PYE, Richard II (1689-1724), of Hone, Derbys. and Derby

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



27 Mar. - 21 Sept. 1710

Family and Education

bap. 2 Feb. 1689, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Charles Pye, 2nd Bt.*  educ. London and privately at home; St. Catharine’s, Camb. 1709. unmsuc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 12 Feb. 1721.1

Offices Held

Commr. stamp duties 1714–d.2


The Pye family had a very strong local interest in the borough of Derby, their main estate lying only six miles distant and Sir Charles often resided in the town. Richard had a sickly childhood, which disrupted his education, spent under the watchful eye of his mother. Pye first took an interest in local politics in 1705 when his enthusiasm for the Whig candidates disrupted the family’s travel arrangements: ‘Sir Charles and Dick talked of the Bath long but could not draw our young men from hence till this grand affair was over, he having engaged for a party and feared by his absence should desert.’ In April 1709 Abigail Harley described Pye ‘as variable as a woman, used to express his aversion to London upon all occasions, now grown fond of it’. By 1710 the family were looking towards Parliament as a future career for their son. Pye was chosen at a contested by-election on 27 Mar. 1710, but the prorogation of Parliament on 5 Apr. and its subsequent dissolution meant that he did not have time to take his seat. As a Whig, in alliance with Lord James Cavendish*, he was bound to face an uphill task in the wake of the Sacheverell trial at the 1710 election. His mother’s doubts, even though ‘Dick has the best natural interest was ever known here’ and despite his willingness (unlike his father in 1701) to ‘throw away his money’, were prescient as the Tory interest proved too strong. According to a report of Thomas Coke*, a petition was designed to ‘try for that favour upon account of family which they could not obtain by freedom of elections’. This was a reference to the influence wielded by Lady Pye’s cousin, Robert Harley*, and the possibility of utilizing it to overturn the election. His mother certainly dangled the bait before the new minister, asking that justice be done and suggesting that ‘had my son been elected I designed to have begged the favour to have put him under your care. We were desirous of his being in the House for his improvement, having formerly by a tender constitution lost many advantages in respect to his education.’

Pye was again a candidate in 1713, but declined to force a poll. He showed no further interest in obtaining a parliamentary seat, although he was appointed to office after 1714. He died on 22 Nov. 1724.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, London; Add. 70149, Lady Pye to Abigail Harley, 1 Feb. 1700[–1].
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. 194.
  • 3. Add. 70022, Lady Pye to Abigail Harley, 5 May 1705; 70378, Abigail to Lord Harley (Edward*), 15 Apr. 1709; 70254, Pye to Robert Harley, 14 Oct. 1710; HMC Portland, vi. 591, 612; v. 328.