Ryves, Thomas (c1578 ENG - )

Ryves, Thomas

Ryves, Thomas


Father: John Ryves
Mother: Elizabeth Mervyn

Birth: c1578, Little Lancton, County Dorset, England
Birth Source: Reliques of the Rives (Worthies of England, p460)

Death Source:

Spouse1: Elizabeth Waldram


From Reliques of the Rives:
Sir Thomas Ryves, the eleventh and last child of John Ryves of Damory Court, was elected to Winchester College at the age of 11 and was admitted in 1590 as "of Blandford" (Kirby). Foster records him as "fourth son of John Ryves of Damory Court, Dorset (apparently an error for 'eighth son,' the rank given him by his father in his will and that given him by Hutchins); fellow of New College, 1598; B. C. L., 7 Feb. 1604/5; D. C. L., 21 June 1610; an advocate Doctor's Commons, 161 1 ; a Master in Chancery about 1618 and a judge of the faculties and prerogative court in Ireland; advocate general to Charles I; knighted 19 March 1644; d. 2 Jan. 1651/2; buried in St. Clement Danes. See Ath., iii, 304; Cootes, Civilians, 70; Gent. Mag., 83, ii, 22-23." Besides his studies pursued at Winchester and Oxford, "he studied the law in the best universities in France" (post).

He was apparently the first of the family to reside in Ireland, being followed thither by his brothers, Sir William and James. On October 20, 1612, upon the recommendation of Sir Arthur Chichester, Viceroy of Ireland, King James I granted to Dr. Ryves, "Professor of the Civil Laws, for his learning and sufficiency," the reversion of the prerogative office for the probate of wills (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1612, page 295). The appointment of Dr. Ryves provoked something of a storm but there rallied to his support his powerful patron and kinsman, Sir John Davys, Attorney General of Ireland who, in a letter dated 20 Dec. 161 5, to Sir Thomas Lake, principal secretary of King James I, wrote of Dr. Thomas Ryves as follows:
I am entreated by Mr. Doctor Ryves who is my wife's neere kinsman and who well deserves the love of his friends to write somewhat unto you touching a business which doth concerne his whole estate in this kingdome. . . . Your Honor (as he tells me) procured his Majesties letter for a graunt to bee made to him in Reversion of the office of the faculties and of the prerogative court in this kingdome and I uppon that letter did draw the letters patent whereby that office was granted in Reversion unto him. He expected the fall of this Reversion divers yeares and while he stood in expectation of that poore fortune heer he lost the opportunity of a better preferment in England. I speak it of mine owne knowledge. Now, Sir, this office being fallen unto him by the death of one Dr. Doyn an Irish Doctor of the Law against whom no exception was taken (that ever I heard of) while he had that office, some of our great prelates heer, doo protest against Doctor Reeves as able a man even by their own confession as any Doctor that held the place heer before him and whose patent hath the same form ... as those granted to his predecessors in that place alledginge that they do not conceave that it was or is his majesties pleasure that Doctor Rives should have power over the whole clergy of this kingdome in granting or examining of all faculties and dispensations .... This authority hath been executed from tyme to tyme by his Majesties special commissers all learned in the canon law, yet few of them so well qualified as this gentleman who was bred in Winchester and New Colledge in Oxford and hath studied the law in the best universities in France and hath withall extraordinary abilities of witt, elocution and all manner of learning, whereof hee made good demonstration in the last parliament heer, where he did his majestie very good service so as hee hath approved himself every way worthy of that recommendation which you gave him when you obtayned this place for him.
You may therefore, Sir, been pleased not to suffer your owne plant (which is likely to prosper so well) to bee supplanted so long as he behaveth him self well and worthily in his place and I leave it withall to your honour's consideration whether in reason of state and for the manifestation of his majesties distinct prerogative in this case it bee not more meet that his majestie do reserve this power to bee committed from tyme to tyme to some special person of meaner rank than an Archbishop whose survivors will still expect the same concession to bee granted unto them. . . .
Thus deserving pardon for my boldness I present my humble service to your honor and remayne
Your honours to bee commanded
Jo Davys
20 December 1615

To the R(ight) Honourable Sir Thomas Lake, knight, his Majesties principall Secretarie att the Court give thease.
(Endorsed) From Sir John Davyes concerning the opposition made by the Bishops in Ireland to doctor Rives concerning his office of the faculties.

Evidently the grant to him of the office was deferred for a time for he is found petitioning King Charles I in 1625 for the place alleging that "my present place in your Highness's service is not sufficient for the maintenance of my necessary charge owing to the decay of practice in the ecclesiastical courts" (Cat. State Papers, Ireland, 1625, page 18).

He was the author of numerous published works in Latin, amongst them one in 1624 in defense of the English manner of governing Ireland which was entitled, Regiminis Anglicani in Hibernia Defensio. . . . Autore Tho. Ryves, Juris Consulto, Regis Advocato. Another, a volume of 298 pages in Latin was published in 1640 en titled, Historiae Navalis Medice, Libre Tres, Autore Tho. Rives, Regis in Anglia Advocato.

Fuller in his Worthies of England, i, 460, has this notice of him:
Ryves, Sir Thomas, doctor of the laws, was born at Little Lancton in this county (Dorset); bred in New College in Oxford; a general scholar in all polite learning, a most pure Latinist (no hair hanging at the nib of his pen) ; witness his most critical book of "Sea Battles," a subject peculiar, I think, to his endeavors therein. He was at last made the King's Advocate and indeed he formerly had been advocate to the king of heaven, and his poor ministers, in his book entitled, "The Vicar's Plea" wherein much law learning, and reason, and equity, is shewn in their behalf ; a grievance oftener complained of than heard, oftener heard than pitied, and oftener pitied than redressed; so unequal is the contest betwixt a poor vicar's plea, and a wealthy im propriator's purse. He was a man of valour as well as of much learning; and gave good evidence thereof (though well stricken in years) in our late wars (Great Civil War). He died in his native county about the year 1652.

Sir Thomas Ryves of whom there is an extended notice in the Dictionary of National Biography, married Elizabeth Waldram of co. Leicester, perhaps a sister of the second wife of his brother, Sir William.

In 1660 she made a petition as "Dame Elizabeth, relict of Sir Thomas Ryves" in which it was set forth how "her husband was Advocate General to King James I and attended Charles I even to his murder with such fidelity that on the treaty in the Isle of Wight the king requested permission for him with a few others to come to him. Being violently enforced to take his most dismal and sorrowful last long leave of His Majesty he was so utterly broken hearted that he languished and died leaving her in a most distressed condition." She added that the late king owed her husband many hundred pounds and gave him many gracious promises which, she might have continued, was not a fate peculiar to her husband (Col. State Papers, 1660). A like petition was presented by her to King Charles II in 1668 for a share in the plate lottery "designed for suffering subjects," representing that her husband was Advocate General of the late king, served him in the wars, and died broken-hearted (Cal. State Papers, 1668).

She made her will as "Dame Elizabeth Ryves of the parish of St. Andrewes, Holbourne, widow, the Relict of Sir Thomas Ryves, knight, doctor of lawes and Advocate General to his majestie King Charles the first of ever blessed memory" (P. C. C. 10 Bunce), which was dated 20 October 1672 and proved 10 January 1673 Dut which contains no mention of the county of Dorset or of any legatees of the name of Ryves, forasmuch as she had no issue by Sir Thomas Ryves.


Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p9