Thomas Ryves FRS

 Thomas Ryves F.R.S.

THOMAS RYVES was the 2nd son of Captain THOMAS RYVES of London and Bombay and his wife ELIZABETH GLYNN, widow of William Kyffin Governor of Fort Anjengo. He was born in London in 1721 and baptized at St.Andrews Church in Holborn on the 16th of May.

In 1723 when Thomas was 2 years old his father died in Bombay. Then his mother died less than 6 months later. There was a smallpox epidemic at the time. Thomas and his elder brother George and their two surviving sisters Elizabeth and Susanna were orphaned.

They may have been raised by their uncle GEORGE RYVES, who owned the large estate of Ranston near Blandford Forum in Dorset. When George died in 1729 leaving no surviving male heirs (his twin infant sons were born and died in 1718) Thomas' brother George succeeded to that estate. However when George died unmarried in 1739 the Ranston estate passed to Thomas. Although possessed of that estate, he seems to have spent much time in the city, for in the 1740's he was living in the Parish of St.Marylebone in London.

On 17th April 1749 in the Chapel Royal at Hampton in Middlesex, Thomas married ELIZABETH, younger daughter and co-heir of Sir ANTHONY THOMAS ABDY, 3rd Baronet of Felix Hall in Essex, by his 2nd wife CHARLOTTE, youngest daughter and co-heir of Sir THOMAS BARNARDISTON, 3rd Baronet of Kedington in Suffolk. Elizabeth died on 27th January 1755 and was buried at Shroton in Dorset on the 8th of February leaving issue

1. THOMAS RYVES. Born on 4th February 1753 and baptized at St.James, Westminster on 3rd March following. He seemed to have had a troubled relationship with his father. For details of his life click HERE.
2. John Ryves, born on 31st March 1754 and baptized at St.Mary St.Marylebone Road on 27th February 1754. He entered into the maritime service with the Royal Navy or East India Company, and died a teenager in the East Indies in 1768.
1. Elizabeth Ryves, born on 8th June 1750 and baptized at St.James, Westminster on 6th July following. She was still unmarried at the time her father wrote his will in 1787, and probably died childless.
2. Charlotte Ryves, baptized at St.James, Westminster on 19th February 1752. On 26th May 1780 she married her first cousin James Williams of Spettisbury and Chettle in Dorset. They had four children before she died on 8th June 1785, and was buried at Shroton in Dorset.

On 22nd September 1757 at St.James' in Westminster Thomas Ryves remarried, this time to Anna Maria, younger daughter of the Royal Apothecary Daniel Graham of St.James' in Westminster and Harrow on the Hill, being the only daughter by his 2nd wife Mary Crisp. By her Thomas had further issue

3. George Frederick Ryves, born on 8th September 1758 and educated at Harrow. He entered the Royal Navy in February 1774, serving in the East and West Indies. Rose to the rank of Rear-Admiral. For details of his life see the Dictionary of National Biography. He married 1stly on 3rd January 1792 (at Berwick St.John's in Wiltshire) Katherine Elizabeth youngest daughter of the Hon. James Everard Arundell of Ashcombe in Wiltshire by his wife Ann daughter and heir of John Wyndham of Ashcombe. She, who was sister of James 9th Baron Arundell of Wardour, died aged 44 on 21st December 1803 leaving issue

i. George Frederick Ryves, born 25th September 1792. A Captain of the Royal Navy, he resided at Berkeley Lodge or Shroton Cottage, Dorset. He married on 27th June 1827 (at St.Clement Danes, Westminster) Charity 3rd daughter of Thomas Poole alias Theobald of Grays in Essex. He died in July 1858 leaving issue

a. George Arundell Ryves, born at Shroton Cottage in Dorset on 21st May 1828. He died in April 1835.
b. George Frederick Ryves, born 21st May 1842.
a. Charity Catherine Ryves, born in 1841. She appears to have died in 1868, presumably unmarried.

ii. Henry Wyndham Ryves, born in 1795. He served in the Royal Artillery.
i. Harriet Ryves, born in 1794.
ii. Katherine Elizabeth Ryves, born about 1801. She married her cousin George Frederick Symes (see below). At the time of the 1851 census she was living at Spring Cottage, Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis in Dorset. They had issue.

George Frederick Ryves married 2ndly in 1806 his cousin Emma daughter of Richard Robert Graham, apothecary of Chelsea College, by his wife Ann daughter of Charles Bowles. George Frederick died at Shroton House in Dorset on 20th May 1826. His will pr. 20th July 1826 (P.C.C. Swabey 351). Emma, who was born in 1781, died in 1842 and was buried at Parkstone in Dorset. Her will pr. 28th November 1842. By her he had further issue

iii. Charles Graham Ryves, born at Shroton on 26th March 1807 and baptized on 29th July 1807. He served as a Captain in the Royal Navy. In the 1881 census he was lodging at 25 Vale Street, Denbigh, along with his brother Herbert. He died on 2nd May 1881, probably unmarried.
iv. Walter Robert Ryves, born 29th February 1808 and baptized on 29th July 1808. Served in the Royal Navy. He drowned.
v. Edward Augustus Ryves, born 27th May 1809 and baptized 30th August 1809. Served in the Royal Navy. He died at sea.
vi. Herbert Thomas Ryves born at Shroton on 30th November 1812 and baptized 1st January 1813. A Commander of the Royal Navy. In 1849 he married Eliza Amelia daughter of Charles Fowke by his wife Ann Prosser. Eliza died on 12th December 1872. At the time of the 1881 census Herbert was widowed and lodging at 25 Vale Street, Denbigh along with his brother Charles. He had known issue

a. Laura Amelia Ryves, born 9th March 1849. On 10th December 1868 she married Charles George Henry Furlonge, son of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles John Furlonge of Bath in Somerset by his wife Armine daughter of Tompkyns Dew. Laura died on 13th June 1928 leaving issue.
b. Emma Fanny Ryves, born at Newhaven in Sussex in August 1853. In March 1876 she married Hugh Pierce, a farmer of Yscubor Newydd in Wales. They had issue.

vii. William Henry Graham Ryves, born on 13th April 1819 and baptized the following day. He entered service with the Royal Navy, and died at sea.
viii. George Arundell Ryves, baptized on 19th January 1827.
iii. Mary Emma Ryves, baptized at Shroton on 6th January 1815. At the time of the 1851 census she was visiting her half-sister Katherine in Lyme Regis. She died in 1873.
iv. Laura Matilda Ryves, born in 1823. On 20th June 1845 at Bryanston in Dorset she married William Grey Pitt, formerly of Kingston House in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, only son and heir of William Morton Pitt M.P. (1754-1836) by his 2nd wife Grace Amelia daughter of Henry Seymer (1745-1800) of Hanford in Dorset. He, who was half-brother of Sophia Pitt 1st wife of Charles Marsham 2nd Earl of Romney, had sold much property in Swanage and elsewhere in 1838 to cover the family debts, and re-mortgaged Kingston House to the tune of 55,000 to provide his sisters with an annuity for life. Around the time of their marriage he sold Kingston House and the newlywed couple then lived at Claremont House, Milbrook in Hampshire. Laura Matilda may have died in 1853. William died in 1867. Said by some to have died childless, and by others to have left three sons.

4. Henry Pleydell Ryves, baptized at Shroton on 24th August 1759. Educated at Harrow 1770-76. He then studied at Merton College, Oxford. In 1781 he gifted a copy of Quintus Horatius Flaccus's Opera to William Bradley of Corpus Christi College. On 19th January 1790 at Godalming in Surrey he married Sarah daughter of Thomas Hall of Goldings in Hertfordshire by his wife Mary Hallett. Henry was Rector of Cheselbourne in Dorset, Vicar of Elstead in Surrey and Prebendary of Chichester. He died in 1817. Sarah, who was born about 1742, died on 30th March 1795 near Godalming. Her will pr. 8th August 1795 (P.C.C. Newcastle 517-562). They do not appear to have had any children.
5. Robert Graham Ryves, baptized at Shroton on 14th October 1760. He died the following year.
6. Richard Ryves, born and died in 1762.
3. Diana Maria Ryves, baptized at Dorking in Surrey on 24th August 1765. She died later that year.
4. Mariana Georgina Ryves, born 25th August 1766 and baptized at St.James's, Picadilly on 17th September following. She was to elope with, and later marry William Leigh Symes of Esher in Surrey. Symes appears to have died in Jamaica around 1796, his will being pr. 9th June 1797 (P.C.C. Exeter 441), having made the mistake of leaving his English property in the care of his brother-in-law Henry Swann M.P. William and Mariana had seven known children

i. Robert Symes, born on 5th December 1785. He became an Army Officer serving in the 4th Dragoon Guards. Perhaps in 1811 he married Lucy daughter of Dr. Stephenson of York. He died in 1841. His widow was living in Devon in 1851. They had (known) issue three daughters

a. Harriette Wapshare Symes.
b. Georgina Symes.
c. Zuley Louisa Symes. She married the Rev. Charles Armstrong Fox, Curate of Loxbear in Devon, and died in 1907.

ii. William Symes. He may have entered the Royal Navy.
iii. George Frederick Symes, born at Richmond in Surrey on 24th December 1794. On 13th January 1824, perhaps at Albury in Surrey, he married his cousin Katherine Elizabeth, 2nd daughter of Admiral George Frederick Ryves by his 1st wife Katherine Elizabeth Arundell (see above). Sometime a Captain of the Madras Artillery, Symes died on 15th April 1851 as the result of a blow to the head delivered whilst trying to stop an argument between two drunken tramps in the road near his home at Spring Cottage, Uplyme Road, Lyme Regis in Devon. Katherine Elizabeth died in Bath District on 10th April 1876. They had a daughter

Henrietta or Harriette Symes. Born at Marsulipatum in India, she died unmarried on 23rd January 1891 in Bath District.

i. Katherine Symes, born on 23rd November 1786. She may have sailed to India in 1824, but appears to have died unmarried at Brigstock in Northamptonshire on 16th November 1830.
ii. Maria Symes, born on 3rd November 1787. On 19th January 1807 at Chalfont St.Giles in Buckinghamshire she married William Hotham. She died two years later.
iii. Harriet Symes. Born on 13th April 1790, on 6th February 1812 at Bath in Somerset she married James Wapshare of The Close in Salisbury, who was a clothier at Trowbridge. Harriet appears to have died two years later at Newton Toney in Wiltshire.
iv. Charlotte Symes, born in Argyle Street, London on 1st May 1793. She died an infant the following year.

On 11th December 1798 Mariana Georgina married again, this time to her cousin Sydenham Malthus of Albury in Surrey. They had five known children, details of whom may be found here. Sydenham died on 20th December 1821 and was buried at Albury in Surrey. His will pr. 21st January 1822. Mariana Georgina died on 18th November 1830 and was also buried at Albury. Her will pr. 18th March 1831 (P.C.C. Tebbs 151).
5. Henrietta Ryves, born in 1768. She probably died young.
6. Anne Ryves, born in 1770. She probably died young.
7. Lucy Graham Ryves, born in 1771. She died the following year.
8. Louisa Maria Ryves, born and died in 1774.

In 1760 Thomas Ryves was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences and he exhibited some watercolours before the society. He also rebuilt Ranston Hall, giving it its present appearance (see right).

However in 1781, undoubtedly for financial reasons relating to his eldest son Thomas, he had to sell this estate which had been in the family for almost 240 years. He then appears to have taken out a 21-year lease on The Belvedere in Surrey, probably the house of that name which still stands on top of a high sandy hill in Claremont Park near Esher, and which originally served as the summer house for Claremont House.

Thomas also had land or property at Queen Square in Bloomsbury, Smithfields in London, and land in Lincolnshire known as the Barnardiston estate. Much of this he must have obtained by marriage to his first wife, Elizabeth Abdy. However, it passed under the terms of Thomas's will to his sons by his second wife, Anna Maria Graham. This was to be the underlying cause of the Ryves vs. Ryves court case in 1797. See the account of his eldest son THOMAS RYVES for more details.



In his will Thomas Ryves requests that he be buried where he should die. Thomas died on 23rd July 1788 in his 68th year, and there is a wall plaque to his memory in St.Mary's Church, Harrow on the Hill (see left). This memorial in Harrow may lead one to assume that he died there,
however he actually died at Albury in Surrey! Is it possible that his body rests in Albury in accordance with the terms of his will?

The inscribed verse on the plaque in Harrow reads -

When sorrow weeps o'er Virtues Sacred dust
Our Tears become us, and our Grief is just
Such were the Tears She Shed, who Gratefull pays
This last Sad tribute of her Love and Praise.

Perhaps more intriguing is the large blank area on the plaque below the verse!






It has been remarked that there was nothing outstanding about the quality of verse inscribed on the above plaque. However it is said that the poet Byron, during his schooldays at Harrow, gazed at the plaque whilst bored during the Church service in St.Mary's every Sunday. Byron was later to request that his illegitimate daughter Allegra be buried nearby, a request which was at that time denied (see the extract from Byron's letter below for more details). In 1980 however, a small plaque to her memory was placed outside the front door of the church by the Byron Society (see right).





LETTER FROM BYRON TO JOHN MURRAY Montenero, May 26th, 1822, near Leghorn

Dear Sir, - The body is embarked, in what ship I know not, neither could I enter into the details; but the Countess G. G. has had the goodness to give the necessary orders to Mr Dunn, who superintends the embarkation, and will write to you. I wish it to be buried in Harrow Church: there is a spot in the Church yard, near the footpath, on the brow of the hill looking towards Windsor, and a tomb under a large tree (bearing the name of Peachie, or Peachey), where I used to sit for hours and hours when a boy: this was my favourite spot; but, as I wish to erect a tablet to her memory, the body had better be deposited in the Church. Near the door, on the left hand as you enter, there is a monument with a tablet containing these words:

I recollect them (after seventeen years), not from any thing remarkable in them, but because from my seat in the Gallery I had generally my eyes turned towards that monument: as near it as convenient I could wish Allegra to be buried, and on the wall a marble tablet placed, with these words:

In memory of
daughter of G. G. Lord Byron,
who died at Bagnacavallo, in Italy, April 20th, 1822,
aged five years and three months.
'I shall go to her, but she shall not return to me.' --2d Samuel, xii. 23

The funeral I wish to be as private as is consistent with decency; and I could hope that Henry Drury will, perhaps, read the service over her. If he should decline it, it can be done by the usual Minister for the time being. I do not know that I need add more just now . .

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Revised: 24-Nov-2016.