Wyche, Peter (DNB00)

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WYCHE, Sir PETER (d. 1643), English ambassador at the Porte, was the sixth son of Richard Wyche (1554–1621), a London merchant, who married in 1581 Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Richard Saltonstall [q. v.], by Susan, sister of Sir Gabriel Pointz. He claimed lineal descent from Sir Hugh Wyche, who was lord mayor of London in 1461, and was buried in St. Margaret's, Lothbury, in 1466. All the Wyches seem to have made prosperous ventures in the East India trade. Peter, upon the accession of Charles I, brought his fortune to the court. On 16 Dec. 1626 he was knighted at Whitehall (Metcalfe), and two years later he was made a gentleman of the privy chamber (Carlisle, Privy Chamber, p. 128).

Meanwhile, early in 1627 he had been appointed English ambassador as successor to Sir Thomas Roe [q. v.] at Constantinople (Addit. MS. 21993, f. 285). He sailed with a trading fleet in November, and was followed by his wife in May 1628. Sir Peter sent home a detailed account of the great fire of September 1633 (Von Hammer, chap. xlvii.). He obtained from Murad (Amurath) IV a welcome reduction of the duty upon English cloth, while his wife is said to have greatly astonished the reigning sultana by a visit to the harem, upon which occasion she and her suite wore farthingales, and had difficulty in persuading the Turkish ladies of ‘the fallacy of their apparel’ (see a curious account of the incident in John Bulwer, Anthropometamorphosis, 1653, 4to, p. 54). By an order in council dated 25 March 1640, it was decreed that Wyche was to enjoy the same salary during his embassage as his predecessors, Sir Paul Pindar and Sir Thomas Roe, and he was also declared exempt from giving an account to the Turkey Company of the ‘consulage’ payments due from the shipping during his term of office (Eg. MS. 2541, p. 209). Upon his return to England at the end of 1641 Wyche was made a privy councillor, and comptroller of the king's household, in which capacity, together with thirty-five peers and a few other notables, he signed the king's declaration of abhorrence at the idea of making war upon his parliament (15 June 1642; Clarendon, v. 342; Gardiner, Hist. x. 205). He is said to have lent the king a very large sum of money, and to have ‘hurt himself and family thereby’ (information supplied by his son to Thomas Wotton; see Baronetage, 1741, iv. 221); but he did not live to see the issue of the civil war, dying at Oxford early in December 1643. He was buried in the south aisle of Christ Church Cathedral on 7 Dec. He married, about 1627, Jane (d. 1660), daughter of Sir William Meredith, knight, of Wrexham, and had, with other issue, Jane, who married John Granville, who was in 1660 created Earl of Bath (see Burke, Extinct Peerage, p. 243); Grace, who married George, eldest son of Philip Carteret (son and heir of Sir George Carteret); Peter (see below); and (Sir) Cyril Wyche [q. v.]

Sir Peter Wyche (1628–1699?), the eldest son, born in London, was admitted a gentleman commoner at Exeter College, Oxford, on 29 April 1643, matriculating, ‘aged 15,’ on 6 May following. He migrated in October 1644 to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1645 and M.A. in 1648. Next year he was admitted a student of the Middle Temple, and shortly afterwards went abroad. In May 1656 he was in Italy, where Hyde procured him a passport and a testimonial in Latin, signed by the exiled Charles II (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 119). He was knighted by Charles II at The Hague in May 1660, and shortly afterwards returned to England and was incorporated M.A. at Oxford. He was declared one of the fellows of the Royal Society upon its foundation by charter in 1662 (Thomson, Hist. p. 3), and in 1665 was nominated chairman of a committee of the society appointed to consider the improvement of the English tongue, in which capacity he received a long letter from John Evelyn. In 1669 he was sent as envoy extraordinary to Russia, sending despatches home from Moscow in September (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1669). Upon his journeys he was ‘honourably’ entertained at Danzig, at Königsberg, and at Hamburg, in which city he was English resident for several years, his commission terminating in February 1682 (Luttrell, i. 163). Among the state papers are several of his letters to Sir Joseph Williamson [q. v.], who was godfather to his eldest son (several autograph letters of his to Williamson, Arlington, Ellis, and others, are in Addit. MS. 28896, passim). Wyche executed two capable translations from the Portuguese: (1) ‘The Life of Dom John de Castro, the fourth Viceroy of India. Written in Portuguese by Jacinto Freire de Andrada’ (London, fol.) This was dedicated to Queen Catherine, the consort of Charles II, prefaced by a brief sketch of Portuguese history by Wyche, and licensed for the press by Henry Bennett on 12 Aug. 1663. A second edition, also in folio, appeared in 1693. (2) ‘A Short Relation of the River Nile, of its Source and Current, and of its overflowing the Campagnia of Egypt’ (London, 1669, 8vo). This was translated from a Portuguese manuscript at the request of a number of fellows of the Royal Society. Sir Peter further extended his reputation as a geographical scholar by his ‘The World geographically describ'd in fifty-two Copper Plates’ (London, 1687). The plates could either be bound or made up in packets on cards for purposes of instruction. Sir Peter, who is believed to have died about 1699, married on 19 Feb. 1666 Isabella, daughter of Sir Robert Bolles (Blomefield, Hist. of Norfolk, ii. 180), bart., of Scampton, Lincolnshire, by Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Hussey, and had issue, first, John, English envoy extraordinary at Hamburg (Boyer, Annals of Queen Anne, 1710, viii. 386); second, Bernard, a merchant at Surat, and father of Peter Wyche, who was in 1741 high sheriff of Lincolnshire; third, Peter, a merchant, who died at Cambrai; fourth, George, a merchant at Pondicherry.

[The foundation of all subsequent accounts of the Wyche family is a paper drawn up by the antiquary, Francis Peck, and forwarded to Thomas Wotton in October 1741 (it is now in Addit. MS. 24121 ff. 353 sq.); see also Foster's Alumni Oxon. (1500–1714); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 489; Wotton's Baronetage, 1741, iv. 220, 224; Burke's Extinct Baronetage; Ormerod's Cheshire, iii. 568 (giving the arms allowed to the family in 1663–4); Magna Britannia, Cheshire, p. 82; Harl. MS. 2040, f. 267 (a more or less conjectural pedigree from the twelfth century); Cheshire and Lancashire Hist. Soc. Trans. i. 12; Stow's Survey of London, p. 833; Knolles's Generall Historie of the Turkes, 1638, p. 1497; Luttrell's Brief Hist. Relation of State Affairs, vol. i.; Clarendon's Hist. vol. v.; Evelyn's Diary and Corresp. 1852, iii. 159–62; Weld's Hist. of the Royal Soc. i. 285; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1627–8 pp. 36, 255, 439, 1628–9 p. 144, 1672 p. 324; Le Neve's Monumenta Anglicana, iv. 211; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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