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John Covel

1638-1722. Also, “John Colvill.” Anglican scholar. Educated at the grammar school at Bury St. Edmunds and graduated from Cambridge in 1658, he was for the next decade chaplain at the British Embassy in Constantinople. At the request of some of his colleagues he investigated the Greek Church, especially to see whether it held the doctrine of transubstantiation. In 1681 he was appointed chaplain to the Princess of Orange, but the discovery of a letter criticizing the prince led to his dismissal. In 1687 he was elected master of Christ's College, Cambridge. Though William III was friendly when he came to Cambridge and Covel was vice-chancellor, saying that he could distinguish “between Dr. Covel and the Vice-Chancellor,” nevertheless the earlier incident probably prevented further preferment. His account of the Greek Church was not published until 1722, and by that time interest in the subject had waned.