Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lye, Edward

LYE, EDWARD (1694–1767), Anglo-Saxon and Gothic scholar, born at Totnes, Devonshire, in 1694 (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. x. 207, 208), was the son of Thomas Lye, vicar of Broadhempston, Devonshire, and a schoolmaster at Totnes, by his wife Catherine (Johnson). He was educated at his father's school; at Crewkerne school, Somerset; and at Hart Hall (Hertford College), Oxford, where he entered 28 March 1713, and graduated B.A. 19 Oct. 1716, M.A. 6 July 1722 (Cat. Oxf. Grad.) He was ordained in 1717, and in 1721 was admitted vicar of Houghton Parva, Northamptonshire (Bridges, Northampton, i. 375), where he began the study of Anglo-Saxon and kindred tongues. In 1743 he published, with additions, the ‘Etymologicum Anglicanum’ of Francis Junius [q.v.] from the manuscript in the Bodleian. To this work, which had occupied him seven years, he prefixed an Anglo-Saxon grammar. In 1750 he published the Gothic version of the gospels, ‘Sacrorum Evangeliorum Versio Gothica,’ &c., Oxford, 4to, with a Latin translation, notes, and a Gothic grammar. On 4 Jan. 1750 he was elected fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He resigned Houghton Parva about 1750 on being presented by the Earl of Northampton to the rectory of Yardley Hastings. He at this time was supporting his mother and his two sisters. About 1737 Lye began to work on an Anglo-Saxon and Gothic dictionary, which he despaired of publishing, until in 1765 he was encouraged by a subscription of 50l. from Archbishop Secker (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. ix. 752), and by other subscriptions. About thirty sheets were printed just before Lye's death, and the work was posthumously published, with additions, in 1772 by his friend the Rev. Owen Manning (Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v. ‘Manning’) as ‘Dictionarium Saxonico et Gothico-Latinum. Accedunt fragmenta Versionis Ulphilanæ, necnon opuscula quædam Anglo-Saxonica,’ London, 1772, fol.

Lye died, aged 73, on 19 Aug. 1767 (cp. Gent. Mag. 1767, xxxvii. 430), of gout, from which he had long suffered, at Yardley Hastings, where he was buried. He is described as a man of simple and upright character. A good portrait of Lye seated in his study was painted by Miss Reynolds, sister of Sir Joshua, and was engraved by T. Burke, 1784 (Nichols, Lit. Anecd. v. 461, ix. 753). His library was sold in 1773 (ib. iii. 669).

[Manning's Præfatio to Lye's Dictionarium; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. s.v. ‘Lye;’ authorities cited above.]

W. W.