Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dyche, Thomas

DYCHE, THOMAS (fl. 1719), school-master, was educated at Ashbourne free school, Derbyshire, under the Rev. William Hardestee (dedication of Vocabularium Latiale, 5th edition). He subsequently took orders, and removed to London. In 1708 he was keeping school in Dean Street, Fetter Lane, but some time after 1710 he obtained the mastership of the free school at Stratford Bow. In 1719 he rashly attempted to expose in print the peculations of the notorious John Ward of Hackney ‘in discharge of his [Ward's] trust about repairing Dagnam Breach.’ Thereupon Ward sued Dyche for libel, and at the trial, 18 June 1719, was awarded 300l. damages (Post Boy, 19 June 1719, cited in Robinson, Hist. of Hackney, i. 124). Dyche seems to have died between 1731 and 1735. No entry of his burial occurs in the Bow register from 1728 to the end of 1739. No will or letters of administration are to be found in the calendars of the prerogative court of Canterbury. He left a family (dedication of the Spelling Dictionary). His compilations are as follows: 1. ‘Vocabularium Latiale, or a Latin Vocabulary, in two parts,’ 8vo, London, 1708 or 1709; 5th edition, 8vo, London, 1728; 6th edition, 8vo, London, 1735. 2. ‘A Guide to the English Tongue, in two parts,’ 8vo, London, 1709; 2nd edition, 8vo, London, 1710; 14th edition, 12mo, London, 1729. This, the forerunner of similar compendiums by Dilworth, Fenning, and Mavor, had the honour of being ushered into the world with lines addressed to ‘my ingenious Friend the Author’ by laureate Tate. Another less famous poet, by name John Williams, enthusiastically declares

This just essay you have perform'd so well,
Records will shew 'twas Dyche first taught to spell.

3. ‘The Spelling Dictionary, or a Collection of all the Common Words and Proper Names … in the English Tongue … Second edition, etc.,’ 12mo, London, 1725; 3rd edition, corrected, 12mo, London, 1731. 4. ‘A New General English Dictionary, to which is prefixed a compendious English Grammar, together with a Supplement of the Proper Names of the most noted Kingdoms, Provinces, Cities, etc., of the World. Originally begun by the late Reverend Mr. Thomas Dyche … and now finish'd by William Pardon, Gent. Third edition,’ 8vo, London, 1740. Many other editions were subsequently published. A French version, with plates, by Esprit Pezenas, appeared in two vols. 4to, Avignon, 1756. Dyche was also author of ‘The Youth's Guide to the Latin Tongue,’ and ‘Fables of Phædrus, rendered into familiar English.’ A portrait of Dyche, by Fry, engraved by J. Nutting, and prefixed to his ‘Guide,’ represents a comely personage in clerical costume. Another, but fictitious, portrait, engraved by Vandergutch, is sometimes found adorning the ‘Spelling Dictionary’ (Noble, continuation of Granger, ii. 137).

[Works cited above; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 249, 3rd ser. viii. 9, 4th ser. iii. 395; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits; Lempriere's Universal Biography has a worthless notice.]

G. G.