He was born at Abergavenny, 1609, the son of Thomas Symonds, and very probably a relative of the Nicodemus Symonds who was one of the chief citizens. He went to Exeter College, Oxford, matriculating in 1627, graduating B.A. in 1629. Baxter says that Symonds about 1635 kept school in Shrewsbury, that he himself was one of his pupils, that the master gave harbour to Walter Cradock when he had to leave Wrexham. In 1638-9 many Puritans, including Symonds, found refuge at Brampton Bryan with Sir Robert Harley and his wife Brilliana. When the Civil War broke out, he is heard of at Bristol, also preaching at Andover, and for a time holding the living of Sandwich in Kent. In 1646 Parliament resolved to make an effort to evangelize South Wales, and for that purpose sent three missionaries there — Henry Walter, Walter Cradock, and Richard Symonds — all three to preach in Welsh, all three to have £100 per annum out of the lands of the disendowed dean and chapter. On 30 September 1646 and 26 April 1648 Symonds was asked to preach before the House of Commons; in 1650 he was named as one of the twenty-five approvers under the Propagation Act. His sphere of activity, both as preacher and approver, lay mainly in Glamorgan, and little is heard of him until in 1657 the ‘Triers’ appointed him as ‘lecturer’ in the cathedral church of Llandaff. There (according to a manuscript in the Bodleian library), he paid £550 for part of the lands that once belonged to the bishop. Though Symonds was one of the more prominent Puritan names during the wars and the Propagation period, one cannot escape the conclusion that he sank into comparative obscurity in the latter days of the Republic, and d. before 1660; at least, not a word is heard of him after the Restoration.
Published date: 1959
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