HYDE FAMILY, the name of an English family distinguished in the 17th century. Robert Hyde of Norbury, Cheshire, had several sons, of whom the third was Lawrence Hyde of Gussage St Michael, Dorsetshire. Lawrence's son Henry was father of Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon (q.v.), whose second son by his second wife was Lawrence, earl of Rochester (q.v.) ; another son was Sir Lawrence Hyde, attorney-general to Anne of Denmark, James I.'s consort; and a third son was Sir Nicholas Hyde (d. 1631), chief-justice of England. Sir Nicholas entered parliament in 1601 and soon became prominent as an opponent of the court, though he does not appear to have distinguished himself in the law. Before long, however, he deserted the popular party, and in 1626 he was employed by the duke of Buckingham in his defence to impeachment by the Commons; and in the following year he was appointed chief-justice of the king's bench, in which office it fell to him to give judgment in the celebrated case of Sir Thomas Darnell and others who had been committed to prison on warrants signed by members of the privy council, which contained no statement of the nature of the charge against the prisoners. In answer to the writ of habeas corpus the attorneygeneral relied on the prerogative of the crown, supported by a precedent of Queen. Elizabeth's reign. Hyde, three other judges concurring, decided in favour of the crown, but without going so far as to declare the right of the crown to refuse indefinitely to show cause against the discharge of the prisoners. In 1629 Hyde was one of the judges who condemned Eliot, Holies and Valentine for conspiracy in parliament to resist the king's orders; refusing to admit their plea that they could not be called upon to answer out of parliament for acts done in parliament. Sir Nicholas Hyde died in August 1631.
Sir Lawrence Hyde, attorney-general to Anne of Denmark, had eleven sons, four of whom were men of some mark. Henry was an ardent royalist who accompanied Charles II. to the continent, and returning to England was beheaded in 1650; Alexander (1598-1667) became bishop of Salisbury in 1665; Edward (1607-1659) was a royalist divine who was nominated dean of Windsor in 1658, but died before taking up the appointment, and who was the author of many controversial works in Anglican theology; and Robert (1595-1665) became recorder of Salisbury and represented that borough in the Long Parliament, in which he professed royalist principles, voting against the attainder of Strafford. Having been imprisoned and deprived of his 'recordership by the parliament in 1645/6, Robert Hyde gave refuge to Charles II. on his flight from Worcester in 1651 and on the Restoration he was knighted and made a judge oi the common pleas. He died in 1665. Henry Hyde (1672-1753) only son of Lawrence, earl of Rochester, became 4th earl ol Clarendon and 2nd earl of Rochester, both of which titles became extinct at his death. He was in no way distinguished, but his wife Jane Hyde, countess of Clarendon and Rochester (d. 1725) was a famous beauty celebrated by the homage of Swift, Prior anc Pope, and by the groundless scandal of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Two of her daughters, Jane, countess of Essex, anc Catherine, duchess of Queensberry, were also famous beauties of the reign of Queen Anne. Her son, Henry Hyde (1710-1753) known as Viscount Cornbury, was a Tory and Jacobite membei of parliament, and an intimate friend of Bolingbroke, who addressed to him his Letters on the Study and Use of History, anc On the Spirit of Patriotism. In 1750 Lord Cornbury was created Baron Hyde of Hindon, but, as he predeceased his father, thi title reverted to the latter and became extinct at his death Lord Cornbury was celebrated as a wit and a conversationalist.
By his will he bequeathed the papers of his great-grandfather, ,ord Clarendon, the historian, to the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
See Lord Clarendon, The Life of Edward, Earl of Clarendon (3 vols., Oxford, 1827); Edward Foss, The Judges of England (London, 848-1864); Anthony a Wood, Athenae oxonienses (London, 1813- .820); Samuel Pepys, Diary and Correspondence, edited by Lord Braybrooke (4 vols., London, 1854).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)