Lyster, Richard (DNB00)

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LYSTER, Sir RICHARD (d. 1554), chief justice of the court of king's bench, was of an old Wakefield family. His grandfather, Thomas Lyster, was settled in that town in Henry VI's reign. His father, John, married one of the Beaumont family of Whitley, Yorkshire. Richard, being designed for the legal profession, entered the Middle Temple, where he was made reader in 1515, double reader in 1521, and treasurer the year following. From 8 July 1522 to 1526 he was solicitor-general. There is no distinct evidence of his being made attorney-general, but Foss thinks there can be no doubt that he succeeded Ralph Swillington in that office about 1526. On 12 May 1529 Lyster was raised to the bench as chief baron of the exchequer, and knighted. As chief baron his name frequently occurs on commissions (Gairdner, Letters and Papers, vols. x. xi.; Baker, Hist. of St. John's Coll., by Mayor, i. 352), but he seems to have taken no prominent part, even at such important trials as those of Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More. After continuing at the head of the exchequer for sixteen years he was advanced to the dignity of chief justice of the king's bench on 9 Nov. 1546. Before this time we find him residing at Southampton, and possessed of large property in Hampshire. Leland, who visited Southampton, writes: ‘The house that Master Lighster, chiefe Barne of the King's Escheker, dwellyth yn, is very fair’ (Itin. iii. 77). In the capacity of chief justice Lyster attested the submission of Thomas Howard II [q. v.], third duke of Norfolk (12 Jan. 1547), whom it was one of Henry's last acts to commit to the Tower. On the accession of Edward VI he was reappointed to his office, and his address to a body of new serjeants on their inauguration at Lincoln's Inn shortly afterwards is described by Dugdale as ‘a godly, thowghe sumwhat prolixe and long declaration of their duties.’ He resigned his office on 21 March 1552, and spent the remainder of his life at Southampton, dying there on 14 March 1553–4. Lyster was a sound but undistinguished lawyer.

His first wife was Jane, daughter of Sir Ralph Shirley of Westmeston, Sussex, and widow of Sir John Dawtrey of Petworth; her portrait, by Holbein, is in the queen's collection at Windsor. His second wife, Elizabeth Stoke, who survived him, erected in 1567 to his memory a monument in St. Michael's Church, Southampton, which was long believed to be the tomb of Lord-chancellor Wriothesley, first earl of Southampton, who died in 1550. The mistake was corrected by Sir Frederick Madden in 1845. By his second wife Lyster had a son, Michael, who died in London, and was buried on 22 Aug. 1551; and a daughter, Elizabeth, who became the wife of Sir Richard Blount. His will, dated 10 Oct. 1552, was proved on 16 April 1554.

[Sir F. Madden's Paper in the Proceedings at the Annual Meeting of Archæolog. Inst. at Winchester, September 1845; Foss's Judges of England, v. 305; Dugdale's Origines, 3rd ed. p. 329; Woodward and Wilks's General Hist. of Hampshire, ii. 285.]

J. H. L.