Ryves, Thomas (c1719 - 1788)


Ryves, Thomas


Father: Thomas Ryves
Mother: Elizabeth (Kyffin)

Birth: 1721
Birth Source: England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975

Death: 24 July 1788
Death Source: Memorial Plaque at St Mary's Church, Harrow

Spouse1: Elizabeth Abdy
Spouse2: Anna Maria Graham


Children of Thomas Ryves and Elizabeth Abdy:
  1. John Ryves, b. c1750; "lost in the East Indies, 1768."
  2. Thomas Ryves, 4 February 1753
  3. Elizabeth Ryves
  4. Charlotte Ryves, 23 Jan 1752, m. James Williams

Children of Thomas Ryves and Anna Maria Graham:
  1. George Frederick Ryves, b. ‎8 Sep 1758
  2. Henry Pleydell Ryves, bap., 24 Aug. 1759
  3. Robert Graham Ryves, bap. at E. C, 24 Aug 1759, d. 1761
  4. Richard Ryves, b. 1762, d. 1762
  5. Diana Maria Ryves, b. 1765, d. 1765.
  6. Maria Georgiana Ryves, 25 Aug 1766 m. in 1785, Wm Leigh Symes
  7. Henrietta Ryves d. 27 Jun 1796
  8. Ann Ryves
  9. Louisa Maria Ryves, b. 1774, d. 1774
  10. Lucy Graham Ryves, b. 28 July 1771, d. 1772

Thomas was the second son of Thomas Ryves (1691-1723) and Elizabeth Glynn (c.1679-1724) and was baptised at Holborn, London on 16 May 1721. He, his elder brother George and his sisters, Elizabeth and Susanna were orphaned upon the death of their father Thomas in 1723 and their mother Elizabeth in 1724. Thomas and his siblings were brought up by their uncle, George Ryves, at Ranston. With George having no heirs the estate passed firstly to Thomas’s brother George and, upon his death, to Thomas; George having died unmarried and without heirs in 1739.

The old manor house at Ranston was demolished at about this time and Thomas rebuilt the house in 1753. The surrounding park was laid out in the 1760’s and 1770’s. In 1765, Thomas attempted to let the house and estate but eventually sold it for 12,000 guineas to Peter William Baker, agent to Mr Portman of Bryanston, Dorset. It is believed that the sale of the estate was 'forced' upon Thomas because of the financial difficulties brought upon the family by the gambling debts incurred by his eldest son Thomas.

Thomas firstly married Elizabeth Abdy on 17 April 1749 and secondly Anna Maria Graham on 22 September 1757.

In 1760 Thomas was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and he exhibited some watercolours to the society. In 1762 he exhibited a work entitled 'A head in the manner of Rubens' at the Society of Artists exhibition.

Thomas latterly resided at The Belvedere in Surrey. His will directed that his burial should be at the Parish Church wherever he should die. However, a memorial tablet to him can be found at St.Mary's Church, Harrow. The inscription on this tablet reads:

'When Sorrow weeps o'er Virtue's sacred dust
Our tears become us, and our Grief is just:
Such were the tears she shed, who grateful pays
This last tribute of her love and praise.'

As an interesting footnote, these somewhat undistinguished lines embedded themselves in the mind of Lord Byron who had attended Harrow School. Following the death of Allegra, his illegitimate daughter by Claire Clairmont, on 20th April 1822, Byron wrote to his publisher, John Murray with the request that she be buried in St Mary's, close to this monument. On the lines of this quatrain he comments: 'I recollect them (after seventeen years), not from any thing remarkable in them, but because from my seat in the Gallery I had generally my eyes turned towards that monument: as near it as convenient I could wish Allegra to be buried ...'. Byron's request for a memorial to Allegra was refused by the Rector of Harrow, and her grave was left unmarked until in 1980, a memorial tablet was eventually put in place by the Byron Society.

In his will, Thomas left the bulk if his estate to the eldest son of his second marriage, George Frederick Ryves. He virtually disinherited Thomas Ryves, his heir apparent, leaving him merely £100 on the grounds that he already had received £10,000 from him (presumably so that the miscreant Thomas could discharge his gambling debts).

From Reliques of the Rives:
Thomas, born about 1719, became by the deaths without male issue of his uncle, George Ryves, and his brother, George Ryves, ultimately the heir of Randleston and Damory Court. Acquired by Robert Ryves (ca. 1490-1551), they were permitted after more than two centuries to pass out of the family ; for the last of the Ryves' estate in Dorset, where the family had been seated for nine generations, was sold by this Thomas Ryves in 1781 (Hutchins). He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and died 24 July 1788 (Musgrave's Obit., Harl. Soc. Pub., Vol. 48). He married 1st, Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Sir Anthony Thomas Abdy, Bart, of Felix Hall, Essex, died 29 January and was buried at Ewerne Courtney, 8 February 1755, aged 29,


England Births & Baptisms 1538-1975
Salisbury & Winchester Journal - 28 Oct. 1765
The Society of Artists of Great Britain, 1760-1791, the Free Society of Artists, 1761-1783: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work from the foundation of the societies to 1791, Algernon Graves, Kingsmead Reprints, 1969
Iwerne Courtney Parish Council Newsletter, 2014
Will of Thomas Ryves of Belvedere, proved 11th August 1788
Letter from Lord Byron to John Murray, 26th May 1822
Find a Grave entry re: Allegra Byron & St Mary's Church, Harrow
Memorial Plaque at St Mary's Church, Harrow
Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p38