Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lyford, William

LYFORD, WILLIAM (1598–1653), nonconformist divine, son of William Lyford, rector of Peasemore, near Newbury, Berkshire, was born there in 1598. He entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, as a commoner on 26 April 1615, became a demy of Magdalen College in 1617, and graduated B.A. on 16 Dec. 1618. He proceeded M.A. on 14 June 1621 (incorporated at Cambridge 1623), and B.D. 12 May 1631. On the presentation of John Digby, earl of Bristol [q. v.], he became vicar of Sherborne, Dorset, in 1631. His Calvinistic views left him undisturbed during the civil war; he was chosen member of the Westminster assembly, but did not sit—a fact which perhaps accounts for the mistaken assumption that he was a royalist (Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 419). In 1653 he was allowed an annuity of 44l. 18s. out of Lord Digby's estate. Lyford died at Sherborne on 3 Oct. 1653, and was buried under the communion table in the chancel of the church. By his wife Elizabeth he left issue. By his will he bequeathed 120l. to Magdalen College, because, he says, he had in 1633 received 40l. for resigning his fellowship 'according to the corrupt custom of those days;' the money was really a compensation for not taking a college living.

Lyford published: 1. 'Principles of Faith and Good Conscience digested into a Catechistical Form,' London, 1642, 8vo; 5th edit. Oxford, 1658. 2. 'An Apology for our Public Ministry and Infant Baptism,' London, 1653, 4to; 3rd edit. 1657. Posthumous were; 1. 'The Plain Man's Senses exercised to discern both Good and Evil,' London, 1655, 4to, with a funeral sermon by W. H., D.D., which was also issued separately. 2. 'William Lyford his Legacy, or a Help for Young People to prepare them for the Sacrament,' London, 1656, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1658. 3. 'Cases of Conscience propounded in the Time of Rebellion resolved,' London, 1661, 8vo. Lyford edited in 1634 the second edition of William Pinke's 'Tryall of a Christians syncere Love unto Christ.'

[Wood's Athenae Oxon. (ad. Bliss), iii. 345-6; Foster's Alumni Oion. 1500-1714; Bloxam's Reg. of Magdalen, v. 78; Hutchins's Dorset, iv. 250. 264.]

W. A. J. A.