Wyse (Wise), Sir William (d. 1557), courtier and politician, was born into a prominent family in Waterford city. His father, John Wyse, chief baron of the Irish exchequer, sent him to London, where for approximately twenty years he served at the court of Henry VIII. In 1511 he was groom of the king's chamber, and three years later he was a sewer of the chamber. By 1520 he was a page of the privy chamber, a position he appears to have held until c.1530. In this capacity he was present at the Field of Cloth of Gold, where Henry VIII and François I of France met near Calais in 1520. He was described as an esquire of the body in 1524 and again in 1539. Wyse was well rewarded for his service and received numerous grants from the king. In April 1516 he was appointed constable of Dublin castle, an office he presumably discharged through a deputy. Three-and-a-half years later, in October 1519, he was made receiver of customs at Bristol port, his grant allowing him again to act through a deputy. He was granted the town and lands of Chapelizoid, Co. Dublin, in December 1523, and in February of the following year was appointed constable of Limerick castle, a post he held until 1551, when he surrendered it in favour of his son Andrew (qv).
By 1528 Wyse had returned to Waterford and served as the city's mayor in 1533–4. In June 1534 Thomas FitzGerald (qv) (‘Silken Thomas’), Lord Offaly and later 10th earl of Kildare, launched his rebellion. Although Fitzgerald was unsuccessful, his insurrection was a major challenge to Henry's sovereignty, and Wyse helped to ensure Waterford's continued loyalty to the crown. Indeed, so resolute was Waterford's fidelity that Wyse was singled out for individual praise, while Henry granted the city a sword and a cap as tokens of appreciation. Wyse served as sheriff of Co. Waterford in 1538, and continued to be active in the affairs of the region. He acted on the crown's behalf to help end the bitter succession dispute (1532–41) among the Fitzgeralds over the earldom of Desmond. From 1534 to 1540 he corresponded regularly with the king's chief minister in London, Thomas Cromwell, keeping him informed of developments in the south-east of Ireland. In late 1539 he advised Cromwell that his aggressive military policy in Ireland was failing to achieve its goals and that the burden of maintaining royal forces was impoverishing the king's loyal subjects there.
In March 1538 James fitz John Fitzgerald (qv), afterwards 14th earl of Desmond, delivered his son into Wyse's custody in an attempt to gain favour with the crown. Despite being heavily involved in efforts to persuade Fitzgerald to submit to the crown, Wyse believed that the Fitzgeralds of Desmond were fundamentally ill disposed towards the government and could not be relied upon. This viewpoint is unsurprising, given the city of Waterford's traditional support for the Fitzgeralds’ bitter rivals, the Butler earls of Ormond. Reflecting this factional alignment, the government gave Wyse temporary custody of the formerly Fitzgerald-held castle at Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, in 1543. That summer, he was knighted by the king while on a visit to the royal court.
In 1546 he supported the efforts of James Butler (qv), 9th earl of Ormond, to have the lord deputy of Ireland, Sir Anthony St Leger (qv), dismissed on charges of corruption. However, St Leger successfully defended himself during the summer, and Ormond's unexpected death in the autumn left many of his clients exposed to retribution from the victorious lord deputy. This was not the case with Wyse, who continued to benefit from his personal relationship with the king. Indeed, in November 1546 Henry ordered St Leger to swear Wyse a member of the Irish privy council. He appears to have lost influence after Henry's death in 1547 and maintained a much lower political profile thereafter.
Wyse lived at the site of the former Benedictine abbey of St John, Waterford, which he had been granted by summer 1538. He married (before the late 1520s) Elizabeth Plunket, with whom he had at least two sons: Henry, who inherited the manor of St John, and Andrew, who became under-treasurer of Ireland. Wyse died 5 April 1557; his wife survived him.