Ryder, William (DNB00)

RYDER or RITHER, Sir WILLIAM (1544?–1611), lord mayor of London, born about 1544, was grandson of Thomas Ryther of Lynstead in Kent, and son of Thomas Ryther or Ryder of Mucklestone, Staffordshire, to which county his mother belonged, her maiden name being Poole. The family were descended from Sir William Ryther of Ryther in the county of York. In 1564, while serving an apprenticeship to Thomas Burdet, he noticed, according to Stow, in an Italian merchant's shop a pair of knitted worsted stockings from Mantua, and, having borrowed them, he made a pair exactly like, and presented them to the Earl of Pembroke. These were, Stow says, the first stockings knit in England of woollen yarn. He eventually set up in business, joined the Company of Haberdashers, and became one of the most prosperous London merchants. He was elected alderman of Bridge-without on 8 July 1590 (Repertory 22, fol. 290 b) and of Cornhill on 11 Feb. 1594 (ib. 23, fol. 353 b). He served the office of sheriff in 1591.

Ryder was elected lord mayor in 1600. He kept his mayoralty in Walbrook, his house adjoining St. Stephen's Church. On 13 Nov. the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, attended by five hundred of the principal citizens on horseback, and ‘sumptuously appareled in velvet with golden chains,’ met the queen at Chelsea, and accompanied her to Westminster.

Ryder's loyalty to the queen triumphantly stood a severe test in February 1601, during the rebellion of the Earl of Essex. It was rumoured (though, as the event proved, falsely) that the earl might safely count on the affection of the citizens, and that out of twenty-four aldermen, twenty or twenty-one would probably declare themselves his adherents. On Sunday, 8 Feb., the mayor, sheriffs, and aldermen attended service at St. Paul's. A messenger hurriedly entered with Essex's friends, the Earls of Rutland and Southampton, and a body of Essex's supporters armed with rapiers marched through the city and appealed to the citizens to join them [see Devereux, Robert, second Earl of Essex]. When the earl halted his small force in Gracechurch Street, the lord mayor appeared on horseback, and Essex demanded to speak with him. This Ryder declined to do, but, retiring, drew up again with his followers at the stocks. Essex rode by, and Ryder sent a messenger begging him to come to his house, and pledging his word that no violence should be offered him. Essex retorted that the mayor meant to betray him. On the apprehension of the rebels, six were lodged in the mayor's house. Next day Elizabeth sent grateful acknowledgments for the loyalty of the mayor and citizens. Ryder received the honour of knighthood.

On the accession of James I in 1603, Ryder's services received full recognition in his appointment as ‘collector-general’ of his majesty's ‘customs inwards.’ On the capture of the Spanish ‘caricke,’ the St. Valentine of Lisbon, and other prizes, a commission, with Sir William as treasurer, was appointed to superintend the sale of the cargo, which comprised large quantities of indigo, pepper, cinnamon, rice, ginger, calico, silk, and pearls. In 1605 Ryder was in conference with the lord chancellor ‘about the customs on kersies.’ In 1606 he was appointed collector of ‘toll, tonnage, and poundage in London for life,’ the impost on sea-coal being included. This formed a profitable source of income, and the coal duties are mentioned in his will. His name and that of Sir Thomas Lake, his son-in-law, appear as ‘farmers of the impost on sugars,’ a tax which supplied the queen's purse; and the same persons, with others, figure in various transactions as ‘contractors for rectories and chantry lands.’

From 1600 to 1605 Sir William was president of Bridewell and Bethlehem hospitals (Copeland, History of Bridewell, p. 124). In 1610 he built a chancel for Leyton parish church, having inherited the manor and lordship of Leyton, Essex, from his brother Edward, who died in 1609. His arms appear on a partially defaced monument in Leyton church, in conjunction with the arms of the Stone family, to which his wife belonged.

Ryder died at Leyton on 30 Aug. 1611, according to one authority; but the parish registers of St. Olave, Hart Street, contain the following entry under 19 Nov. 1611: ‘Sir William Rider, diing at Leyton, had his funeralle solemnized in our church, the hearss being brought from Clothworkers' Hall.’

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Stone of Holme in Norfolk, by whom he had a son Ferdinando, who predeceased him in 1603, and two daughters, Mary and Susan. Mary married Sir Thomas Lake [q. v.] of Canons, Middlesex, and was the ancestress of the Viscounts Lake; Susan became the third wife of Sir Thomas Cæsar [q. v.], baron of the exchequer.

Ryder's will, dated November 1610, was proved on 2 Dec. 1614 (Lawe 119). He left bequests to ‘Christe Churche Hospitall,’ to the prisoners in Ludgate, Newgate, and each of the compters, for the benefit of Drayton school in Shropshire, and to the poor of Low Leyton and of Mucklestone, where he was born. Among his estates he enumerates lands in Greenwich, Stepney, Leyton, Great Dunmow, and Eythorne Manor in Kent. The daughters disputed the terms of the will; though Sir William had obviously intended to divide his property equally, ‘as if there went but a payer of cheers betwene them.’

[Metcalfe's Book of Knights, p. 138; Genealogist, new ser. v. 47; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1601–18; Lysons's Environs of London, iv. 160–1; Strype's Stow, 1755, ii. 229, 279, 777, 779; Coll. Top. et Gen. ii. 316; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. i. 268–9; Morant's Essex, i. 23; Lodge's Memoir of the Cæsar Family, p. 39; Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete, 1816, p. 166; Surrey Arch. Coll. iii. 374–5; Povah's Annals of St. Olave, Hart Street, pp. 181–2; Maitland's Hist. of London, 1760, i. 280–1; Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 5752 ff. 69, 118, 122–4, 126, 134, 140, 5755 f. 60, 5843 f. 451.]

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