PYE, Sir Robert (c.1622-1701), of Faringdon, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1622, 1st s. of Sir Robert Pye† of Westminster by Mary, da. and coh. of John Croker of Batsford, Glos. m. c.1641 (with £2,000), Anne (d. Nov. 1701), da. of John Hampden† of Great Hampden, Bucks., 3s. 2da. Kntd. by 1642; suc. fa 1662.1
Capt. of horse (parliamentary) 1642, col. 1644-7.2
Commr. for militia, Berks. 1648, ?Mar. 1660, j.p. 1651-83, 1689-d., capt. of militia horse Apr. 1660, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-83, 1689-d.; commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-80, Westminster 1663-80, Berks. and Westminster 1689-90, recusants 1675.3
Equerry ?May 1660-at least 1670.4
Pye was descended from an ancient Herefordshire gentry family that first produced an MP in 1597. His father, a younger son who became an Exchequer official, bought Faringdon in 1623. Originally a client of Buckingham’s, he was a lukewarm Parliamentarian during the Civil War until secluded at Pride’s Purge; but he continued to hold office during the Interregnum. Pye himself, as befitted the son-in-law of Hampden ‘the patriot’, was more active, serving as a cavalry officer throughout the Civil War, and holding local office under Commonwealth and Protectorate. In January 1660 he presented the Berkshire petition for the return of the secluded Members, and was sent to the Tower. He defiantly sued out a writ of habeas corpus, but was not released until the overthrow of the Rump.5
Pye’s stand doubtless commended him to the Berkshire electors, and as a leading Presbyterian Royalist he was elected to the Convention. However, he was an inactive Member, being named to only nine committees, including that to prepare the bill for the abolition of the court of wards. On 8 May he was given leave to attend the King, who gave him a post in the stables. His later committees included those on the bills for disbanding the army and for settling the establishment of Dunkirk. He is not known to have stood again in this period. On succeeding to an estate of £2,000 p.a. he was granted a warrant for a baronetcy, but no patent passed the seals, and neither he nor his issue assumed the title. As equerry, he was exempted from restrictions on travel imposed on former officers of the parliamentary army during the second Dutch war, nor did the King lend much credence to accusations after the Rye House Plot, though he was disarmed and removed from local office. In December 1688 he came in to William of Orange at Hungerford. He was reappointed j.p. and deputy lieutenant after the Revolution and in 1690, after an interval of thirty years, stood again for the county. He was buried at Faringdon on 28 Dec. 1701. The next member of the family to enter Parliament was his grandson, who sat for Berkshire as a Tory from 1746 to 1766.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Vis. Glos. (Harl. Soc. xxi), 48; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 270.
- 2. E. Peacock, Army Lists, 52.
- 3. Parl. Intell. 2 Apr. 1660.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1670, p. 292.
- 5. DNB; Her. and Gen. v. 132; G. E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 311-12, 381; Keeler, Long Parl. 317; HMC Popham, 144.
- 6. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 599; 1670, p. 292; July-Sept. 1683, pp. 312, 334, 338, 434; Salisbury Cathedral Lib., Bp.