Eyre, Samuel (DNB00)

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EYRE, Sir SAMUEL (1633–1698), judge, came of a legal family, his grandfather, Robert, having been a bencher and reader of Lincoln's Inn, and his father being a barrister, Robert Eyre of Salisbury and Chilhampton, who married Anne, daughter of Samuel Aldersey of Aldersey in Cheshire. He was born in 1633, baptised 26 Dec., and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in June 1661. Under the patronage of the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose adviser he was, he attained some professional eminence. He was made a serjeant 21 April 1692, and succeeded Mr. Justice Dolben in the king's bench 6 Feb. 1694, but was not sworn in until 22 Feb. When Charles Knollys's claim to the earldom of Banbury came before the House of Lords in 1698, Eyre was called on, along with Chief-justice Holt, to state to the house the grounds upon which he had given judgment in favour of Knollys, who being tried in the king's bench in 1694 for murder had pleaded his privilege as a peer. This the two judges refused to do, the matter not coming before the house on writ of error from the king's bench. They were threatened with committal to the Tower, but the matter dropped. Eyre died on circuit at Lancaster of an attack of colic 12 Sept. 1698 (or 10th according to Luttrell). A monument was erected at Lancaster to him, and his body was removed to St. Thomas's, Salisbury, the family burial-place, 2 July 1699. He married Martha, daughter of Francis, fifth son of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Worcestershire, by whom he had four sons (the eldest, Sir Robert Eyre [q. v.], was judge of the queen's bench) and two daughters. His wife brought him considerable property.

[Foss's Lives of the Judges; Hoare's Wiltshire; State Trials, vol. xii.; 1 Raymond's Reports, 10.]

J. A. H.