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William Covell (died 1613) was an English clergyman and writer.



He was born in Chadderton, Lancashire, England, and proceeded MA at Queens' College, Cambridge in 1588.[1]

In the 1590s Covell took part in the controversy about how far the newly reformed Church of England should abandon the liturgy and hierarchy of the past, to which debate he contributed several broadly anti-puritan works. In his later career he allied himself with Archbishop John Whitgift and afterwards with his successor, Richard Bancroft, who, like Covell, was Lancashire-born.

William Covell died in 1613 at Mersham, Kent, where he was rector.


Covell's interest to modern scholars now largely depends on one polemical work published in 1595, Polimanteia.[2] In the course of this work, dedicated to the 2nd Earl of Essex, Covell briefly mentioned contemporary authors such as Thomas Nashe, Samuel Daniel and William Shakespeare.

Covell published in 1603 a religious volume which weighed in on the then-contemporary tension in the Church of England between tradition and puritanism.[3]



  1. ^ "Covell or Cowell, William (CVL580W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Polimanteia, or, The meanes lawfull and unlawfull, to judge of the fall of a common-wealth, against the frivolous and foolish conjectures of this age, whereunto is added, a letter from England to her three daughters, Cambridge, Oxford, innes of court, and to all the rest of her inhabitants: perswading them to a constant unitie of what religion soever they are, for the defence of our dread soveraigne, and native cuntry: most requisite for this time wherein wee now live.
  3. ^ A Just and Temperate Defence of the Five Books of “Ecclesiastical Polity” Written by Richard Hooker: Against an Uncharitable “Letter of Certain English Protestants” (As They Term Themselves) “Craving Resolution, in Some Matters of Doctrine, Which Seem to Overthrow the Foundation of Religion, and the Church Amongst Us”