Sir Richard LYSTER of Wrestworth

Born:  Southampton, Southampton, England

Died:  Southampton, Southampton, England

Father: John LYSTER

Mother: Elizabeth BEAUMONT

Married 1: Elizabeth STOKE


1. Elizabeth LYSTER

2. Michael LYSTER of Hurstbourne (Sir)

3. Anne LYSTER

4. Jane LYSTER

Married 2: Isabel SHIRLEY (dau. of Ralph Shirley and Jane Bellingham) (w. of John Dawtrey)

Married 3: Elizabeth ?

Being designed for the legal profession, entered the Middle Temple, where he was made Reader in 1515, Double Reader in 1521, and Treasurer in the year following. He is mentioned as holding lands at Alvethorpe and Southolme, Wakefield, circa 1520-25. He had acquired considerable legal eminence may be concluded from his being placed in the office of solicitor-general on 8 Jul 1521. He was succeeded in this post by Christopher Hales on 14 Aug 1525; and although he is not introduced into the list of attorneys general in Dugdale's Chronica Series, there is little doubt that he then followed Ralph Swillington in that office; as he is mentioned with the title in the will of Cecily Bonville, Marchioness of Dorset, dated 6 May 1527; and as Christopher Hales was made attorney-general immediately after Lyster's elevation to the bench as chief baron of the Exchequer on 12 May 1529, apparently as his successor, and about this time Lyster was made a Serjeant-at-Law.

The Indenture of Agreement between Roger Lupton and others, executors to the will of Hugh Denys, Esquire; Agnes Jordan, Abbess of Syon Monastery; and John Joborne, Prior of the Carthusian Monastery of Sheen; relative to certain lands and tenements bequeathed by the Hugh Denys to the last-mentioned Priory, subject to certain payments, for the purpose of augmenting the Chapel of All Angels near Syon. [Harl. MS. N ° 4640. in Brit. Mus.] mentions the intervention of Richard Lyster and Anthony Fitzherbert:

"This Indenture tripartite, made the tenthe dey of Marche, the xxitie, yere of the raigne of King Henry the viiite, betwext Roger Luptone, clerke, executor of the testament of Hugh Denys, Esquier, decesed, and Gyles Capel, Knyght, and Mary [De Ros] his wyf, executrix, withe the seid Roger, of the testa ment of the seid Hugh Denys, of the ton parte; and Agnes, Abbes of the Monastery of Sent Sauiour, and of the Seyntes Marye the Virgyn and Byrgitt of Syon, of the order of Seynt Austen, Sent Savyour called, and the couent of the same place, of the second parte; and John Joborne, Prior of the Howse of Jhesu of Bethelem, of Shene, of the Order of Cartusien, and the Covent of the same, of the third parte; Witnesseth, that it is couenaunted, accorded, and agreed betwexte the seid partes in manere and forme folowing, that is to say, where the seid Hugh Denys, by his testament and last wylle, amonge other willed and declared that alle such persons, and ther heris, as then were enfeffed or seased to his vse of and yn his man neris of Osterlee, Wyke, Portpole called Greyes Inne, his landis and tenementis in the county of Midd. and of and in alle his other landis and tenementis, whiche he late purchased of Robert Chesman yn the seid county of Midd. scholld stond still seased therof to the vse of hym and his heris and assingnes to performe therewith his last wille for finding of too honest seculer prestis in the chapell of alle Aungellis, by West Brayn ford brige, yn the seid county of Midd...

And suche evidences and writinges as concerne and belong as well to the londes and tenementes appoynted or remaynyng to the seid priour and couent of Shene, as also to the other manours and landis per teynyng or appoynted to the seid abbes of Syon, and to her successors, by these indenturis, to be orderede for the suertie of the seid abbes and priour, and ther successoris, as shalbe thought resonable by Rychard Lyster, chef baron of the Kingis escheker, and Antony Fitzharbert, knight, oone of the Kingis justes of the commen place, or by the counsell lerned of the seid abbes and of the seid priour. And, moreouere, the seid abbes and couent of Syon couenaunte and graunte unto the seid priour and his successours that they byfore the fest of the Nativite of owre lord next comyng after the date of these pre sence, by ther dede sufficiente in the lawe, seled with ther couent sealle, shall graunte for them and ther successours to the seid priour and couent of Shene, and to their successours, an annuyte or annuell rent of xxli rely, yeto be perseyuid at the seid house of Syon the viſſth day of Aprell and the xiiitli day of October, bytwixt oon of the clok at after none andfoure of the clok at after none of the same days by evyn porcions."

On his promotion he was knighted 18 Oct 1537 and was named as a commissioner on the trials both of Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More; but he does not appear to have taken any prominent part in either.

Before this time we find him residing at Southampton, and possessed of large property in Hampshire.

After presiding in the Exchequer above sixteen years, he was advanced to the office of chief justice of the King's Bench on 9 Nov 1545 as succesor of Sir Edward Montague; and in this character he attested the submission and confession of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, on 12 Jan 1547, a fortnight before the Henry VIII's death.

On the accession of Edward VI he was reappointed to his office, and his first duty on the Thursday after was to address a batch of new serjeants on their inauguration at Lincoln's Inn, at which, by the command of Wriothesley, the Lord Chancellor, he took the chief part, is described by Dugdale (who quotes at length from the Black Book at Lincoln's Inn, folios 178-9) as "a Godly thoughe sumwhat prolixe and long declaration of their duties and exhortation to their full following and execution of the same". Shortly afterwards he signed the document making Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector, 1547.

In 1548 Sir Richard was publicly rebuked in St. Michael's, Southampton, by an iconoclastic preacher for his lack of zeal in the vandalistic destruction of church ornaments which so stains the records of the time.

He resigned at the end of the first five years of the reign on 21 Mar 1552, when he was succeeded by Sir Roger Cholmeley. The remainder of his life he spent at his mansion in Southampton, which John Leland describes as being "The house that Master Lighster, Chief Barne of the King's Escheter, dwellyth yn is very fair"; and dying on 14 Mar 1554, where he was buried in St. Michael's Church.

His first wife was Elizabeth Stoke; and by her he had a daughter Elizabeth, married to Sir Richard Blount, and a son Michael, knight of the Bath, who died in his father's lifetime, leaving a son Richard, who married Mary, the second daughter of Lord Chancellor Wriothesley and widow of Sir William Shelley of Michelgrove. His second wife was Isabel, the daughter of Sir Ralph Shirley of Winstneston, Sussex, and the widow of Sir John Dawtrey of Southampton who died in 1517. Isabel was still married to Sir John when Richard Lyster's daughter Elizabeth was born in 1510 and who at sixteen married Richard Blount in 1527. Isabel is also often mistaken for her sister, Jane Shirley, wife of John Dawtrey of Petworth. Isabel is probably the subject of the drawing by Hans Holdbein the younger in the Royal Collection. His third wife was another Elizabeth and she is the one who was responsible for his memorial in St Michael's Church

Isabel Shirley is the most likely possibility to be the subject of the Holbein sketch labeled “Lady Lister” and dated c.1532-1543.

Another possibility is Michael Lister’s second wife, Margery Horsman

The Royal Library, Windsor Castle

 ©Her Majesty the Queen

His tomb, which still exists, was erected by his widow Elizabeth, and is thus described in Add. MSS. 14,296 : "In the aforesaid dormitory, against the south part, lyes on a handsome stone tomb the figure of a judge on his back, dress'd in scarlet, a collar of SS round his breast, a judge's cap on his head, and a book in his right hand. On a sort of cornice supported by three pillars this remnant of an inscription:



Under the canopy of the tomb, against the wall which separates the north from the middle chancel, is sculptured a coat of arms:

Quarterly, i & /i^, on a cross 5 mullets between 4 birds ; 2 c2;* 3, a lion rampant, within an orle of crescents} Above the shield is the date 1567, and below are the initials R • L. On the side of the monument are two other plain shields, within quatrefoil panels, and at the west end, under the head of the figure, a third plain shield. In the register appears the entry 1553. The xvij day of March Syr Rychard Lyster Knyght was buryde."

Sir Richard's will is dated at Southampton, 10 Oct 1552. He leaves to his niece, Elizabeth Methley, wife of James Kember, 21 years in the Manor of Halybourne Estbroke, Co. South'ton; mentions Richard, son and heir, and Charles Lyster, younger son of his son Sir Michael Lyster, deceased ; his dau. Elizabeth and her husband. Sir Richard Blount; his late nephew William Thorpe's children. Proved 16 Apr 1554 by the executors Richard Blount and Richard Lyster. By an hiq.p.m. taken at Andover 17 Mar 1553/4, it appears that Sir Richard held at his decease the Manors of Halyborne, Estbrook, Westbrook, Colrithe, Bishop's Sutton, Medested, Lockerley, Romscy, Paynshill, Mount la Hyde and Morestede, in the counties of Southampton and Surrey, with various other lands and messuages.

There are portraits of Sir Richard and Lady Lyster at Gisburne.

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