Peter Mews
Bishop of Winchester
Portrait by Michael Dahl
ChurchChurch of England
Term ended1706
PredecessorGeorge Morley
SuccessorJonathan Trelawny
Consecration9 February 1673
by Gilbert Sheldon
Personal details
Born(1619-03-25)25 March 1619
Died9 November 1706(1706-11-09) (aged 87)
Farnham Castle, Surrey, England
BuriedWinchester Cathedral
ResidenceFarnham Castle (as Bishop of Winchester)
ParentsElisha Mews & Elizabeth Winniffe
SpouseMary Baylie
Previous post(s)Archdeacon of Huntingdon (1649–1666)
canon of Windsor (1662–1673)
Archdeacon of Berkshire (1665–1673)
President of St John's College, Oxford (5 August 1667–1673)
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University (1669–1673)
Dean of Rochester (1670–1673)
Bishop of Bath and Wells (19 December 1672 {elected}–November 1684)
Alma materSt John's College, Oxford
Ordination history of
Peter Mews
Diaconal ordination
Ordained byRobert Skinner (Oxford)
Date14 January 1645
PlaceChapel, Trinity College, Oxford
Priestly ordination
Datec. 1646
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorGilbert Sheldon
Co-consecratorsHumphrey Henchman
John Dolben
Anthony Sparrow
Isaac Barrow
Peter Gunning
Nathaniel Crew
John Pritchett
Date9 February 1673

Peter Mews (25 March 1619 – 9 November 1706) was an English Royalist theologian and bishop. He was a captain captured at Naseby and he later had discussions in Scotland for the Royalist cause. Later made a bishop he would report on non-conformist families.


Mews was born at Caundle Purse in Dorset, and was educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, London, and at St John's College, Oxford, of which he was scholar and fellow.[2]

When the Civil War broke out in 1642, Mews joined the Royalist army, and, having been made a captain, was taken prisoner at Naseby; but he was soon released and in 1648 sought refuge in Holland. He became friendly with King Charles I's secretary, Sir Edward Nicholas, and being skilful at disguising himself was very useful to the Royalists during the rule of Oliver Cromwell, undertaking two journeys to Scotland in 1653. In August of that year, his friend Nicholas applied to Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, to use her influence to get Mews a post as reader in philosophy at the Orange College of Breda, but had a reply from Hyde that the place called for a man "that hath not bene a truant from his bookes".[3]

Before this Mews had been ordained. Taking the degree of DCL and regaining his fellowship at Oxford after the Restoration, he became Archdeacon of Huntingdon, vicar of St Mary's, Reading, and chaplain to the King; then, having obtained two other livings, he was made canon of Windsor, canon of St David's, and Archdeacon of Berkshire (1665–1672).[citation needed]

In 1667, when at Breda arranging peace between England and the Dutch Republic, he was chosen President of St John's College, Oxford, in succession to his father-in-law, Richard Baylie, afterwards becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford[4] and dean of Rochester. He was appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1672. He used his position to report on well-to-do non-conformist families. He gave Mary Speke and her family particular attention.[5]

Mews resigned his presidency at Oxford University in 1673, and in 1684 he was elected Bishop of Winchester, a position which this "old, honest cavalier," as Thomas Hearne calls him, filled until his death. The bishop is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Mews lent his carriage horses to pull the cannon at a critical moment during the Battle of Sedgemoor, where he was wounded whilst accompanying the royal army. He was, however, in sympathy with the Seven Bishops, and was only prevented by illness from attending their meeting; and as visitor of Magdalen College, Oxford, he supported the fellows in their resistance to James II, admitted their nominee, John Hough, to the presidency, and restored the ejected fellows in October 1688.[citation needed]

He took the oaths to William III and Mary II in 1689. In the absence of Henry Compton, Bishop of London, Mews took the chief part at the consecration of John Tillotson as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1691.[citation needed]

A portrait is displayed in the Great Hall of the 15th-century manor house, Athelhampton Hall, known as Athelhampton House, just a few miles outside Dorchester in Dorset. There is another portrait in the Bishop's Palace Wells.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Mews, Peter (1645–1699) (CCEd Person ID 7205)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  2. ^ Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, Mascall-Meyrick
  3. ^ William Holden Hutton, "Mews, Peter", in Dictionary of National Biography (1885-1900), volume 37
  4. ^ "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  5. ^ Zook, Melinda S. (2013), Zook, Melinda S. (ed.), "A Dangerous Woman: Mary Speke, her Family, and the Puritan Gentry", Protestantism, Politics, and Women in Britain, 1660–1714, Early Modern History: Society and Culture, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 58–91, doi:10.1057/9781137303202_3, ISBN 978-1-137-30320-2, retrieved 5 May 2021

Further reading


Academic offices Preceded byRichard Baylie President of St John's College, Oxford 1667–1673 Succeeded byWilliam Levinz Preceded byJohn Fell Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University 1669–1673 Succeeded byRalph Bathurst Church of England titles Preceded byNathaniel Hardy Dean of Rochester 1670–1673 Succeeded byThomas Lamplugh Preceded byRobert Creighton Bishop of Bath and Wells 1673–1684 Succeeded byThomas Ken Preceded byGeorge Morley Bishop of Winchester 1684–1706 Succeeded byJonathan Trelawny