DYVE, Lewis (by 1516-92), of Bromham, Beds.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1516, 1st s. of William Dyve of Bromham by Anne, da. and h. of Lewis ap Rhys of Montgomeryshire and Hanslope, Bucks. m. by 1542, Mary, da. of Sir Walter Strickland of Sizergh, Westmld, 2 or 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 10 Jan. 1538. Kntd. 1587.2

Offices Held

J.p. Beds. 1543-d., q. by 1573/74; commr. relief 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553, for eccles. causes, dioceses of Lincoln and Peterborough 1571; sheriff, Beds. and Bucks. 1545-6, 1572-3, Beds. 1583-4; lt. Guisnes by 1557-8.3


From about 1543 until his death Lewis Dyve was an active local official in Bedfordshire. He was a moderately wealthy landowner, whose family had come originally from Northamptonshire. By his time the main branch was settled at Bromham, three miles north-west of Bedford, with property at various places in Bedfordshire. Since no inquisition post mortem on Dyve survives for any other county, it is not known whether he succeeded to the ap Rhys inheritance in Buckinghamshire and Montgomeryshire, but the file of an undated chancery suit contains his petition, as heir of his mother, claiming land in the latter county.4

A convinced Protestant, Dyve sat in only the two Edwardian Parliaments. His earlier election may have owed something to his relationship either to William, 13th Lord Grey of Wilton, a supporter of the Duke of Somerset, or to the influential local family of Gascoigne. Before the election of February 1553 John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, ostensibly on behalf of the King, wrote to the sheriff asking him to suggest Dyve’s name, with Sir John St. John’s, ‘to the gentlemen and others ... being freeholders of that county’. No trace has been found of any direct connexion between Dyve and the court, but Lord Grey, who had by then made his peace with Northumberland, may have been the intermediary.5

Dyve had considerable military experience. Although he does not appear to have gone to France with Henry VIII, he was active in mustering troops in Bedfordshire for the campaign of 1544 and the succeeding years. His first-hand experience of continental warfare was probably limited to Mary’s reign. Early in November 1552 Lord Grey had been appointed warden and governor of Guisnes, and some time later—the exact date has not been found—Dyve joined him. When Grey received leave of absence in July 1557 Dyve, described as ‘a gentleman of great experience’, was ordered to act as lieutenant to Sir Edward Bray. After the fall of Calais, Guisnes was violently attacked by French forces, and in January 1558 Grey fired the town and after a week’s siege surrendered the castle. Dyve, who had earlier distinguished himself in an engagement at ‘Busshing’, was taken prisoner with Grey and other officers.6

For nearly two years Dyve was unable to agree with his captors on an acceptable ransom. Details of the transaction are obscure, and estimates of the sum paid contradictory, but in May 1559 he was allowed to come to England with a letter from (Sir) Nicholas Throckmorton to Queen Elizabeth asking her to intercede on his behalf. A fortnight later he returned to France with the royal answer to other requests by Throckmorton. He was probably freed by the end of the year, for in 1562 a Florentine, Filippo ‘Didato’ or Diodati, was claiming from Lord Grey’s executors a sum of 800 crowns advanced by him and Mme. Cresaques in 1559 ‘for the ransom of Lewes Dives, prisoner of war’.7

For the remainder of his life Dyve seems to have been content to live in Bedfordshire, performing his local duties against a background of litigation provoked chiefly by the aggressive tendencies of his son John and the rivalry between the Dyves and their neighbours the Butlers or Botelers. It was during Elizabeth’s reign that these local quarrels erupted disastrously, the protagonists being John Dyve and William Butler and their respective servants. Although on his deathbed in 1592 the elder Dyve asked the two opponents to reach a friendly agreement, the quarrels continued. With other local families, for example the Gostwicks, Dyve was on better terms. In 1581 John Gostwick of Willington, nephew of (Sir) John Gostwick, appointed him, as a ‘well-beloved friend’, co-executor, with the widow, of his will. Dyve’s own will, drawn up in March 1588, has a Protestant preamble. In addition to a number of bequests to relatives, he left 40s. to the poor and impotent people of Bedford, Biddenham, Bromham, East Haddon, Harlestone, Quinton, Sewell, and Stevington. The parishioners of Bromham were also to have ‘a drinking in Rogation week at my mills by Biddenham bridge’, and grass or straw twice a year for their seats in the parish church. He died in August 1592, and was buried, as he had asked, at Bromham. An alabaster tomb there, the inscription of which has been lost, is considered to be his. The heir, executor and residuary legatee, John, was aged almost 50 when he succeeded. He had apparently not completed his executor’s duties at his death in December 1607. Some time later a commission was granted to his wife Beatrice to take his place as executor of Dyve’s will.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. OR gives ‘Dyche’.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/82/110. Harl. 1500, f. 57v; Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 23; C3/57/88, ex inf. R. A. Evans.
  • 3. APC, vi. 149; CSP For. 1553-8, pp. 325-6; Harl. 1500, f. 57v; LP Hen. VIII, xx; CPR, 1547-8, p. 80; 1550-3, p. 141; 1553, p. 351; 1563-6, p. 41; 1569-72, p. 277; Beds. N. and Q. i. 282-4, 287-9, 297-8.
  • 4. Beds. N. and Q. i. 282-98 passim; Bridges, Northants. i. 384, 462, 492, 513; Baker, Northants. 60, 160; Beds. Hist. Rec. Soc. xlvi. 68, n5; Gent. Mag. xcix(2), 20-23; NRA 7633 (Beds. RO, Trevor-Wingfield mss, nos. 1015, 1027, 1031), see also introduction pp. ii seq.; CPR, 1549-51, p. 133; VCH Beds. iii. 37, 44-46, 104, 311, 391; C3/57/88; 142/237/120.
  • 5. Lansd. 3, f. 36; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, ii(2), 64 seq.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xix, xxi; CSP For. 1553-8, pp. 325-6, 348.
  • 7. CSP For. 1558-9, pp. 255-7, 288; 1562, p. 608; Harl. 1500, f. 57v.
  • 8. CPR, 1550-3, p. 276; NRA 7633 (Trevor-Wingfield mss, nos. 1015, 1023, 1031); APC, xxii. 239, 270; Beds. N. and Q. iii. 328; PCC 65 Harrington; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 568; C142/237/120, 309/171; VCH Beds. iii. 48.