Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dyve, Lewis

DYVE, Sir LEWIS (1599–1669), royalist, son of Sir John Dyve of Bromham, Bedfordshire (d. 1607), and Beatrice Walcot, was born on 3 Nov. 1599. About 1611 Beatrice Dyve married Sir John Digby, afterwards Earl of Bristol. Lewis Dyve was probably brought up in Spain, was knighted in April 1620, and married in 1624 Howarda, daughter of Sir John Strangways of Melbury Sampford, Dorsetshire, and widow of Edward Rogers of Bryanston (W. M. Harvey, History of the Hundred of Willey). He is mentioned in Howell's letters as attending Prince Charles in his stay at Madrid (ed. 1754, p. 133), and Sir Kenelm Digby narrates an encounter between himself, ‘Leodivius,’ and fifteen Spanish bravoes in the streets of that city (Private Memoirs, pp. 154–65). Dyve took part also in the famous quarrel between Lord Digby and William Crofts (1634), and himself fought a duel with Crofts (Strafford Papers, i. 261, 358, 426). In the parliaments of 1625 and 1626 he represented Bridport, in that of 1627–8 Weymouth, but he had no seat in the Long parliament, though he is often stated to have been member for Bridport (Report on the names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, i. 488). On 13 July 1641 he was voted a delinquent by the House of Commons for having published Lord Digby's speech against the attainder of the Earl of Strafford (Old Parliamentary History, ix. 447). Lord Digby designed Dyve for the appointment of governor of the Tower in December 1641, when Balfour [see Balfour, Sir William] was removed; but the accidental absence of Dyve from London led to the appointment of Sir Thomas Lunsford instead (Clarendon, Rebellion, iv. 147). In the following February a letter from Lord Digby to Dyve was intercepted, which led to the impeachment of Digby, and the temporary arrest of his brother (Rushworth, iv. 555; Old Parliamentary History, x. 309). He was released almost immediately, and then joined the king at York. When Charles made his first attempt to obtain possession of Hull, Dyve was sent to acquaint Hotham with his coming, and, finding Hotham resolved not to admit the king, formed the design of killing him, or throwing him over the walls; but the governor forestalled the plot by arresting Dyve. On 29 April parliament ordered Dyve to be sent for as a delinquent, but he thought best to fly to Holland (Clark, Life of James II, i. 2). When preparations for war began he returned to England, took part in the skirmish at Worcester which opened the campaign, and was there wounded (Warburton, Prince Rupert, i. 409). In April 1643 he assisted in the attempt to raise the siege of Reading (Coates, History of Reading, p. 36), and in October following was charged to fortify Newport Pagnell, in order to hinder the communication between London and the eastern association. Essex advanced to recover the town, and, owing to a mistake in his orders, Dyve, instead of maintaining his position, abandoned the place (Clarendon, Rebellion, vii. 288; Warburton, Prince Rupert, ii. 322). He served under Prince Rupert at the relief of Newark on 21 March 1644 (Rushworth, v. 307). In October 1644 he was appointed sergeant-major general of the county of Dorset, and established his headquarters at Sherborne (Walker, Historical Discourses, his Majesty's happy Progress in the Year 1644, p. 99). In this position he distinguished himself by his activity and daring. A manifesto, in the form of a warrant, issued by him against the parliamentary committee of that county is printed in the ‘Old Parliamentary History’ (xiii. 334). His chief aim was to capture Weymouth, and on 13 Feb. 1645 he was able to write to the king announcing that his forces had successfully stormed it (Warburton, Prince Rupert, iii. 58). But the town being negligently guarded was regained by Colonel Sydenham before the end of the month (Vicars, Burning Bush, p. 118; Harvey, pp. 91–4). In August 1645 Sherborne was besieged by Fairfax and the new model army, and in spite of a gallant defence the castle was taken on 15 Aug. (Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, pt. ii. chap. iii.) Dyve was sent prisoner to London, brought before the bar of the House of Commons, and by order of the house committed to the Tower (Vicars, Burning Bush, p. 259). In the Tower he was the fellow-prisoner of John Lilburn, whom he succeeded in persuading that Cromwell and Ireton had made a private bargain with the king, ‘of which although he were not persuaded himself, yet he judged it for the king's service to divide Cromwell and the army’ (‘Memoirs of Sir John Berkeley,’ Maseres, Tracts, p. 371). After two years' confinement in the Tower his debts led to his removal to the king's bench prison, whence he succeeded in effecting his escape on 15 Jan. 1648 (A Letter from Sir Lewis Dyve, written out of France to a Gentleman, giving an Account of the manner of his escape out of the King's Bench, and the reasons that moved him thereunto, 1647, 4to). In May he was in Scotland, and was one of those cavaliers whose surrender was demanded by the English government. He took part in the invasion of England, was present at the battle of Preston, and was taken prisoner. On 30 Jan. 1649 he escaped a second time (Whitelocke, Memorials, f. 376; Evelyn, Diary, 6 Sept. 1651). He then served in Ireland, and published in 1650 ‘A Letter from Sir Lewis Dyves to the Marquis of Newcastle, giving an Account of the whole conduct of the King's Affairs in Ireland,’ which contains an account of events from Ormonde's arrival in September 1648 to the departure of Dyve himself in June 1650. In this narrative he brought certain charges against Lord Inchiquin which he was obliged to retract, and to admit that he had been falsely informed (Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 99, 101, 127). In September 1651 Evelyn met Dyve in Paris, and received from his lips an account of his escapes and adventures. Evelyn observes: ‘This knight was indeed a valiant gentleman, but not a little given to romance when he spake of himself’ (Diary, ed. 1879, ii. 26, 32). Little is known of the later life of Dyve. He died on 17 April 1669, and was buried at Combhay in Somersetshire. His epitaph is printed in Collinson's ‘Somerset,’ iii. 336.

[A Memoir of Dyve by J. G. Nichols appeared in the Gent. Mag. in 1829, and forms the basis of a longer life contained in W. M. Harvey's History of the Hundred of Willey, pp. 77–108. Many letters by Dyve are calendared in the appendix to Warburton's Prince Rupert, vol. i.]

C. H. F.