from Bishop Grandison of Exeter on 17 Aug. 1354. He is said to have returned to Exeter College as fellow in 1358, and in 1374 speaks of T. Worthe, the rector, as his ‘Consocius.’ He held the living of Buttermere, Wiltshire, in 1361 (Phillips, Institutiones Clericorum, i. 54). Somewhat later he obtained from Archbishop Islip, who was also a former fellow of Merton, the provostship of Wingham, Kent. Rede is also said to have been archdeacon of Rochester (Digby MS. 216). In a petition to the pope he is called ‘Exon. clerico, sac. pagine prof.’ He was papally provided to the see of Chichester on 23 Sept. 1368, and was consecrated at Avignon (Cotton. MS. Julius, B. iii. f. 25—other authorities give the date as 11 Oct.; Le Neve, i. 243; Stubbs, Reg. Sacr. Angl. p. 58). The temporalities were restored on 9 June 1369. Rede was trier of petitions in various parliaments from 1369 to 1380. In 1376 he was one of the commissioners sent to decide the dispute between the faculty of arts and theology and the faculty of canon and civil law at Oxford (Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 107). On 10 Dec. 1377 he obtained a license to crenelate his manor-house at Amberley (Cal. Pat. Rolls, Richard II, i. 76), and the castle at that place, now in ruins, was his work. He also seems to have been at some pains to secure a proper record of the property of his see; Ashmole MS. 1146, in the Bodleian Library, which is styled ‘Liber Cicestrensis,’ contains a calendar which was prepared for him, together with other documents relating to his see. Rede is named as lending 100l. to the king on 6 March 1379 (ib. i. 635).
He died on 18 Aug. 1385, and was buried in the chancel before the high altar of Selsey church. By his will, dated 1–3 Aug. 1382, which was proved on 9 Nov. 1385, he left a chest of 100l. to the fellows of Merton and also a hundred books, and 100l. for the repair of the library; there were also bequests of ten books, 5l., and a silver cup to Balliol College, ten books, 10l., and a silver chalice to Queen's College, and a hundred books, 20l., and a silver cup to New College (for his books at New College see Hist. MSS. Comm. 2nd Rep. p. 135). He had previously, in 1374, given twenty-five books and 20l. for the repair of the library to Exeter College. The will also contains a large number of other bequests, and refers to Pope Urban and Archbishop Islip as his patrons. Rede built the library at Merton (Memorials of Merton, pp. 15–16). Leland says that his portrait in the library bore the inscription ‘Gulielmus Redæus … quondam socius istius collegii, qui hanc librariam fieri fecit.’ Godwin mentions that in his time (1615) Rede's astronomical instruments were still preserved in the library at Merton. The only one of Rede's books that is still where he placed it, is Balliol MS. 94, a copy of ‘Averroes super Aristotelis Physica.’ The Digby MSS. 176 and 216, and perhaps also Digby MS. 19, were given by Rede to Merton College; Digby MS. 176 was partly written by Rede himself, and was specially left to Merton and Exeter Colleges; some of its contents are noticed below. Digby MS. 216 is a collection of ‘Questiones’ given to Rede by his early tutor, Nicholas de Sandwych. Digby MS. 19 contains historical treatises, and was bought by Rede from the executors of Thomas Trillek; Jesus MS. 46, which contains the ‘Tabulæ,’ was formerly in Rede's possession.
Rede enjoyed great repute for his knowledge of mathematics and astronomy, or perhaps more correctly of astrology. These subjects were much studied at Merton in the fourteenth century, and among Rede's contemporaries were John Ashenden, John Mauduith [q. v.], and William Merle [q. v.] (Memorials of Merton College, p. 37). Ashenden was the most famous, and worked together with Rede; they are said to have foretold the black death from the consideration of an eclipse of the moon (Digby MS. 176, f. 9). Another friend, Simon de Bredon of Merton College, bequeathed him his lesser astrolabe (Brodrick, p. 202; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vii. 405). Rede was the author of: 1. ‘Tabulæ Astronomicæ Almanak sive Tabulæ Solis pro 4 Annis 1341–1344’ Ashmole MSS. 191 ff. 62–76, 393 iv. i.; Digby MSS. 57 f. 32, 97 ff. 5–41, 176 f. 71, 178 ff. 11–13; Magdalen College 182, and Jesus College 46). From the Digby MS. 176 it appears that the tables were calculated in 1337. 2. ‘Canones Tabularum ad Meridiem Oxon.’ Inc. ‘Volentibus pronosticare futuros effectus Planetarum’ (Ashmole MS. 191 ff. 59–61; Digby MSS. 57, 48 ff. 177–81, 92 f. 11, 97 ff. 64–71; Hertford College, 2 f. 51, Bodley MS. 2589, and Cambr. Univ. Libr. MS. Ii. 27 contain both the ‘Tabulæ’ and ‘Canones’). From Digby MS. 97 it would appear that the canons were not of Rede's own compilation; it has been suggested that they were by Nicholas of Lynn [q. v.] (Bernard, Cat. MSS. Angliæ, Bodley MS. 8538). 3. ‘Pronosticationes Eclipseos Lunæ 1345 W. Rede calculavit, Joh. Ashenden pronosticavit’ (Digby MS. 176, ff. 9–13). 4. ‘Calculation at Oxford in March 1357 of the significance of the Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in October 1365’ (Digby MS. 176, f. 34). In Digby MS. 176, f. 40, there