PYE, Sir Charles, 2nd Bt. (1651-1721), of Hone, Derbys. and Derby
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 20 Dec. 1651, 1st s. of Sir John Pye, 1st Bt., of Hone by Rebecca, da. of Nicholas Raynton† of Enfield, Mdx. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1669; travelled abroad (Holland, Egypt, Jerusalem). m. (1) lic. 28 Apr. 1680, Philippa (d. 1683), da. of Sir John Hobart, 3rd Bt.†, of Blickling Hall, Norf. 2da. d.v.p.; (2) 24 Feb. 1685, Anne (d. 1722), da. of Richard Stephens of Eastington, Glos., 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. c.1697.1
Pye’s grandfather, Sir Robert Pye†, a Berkshire landowner, purchased Hone during Charles I’s reign for the use of his second son, John Pye, who settled on the estate and received a baronetcy in 1665. Both his grandfather and uncle (also Sir Robert Pye) sat in Parliament, the latter as a prominent Presbyterian-Royalist, and the Berkshire branch of the family continued to be described as ‘fanatics’, related as they were to the Hampdens. It is possible that Sir Charles continued to adhere to this Low Church tradition as in the early 18th century he was a trustee for a lectureship in Ashbourne parish along with two men with Nonconformist connexions. After extensive travel abroad, including visits to Egypt and Jerusalem, he seems to have spent most of his time in London before settling his family in Derby in 1692. He also seems to have been subject to recurring bouts of illness, being described in October 1692 as having a ‘ticklish’ constitution.2
From the mid-1690s, glimpses of Pye’s local political activity can be seen from the correspondence between his wife and her cousins Abigail and Robert Harley*. In 1696 he wrote to Harley asking for his support for the Derwent navigation bill, at that time stuck in committee and under severe attack from its opponents. This interest in furthering the local economy was natural, given that the focus for his parliamentary ambitions was the neighbouring borough of Derby for which he planned to stand in 1698. His schemes were upset by the demise of the sitting Member John Bagnold and the threat of a by-election. To avert this danger Lady Pye wrote to Harley on 11 May requesting him to use his influence with the Speaker to delay the writ until the dissolution. Unfortunately, the writ had already been issued, but no contest was held until the general election in July, when Pye was defeated. By January 1701, however, Pye had consolidated his local interest, in conjunction with Lord James Cavendish*, to such an extent that their prospective opponents declined a poll. Pye travelled to London for the start of the session at the end of January 1701, but does not appear to have been very active. On 24 Apr. he was given leave of absence for three weeks, his family being very ill. In the second election of 1701 his unwillingness to match his opponent’s expenditure saw him defeated in a close poll. He did not stand in 1702, although after William III’s death he had been reported as making interest, and he resisted strong pressure to stand in 1705, throwing his support behind the victorious Whig candidates. Thereafter his electoral efforts were restricted to promoting the candidacy of his son Richard Pye II in 1710.3
Pye continued to live in Derby until about 1717 when he took up residence at the family’s main seat at Clifton Campville just over the border in Staffordshire. He died suddenly on 12 Feb. 1721.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, London; The Gen. vi. 81; Add. 70084, Pye to Harley, 1 Feb. 1695[–6]; 24121, f. 78.
- 2. W. Woolley, Hist. Derbys. (Derbys. Rec. Soc. vi), 110; Add. 24121, f. 78; 70016, f. 177; CSP Dom. July–Sept. 1683, p. 338.
- 3. Add. 70084, Pye to Harley, 1 Feb. 1695[–6]; 70019, Anne Pye to same, 11 May 1698; 70149, same to Abigail Harley, 1 Feb. 1700[–1]; HMC Portland, iv. 29, 177; BL, Lothian mss, John Harpur* to [Thomas Coke*], 13 Mar. 1702.
- 4. Add. 70149, Richard Pye II to Abigail Harley, 4 Mar. 1721.