DYOTT, Richard (1667-1719), of Freeford, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 9 May 1667, o. s. and h. of Richard Dyott† by 1st w. Katherine, da. of Thomas Gresley of Lullington, Derbys. m. 20 Sept. 1685, Frances (d. 1702), da. of William Inge of Thorpe Constantine, Staffs. and sis. of William Inge†, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. 1677.1
Member, soc. of loyal youths (bellringers), Lichfield 1686, alderman 1689, senior bailiff 1695, 1699, 1715; asst. linen corp. 1690; trustee, Lichfield Conduit Lands 1700–d.2
The Dyott family had represented Lichfield in Parliament for most of the 17th century, Dyott’s father sitting in the Cavalier House of Commons. They owed their influence to the close proximity of their main residence at Freeford, two miles to the south of the borough. Nothing is known of Richard’s education, but he probably lived locally for in 1686 he was a founder member of a society of bellringers, the ‘loyal youths’, and a year later subscribed £5 to recast the bells, a fund for which he acted as receiver. He was present at a meeting of gentry on 29 Nov. 1688 which considered how to act in the invasion crisis and on 4 Dec. signed an address to James II asking for the removal of all non-qualified officers from civil and military posts. On 28 May 1689 he was chosen as alderman of the city, which entailed regular attendance at council meetings when not in London on parliamentary business. He stood for Lichfield in the election of 1690 with the intention of turning out Sir Michael Biddulph, 2nd Bt.*, a feat he easily accomplished in partnership with the other outgoing Member, Robert Burdett*, and no doubt also with the support of the majority on the corporation. At that election he was already accorded the title ‘captain’, due to the leadership of the city’s trained bands, which he inherited from his father.3
From the outset of his parliamentary career Dyott was a stalwart of the Church, as befitted a man who had been baptized by Bishop Hackett. On a list of the 1690 Parliament, the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Tory and probably as a supporter of the Court. In the first session of the Parliament he was named to one drafting committee before receiving leave of absence to go into the country on 17 Apr. In the following 1690–1 session he acted as a teller on 26 Nov. against the committal of the bill for reducing interest. On a list of December 1690 he was marked by Carmarthen as a supporter, possibly in connexion with a projected attack on the minister himself and in April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Court party supporter. In the 1691–2 session he was appointed to two drafting committees, both on 31 Oct., but his parliamentary activities were curtailed on 19 Dec. when he was given leave of absence for three weeks to attend his sick wife. He had returned by 15 Jan. 1692, for on that day he seconded a motion by Biddulph that the dean of St. Paul’s be requested to preach to the House. In the 1692–3 session he acted as a teller on three occasions: on 28 Jan. against giving a second reading to the Lords’ triennial bill; on 10 Feb. against granting leave of absence to Granado Pigot*; and on 15 Feb. against a bill to prevent the decay of trade in cities and market towns. On Grascome’s list of spring 1693, extended to 1695, he was listed as a Court supporter and a placeman, but this may have confused him with a namesake, who was a Middlesex j.p. and later a stamp commissioner. Certainly, his support was contingent on the ministry retaining a significant Tory element, as was revealed in the Staffordshire by-election of October 1693, when he signed a circular letter backing the candidature of Sir Walter Bagot, 3rd Bt.*, against the more Court-inclined Hon. Henry Paget*. Dyott appears to have been less active in the 1693–4 session, serving as a teller only once, on 16 Jan. 1694, against an amendment to the land tax bill, to limit the assessment on masters of colleges to £30. In the last session of the 1690 Parliament he reported from committee on 9 Mar. 1695 a bill from the Lords relating to Lord Brooke’s (Fulke Greville†) estates in Shropshire. On 20 Mar. he was granted leave of absence for three weeks.4
In the 1695 election at Lichfield, Dyott may have stood down in favour of Biddulph and Burdett in order to serve himself as senior bailiff of the corporation, and hence as returning officer. However, he was returned in 1698, and survived a petition from his opponent. On a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments he was marked as a Court supporter, although on a supplementary list this opinion was amended by a query. Inside the chamber he was named to two drafting committees, presenting one of the resultant bills, to encourage the apprehension of felons, on 24 Feb. 1699, but thereafter leaving its management to Thomas Brotherton*. He received leave of absence on 6 Apr. In the following session he was granted leave of absence for a fortnight on 26 Feb. 1700. He faced a strong challenge at Lichfield in the election of January 1701, despite joining forces with Biddulph and receiving unequivocal backing from the corporation. In a remarkably close contest, only 29 votes separated Dyott, who topped the poll, from Biddulph at the bottom. The defeated candidate on each side petitioned without success, although it was thought likely at one point that William Walmisley* would be unseated and a new election ordered. To cover such a contingency Dyott made clear his support for Biddulph, who had promised that he would ‘always vote with Dyott’, much to the chagrin of local Tories, who favoured putting up Thomas Coke*. Dyott’s name appears on a list of February 1701 as a likely supporter of the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. On 19 May he showed his Tory principles by moving to have Restoration Day, 29 May, ‘observed’ by the House and a sermon appointed, insisting that he was acting according to statute. However, no one seconded the motion. At the election of November 1701 there seems to have been no opposition to his return, again in partnership with Biddulph. His general political stance is clear from Robert Harley’s analysis of the new Parliament, which classed him as a Tory. He was named to a drafting committee, relating to Greenwich Hospital, and on 26 Feb. 1702 he supported the motion vindicating the proceedings of the Commons over the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers.5
The agreement between Dyott and Biddulph held firm at Lichfield in 1702, when both were returned, despite Sir Henry Gough* forcing a poll. Dyott does not seem to have been active in the early part of this session and he was granted a month’s leave on 16 Dec. following the death of his wife. In the following session he was ordered to attend the Commons, following his absence from a call on 22 Nov. 1703, and was present by 15 Dec., when he was nominated to a drafting committee on an estate bill. In the following session he was forecast as likely to vote for the Tack and did so on 28 Nov. 1704. He was named to draft six bills, including three estate bills and the bill allowing Sir Michael Biddulph to compound his debts with the Treasury. He duly presented the three estate bills and reported one of them from committee. At the 1705 election he was elected unopposed, although he changed partners, being returned this time with Gough. On an analysis of the new Parliament he was classed as ‘True Church’, probably because of his attitude towards the Tack. His consistent Toryism was underlined by his vote against the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705. He appears to have been less active in this session, being appointed to two drafting committees, including a measure for the better regulation of Lichfield cathedral. In 1707–8 he was nominated to draft two bills, including a measure for the maintenance of a minister in Tettenhall parish, Staffordshire, and also to one inquiry committee. On a list of early 1708 he appeared as a Tory.6
Dyott did not stand at the 1708 election, but was very prominent in the run-up to the 1710 election, escorting a triumphant Dr Sacheverell around the county in his coach. With the endorsement of the High Church champion, Dyott topped the poll at Lichfield and was duly classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’. He appeared in the first session of the Parliament among the ‘Tory patriots’ opposed to the continuance of the war, and the ‘worthy patriots’ who helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. After being named to a drafting committee (a Biddulph estate bill) on 19 Mar. 1711, he was granted leave of absence for a month. In the following session he acted as a teller on 4 Apr. 1712 against a clause in the bill for preventing the fraudulent multiplication of votes in elections, which sought to save the rights of Quakers to the franchise. He does not appear to have been active in the 1713 session, and did not register a vote on the controversial French commerce bill.7
Dyott was returned unopposed at the 1713 election and was again classed as a Tory, this time on the Worsley list. Although defeated at the 1715 election he remained in the commission of the peace despite attempts by Lord Uxbridge (Henry Paget) to have him removed by branding him as a flagrant Jacobite. He did not live to fight another election in the Tory cause, his burial taking place at St. Mary’s, Lichfield on 13 May 1719.8
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Erdeswick, Staffs. 310; Staffs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxiii), 77; Burke, Commoners, ii. 425–6; T. Harwood, Hist. and Antiq. Lichfield, 464.
- 2. Harwood, 71, 430–1; Lichfield RO, D77/5/1, p. 26; Sel. Charters, 213; P. Laithwaite, Hist. Lichfield Conduit Lands Trust, 80.
- 3. Shaw, Staffs. i. 359; Harwood, 68, 71; Wm. Salt Lib. (Stafford), Bagot mss D1721/3/291; Harl. 7001, f. 350; CSP Dom. 1693, p. 148.
- 4. Erdeswick, 310; Luttrell Diary, 130.
- 5. Lichfield RO, D77/5/1, pp. 59v, 101; HMC Cowper, ii. 419, 424–5; Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590 C9/9, Ld. Stanhope to ‘my Ld.’, 26 Apr. .
- 6. Cocks Diary, 136–7.
- 7. Add. 70421, newsletters 20, 22, 27 June 1710; Glos. RO, Hardwicke Ct. mss, Lloyd pprs. box 74, Dan. Tollie to Dr Lloyd, 8 July 1710.
- 8. L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 245, 250; Harwood, 476.