William Payne was born in Hutton, Essex and died in London on 20 February 1696. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1669 and MA in 1672. He was a Fellow of Magdalene (1671–5) until he married. From 1673 to 1681 he was in charge of the parishes of Frinstead and Wormshill in Kent. His early interest in experimental philosophy led to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1681. But, according to his friend and executor, Joseph Powell, he gave up such studies and ‘wholly applied himself’ to his duties as a pastor when, also in 1681, he moved to London to become rector of Whitechapel. He established a reputation as a preacher and in 1689 he proceeded DD. In the same year he was appointed to the lectureship at the Poultry church in the city of London and became chaplain in ordinary to William and Mary.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.