Wyche, Sir Cyril (c.1632–1707), chief secretary, lord justice, and forfeited estates trustee, was born in Constantinople, where his father, Sir Peter Wyche (d. 1643), was English ambassador. His mother, Jane Wyche, was a daughter of Sir William Meredith of Stansley in Denbighshire. Cyril, who had an elder brother and two sisters, was baptised by and named after the orthodox patriarch of Constantinople. He was educated at Westminster School and entered Christ Church, Oxford, in 1650, graduating BA in 1653 and MA in 1655. He was admitted to Gray's Inn in London 1657, and was called to the English bar in 1670.
The Wyches were a wealthy merchant family and Sir Peter was a courtier who was said to have lent large sums to Charles I. One of Wyche's sisters was married to John Granville (subsequently earl of Bath), an important figure in the restoration of Charles II, while Wyche's first wife was the daughter of a courtier. Wyche was knighted at the Hague in 1660 by Charles II, and elected to the English house of commons in 1661. He sat in every parliament until 1687 (with the sole exception of that of 1680–81), and again from 1702 to 1705. He was one of the six clerks in chancery (1662–75) and held several other minor English offices during the reigns of Charles II and William III (qv).
Wyche was, on the recommendation of the earl of Bath, appointed secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, Arthur Capel (qv), earl of Essex, in August 1676. He spent only a few months in Ireland before returning to England in January 1677 for the parliamentary session. Essex, who found Wyche ‘a very discreet understanding man’ (Pike (ed.), 132), was replaced as lord lieutenant in August 1677 by the duke of Ormond (qv). Ormond retained Wyche as secretary until the end of his viceroyalty in March 1685. Wyche generally remained in London (in 1678, when he had been expected to come to Dublin, the king had required his attendance at the English parliament), while Sir William Ellis (qv) acted as secretary in Dublin. Both Essex and Ormond were troubled by tax farmers such as the earl of Ranelagh (qv), who contracted directly with Charles II to manage the Irish revenues, undermining the position of the lord lieutenant. Wyche, who enjoyed easy access to the king and the duke of York (qv), ably represented Essex and Ormond successively, and in 1677 he was appointed to the commission to audit and state the accounts of Ranelagh's controversial revenue farm. He reported to Dublin on proceedings in the English parliament, notably on the Irish cattle bill during Essex's viceroyalty, and on the alarm over the popish plot during Ormond's. When Ormond departed Ireland in 1682, leaving his son Lord Arran (qv) as lord deputy in Dublin, Wyche seems to have continued as secretary to the lord lieutenant in London. He accompanied Ormond on his return to Dublin in 1684, and left Ireland with him when he was replaced as viceroy in March 1685. He sat as MP for Saltash, Cornwall, in James II's English parliament and was counted among the supporters of the government.
In August 1692 Wyche returned to Ireland as chief secretary to Viscount Sidney (qv), and sat in the commons for Trinity College, Dublin, in the Irish parliament of 1692. He was reappointed to the Irish privy council in 1692 (of which he had been a non-attending member, 1676–85), remaining a councillor until his death. In the aftermath of Sydney's failure in managing the parliament and his subsequent return to England, Wyche was appointed as one of three lords justices to govern Ireland in 1693. His colleagues were William Duncombe, a minor politician and diplomat, and Henry, Lord Capel (qv), younger brother of Essex and a strong whig. Relations between Wyche and Duncombe on the one side and Capel on the other broke down, as Capel developed a new policy based on attracting the support of strongly whiggish Irish protestants. The positions of Wyche and Duncombe were eroded until they were superseded by the appointment of Capel as lord deputy in 1695. Wyche and Duncombe returned to London to denounce the policy of Capel; they were heard politely by members of a government already committed to the latter's programme.
Wyche and Duncombe, as lords justices, refused in 1695 to execute one of the most controversial of all the royal grants of forfeited Irish lands, namely that of the huge Irish estates of James II to Elizabeth Villiers, countess of Orkney, and reputed mistress of William III. It is possible that this stance influenced the English house of commons to select Wyche in March 1700 as one of the thirteen trustees to oversee the sale of the estates, under the provisions of the Act of Resumption. The task took longer than anticipated, and Wyche was praised for his role as de facto chairman of the trustees who sat in Dublin from 1700 to 1703. During Wyche's last period as a member of the English parliament attempts were made to grant an exemption from the English navigation acts to the Irish linen industry. In January 1705 when this proposal was before the English house of commons Sir Richard Levinge (qv), an old colleague of Wyche in the Irish government, solicited his support for the concession. Wyche, however, had already engaged himself to the English domestic opposition to the measure (which was passed nonetheless).
Wyche had scholarly interests and was among the first fellows of the Royal Society of London in 1663, and was president of the society in 1683–4. In 1684 and 1685 he took part in the affairs of the Dublin Philosophical Society and, from 1693 (when the society was revived) until he left Ireland in 1695, he was again one of the most active members. He was honoured with the degree of DCL by Oxford university in 1665 and with the degree of LLD by TCD in 1692, and was admitted to the King's Inns in 1694.
He married first, in 1663, Elizabeth (d. 1678), daughter of Sir Thomas Jermyn of Rushbrooke in Suffolk, comptroller of the household to Charles I; they had two sons and two daughters. He married secondly, in 1684, Susanna (d. 1690), daughter of Francis Norreys of Weston on the Green in Oxfordshire; and thirdly Mary (d. 1723), daughter of George Evelyn and niece of John Evelyn the diarist (whose son John came to Ireland with Wyche to take up an appointment as a revenue commissioner in 1692). His second and third marriages were without issue. He died 29 December 1707 at his house in Hockwold, in Norfolk. He was succeeded by his eldest son (and perhaps only surviving child), Jermyn, to whom he left more than £100,000.
Many papers relating to Wyche survive. The NLI has much of his correspondence among the Ormond papers, as well as a smaller collection of letters addressed to him (MS 830), while the British Library has his letters to Essex (Stowe MSS 210–12). According to a common practice of the time, Wyche took state papers with him on leaving office; a large collection of these, purchased from a private owner in 1930, are in the NAI.