He was educated at Oxford, became vicar of Evesham, Worcestershire, and probably in 1604 became rector of St. Matthew's Church, Friday street, London. He was then chaplain to Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (died 1612), later chaplain to King James I, who, in 1616, appointed him bishop of Bangor. He was an ardent Puritan.
Bayly's fame rests on his book The Practice of Piety, directing a Christian how to walk that he may please God (date of first edition unknown; 3d edition, London, 1613; reprinted as ISBN 1-877611-66-2). It reached its 74th edition in 1821 and has been translated into French, German, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Hungarian, Romansh, Welsh, and into the language of the Massachusetts Indians. In The Netherlands it became the best sold reformed book of the 17th century. The Hungarian translation was by the puritan pastor and theologian Pál Medgyesi, first published in Debrecen in 1636. It was one of the two books which John Bunyan's wife brought with her—the other one being Arthur Dent's Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven (ISBN 1-877611-69-7)—and it was by reading it that Bunyan was first spiritually awakened.
Family and descendants
Bayly married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Bagenal. Their son Nicholas Bayly represented Newry in the Irish House of Commons. Nicholas's son Edward Bayly was created a Baronet in 1730. His grandson Henry Bayly succeeded as 10th Baron Paget in 1769 and assumed the surname of Paget in 1770. He was made Earl of Uxbridge in 1784. His eldest son, Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge gained fame at the Battle of Waterloo and was created Marquess of Anglesey (see this article for more information on the Bayly and Paget families). Lewis Bayly died in October 1631.
- A biographical is prefixed to the Practice of Piety, London, 1842
- A. á Wood, Athenae Oxonienses, ed. P. Bliss, ii, 525-531, 4 vols., London, 1813–20
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.
- The Practice of Piety: Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library