Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lyall, William Rowe

LYALL, WILLIAM ROWE (1788–1857), dean of Canterbury, born in London, 11 Feb. 1788, was third son of John Lyall of Findon, Sussex, a merchant and shipowner in the city of London, who died 10 Dec. 1805, aged 53. In 1805 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained a scholarship, and graduated B.A. 1810 and M.A. 1816. He was curate of Fawley, Hampshire, from 1812 to 1815, when he removed to London. He was appointed chaplain to St. Thomas's Hospital in 1817, and soon afterwards assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn. In 1822 he became examining chaplain to the Bishop of London; in 1823 rector of Weeley, Essex; on 4 June 1824 archdeacon of Colchester; in 1826 Warburtonian lecturer, when his subject was ‘The Prophetical Evidences of Christianity;’ in 1827 rector of Fairsted, Essex, and in 1833 he exchanged the livings of Weeley and Fairsted for the cure of Hadleigh, Essex. On 11 June 1841 he was instituted to the archdeaconry of Maidstone, on 11 June 1841 to a prebendal stall at Canterbury, in 1842 to the rectory of Great Chart, near Ashford, and on 26 Nov. 1845, to the deanery of Canterbury. He was seized with paralysis in 1852, from which he never recovered, and died at the deanery, Canterbury, on 17 Feb. 1857, being buried in Harbledown churchyard on 26 Feb. He married in 1817 Catharine, youngest daughter of Joseph Brandreth, M.D., of Liverpool.

Lyall contributed to the ‘Quarterly Review’ in 1812 and 1815 articles on Dugald Stewart's philosophy (vi. 1–37, xii. 281–317), and conducted the ‘British Critic’ during 1816–17, and reorganised the ‘Encyclopædia Metropolitana’ at the request of Bishop Howley in 1820. He appointed Edward Smedley editor of the latter undertaking, and contributed to the ‘Encyclopædia's’ ‘History of Greece, Macedonia, and Syria,’ chap. i. ‘State of Parties in Greece on Conclusion of Peloponnesian Wars,’ and chap. v. ‘The Age of Agesilaus.’ With Hugh James Rose he edited ‘Theological Library,’ vols. i–xiv. 1832–46; and published, besides charges to the clergy of Colchester and Maidstone, ‘Propœdia Prophetica. A View of the Use and Design of the Old Testament; followed by (1) On the Causes of the rapid Propagation of the Gospel, (2) On the Credibility of the New Testament,’ 1840; new edit. 1854; another edit. 1885.

[Gent. Mag. April 1857, pp. 491–2.]

G. C. B.