very hot, and burnt one of his cheeks twice. After this he cut one of Prynne's ears so close that he cut off a piece of cheek, and cut him deep in the neck near the jugular vein. Then, hacking the other ear until it was almost off, he left it hanging and went down from the scaffold. He was called back by the surgeon, who made him perform a complete amputation. Smiling up to heaven, said Prynne, he responded with 'this heavenly sentence' (his own evaluation): 'The more I am beat down, the more am I lift up' (W. Prynne, A New Discovery of the Prelates Tyranny, 1641, no pagination). The events of 1637 made an impact upon public opinion that those of 1633 had failed to do: Prynne's exile to the Channel Islands became a triumphant progress, as no less was the return journey in 1640 when the Long Parliament was called.

Throughout his writings in the 1630s, Prynne assailed Laudianism as a betrayal of his sentimentalized (but sincerely held) perception of what the Elizabethan church had been. The answer to the take-over of the church by semi-papists, led by Archbishop Laud, was not therefore separatism (which he abhorred) nor even presbyterianism (in which he showed no interest before 1641, and which he actively opposed after August 1645). What he advocated instead was a return to the Elizabethan principles of another archbishop, Whitgift, whom Prynne quaintly saw as a 'Puritane' (W. Prynne, A Breviate of the Prelates Intollerable Usurpations, 1637, 123), while Whitgift's presbyterian opponent, Cartwright, was on the other hand now viewed by Prynne as an 'Opposite' (W. Prynne, A Vindication of Four Serious Questions, 1645, 7). Until 1641 Prynne had not lost faith in those episcopalians who were seemingly untarnished with the Laudian brush: bishops like Joseph Hall and John Williams, who were seen by him as custodians of Elizabethan values. But in 1641 he lost his faith in these non-Laudian bishops. Hall's defence of divine right episcopacy aligned him with Laud, not Whitgift. The pamphlet which Prynne wrote in 1641, The Antipathie, is a watershed in his career. For the first time in his writing he attacked all bishops, and argued for a 'root and branch' destruction of episcopacy. This did not make him, or his fellow 'root and branchers' for the most part, necessarily card-carrying presbyterians. But he was won to their view that a 'New Jerusalem' was possible, and the millenarian views of Thomas Brightman carried more weight with him and his fellows than the more conservative readings of the book of Revelation by John Foxe. In 1641 Prynne had presented Foxe's Acts and Monuments to his Swainswick parish church (Bodl. Oxf., MS Tanner 69, fol. 1). But by then he had already implicitly rejected Foxe's legacy by his conversion to a belief in 'root and branch' destruction of all bishops (and that included even Foxe's martyrs).

Civil war reappraisals

Central for Prynne, as for many fellow puritans explaining the origins of the civil war, was the suspicion that Charles I had secretly commissioned the Irish rebels of October 1641. Prynne defended Sir John Hotham's refusal to yield Hull to the king in 1642, not on Calvinist resistance grounds (with which he had no sympathy) but on the self-preservative grounds which he had learned from the anti-Calvinist Hugo Grotius: 'That a King who aliens and would actually deliver up possession of all or any part of his Realm to another forraign power without the peoples consent, may lawfully be resisted with force by his subjects' (W. Prynne, The Soveraigne Powers of Parliaments, 1643, 1.103).

Prynne opposed both Calvinist Independency and presbyterianism in the civil war. The Presbyterian Scot, Robert Baillie, knew the contingent nature of Prynne's interest in their cause when he instructed his London agent in 1640 to 'try the present estate' of Prynne (Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie, 226). The Presbyterians' alibi for the subsequent delay in reform in the 1640s was that they had been thwarted by Independents. In 1644 Prynne went along with this explanation. He attacked Independency as an anti-social force which denied man's dependence upon his neighbours, church, and country for the fulfilment of his nature. Against such ideas he quoted Aristotle's view of man as a social animal. But a year later (in common with other English puritans from an Erastian tradition) he saw the enemy no longer as Laudian crypto-popery but presbyterian theocracy. 'A speedy reformation in our Church', he now recognized, could not by its nature come from that 'strict discipline which really reforms very few or none' (W. Prynne, A Vindication of Four Serious Questions, 1645, 57–8). An exasperated Presbyterian, Robert Baillie, on 5 September 1645 conceded that 'Mr. Prin and the Erastian lawyers are now our remora' (Letters and Journals of Robert Baillie, 315).

The sovereignty of parliament

Although Prynne's was the officially commissioned defence by parliament of its sovereignty (and he had read, and quoted, Jean Bodin on sovereignty), it is no landmark in political theory. Rather, The Soveraigne Powers of Parliaments is a series of post hoc justifications of actions taken by the parliamentary army during the campaign itself. The full title of the work reflects Prynne's priorities: The Treachery and Disloyalty of Papists to their Soveraignes, in Doctrine and Practise. Charles I had been deceived by his advisers (principally Laud and Henrietta Maria) into the betrayal of his own royal supremacy. Prynne's The Popish Royall Favourite of 1643 is the most bitter personal attack upon Charles I; only Charles's martyrdom in 1649 wiped out his previous faults, and that crime too had been perpetrated by papists. After 1649, and until the end of his life, Prynne reverted to the royalism of his earlier years, maintaining that he had been consistent even in the period from 1642 to 1649, since (in his view) it was Charles I, not himself, who had lapsed from his imperial principles. Prynne's record of Archbishop Laud's trial, Canterburies Doome (1646), was constructed with one end in view: to show that Laud's crime lay not in advancing royal absolutism, but in subverting it. He was impenitent about rigging the record to fit the conclusion: 'no indifferent person can justly taxe me with partiality or injustice for inserting into the History, [materials] for the fuller discovery of his Popish intentions in this kinde' (Canterburies Doome, dedicatory epistle). In 1647 he looked back upon the lessons of the archbishop's trial and execution: 'the late Archbishops familiarity, correspondence and confederacy with Priests and Jesuits to introduce Popish Superstitions, and subvert the established Protestant Religion, was charged against him by the whole House of Commons, as a Treasonable and Capitall Offence' (W. Prynne, The Sword of Christian Magistracy, 1647, 68). By 1647 the papist menace had taken a different form, however. The Jesuits by then had given up working through the monarchy by a fifth column in the church, and now (according to Prynne) were working directly against the monarchy through Leveller soldiers. Pride's Purge, Charles I's trial, and then his execution were all seen by Prynne as part of an orchestrated 'popish plot'. Hence the important symbolism to him of Henrietta Maria's Jesuit confessor waving his sword in triumph as the king's head was cut off (W. Prynne, A True and Perfect Narrative, 1659, 60–63)—a canard with wide currency in the literature of the 1650s. The 'Popish Royall Favourite' of 1643 had metamorphosed into the royal martyr of 1649. No wonder the Independent minister, John Goodwin, accused Prynne of 'melting down' the 'mountain' which he had first set up in 1643 (Right and Might well Met, 1649, 4, 8, 9). Prynne had changed his mind about Charles I (whatever he protested to the contrary), but he had not—in this he was correct—changed his mind about monarchy. Nevertheless he had changed his mind about another institution (the House of Commons) by 1648, and he did so for scholarly reasons. Sir Robert Filmer published his The Freeholders Grand Inquest in January 1648. A contemporary wrote across his copy of Filmer's work this shrewd observation: 'in a considerable degree an answer to the exceptionable doctrines in Prynne's Sovereignty of Parliament'. So it was, and this makes it all the more remarkable how Prynne responded to it. In two works in 1648 Prynne answered Filmer (in February and March respectively): The Levellers Levelled to the Very Ground and A Plea for the Lords. Up to that point, Prynne's mentor on constitutional matters had been Sir Edward Coke. But Filmer—drawing upon antiquarian researches—revealed the sketchiness of Coke's history. He drew upon election writs to show that the Commons had not been historically part of the common council. He denied the antiquity of the Commons: 1265 was the first extant summons of knights by the sheriff's writs. Filmer used these points to make a royalist case; Prynne did not go quite that far, but he accepted the main findings of Filmer's scholarship. However, he fashioned them to a different end from Filmer's: to subordinate the Commons not to the king merely (as Filmer had done), but to subordinate it to the ancient law of England, which required the co-operation of king and Lords. He was wholly receptive, however, to Filmer's means of reaching his conclusion, and this would fashion Prynne's career for the rest of his life. Coke had put his trust in commentaries on the records, not upon a study of the records themselves. This was the lesson that Prynne drew in A Plea for the Lords. Henceforth ancient parliamentary rolls and journals should be transcribed and published to preserve them from the threat of fire or war (A Plea for the Lords, dedicatory epistle). His conviction of the need to study the primary sources made him quarrel with contemporaries who still lived in the land of historical make-believe, and who still saw Sir Edward Coke as an oracle (W. Prynne, The First Part of a Brief Register, 1659, 422).

The cavalier hero?

From February 1644 Prynne had been a member of the committee of accounts; on 1 May 1647 he had been appointed one of the commissioners for the visitation of the University of Oxford; in November 1648 he was MP, for the first time, for Newport in Cornwall. He emerged as the great champion of a negotiated settlement with Charles I, and vigorously opposed Pride's Purge and the trial and the execution of the king. For nearly three years after these events he was imprisoned without trial for opposing the Commonwealth. It was a cavalier who now called him 'the Cato of his Age'; Clarendon's papers abound with testimonies to Prynne's contribution to the royalist cause in the interregnum; Charles II himself recognized Prynne's worth. He subsequently served both in the Convention Parliament and the Cavalier Parliament as MP for Bath, and from 1660 onwards as recorder of Bath. Bath council formally thanked him 'for his readiness to promote the advantage of this City' as its recorder (Bath council minutes, vol. 2, fol. 89).

It was a master stroke for Charles II to appoint Prynne as keeper of the records in the Tower of London after the Restoration: he called it 'most suitable to my Genius'. This is how he described the work in a letter to Sir Harbottle Grimston:

whilst you are sucking in the fresh country air, I have been almost choked with the dust of neglected records (interred in their own rubbish for sundry years) in the White Tower; their rust eating out the tops of my gloves with their touch, and their dust rendering me, twice a day, as black as a chimney sweeper.

Verulam MSS, 58

F. W. Maitland called this aspect of Prynne's career 'heroic' (Holdsworth, Eng. law, 5.407). There was a double heroism: the physical labour that Prynne described, but also the intellectual rescue of a historical feudal law from the myth of an ancient constitution (to which Prynne in the 1630s, as a disciple of Coke, had himself subscribed). The Commons' claim to sovereignty could not stand up to the scrutiny of sources; the king's imperial powers, on the other hand, were given a heightened vindication. Prynne called his Aurum reginae of 1668 a minor contribution to the defence and assistance of 'all Jurisdiction, Priviledges, Preheminencies and Authorities granted to or belonging to the IMPERIALL CROWN of the REALM' (BL, Add. MS 71534, fol. 14). The major contribution, he believed, were the volumes which he published after the Restoration under the title, An Exact Chronologicall Vindication … of our Kings Supreme Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction. In the introduction to the fourth volume, he argued that the king embodied the patriarchal authority of Adam; the king was God's viceroy to implement his rule on earth; the distinction between church and state is a popish invention; all church power derived its authority from the crown (W. Prynne, The First Tome of the Exact Chronologicall Vindication, 1666, 4.1, 2, 7, 77). These were the four principles, it could be argued, not of his dotage, but of his entire career.

Not all royalists appreciated that fact. They remembered the man twice convicted for sedition in the 1630s, and who had built a 'mountain' (in John Goodwin's words) of invective against Charles I between 1643 and 1648. Sir Thomas Bridges, for instance, wrote to Secretary Nicholas on 20 March 1661 to argue that Prynne should at all costs be prevented from continuing to serve as MP for Bath in the Cavalier Parliament (CSP dom., Charles II, 1660–61, 564). The minutes of Bath council record the lengths to which opponents would go to silence Prynne. In September 1661 Prynne's supporters were even kidnapped in a mayoral election to prevent them from voting (Bath council minutes, vol. 2, fol. 68; Peach, 43–5). At Archbishop Juxon's funeral in 1663, Robert South delivered a gratuitous swipe at the 'famous and Scurillous' Prynne (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 3rd edn, 1.481). As late as 18 March 1668, when Prynne pressed for the exemption of an opponent from the royal pardon, Sir Thomas Littleton sourly reminded him that 'if Prynne had not had his, he might have been in the same predicament' (A. Grey, ed., Debates of the House of Commons from the year 1667 to the year 1694, 1769, 118).

If unforgiving royalism was one problem for Prynne in his life after the Restoration, another surely ought to have been the gap between Prynne and the unpuritan court which he now served. He has even been accused of cowardice in not emphasizing that gap (Murch, 31–2). The criticism is not fair. Prynne went on attacking his enemies of the 1630s—duels, taverns, and the drinking of healths (The Second Part of the Signal Loyalty and Devotion of Gods True Saints, 1660, dedicatory epistle; Letter and Proposals to our Gracious Lord and Sovereign King Charles, 1660). He even had his pamphlet, Healthes Sicknesse (1628), reprinted after the Restoration. Always, though, his criticisms went in tandem with professions of loyalty to Charles II; the Baptist, Henry Jessey, borrowed the criticisms but left out their royalist accompaniment (H. Jessey, The Lords Loud Call to England, 1660, 32). Moreover, Prynne attacked the Corporation Act of 1661, not only legally and futilely in the Commons (JHC, 8.282, 291) but by an extra-constitutional anonymous printed plea to the Lords (Summary Reasons, Humbly Tendred to the most Honourable House of Peeres). When his cover was blown, he apologized, unexpectedly abjectly. This was hailed as a 'conquest' by an opponent (Beaufort MSS, 50–51). But his standing in the Commons did not seem to have been diminished. Certainly a fortnight later he was managing a conference with the Lords on restraining unlicensed printing (of which he was now something of an expert). He described himself, in another context, in February 1661 as 'quite tyred out' (W. Prynne, Brevia parliamentum rediviva, 1661, 515). Was this the explanation for his 'conquest' in that year? At times he could seem a more mellow figure after the Restoration. Anthony Wood recalls how, in 1667, as a young historian furnished with letters of commendation from the provost of Prynne's old college, Oriel, he went to Prynne in the Tower of London to be introduced to the study of historical records. Wood says that Prynne 'received him with old fashion compliments, such as were used in the raigne of King James I'. He seemed 'to be glad that such a young man as he was (for so he called him) should have inclinations towards venerable antiquity' (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 3rd edn, l.lix). Wood has left an unforgettable picture of the aged antiquarian scholar, with his 'black taffaty-cloak, edg'd with black lace at the bottom', conducting his young pupil through the smoking ruins of London after the great fire, and unable to resist the chance of a yarn on the way with acquaintances before getting down to the documents. This later Prynne must not, however, be sentimentalized. He had opposed the readmission of Jews into England; he saw the Quakers as masked papists; he blamed the great fire of London on the papists; he commented upon impeachment proceedings against Clarendon: 'I pray God this be not a foreigner's plot' (A. Grey, ed., Debates of the House of Commons, 1765, 65). Pepys was no prude, but recorded his discomfiture at being seated next to Prynne at a dinner table:

who, in discourse with me, fell upon what records he hath of the lust and wicked lives of the nuns heretofore in England, and showed me out of his pocket one wherein 30 nuns for their lust were ejected out of the house.

Pepys, Diary, 3.93

At the time of the great fire one public servant complained about receiving a long and tiresome letter from a person called William Prynne, 'a stranger to him speaking of fears and jealousies, of plots and designs of Jesuits and Romanists against the Church and Religion' (CSP dom., Charles II, 1660–67, 318). He feared that it would 'stir up hornets'. Prynne would go on stirring up hornets until his death on 24 October 1669 at Lincoln's Inn, where, according to Wood, he was buried 'in the walk under the chapel' (Wood, Ath. Oxon., 3rd edn, 3.876).

Reputation and sources

John Aubrey records that Prynne worked to a set routine. He wore a long quilt cap, 2 or 3 inches over his eyes, to protect them from the light. A servant would bring him a roll and pot of ale every three hours to revive his spirits, and he would study and drink into the early hours (Brief Lives, 413). Prynne's profuse citations of sources in the margins of the text earned him his contemporary nickname, ‘Marginal’ Prynne. Contemporaries did not rate him highly. One critic thought it a pity that his parents were not German, since he then 'might have outdone the reputation of the greatest of their Authors, who are commonly valued at the rate of their boldnesse and prolixity' (A Serious Epistle to Mr. William Prynne, 1649, 6–7). But a fellow critic, while deploring their superficiality, conceded that his arguments 'take with the people' (H. Woodward, Inquiries into the Cause of our Miseries, 1644, 11). Indeed parliament would not have commissioned Prynne to write its official defence in the civil war, nor its official record of the trial of Archbishop Laud, without a similar belief that his words would 'take with the people'. Prynne has a claim to scholarly attention not through the originality of his writings or the depth of his insight (although he made a significant contribution to the study of the past), but because he was involved in most of the great events of the time, and his public writings offer a continuous commentary upon them. Ideally there would be a private archive to complement this public history, but this is not the case. Prynne never married: waggishly he remarked in the Commons in November 1660, on his support for measures to punish women who refused to cohabit with their husbands, that he himself had 'never had a good or bad wife in his life' (Cobbett, Parl. hist., 4, 1660, 145). The executors of his will were a brother (Thomas) and a sister (Katherine Clarke, mother of the physician William Clarke). The importance of gaining access to his private papers was grasped by two fellow antiquarian scholars, Anthony Wood and Sir William Dugdale. They lamented the obstacles placed in their way by Prynne's executors (W. Hamper, ed., The Life, Diary, and Correspondence of Sir William Dugdale, 1827, 390–91). Gilbert Sheldon, then archbishop of Canterbury, wanted Prynne's papers for another reason: to get his hands upon the papers relevant to Prynne's prosecution of Archbishop Laud. Jonas Moore suggested to Sheldon that the ideal middleman in the quest was the husband of one of Prynne's executors, George Clarke, who had once been a contact link with Charles II in the interregnum (Portland MSS, 1.594). This too drew a blank. His private papers have never been recovered. In their absence, historians as much as contemporaries have been over-reliant on the message seemingly conveyed by the violence of the language of his pamphlets. Thus the great twentieth-century historian of puritanism, William Haller, offers the picture of Prynne as a Bakunin-like anarchist (The Rise of Puritanism, 1938, 393, 219), which is not very different from what opponents of the time had said about him: 'a constant opponent of all governments' (Mercurius Democritus, no. 5, 31 May – 7 June 1659); 'the Spirit of Contradiction' (Democritus Turned Statesman, 1659, 6).

When the spectre of a 'Laudian' revival (without Laud) appeared a real possibility at the Restoration, Prynne's response was to revert to his moderate episcopalianism of 1628–40, and not to champion his 'root and branch' principles of 1641–5. The appointment in 1663 as preacher to his own Lincoln's Inn of John Tillotson was a hopeful sign; to this future archbishop of Canterbury, Prynne later bequeathed one of his unreadable tomes in his will. Tillotson was seen by Prynne as the heir to Whitgift's legacy, not Laud's. What Prynne admired in both Whitgift and Tillotson was their defence of the royal supremacy: a recognition that bishops owed their office to the king (which was incompatible with Laudian claims for divine right sanction). Recent researches on Prynne, and many of his fellow puritans, have corrected the 'fanatic' stereotype. His claim in his last will and testament to have had as his aim 'to doe my God King and Country all the best publick service I could' is one that is now taken more seriously than it once was, and one which was wholly compatible, in his mind at least, with loyalty to the Church of England.

The violence of Prynne's language misled contemporaries, as it misled historians later. He was in truth no more an egalitarian than he was a separatist. He had proudly flourished his grandfather's sword when he entered the recalled Long Parliament of February 1660. Farce mingled with triumph—it usually did with Prynne—even at such a high point in his career. The sword got entangled with the short fat legs of Sir William Waller 'and threw him down which caused laughter' (Brief Lives, 414). The very fact that the sword in question had belonged to an Elizabethan mayor of Bath, his grandfather, was a source of intense pride to Prynne. An opponent hit a shrewd blow at Prynne's social pretensions when he claimed the real motive for Prynne's hostility to the readmission of Jews into England in 1656: 'surely the party who writ so furiously against the Jews coming in, was afraid his chamber in Lincolnes-Inn should have been for their habitation, or else his Mannour of Swainswicke, or Swainswick, of which he writes himself Esquire' (D. L., Israels Condition and Cause Pleaded, 1656, 70). Similarly, for an acute observer like Henry Parker in 1641, it was the authorities' paranoid failure to see how 'moderate' a puritan like Prynne really was (and he could equally well have added the epithets ‘snobbish’, ‘hierarchical’, ‘conservative’), which would seal their subsequent doom (A Discourse Concerning Puritans, 7).


  • M. I. Fay and G. Davies, ‘Notes and documents’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 20 (1956–7), 53–93
  • W. Lamont, Marginal Prynne (1963)
  • E. W. Kirby, William Prynne: a study in puritanism (1931)
  • R. E. M. Peach, History of Swainswick (1890)
  • J. Murch, William Prynne (1878)
  • S. R. Gardiner, ed., Documents relating to the proceedings against William Prynne, CS, new ser., 18 (1877), 101–18
  • Aubrey's Brief lives, ed. O. L. Dick (1949)
  • Bath RO, Bath council minutes, vol. 2
  • The letters and journals of Robert Baillie, ed. D. Laing, 3 vols. (1841–2)
  • TNA: PRO, PROB 11/331, fols. 300v–301v
  • Calendar of the Clarendon state papers preserved in the Bodleian Library, 4: 1657–1660, ed. F. J. Routledge (1932), 591–615
  • J. G. A. Pocock, The ancient constitution and the feudal law (1957)


  • BL, papers relating to clergy's encroachments on royal prerogative, Lansdowne MS 228
  • Bristol Baptist College, papers
  • Canterbury Cathedral, archive, articles against Archbishop Laud, incl. Prynne's marginal notes
  • Inner Temple, London, cases, arguments, notes
  • U. Nott. L., MS volume relating to star chamber jurisdiction
  • BL, Add. MSS 11308, 11764
  • Bodl. Oxf., Tanner MS 69
  • Bath, council minutes


  • line engraving, 1641, BM, NPG; repro. in [W. Prynne], A new discovery of the prelates tyranny (1641)
  • R. Dunkarton, mezzotint, pubd 1811 (after S. Woodforde), BM, NPG
  • W. Hollar, etching, BM, NPG [see illus.]
  • line engraving, BM, NPG
  • portrait, Courtauld Inst.; repro. in Lamont, Marginal Prynne
  • portrait (Prynne's homage to Charles II), BL; repro. in Lamont, Marginal Prynne
  • portrait (Laud on trial, Prynne as prosecutor), BL; repro. in Lamont, Marginal Prynne

Wealth at Death

substantial bequests to executors and families: will, TNA: PRO, PROB 11/331, fols. 300v–301v

A. Wood, , 2 vols. (1691–2); 2nd edn (1721); new edn, ed. P. Bliss, 4 vols. (1813–20); repr. (1967) and (1969)
Camden Society
Oxford Historical Society
National Archives of the United Kingdom, Public Record Office, London
, 63 vols. (1885–1900), suppl., 3 vols. (1901); repr. in 22 vols. (1908–9); 10 further suppls. (1912–96); (1993)