Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Baylis, Thomas Henry

BAYLIS, THOMAS HENRY (1817–1908), lawyer and author, born in London on 22 June 1817, was second son of Edward Baylis, D.L. and J.P. for Middlesex. Sent to Harrow school, near which his father was then living, in 1825, at the early age of seven, he spent nine years there, leaving as a monitor in 1834. In 1835 he matriculated as a scholar at Brasenose College, Oxford, graduating B.A. in 1838 and proceeding M.A. in 1841. In 1834 he had already entered as a student of the Inner Temple; but he practised for some time as a special pleader before being called to the bar in 1856, when he joined the northern circuit. He became Q.C. in 1875, and two years later a bencher of his inn. From 1876 to 1903 he was judge of the court of passage at Liverpool, an ancient court of record with local jurisdiction wider than that of a county court. He was an active volunteer, retiring in 1882 with the V.D. as lieutenant-colonel of the 18th Middlesex rifles. Retaining his health and vigour almost to the last, he died at Bournemouth on 4 Oct. 1908, and was buried in the cemetery there. He married on 14 Aug. 1841 Louisa Lord, youngest daughter of John Ingle, D.L. and J.P. for Devon. His third son, Thomas Erskine, was called to the bar in 1874.

Baylis published in 1893 'The Temple Church and Chapel of St. Anne,' an historical record and guide, which reached a third edition in 1900, and is still in use as a standard guide-book. A man of wide interests and great mental activity, Baylis was a vice-president of the Royal United Service Institution, to the museum of which he presented an autograph letter from the signal officer on board the Victory at Trafalgar, explaining the substitution of 'expects' for 'confides' in Nelson's famous signal. In his pamphlet on the subject, 'The True Account of Nelson's Famous Signal' (1905), he dealt with the question whether Nelson permanently lost the sight of one eye. He was one of the founders of the Egypt Exploration Fund, drafting the original articles of association, and attending the committee meetings with regularity.

As a lawyer, Baylis is chiefly known for a treatise on domestic servants, 'The Rights, Duties, and Relations of Domestic Servants and their Masters and Mistresses' (1857; 6th edit. 1906). Other works were: 'Fire Hints' (1884); 'Introductory Address on the Office of Reader or Lector and Lecture on Treasure Trove, delivered in the Inner Temple Hall, Michaelmas 1898' (1901), and 'Workmen's Compensation Act' (1902; 7th edit. 1907).

[Personal knowledge; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

J. S. C.