Ryves, William (c1570 - 1647 IRL)

Ryves, William

Ryves, William, Sir


Father: John Ryves
Mother: Elizabeth Mervyn

Birth: c1570
Birth Source: Reliques of the Rives

Death: 10 March 1647, Dublin, Ireland
Death Source: Reliques of the Rives

Spouse1: Ms. Latham
Spouse2: Dorothy Waldram


Children of William Ryves and Ms. Latham:
  1. John Ryves
  2. William Ryves
  3. Thomas Ryves
  4. Charles Ryves, b. c1607
  5. George Ryves, m. Mrs. Ann Bagshaw, second daughter of Sir Edward Bagshaw.
  6. John Ryves, b. after June 1615
  7. daughter Ryves, m. Sir John Stanley.
  8. daughter Ryves, m. Sir Arthur Lee.
  9. daughter Ryves
  10. Elizabeth Ryves, m. Sir Arthur Leigh.
NOTE: Hutchins states that Elizabeth married Edward Berkeley, of Pylle, Esq., and d. 1724 but Sir William Ryves in his will mentions "my welbeloved daughter dame (Lady) Elizabeth Leigh."

From Reliques of the Rives:
Sir William Ryves, born about 1570, died 10 March 1647 at Dublin in Ireland, ranks along with his brothers, Dr. George and Sir Thomas, and his cousin, Dr. Brune Ryves, as among the most illustrious of the name of Ryves in Eng lish and Irish annals. He was admitted to the Middle Temple, 4 February 1592/3, as "the sixth son of John Ryves of Blanford, co. Dorset, esq., deceased," and was made a Master of the Bench of the Middle Temple in 1619, according to Ingpen, who adds to the above record that he was "Reader Lent 1619; Puisne Judge of Carmathen, etc., 1619; knighted and sent to Ireland, 1629, as Attorney General there in place of Sir John Davies where he became third Justice of the King's Bench, 1636; d. 1660 (an error for 10 March 1647 for which see post). He was grandfather of Sir Richard Ryves, B. of Irish Exch., 1692. His brother, Sir John Ryves of Damory Court, co. Dorset, m. a daughter of Sir Robert Napper and his youngest brother was Sir Thomas Ryves, an eminent advocate and Master in Chancery. Arms: Arg. on a bend cotised sa. three lozenges erm. (Brerewood, History of Middle Temple in Mss.)."

He was a resident of Oxford for some years early in the 17th century in which county he owned considerable land. In 3 James I (1606) he was a taxpayer in the city of Oxford as "William Ryves, Esquier, in the Suburbs" and the register of the parish of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford, records the burials of "John, son of Mr. William Ryves, councellor at law" in 161 5, and of "Thomas, son of Mr. William Ryves, Justice of the Peace," in 1618, (Wood, Survey of the Antiquities of Oxford, 1671). From the inq. p. m. of his son, Wil liam, in 1642, it appears that Sir William owned "lands called Great Horestowne, Charwell's leazes (leases) alias the Shiphouse Close, Abington peece (piece) and Hawkwell peece (piece) and other lands situated in the parish of St. Giles within the suburb and the city of Oxford and Wolvercott Holliwell and Marston in the County of Oxford." Hutchins notes that "Sir William Ryves, sixth son of John Ryves of Damory Court, received £24,000 for his fortune, part of which he laid out near Oxford, then married the daughter of Latham, and settled in Ireland, where he purchased Rathsallow, Crunmore, Cayenmoie, in the county of Down; Ballyferinott, near Dublin; the rectory of the Naas.

In 1634 he appears as a member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons for Bertherbet, co. Cavan, and in 1636 he was appointed one of the Judges of the King's Bench in Ireland, taking the place "become voyd by the decease of Sir Edward Harris, knight" (Signet Office Letters, iii, fol. 35). In 1641 he was appointed Speaker of the Irish House of Lords (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, Vol. 259, No. 15).

Upon his death bed he made a nuncupative will as follows:
P. C. C. 151 Grey.
Dated ?
Proved 19 July 1651.

Memorandum that Sir William Ryves, kt. late of the Cittie of Dublin deceased the 10th day of this instant March 1647 . . . declared his will in effect as followeth : Gentlemen and Gentlewomen (he speaking to those that were present in the Chamber where he laye sick) I have bin all this day busie in settlinge of my estate and should have made my will, which in regard that I have tired my selfe I intend to do it tomorrowe but fearing my sickness should prevent mee and findeinge myselfe verie weake I doe desire you Gentlemen and Gentlewomen and all my freinds that stand by to take notice that I now will and bequeath unto my deare and loveing wife Dame Dorothie Rives all my goods . . . and doe make her sole Executrix of this my nuncupative will. Shortlie after the uttering of the aforesaid words Mrs. Verscoyle who was then present being about to take her Leave and goe away hee showeing the Intire affection which he did beare unto his said Ladie uttered these words. I pray you Mrs. Verscoyle stay a little longer and for your better remembrance I will speake the wordes againe that you may remember them which hee did accordinglie sayeing I give all my goodes chattles and debts unto my sayd wife. And I doe nominate her sole Executrix of this my last will. And therewith presently gave in charge to his sonne Charles Rives who was then standing by to cause the sayd will ... to be put in writing and to be carried unto the witnesses then present the next day that they might theire severall handes as witnesses to the intent that they might not forget what his will was. And he then also declared that the reason why he did soe was for feare he should not be able to perfect his will in writeing the next day there being present at the uttering of the said will the next day Charles Rives his sonne who . . . presented his will written and read it to his father who approved thereof the tenor whereof ensueth: I, Sir William Rives of the Cittie of Dublin . . . commend my soule into the handes of God who gave it and his sonne Jesus Christ my only Lord and Saviour by the merit of whose death and suffering I expect remission of my sinns and noe other means whatsoever and my bodie to be buried in St. John's Church as neere unto my deceased wife and daughter as with anie convenience it may. I make my deere wife dame Dorothie Rives sole Executrix. ... I give unto my welbeloved sonne John Ryves my leases in co. Down . . . my lease of the rectory of Noas. ... I give to my welbeloved son Charles Rives. . . . There is a bond due unto me from the right honble James Lord Marques of Ormond and another from James Earl of Roscommon for the only use of my welbe loved daughter dame Elizabeth Leigh. . . .

Sir William Ryves married, 2nd, Dorothy Waldram, daughter of John Waldram, but had no issue by her. She was living as late as 1675 when she transferred her claim to the sum of £3,000, due to Sir William Ryves as Speaker of the Irish House of Lords, to Richard, Earl of Barrymore, as a marriage portion to his wife, Dame or Lady Dorothy Ryves' only daughter (Cal. State Papers, 167s).

In addition to Childs's narrative the following may add to Sir William's biography:

William and his brother Thomas both made full use of their family connection with Sir John Davies, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, and it was on Davies' recommendation that William succeeded him as Attorney-General for Ireland in 1619 together with a knighthood. In that office he acted regularly as an extra judge of assize, and sat in the Irish House of Commons as member for Belturbet in the Parliament of 1634-5. He became Treasurer of the King's Inns in 1639.

In 1629, the South Wicklow magnate Lord Fitzwilliam became involved in a long and expensive inheritance dispute with his siblings. The costs forced him to mortgage "his lands in all directions". Sir William Ryves was named as one of his mortgagees. Part of this repayment may have been the granting of the estate and townlands of Rathsallagh in County Wicklow. In 1632, Sir William was granted a license to hold a market at Rathsallagh on the Feast of Saint Bartholomew (4th September). This fair was still going strong 300 years later when a visitor described it as "one of the largest fairs in the kingdom … for horses, cattle and sheep". As well as Rathsallagh, Sir William acquired extensive estates including Crunmore and Cayanmoie in County Down, Ballyferinott near Dublin and the Rectory of Naas.

While he had depended on the Davies connection for his early advancement, his subsequent promotion was due to the patronage of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the all-powerful Lord Deputy of Ireland. On Strafford's recommendation Sir William became second justice of the King's Bench in 1636. Strafford's downfall in 1640-41 did not damage Sir William's career as it did that of some of his colleagues, notably Sir Richard Bolton, the Lord Chancellor. Parliament resolved in May 1641 that Bolton was unfit to preside as Speaker of the Irish House of Lords, and Sir William was appointed to act in his place. He acted in this capacity in 1641-2 and again in 1644. He visited England for the last time in 1643. He died in Dublin in 1648 and was buried in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Dublin.

Sir William Ryves has been described as 'one of the most gifted members of a gifted family'. Elrington Ball criticises him as one of those judges who owed their careers to Strafford, but later betrayed his trust in them by working closely with Parliament in bringing down Strafford and Bolton. This is probably too severe a judgement: Sir William was powerless to help Strafford, or to prevent the disgrace of Richard Bolton; also he was an old man and no doubt wished to avoid any political trouble in his last years.

Research notes
Childs is correct in pointing out Hutchin's error relating to William's daughter Elizabeth's marriage. The Elizabeth Ryves who married was the daughter of John Ryves and Mary Seymer (Welsted).


Childs, James Rives. Reliques of the Rives, p20
A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank, But Uninvested with Heritable Honours, Burke, 1836
Pollard, Albert Frederick (1897). "Ryves, Thomas". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
A Dictionary of Irish Biography, Henry Boylan, Gill & MacMillan (1998)
The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921, Ball & F. Elrington, John Murray, London (1926)
The History and Antiquities of the Colleges and Halls in the University of Oxford, Anthony à Wood, At the Clarendon Press, Printed for the editor (John Gutch), 1790