Thomas H. Reynolds, 1830 - 1930

Notes from the "History of the Brethren" by Napoleon Noel. Vol. 1 pp. 100-103.

Thomas H. Reynolds was born in March 1830 at Burford, Oxfordshire, where he lived until the time of his death in February 1930, one month short of his hundredth birthday. At the death of his father, he, having inherited his business [brewing, F.W.] took charge of it, but on the death of his mother, he sold it, but remained in the employ of the local gas company as secretary. In his childhood he attended the services of the Established Church where, however, the congregation was somewhat evangelical. The minister, being a godly man and possessing light, brought the true believers in prayer meetings and issued identification tickets to them, his purpose being to prevent unsaved people from participating in the Communion. When this evangelically inclined minister was succeeded by one who was termed "high and dry", a secession followed and the Evangelicals assembled in various private homes, dividing themselves into three companies in order not to contravene the Coventicle Act, which was still in force and made the assembling together of twenty or more persons for religious services illegal, unless they belonged to a recognised sect. One of their number, Mr. William Tuckwell (Mr. Reynolds' uncle) used to read the sermon from time to time in these assemblies, and ultimately minister the word to them. While Mr. Reynolds was absent in London, one of the "early" brethren, Mr. George Page of Cheltenham, hearing in his travels of this community at Burford, visited them, with the result that they came into fellowship with the "Brethren".

Mr. Reynolds became connected with "brethren" in his youth and would relate how after the divergence of 1848, he gathered with a company of those who met in separation from the Open Brethren in a small room over a bible truth depot at Bristol. When Mr. Darby returned to England after a season of labour for the Lord on the Continent of Europe, he met with them in this room, and speaking on Matt. 18:20 strengthened and edified them and said to them, "If we have lost our brethren, we still have the Lord".

Mr. Reynolds was a diligent student of Scripture, acquainted with the Hebrew as well as the Greek, and often contributed to magazines, notably to "A Voice to the Faithful" edited by J.B. Stoney. Latterly he was unable to attend conferences, but he continued ministering in his assembly locally, until within three or four years of his decease in his hundredth year.

Dr. Reynolds, his great nephew, has given a few extra details about T.H.R. which are interesting. According to him, T.H.R. studied to be a solicitor but gave this up to pursue the Lord's interests. He also gave up the family brewing business for the same reason. He had a small-holding which enabled him to earn a living. T.H.R. travelled in Germany, France and Britain, ministering the Word of God. His prayers were answered when he did not live to be one hundred years of age. He did not want all the attention that such an age attracted. Dr. Reynolds remembers T.H.R. as a very old gentleman, so kind and gracious, and like Christ in his ways. T.H.R. was responsible for gas being installed in the village where he lived, and the inhabitants were grateful to him for this boon. No doubt his position as secretary in the gas company would be used to secure this advantage for the village.

T.H. Reynolds' name will always be associated with the Little Flock Hymn Book. In 1903 he revised Mr. Darby's edition of 1881, which edition was used by many brethren until the revision of 1978.

Mr. Reynolds' hymns in 'Spiritual Songs' are:

53 Blest God and Father in Thy sight

59 O God, Thou hast engaged our hearts

233 Jesus, Lord, we come together

372 Saved for glory! Yes, for glory!

All these hymns were well loved and used by those who used T.H. Reynolds' 1903 revision. They are still popular. Nos. 53, 59 and 233 are among the best sung at the breaking of bread by those who used the 1903 edition and now use the 1978 edition of the Little Flock Hymn Book.

Hymns by Thomas H. Reynolds