Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Reeves, William (1667-1726)

REEVES, WILLIAM (1667–1726), divine, the son of William Reeves, was born at Flitwick in Bedfordshire about Christmastime 1667 (MS. Cat. of Fellows of King's Coll.) He was educated at Cambridge, where he graduated from King's College, B.A. in 1688 and M.A. in 1692. He was elected a fellow of his college, but had to resign his fellowship upon marriage about May 1689, and five years later (9 Aug. 1694) was presented by George Berkeley, first earl of Berkeley [q. v.], to the living of Cranford in Middlesex. On 1 Aug. 1711, upon the death of Abraham Brooksbank, he became vicar of St. Mary's, Reading, and was shortly afterwards appointed a chaplain to Queen Anne. In 1716 he completed his valuable ‘Apologies of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Minucius Felix in Defence of the Christian Religion, with the Commonitory of Vincentius Lirinensis concerning the Primitive Rule of Faith,’ a translation, with notes and a preliminary discourse upon each author, upon which he had been engaged for upwards of seven years (London, 2 vols. 8vo). The notes are learned and perspicuous, and the work afforded a useful introduction to patristic study (cf. Orme, Bibl. Biblica, p. 368). Reeves died at Reading on 26 March 1726, and was buried near the altar in St. Mary's Church. He left a widow, who died in 1728, and two daughters. A collection of fourteen of his sermons (detailed in Darling's Cycl. Bibl. p. 2521) was printed in 1729 from a manuscript which he had already prepared for press (London, 8vo). The first of these, an election sermon, on ‘The Fatal Consequences of Bribery exemplified in Judas’ (Matt. xxvii. 3, 4), ‘has been found very useful’ (Darling); it was separately reprinted, 1733 and 1753, London, 8vo.

[Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. xxvi. 108–9; Nouvelle Biogr. Générale; Grad. Cantabr.; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 596; Coates's Reading, 1802, pp. 102–16; McClintock and Strong's Cyclopædia; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. 1704; Works of the Learned; information from Charles E. Grant, esq., librarian of King's College.]

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