Vyse, Richard William Howard (DNB00)

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VYSE, RICHARD WILLIAM HOWARD (1784–1853), major-general, born on 25 July 1784, was the only son of General Richard Vyse by his wife Anne, only surviving daughter and heiress of Field-marshall Sir George Howard [q.v.]

The father, Richard Vyse (1746-1825), general, born at Lichfield on 11 July 1746, was the younger son of William Vyse (1710-1770), canon residentiary and treasurer of Lichfield, and younger brother of William Vyse (1741-1816), canon residentiary and chancellor of Lichfield. His mother, Catherine, was daughter of Richard Smalbroke [q. v.], bishop of Lichfield. He was appointed cornet in the 5th dragoons on 13 Feb. 1763. He attained the brevet rank of colonel on 7 Jan. 1781, received the command of the 1st dragoon guards on 28 May 1784, and during the revolutionary war served in Flanders in command of a brigade under the Duke of York. He distinguished himself on several occasions, particularly at the battle of Cateau on 25 April 1794, where, at the head of two brigades of heavy cavalry, he materially contributed to the victory, and at the evacuation of Ostend, which he superintended on 1 July. Vyse was nominated major-general on 2 Oct. 1794, and lieutenant-general on 1 Jan. 1801. He was returned to parliament in 1806 for Beverley, but in the following year made way for his son. He attained the rank of general on 1 Jan. 1812, and died at Lichfield on 30 May 1825. He filled for some time the office of comptroller to Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland (Gent. Mag. 1825, ii. 180; Historical Records of the Third Dragoon Guards, 1838, p.127).

His son, Richard William, assumed the addition name of Howard by royal sign manual dated 14 Sept. 1812, on inheriting the estates of Boughton and Pitsford in Northamptonshire through his maternal grandmother, Lucy, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, second earl of Strafford. Vyse entered the army as cornet in the 1st dragoons on 5 May 1800, was promoted to lieutenant in the 15th dragoons on 17 June 1801, and to captain on 29 June 1802. In 1809 he acted as aide-de-camp to his father on the staff of the Yorkshire district, and on 5 July 1810 received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from Oxford University. He attained the brevet rank of major on 4 June 1813, was nominated captain in the 87th foot on 31 Aug. 1815, and in the 2nd lifeguards on 5 July 1816, and was appointed major in the 1st West India regiment on 4 Jan 1819, and in the 2nd lifeguards on 4 Feb. in the same year. On 13 May he attained the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel and was placed on half-pay on 10 Sept. 1825. On 10 Jan. 1837 he was raised to the rank of colonel, and on 9 Nov. 1846 to that of major-general.

Vyse was returned to parliament for Beverley on 8 May 1807. In October 1812 he exchanged this seat for Honiton in Devonshire, which he retained till the dissolution of 1818. In 1824 he served the office of high sheriff for Buckinghamshire.

In 1835 Vyse visited Egypt and Syria was much interested by the work of excavation which had been accomplished by Caviglia at Gizeh, and resolved himself to take part in the enterprise. On 21 Nov. he reached the pyramids, and, though an early difference with Caviglia terminated their co-operation, he pursued for over a year and a half the task of excavating and exploring the pyramids. In January 1837 he obtained the assistance of John Shae Perring [q.v.], and, although he returned to England in August, he provided the funds for Perring’s subsequent explorations to the south of Gizeh and at Abu Roash. His researches and those of Perring were of great importance in elucidating the early history of Egypt. In 1840 Vyse published an account of them in two volumes under the title ‘Operations carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837’ (London, 4to), followed in 1842 by a third supplemental volume devoted to Perring’s researches at Abu Roash.

Vyse died at Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, on 8 June 1853. He married, 13 Nov, 1810 Frances, second daughter of Henry Hesketh of Newton, Cheshire, By her he had eight sons and two daughters.

[Gent. Mag. 1853, ii. 200; Bunsen’s Egypt’s Place in Universal History. ii. 28, 635-45; Foster’s Alumni, 1715-1886; Burke’s Landed Gentry, s.v. ‘Howard Vyse;’ Simms’s Bibliotheca Staffordiensis.]

E. I. C.