Synge, Edward (c.1614–1678), clergyman, was baptised 14 August 1614 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England, second son of Richard Synge, tanner, and bailiff of Bridgnorth, and his wife Alice Rowley of Rowley, Shropshire. The original family name was Millington; it was apparently changed due to the singing abilities of the family. Synge came to Ireland at the suggestion of his elder brother George, Church of Ireland dean of Dromore and later bishop of Cloyne (1638–41), and was educated in Drogheda and at TCD, where he graduated MA.
Ordained into the Church of Ireland, he was appointed rector of Killary in Meath (1638–60) and Drumully in Clogher (1640–60), and prebendary of Aghadowny, Co. Londonderry (1640–61). At some point he married Barbara Latham (d. 22 December 1677) of New Place, Co. Londonderry; they had at least three sons and five daughters. Noted as a preacher, Synge was chaplain general to the royalist forces in Leinster during the 1640s, and in July 1647 was one of a number of Dublin clergymen to sign a declaration stating their adherence to the Book of Common Prayer. Synge was appointed as a minor canon of St Patrick's cathedral (1647–60), and as vicar of Lusk, Co. Dublin (1648–61), and Inishannon, Co. Cork (1648–61), dean of Elphin (1648–60), and archdeacon of Cloyne (1648–61). Soon after, he may have been appointed chancellor of Christ Church cathedral by James Butler (qv), marquess of Ormond, but this remains uncertain. However, the potential privileges of these positions were offset by the parlous condition of the Church of Ireland at this time. After 1647 Synge had removed himself to his benefice in Donegal and spent most of the 1650s there. However, he occasionally ministered to Richard Boyle (qv), 2nd earl of Cork. He remained an episcopalian, continuing to use the Book of Common Prayer in the north-west throughout the 1650s. This prompted numerous complaints, but an association with Robert Gorges (qv), clerk of the Irish council, ensured that these were disregarded.
Synge enjoyed good relations with many figures in the ruling elites of Ireland during the interregnum and after the restoration, a fact testified to by his plethora of appointments. His eldest son, Samuel, married a daughter of Archbishop Michael Boyle (qv). In 1660 Edward Synge was nominated to serve on the presidency council of Munster, and on 6 August 1660 was nominated as bishop of Limerick, being consecrated on 27 January 1661; he held the see in tandem with that of Ardfert and Aghadoe. In 1661 he also graduated DD from TCD. Of the ten bishops and two archbishops appointed in 1660, Synge was one of only three who had served in Ireland during the 1650s. In his new position, he was involved in a dispute with Ormond over the ownership of church lands in Limerick. On 21 December 1663 Synge was made bishop of Cork. As with his previous post, he held the sees in tandem. Synge's elder brother, George, who held Cloyne prior to 1641, had been ordered by the then viceroy, Thomas Wentworth (qv), earl of Strafford, to regain diocesan lands lost to figures such as Richard Boyle (qv), 1st earl of Cork, since the sixteenth century. The see was divided in two to facilitate this, but little progress was made prior to 1641; consequently more lands were lost during the interregnum, and the sees were reunited after the restoration. Throughout the 1660s Synge embarked on what became an acrimonious campaign via the acts of settlement and explanation, and the exchequer court, to regain these lands. A good relationship with the Boyle interest ensured that Roger Boyle (qv), earl of Orrery, acted as arbitrator in a number of the ensuing disputes. Synge's exertions were strongly opposed by Murrough O'Brien (qv), earl of Inchiquin, who now occupied some of the holdings; indeed, at one point Inchiquin's men assaulted Synge's son George. However, he succeeded in obtaining much of the outstanding diocesan land; by 1668 his income was calculated at £1,400, and in 1677 he was still receiving leases under the terms of the act of explanation.
In October 1675 Synge was appointed to a commission dealing with the outstanding arrears of the ’49 officers. He died 22 December 1678, and after his death the sees were divided. In 1679 Synge's eldest son Samuel attempted to transfer diocesan lands into the possession of the family, but in 1697 this was contested and reversed by the then bishop of Cloyne, Edward Jones. Two of Synge's sons entered the Church of Ireland: Samuel became dean of Kildare, and Edward (qv) enjoyed a distinguished career as archbishop of Tuam.