PYE, Henry James (1745-1813), of Faringdon, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1784 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 10 Feb. 1745, 1st s. of Henry Pye.  educ. Magdalen, Oxf. 1762.  m. (1) 1768, Mary (d. 21 Dec. 1796), da. of Col. William Hook, 2da.; (2) Nov. 1801, Martha, da. of W. Corbet, 1s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1766.

Offices Held


The Government contributed £2,500 towards Pye’s election expenses in 1784.1 He made at least fourteen speeches in Parliament: six on the militia and three on a bill which would have introduced a service of commemoration for the revolution of 1688—‘He declared he would oppose every innovation upon the liturgy of the Church of England.’2 His only known vote was for Pitt on the Regency question. He did not stand in 1790. According to John Nichols ‘the numberless expenses’ resulting from his election and parliamentary attendance ‘reduced him to the harsh, yet necessary, measure of selling his paternal estate’.

Before entering Parliament, Pye had ‘lived chiefly in the country, making only occasional visits for a few weeks to London, dividing his time between his studies, the duties of a magistrate, and the diversions of the field, to which he was remarkably attached’.3 He was best known as poet and dramatist, and was made poet laureate in 1790. Sidney Lee writes in the Dictionary of National Biography that his verses ‘move along a uniform dead level of dullness’, and quotes Sir Walter Scott’s remark that Pye was eminently respectable in everything but his poetry.

He died 11 Aug. 1813.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Geo. Rose’s secret service accounts, Royal archives, Windsor.
  • 2. Debrett, xxvi. 282.
  • 3. Nichols, Lit. Anecs, ix. 742.