Lyford, William

, a pious clergyman of the seventeenth century, was born about 1598, at Peysmere, near Newbury in Berkshire, of which place his father was rector. In 16 14 he became a commoner of Magdalen hall, Oxford, and a demy of Magdalen college in 1617. In 1622 he took his degree of M. A. and was then chosen a fellow. In 1631 he was admitted to the reading of the sentences, and, having taken orders, was presented to the living of Shirburne, in Dorsetshire, by John Earl of Bristol. Here, says Wood, “he was very much resorted to for his edifying and practical way of preaching;” and appears indeed to have deserved the affections of his flock, by the most constant diligence in discharging the duties of his office. He divided his day into the following portions: nine hours for study, three for visits and conferences with his parishioners, three for prayers and devotion, two for his affairs, and the rest for his refreshment. He divided likewise his estate into three parts, one for the use of his family, one for a reserve in case of future wants, and one for pious uses. His parish he divided into twentyeight parts, to be visited in twenty-eight days every month, “leaving,” says one of his biographers, “knowledge where he found ignorance, justice where he found oppression, peace where he found contention, and order where he found irregularity.

A man of this disposition was not likely to add to the turbulence of the times; and although he is said to have inclined to the presbyterian party, and was chosen one of the assembly of divines, he never sat among them, but remained on his living, employed in preaching, catechizing, &c. until his death, Oct. 3, 1653. Fuller and Wood unite in their praises of Mr, Lyford’s character, and in their | opinion of his writings, which, says Wood, “savour much of piety, zeal, and sincerity, but shew him to have been a zealous Calvinist.” Dr. Walker informs us that “he sufferred much from the faction, both in his name and ministry, and they wondered that so holy a man as he was, should doat so much on kings, bishops, the common prayer, and ceremonies.” He bequeathed the sum of 120l. to Magdalen college “in gratitude for the advantages which he had there enjoyed, and in restitution for a sum of money, which, according to the corrupt custom of those times, he had received for the resignation of his fellowship.

Although he took no active part in the disputes of the nation, he gave his opinion on some subjects arising out of them, respecting toleration, in a work entitled “Cases of conscience propounded in the time of Rebellion,” which bishop Kennet in his “Chronicle” says is written, with plainness, modesty, and impartiality. His other works are, 1. “Principles of Faith and of a good Conscience,” Lond. 1642; Oxford, 1652, 8vo. 2. “An Apology for our public Ministry and infant Baptism,” ibid. 1652, 1653, 4 to. 3. “The plain man’s senses exercised to discern both good and evil; or a discovery of the errors, heresies, and blasphemies of these times,” ibid. 1655, 4to, with some other pious tracts. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. II. Fuller’s Worthies. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol.p. 607. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy.