WYCHE, Sir Cyril (c.1632-1707), of Gray's Inn, Westminster and Flanchford, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1632, 2nd s. of Sir Peter Wyche (d.1643) of London by Jane, da. of Sir William Meredith of Stansley, Denb. educ. Westminster 1649; Christ Church, Oxf. 1650, BA 1653, MA 1655; G. Inn 1657, called 1670. m. (1) lic. 2 Aug. 1663, ‘aged 23’, Elizabeth (d.1678), da. of Sir Thomas Jermyn† of Rushbrooke, Suff., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) lic. 29 July 1684, Susanna (d.1690), da. of Sir Francis Norreys of Weston on the Green, Oxon., wid. of (Sir) Herbert Perrott of Wellington. Herefs., s.p.; (3) 2 May 1692 (with £6,300), Mary (d. 11 Dec. 1723), da. of George Evelyn I of Wotton, Surr., s.p. Kntd. 16 May 1660.1
Six clerk in Chancery 1662-75; sec. to ld. lt. [I] 1676-85, 1692-3; PC [I] 1676-?85, 1692-d.; member, R. Fishery Co. 1677; gent. of the privy chamber 1690-1702; one of the lds. justices [I] 1693-5; commr. for forfeited estates [I] 1700.2
Commr. for assessment, Mdx. 1664-74, Westminster 1664-80, Surr. 1667-74, Norf. and Westminster 1690-d.; j.p. Surr. 1666-?86, Westminster 1689-d., Norf. by 1701-d.; commr. for recusants, Cornw. Mar.-May 1675.
FRS 1663, pres. 1683-4.
MP [I] 1692-3.
Wyche came from a Cheshire family which received a grant of arms in 1587. His grandfather became a London Skinner, and his father served as ambassador to the Porte for eleven years. Returning home ‘blessed with a large and plentiful fortune’, he was one of Charles I’s securities for a major loan from the East India Company. On royal advice he purchased from Sir Thomas Jermyn the post of comptroller of the Household for £7,000, and died at Oxford during the Civil War.3
Wyche himself was born at Constantinople and named after the Greek patriarch, who baptized him. He was knighted at The Hague in 1660, no doubt at the instance of his brother-in-law, the Earl of Bath, who had played a notable part in the Restoration. A few months later he inherited most of his mother’s fortune. He was returned for Callington on the interest of John Coryton I at the general election of 1661, the first of his family to sit, but he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to 41 committees. He took no part in the Clarendon Code, his most important committee in the earlier sessions being on the bill to restrain abuses in the sale of offices and honours. Meanwhile he had become one of the six clerks in Chancery, and strengthened his court connexions by marrying Jermyn’s daughter. He was listed as a court dependant in 1664. While his elder brother was reduced to serving as a volunteer with the Portuguese army, Wyche was able to purchase a Surrey estate from the heirs of John Hele for £8,400. He was on both lists of the court party in 1669-71 as a dependant, and in the latter year took the chair for a private bill promoted by a Westminster neighbour, the mother of George Clarke. His name again appeared on the Paston list of court supporters in 1673-4.4
Wyche resigned from Chancery in 1675, and sold his Surrey property soon afterwards, building for himself a much grander town house in St. James’s Square. On the working lists he was included among the men ‘doubted by Sir Richard Wiseman’ and ‘to be remembered’. Bath accordingly recommended him to the Earl of Essex, lord lieutenant of Ireland, who appointed him as his secretary in August 1676. Wiseman could now include him more confidently among the government supporters, to be made sure of by Bath and Lord Arundell of Trerice (Richard Arundell). In the following January Wyche crossed over to England with Lord Richard Butler for the parliamentary sessions. He was appointed to the committee for the liberty of the subject, and to two committees of local interest, those to consider a petition from the inhabitants of St. Martin in the Fields and to establish a ‘court of conscience’ for Westminster. He was teller against the adjournment of the debate on supply on 10 Apr. 1677, and was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He reported regularly to Essex on parliamentary proceedings during this session, particularly in connexion with the ban on Irish cattle imports. When Essex was dismissed in May he succeeded in transferring to the service of his successor, the Duke of Ormonde, who however refused to recommend him for a pension:
I believe him a very honest gentleman and a modest man; but his pressing me so hard for £500 p.a. is no argument for it, but a strong one that he loves the sum.
Danby, deeply committed to the Irish revenue schemes of Lord Ranelagh (Richard Jones), came to include Wyche among his enemies, and Shaftesbury altered his assessment to ‘worthy’. Like Henry Savile, Wyche probably voted for the dismissal of Lauderdale on 7 May 1678, for Anchitell Grey included him among the ‘Members turned out of their places for voting with their consciences’, but apparently in error. He helped to prepare a summary of foreign commitments, but remained on both lists of the court party. He was twice among those appointed to bring in a bill for the new parish of St. James Piccadilly. He was ordered to remain in England for the final session of the Cavalier Parliament, and Ormonde offered him as ‘an honest gentleman and a good Protestant’ to Sir Robert Southwell for his club. Finding Oates’s charges ‘equally difficult to believe and not to believe’, he was added to the committee to translate Coleman’s letters, sent to examine him in Newgate, and ordered to prepare the address for the apprehension of four suspects.5
Blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, Wyche did ‘not think fit to stand’ in 1679. But he was returned for East Grinstead in 1681 on the interest of the Earl of Dorset (Charles Sackville), though it was, he wrote, ‘against my sense and intention to have come yet upon the stage again, but to have waited a time when more moderate counsels had been more likely to have succeeded’. Presumably an opponent of exclusion, he sent Ormonde an account of the Oxford Parliament, but he was appointed to no committees. Later in the year he accompanied Dorset and Lord Vaughan (John Vaughan) on a visit to Savile at the English embassy in Paris. He remained an unpaid secretary for the whole of Ormonde’s lieutenancy, which lasted for the rest of the reign, though he complained: ‘I am the only man I think almost that ever was in my station without any salary from the crown’.6
Wyche was shocked by the regular and ostentatious attendance of James II at Mass from the very outset of his reign. ‘There begins already to be great caballing for Parliament men’, he wrote on 11 Feb. 1685, ‘and many who, as I hear, would otherwise have sat still are incited to endeavour to get in by what has been done already at Whitehall.’ He was returned for Saltash, and became a moderately active Member. He was appointed to four committees, including that on the bills to enable Ormonde’s grandson to make a jointure. Like his brother-in-law, he had no difficulty in accommodating himself to the Revolution. He was given a post at Court and again held office in Ireland under William III, and sat for Preston as a Whig in the first Parliament of Queen Anne. He died on 28 Dec. His son was returned for Fowey in 1713 as a Tory.7
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: B. M. Crook
- 1. Hoare, Wilts. Frustfield. 35*; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1318; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 232.
- 2. T. D. Hardy, Princ. Officers of Chancery, 111; Stowe 210, f. 203; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 316; 1691-2, p. 249; 1702-3, p. 144; Sel. Charters (Selden Soc. xxviii), 198; Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 206.
- 3. Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 288; Cal. Ct. Mins. E. I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, vii. 272-3.
- 4. Aubrey, Antiquities of Surr. iv. 209; Cal. Ct. Mins. E. I. Co. vii. 272-3; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 307; CJ, ix. 225.
- 5. Survey of London, xxix. 134; Stowe 210, f. 51; 211, f. 263; HMC Ormonde, ii. 266, 279; n.s. iv. 122, 226; v. 221; Grey, v. 381.
- 6. Add. 28930, f. 137; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 604; vi. 238; vii. 201; Savile Corresp. (Cam. Soc. lxxi), 221; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 431; HMC 5th Rep. 186.
- 7. HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 324; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700-15, p. 143.