Lyons, Israel (d.1770) (DNB00)


LYONS, ISRAEL, the elder (d. 1770), hebraist, was a Polish Jew who settled at Cambridge, where he resided nearly forty years. He earned his livelihood by keeping a silversmith's shop, and giving instruction in the Hebrew language to members of the university. The antiquary Cole notes that in 1732 Lyons lived in a lane at the Great Bridge Foot, called the Pond Yards, but afterwards removed to a house in St. John's Lane, near the corner of Green Street. In 1769 he was occupying the corner house of the Regent Walk. He died on 19 Aug. 1770. ‘What is extraordinary,’ says Cole, ‘this Jew desired to be buried in Great St. Mary's churchyard in Cambridge, and was accordingly carried thither,’ and ‘his daughter Judith read some form of interment service over his grave.’ According to the same authority he, his son, and daughter were often fighting together, and the Jews in Cambridge regarded him as unorthodox. Bowtell states that the daughter was a sensible and ingenious woman, but took to the mean practice of fortune-telling, and died a pauper in All Saints parish, Cambridge, where she was buried on 21 April 1795. Lyons was the author of: 1. ‘The Scholar's Instructor: an Hebrew Grammar, with points,’ Cambridge, 1735, 8vo; 2nd edit. Cambridge, 1757, 8vo; 3rd and 4th editions, revised and corrected by Henry Jacob, London, 1810 and 1823, 8vo. 2. ‘An Hebrew Grammar, collected chiefly from those of Mr. I. Lyons and the Rev. R. Grey, to which is prefixed a Praxis … with a Sketch of the Hebrew Poetry, as retrieved by Bishop Hare,’ was published at Boston, New England, 1763, 8vo. 3. ‘Observations relating to various parts of Scripture History,’ Cambridge, 1768, 8vo.

[Addit. MS. 5875, f. 96; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 381; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. ii. 327, 419.]

T. C.