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RYVES, Sir THOMAS (1583?–1652), civilian, born about 1583, was the eighth son of John Ryves (1532–1587?) of Damory Court, near Blandford, Dorset, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Mervyn of Fonthill, Wiltshire. Of his brothers, George (1569–1613) was warden of New College, Oxford, and Sir William (d. 1660) was appointed attorney-general for Ireland in 1619 and judge of the king's bench in 1636. Bruno Ryves [q. v.] was his first cousin. Thomas was admitted to Winchester School in 1590, was thence elected fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1598, and graduated B.C.L. on 7 Feb. 1604–5, and D.C.L. 21 June 1610. He also studied law in ‘the best universities of France,’ and the terms he spent there were allowed to count for his degree as if he had spent them in Oxford (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1615–25, pp. 105–7; Reg. Univ. Oxon. vol. ii. pt. i. p. 380). In 1611 he was admitted advocate of Doctors' Commons. In September 1612 Sir John Davies [q. v.] , whose wife was sister to Ryves's aunt, took Ryves with him on his return to Ireland, and in the following October procured him the reversion of the office of judge of faculties and the prerogative court in Ireland. Meanwhile he did the king ‘good service’ during the parliament of 1613, made notable by the struggle between Davies and Sir John Everard [q. v.] for the speakership, of which Ryves wrote an account, preserved among the state papers (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, 1611–14, pp. 354–5). On the death of Sir Daniel Donne [q. v.] in 1617, Ryves succeeded to the office of judge of faculties; but the bishops, including Ussher, objected to his authority in ecclesiastical matters, and demanded the appointment of a prelate. Ryves defended his claims in a letter to Sir Thomas Lake (ib.), but finally resigned the office, which was given to the archbishop of Dublin in 1621.

Ryves now returned to England and began to practise in the admiralty court. In April 1623 he was associated with the attorney-general in the prosecution of Admiral Sir Henry Mervyn and Sir William St. John before the admiralty court. In the following July he was ordered to attend Arthur, lord Chichester [q. v.], in his fruitless mission to negotiate peace in the Palatinate, but does not appear to have started (Cal. State Papers; Ryves to Ussher, in Ussher's Works, ed. Elrington, xv. 201). In the same year he was appointed king's advocate. In June 1626 he was sworn a master of requests extraordinary (Cal. State Papers, 1625–6, p. 362), and his activity in the admiralty courts is evidenced by numerous entries in the state papers from this date to the outbreak of the civil war. In 1634 he was placed on a commission to visit the churches and schools in the diocese of Canterbury. In 1636 he was made judge of the admiralty of Dover, and subsequently of the Cinque ports. His name does not occur after 1642, probably because he left his post to join the king. In spite of his advanced years he is said to have fought valiantly, and to have been several times wounded. He was knighted by Charles on 19 March 1644, and in September 1648 was employed on the king's behalf to negotiate with the parliament. He died on 2 Jan. 1651–2, and was buried in St. Clement Danes Church, London. Like his cousin Bruno, he married a lady named Waldram. He left no issue. Ryves was an able civilian, and his works evince considerable learning; but Archbishop Ussher had no high opinion of his honesty (Ussher, Letters, ed. Parr, 1686, p. 335).

His works are: 1. ‘The Poore Vicars Plea,’ London, 1620, 4to; it deals with the clergy of Ireland, and vindicates their claims to tithes, notwithstanding impropriations; another edition was printed by Sir Henry Spelman in 1704. 2. ‘Regiminis Anglicani in Hibernia Defensio adversus Analecten (by David Rothe [q. v.] ),’ London, 1624, 4to; it seeks to exculpate James I from the charges of tyranny and oppression in Ireland, of debasing the coin, and restraining freedom of speech in parliament; it maintains the royal against papal supremacy in the church, and concludes with an eloquent vindication of Chichester's administration. 3. ‘Imperatoris Justiniani Defensio adversus Alemannum,’ London, 1626, 12mo; another edition appeared at Frankfort in 1628, 8vo. 4. ‘Historia Navalis, lib. i.,’ London, 1629, 8vo; begins with Noah, and deals with ancient naval history down to the sixth century B.C.; no more of this edition was published, and this volume was included in 5. ‘Historia Navalis Antiqua, lib. iv.,’ London, 1633, 8vo, which goes down to the establishment of the Roman empire. 6. ‘Historia Navalis Media, lib. iii.,’ London, 1640, 8vo; carries on the history to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Many of Ryves's letters are preserved among the state papers; two to Camden are printed in Smith's ‘Camdeni Epistolæ,’ 1691, pp. 236, 257, and seven to Ussher in Elrington's ‘Works of Ussher.’ In the last two he speaks of having translated some of Ussher's works, but these translations do not seem to have been published.

[Authorities cited; Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Cal. State Papers, Domestic and Irish; Lascelles's Liber Mun. Hib.; Hutchins's Dorset, i. 228, iv. 96; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iii. 304–6; Ware's Ireland, ii. 339–40; Laud's Works, iv. 126, 129, 130, v. 132; Reg. Univ. Oxon. vol. ii. pt. i. pp. 120, 186, 380, pt. iii. p. 260; Kirby's Winchester Scholars; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Coote's Civilians, p. 70; Fuller's Worthies, i. 315; Gent. Mag. 1813, ii. 22–3.]

A. F. P.