Judge, Deceased Person
1638 – 1698
Who was Samuel Eyre?
Eyre came of a legal family, his grandfather, Robert, having been a bencher and reader of Lincoln's Inn, and his father being a barrister, Robert Eyre of Salisbury and Chilhampton, who married Anne, daughter of Samuel Aldersey of Aldersey in Cheshire. He was baptised on 16 March 1638 and was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, matriculating on 9 December 1653. The June after Eyre left Wadham, he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn. After studying for seven years, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in June 1661, becoming a qualified barrister.
Under the patronage of the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose adviser he was, he attained some professional eminence. He was made a serjeant on 21 April 1692, and succeeded Justice Dolben on the King's Bench on 6 February 1694, although was not sworn in until 22 February. Eyre was knighted as a result of being promoted to the Bench. When Charles Knollys's claim to the earldom of Banbury came before the House of Lords in 1698, Eyre was called on, along with Chief Justice Holt, to state to the house the grounds upon which he had given judgment in favour of Knollys, who being tried in the king's bench in 1694 for murder had pleaded his privilege as a peer. This the two judges refused to do, the matter not coming before the house on writ of error from the King's Bench. They were threatened with committal to the Tower, but the matter dropped. Eyre died on circuit at Lancaster of an attack of colic on 12 September 1698. A monument was erected at Lancaster to him, and his body was removed to St. Thomas's, Salisbury, the family burial-place, on 2 July 1699. He married Martha, daughter of Francis, fifth son of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, Worcestershire, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. His wife brought him considerable property.
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