On the 24th he knighted Pye on the quarter-deck of the Barfleur, under the royal standard, and at the same time ordered his promotion to the rank of admiral of the blue (Beatson, iv. 34–40).
From 1777 to 1783 he was again commander-in-chief at Portsmouth, and was especially ordered to be president of the court-martial on Admiral Keppel, in January 1779, a duty which he had endeavoured to avoid on the plea of ill-health (Admiralty to Pye, 24 Dec. 1778, Secretary's Letters, vol. lix.). He seems to have been excused from presiding at the court-martial on Palliser, the admiralty preferring to appoint a partisan of their own. This was the end of Pye's service; he died in London in 1785. His wife died in 1762, apparently without issue. He is described as a man of very slender ability, thrust into high office by the Bathurst interest. The peculiarity of his features obtained for him the distinguishing name of ‘Nosey,’ and his figure was ungainly; but ‘he had the vanity to believe that he was irresistible in the eyes of every woman who beheld him,’ and was notorious for the irregularities of his private life.
[Charnock's Biogr. Nav. v. 112; Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs; The Naval Atalantis (a work mostly scurrilous, but not without a substratum of truth), p. 17; Official Correspondence, &c., in the Public Record Office.]
PYGG, OLIVER (fl. 1580), author. [See Pigg.]
PYKE, JOHN (fl. 1322?), chronicler. [See Pike.]
PYLE, THOMAS (1674–1756), divine and author, was son of John Pyle, rector of Stody, Norfolk. After being at school at Holt, Norfolk, he was admitted a sizar of Caius College, Cambridge, on 17 May 1692, and was elected a scholar next Michaelmas. He graduated B.A. in 1695–6 and M.A. in 1699. When, in 1697, he was ordained by Dr. Moore, bishop of Norwich, William Whiston, then chaplain to the bishop, notes that Pyle was one of the two best scholars whom he ever examined (Memoirs, i. 287). He probably acted as curate of St. Margaret's, King's Lynn, until 1701, when, shortly after his marriage to Mary Rolfe of that town, he was appointed by the corporation minister of St. Nicholas's Chapel, Lynn. He also held the neighbouring rectories of Outwell from 1709 and of Watlington from 1710.
He was an eloquent preacher, and a strong whig. Consequently, the accession of the house of Hanover, coupled with the fact that Walpole represented Lynn in parliament, gave him hope of preferment. He was not slow to take advantage of the outbreak of the Bangorian controversy. ‘A Vindication of the Bishop of Bangor, in answer to the Exceptions of Mr. Law,’ and a ‘Second Vindication,’ both issued in 1718, proved his talent as a disputant, and gained for him the friendship of Hoadly. Pyle began to be known in London as a preacher, and his ‘Paraphrase of the Acts and Epistles, in the manner of Dr. Clarke,’ published in 1725, obtained some popularity. In 1726 Hoadly, now bishop of Salisbury, collated him to the prebend of Durnford, in that church (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 668). Further ‘Paraphrases’ helped to strengthen his position among the numerous low-church divines, such as Clarke, Sykes, and Herring, with whom he was intimate. But Pyle never received any additional preferment, though his friend Herring became primate, and though Hoadly's influence was undiminished. ‘That very impetuosity of spirit,’ writes Herring to Duncombe, ‘which, under proper government, renders him the agreeable creature he is, has, in some circumstances of life, got the better of him, and hurt his views’ (29 July 1745, Herring's Letters, p. 81; Richards, p. 1015). He was, in fact, too heterodox even for Queen Caroline, and, as his son Edmund relates (Letter of 4 Aug. 1747, quoted by Richards, pp. 1015–16), scarcely disguised his unitarian views. In 1732 he exchanged his old livings for the vicarage of St. Margaret's, Lynn, retaining this charge until increasing age forced him to resign in 1755. He retired to Swaffham, and died there on 31 Dec. 1756. He was buried in the church of All Saints, Lynn.
Despairing of promotion for himself, Pyle had used his influence with Hoadly and others in behalf of his children. By his wife (who died on 14 March 1748, aged 66) he had three sons and three daughters. Edmund, the eldest (1702–1776), succeeded his father as lecturer at St. Nicholas's, Lynn, 1832, became archdeacon of York in 1751, and acted as chaplain to Hoadly and to George II. Thomas, the second son (1713–1806), became canon of Salisbury in 1741, and of Winchester in 1760, besides receiving good livings from Hoadly. Philip, the third son (1724–1789), was appointed rector of North Lynn in 1756 (see Richards, pp. 1018–1021).
Pyle published, besides the works already named, two answers to tracts by Dr. Henry Stebbings on the Bangorian controversy (1718–19); ‘Paraphrase on the Historical Books of the Old Testament,’ 1717–25, 4 vols.