His father, Pierre Drelincourt, fled from Protestant persecution in Caen and became secretary to Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Duke of Bouillon at Sedan, Ardennes. In 1618, Charles undertook the charge of the French Protestant church at Langres, but failed to receive the necessary royal sanction, and early in 1620 he removed to Paris, where he was nominated minister of the Reformed Church at Charenton.
He was the author of a large number of works in devotional and polemical theology, several of which had great influence. His Catechism (Catéchisme ou instruction familière, 1652) and his Christians Defense against the Fears of Death (Consolations de l'âme fidèle contre les frayeurs de la mort, 1651) became well known in England by means of translations, which were very frequently reprinted. It has been said that Daniel Defoe wrote his fiction of Mrs Veal (A True Relation of the Apparition of Mrs Veal), who came from the other world to recommend the perusal of Drelincourt on death, for the express purpose of promoting the sale of an English translation of the Consolations; Defoe's contribution is added to the fourth edition of the translation (1706). Another popular work of his was Les Visites charitables pour toutes sortes de personnes affligés (1669). Drelincourt's controversial works were numerous. Directed entirely against Roman Catholicism, they did much to strengthen and consolidate the Protestant party in France.
He married the only daughter of a wealthy Parisien merchant. Several of his sons were distinguished as theologians or physicians. Laurent (1626-1681) became a pastor, and was the author of Sonnets chrétiens sur divers sujets (1677); Charles (1633-1697) was professor of physic at the University of Leiden, and physician to the prince of Orange; Pierre or Peter (1644-1722) was educated in Geneva, ordained a priest in the Church of Ireland, and became dean of Armagh Cathedral, where a statue stands in his memory. Peter was the ancestor of Richard Francis Burton, and his daughter was the wife of Hugh, 3rd Viscount of Primrose.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press