Open main menu


LYONS, JOHN CHARLES (1792–1874), antiquary and writer on gardening, born on 22 Aug. 1792, was only child of Charles John Lyons (1766–1796), captain of the 12th light dragoons, by his wife Mary Anne, daughter of Sir Richard Levinge, fourth baronet. His grandfather, who survived his father, was John Lyons (d. 1803), a landed proprietor, of Ledestown or Ladistown, co. Westmeath, who was sheriff of his county in 1778. The family descended from an English settler in King's County in the reign of James I, but traces its sources to the Huguenots. From a branch of the same family, settled in Antigua, West Indies, Richard B. P. Lyons [q. v.], Earl Lyons, was descended. John Charles succeeded his grandfather in his estate in 1803, and matriculated at Pembroke College, Oxford, on 21 May 1810, but took no degree. He served as sheriff for Westmeath in 1816, and during his long life performed with credit and honesty the various duties of a country gentleman. He died, aged 82, on 3 Sept. 1874, and was interred in the churchyard of Mullingar, co. Westmeath. He was twice married, and left issue by both wives.

Lyons was a practical working gardener, and his knowledge of the subject is proved by his ‘Treatise on the Management of Orchidaceous Plants, with a Catalogue of more than One Thousand Species,’ 2nd ed., Dublin, 1845. He also interested himself in local antiquities and literature, and being of a mechanical turn set up a press at his house, where he printed with his own hands the results of his antiquarian researches. The chief of his publications are: 1. ‘A Book of Surveys and Distribution of the Estates forfeited in the County of Westmeath in the year 1641,’ Ledestown, 1852. 2. ‘The Grand Juries of Westmeath from 1727 to 1853, with an Historical Appendix,’ Ledestown, 1853. The latter records many passages both of county and family history inaccessible elsewhere.

[Lyons's Works; Burke's Landed Gentry; private information.]

W. R-l.