BYDE, Sir Thomas (1628-1704), of Ware Park, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



3 Feb. - 6 Feb. 1673
11 Feb. 1673
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 3 Mar. 1628, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Bide, Brewer, of Shoreditch, Mdx. by Dorothy Wright. m. (1) 5 Aug. 1646, Mary (d. 1694), da. of John Skynner, attorney, of Hitchin, Herts., 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 5da.; (2) 30 July 1694, Susannah, da. of Robert Grindell, MD, 1da. Kntd. 8 Apr. 1661; suc. fa. 1665.1

Offices Held

J.p. Mdx. 1654-62, 1666-81, 1689- d. , Essex 1657-?59, 1662-66, Herts. 1669-81, 1687-?Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688- d. , Hertford 1687; commr. for militia, Tower Hamlets Mar. 1660, oyer and terminer Mdx. July 1660-at least 1673, assessment Mdx. Aug. 1660-80, Essex 1664-9, Herts. 1673-80, Herts. and Mdx. 1689-90; sheriff, Herts. 1669-70, col. of militia ft. Tower Hamlets by 1669-bef. 1680; commr. for recusants, Mdx. 1675; dep. lt. Herts. 1689- d. 2

Gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) July 1660, (ordinary) 1670-85.3


Byde’s father was master of the Brewers’ Company in 1643-4 and became alderman of London in 1645. Presumably a Presbyterian, he was replaced after the execution of the King, and served on one of the juries in the trials of the regicides. ‘Alderman Byde’s beer’ enjoyed an enviable reputation among epicures, such as Samuel Pepys, even after he died of the plague. Byde, however, who had already been knighted in the coronation honours, did not carry on the business for long, and in 1668 bought Ware Park from (Sir) Thomas Fanshawe for £26,000, thereby acquiring a strong interest at Hertford. He was granted arms in 1669, and obtained a post in the privy chamber, to obtain exemption from jury service, as he ingenuously admitted. But this rebounded on his own head when he became involved in a dispute over fishing rights with a purveyor, who brought him before the board of Green Cloth. He was returned for the borough at the first vacancy, re-elected after the lord chancellor’s writs were declared void, and sat without interruption till 1690, but he was not an active Member. In the Cavalier Parliament he was appointed to 19 committees and made four speeches. In the debate on grievances of 17 Mar. 1673 he informed the House of a soldier forcibly removed from the sessions at Hertford by his officer. On 29 Jan. 1674 he was among those appointed to bring in a bill to prevent abuses in the sale of coal, wood and corn, and to consider the bill against illegal imprisonment, after which he obtained an order for the officers of the board of Green Cloth to explain why he had been committed and detained. The matter was referred to a committee, which failed to report before the session ended. Sir Richard Wiseman noted him as ‘past cure’ in 1676 and Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’. Barillon described as ‘very rich and in great credit’; but he did not refuse a reward of 300 guineas for his services to the French. In the first Exclusion Parliament he was again listed as ‘worthy’. He was appointed only to two unimportant committees, but he voted for the bill. In the second general election of 1679 he was unsuccessful for the county, but retained his borough seat after a poll. Together with Sir William Cowper he organized the Whig petition from Hertfordshire against the delay in assembling the second Exclusion Parliament; but when it met he again served on only two committees, one of which was to take the disbandment accounts. He was probably unopposed in 1681, but in the Oxford Parliament he was named only to the committee of elections and privileges.4

Byde was among the few Whigs who retained their seats in 1685. He was moderately active in James II’s Parliament, serving on the committee for expiring laws and two others. His reappointment to the commission of the peace in 1687 failed to reconcile him to the regime. He must have been removed for opposition to the repeal of the Tests and the Penal Laws, for he was again restored after the landing of William of Orange. Although listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, he left no other trace on the records of the Convention, and was defeated at the general elections of 1690 and 1695. He was buried at Ware on 23 Jan. 1704. The next member of the family to enter Parliament was his great-grandson, who was elected for Hertfordshire in 1761 with the dissenters’ support.

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Soc. of Genealogists, Boyd’s London Units 14238; Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 297; Herts. Par. Reg. ii. 109; R. L. Hines, Hist. Hitchin , i. 52.
  • 2. Mdx. RO, MJP/CP5a; CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 257; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 43.
  • 3. LC3/2; Carlisle, Privy Chamber , 185.
  • 4. State Trials, v. 1177; Pepys Diary, 17 Aug. 1667; Smith’s Obituary (Cam. Soc. xliv), 67; Fanshawe Mems. 208; Grey, ii. 130, 367, 378; CJ, ix. 303; Dalrymple, Mems. i. 382; Dom. Intell. 5 Sept. 1679; HMC Lindsey, 30.