Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Durel, John
DUREL, JOHN (1625–1683), dean of Windsor, was born at St. Heliers, Jersey, in 1625, and entered Merton College, Oxford, in 1640. When Oxford was garrisoned by Charles I he retired to France and studied at Caen, where he proceeded M.A. in the Sylvanian College, 1644, and published his thesis, ‘Theoremata Philosophiæ,’ &c., Caen, 1644, 4to. He then studied divinity at the protestant university of Saumur, and wrote No. 6 (14 March 1647) of the ‘Disputationes de Argumentis,’ published by President Placens, Saumur, 1649, 4to. In 1647 he returned to Jersey as chaplain to Lieutenant-governor Carteret, and assisted in its defence for the king until its reduction by the parliamentary forces in 1651. He joined the English exiles at the chapel of the residency at Paris, and the same year was ordained deacon and priest by the Bishop of Galloway. He afterwards resided at St. Malo, officiated a short time at Caen in place of the learned Bochart, and after declining an offer from the landgrave of Hesse became chaplain for eight years to the Duke de la Force, father of the Princess de Turenne.
In 1660 he returned to England. The same year he was prime mover in the establishment of the French episcopal chapel in the Savoy, Strand, of which he was appointed minister with a royal pension. On 14 Jan. 1661 Durel preached his first sermon in the Savoy Chapel, and the liturgy of the church of England was read in French for the first time. The king selected Durel to translate the English prayer-book into French, and ordered his book to be used in all the parish churches of Guernsey and Jersey and at the Savoy Chapel. The right of sole printing was granted 6 Oct. 1662, the Bishop of London's chaplain sanctioned it in 1663, but the work did not appear until 1667, the title being ‘La Liturgie, c'est à dire Le Formulaire des Prieres publiques,’ &c., London, 8vo. Kennett says this translation was accepted with great favour by the reformed church in France.
Durel was recommended by the king to the Bishop of Winchester, 28 Oct. 1661, for the reversion of the sinecure held by James Hamilton, bishop of Galloway [q. v.] He succeeded Earle as chaplain to Charles II in 1662, in which year he published ‘A View of the Government and Publick Worship of God in the Reformed Churches beyond the Seas,’ London, 4to, pp. 344. It was answered in a work erroneously ascribed to Henry Hickman, ‘Apologia pro Ministris in Anglia,’ &c. In 1663 he became prebendary of North Aulton in the cathedral of Salisbury, and in 1664 also prebendary of Windsor. The revised prayer-book was entrusted to John Earle, bishop of Salisbury [q. v.], and Dr. Pearson (afterwards bishop of Chester), for translation into Latin. On the death of Earle and the preferment of Pearson and his successor Dolben, the completion of the translation was entrusted to Durel. Earle's portion was lost with the convocation records in the great fire, but a portion of Dolben's manuscript was found. Durel's work, of which he calls himself ‘editor,’ not translator, was published in 1670 as ‘Liturgia, seu Liber Precum Communium et Administrationis Sacramentorum,’ &c., London, 8vo. There were at least seven editions down to 1703. In all previous Latin prayer-books we have publicarum not communium.
In 1668 Durel was installed prebendary of Durham with a rich donative. In February 1669–70, by virtue of the chancellor's letters, he was created D.D. He published in 1669 his great work in vindication of the English church against schismatics, entitled ‘Sanctæ Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ … Vindiciæ,’ London, 4to, pp. cxiv and 538. It was dedicated to Charles II, and a second issue was printed in 1672 as ‘Hist. Rituum Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ.’ The presbyterians retorted by ‘Bonasus Vapulans, or some Castigations given to Mr. John Durell,’ &c., by W. B., London, 12mo, republished in 1679 as ‘The Nonconformists Vindicated,’ &c., London, 8vo, and another work, attributed to Du Moulin, ‘Patronus Bonæ Fidei,’ &c., London, 1672, 8vo. In 1677 Durel, according to the Ashmolean MSS., was made sworn registrar of the Garter, and in the same year he was appointed dean of Windsor and consequently of Wolverhampton. The great living of Witney, Oxfordshire, was soon afterwards granted him by the king, his chief recommendation to royal favour being that ‘he was not only a good scholar but a perfect courtier, skilful in the arts of getting into the favour of great men.’
In his ‘View of the Government’ (p. 14) Durel mentions an intention to collect the liturgies of all the protestant churches, but nothing more is known of the matter. He died 8 June 1683, and is buried in the north aisle adjoining Windsor Chapel choir.
[Durel's Works; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iv. 87, 372; Fasti, pp. 236, 317; Falle's Jersey, p. 83; Kennett's Register, pp. 407, 494; Baxter's Life, bk. i. pt. ii. p. 334; Ashmole's Berkshire, iii. 279; Calendar State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1660–1661 p. 529, 1661–2 pp. 124, 508, 536, 1663–4 pp. 447, 452; Caldwell's History of Conferences, 1840; Marshall's Latin Prayer Book of Charles II, 1882; Edinburgh Review, cxl. 427; Blackwood's Magazine, xviii. 573, lxxxix. 20; Christian Observer, lxxvii. 545, 595; Contemporary Review, vii. 401, xviii. 267; British Quarterly Review, xlvii. 70.]