LYDALL (Lyddall, Liddall), WILLIAM, second governor for the HBC in Hudson Bay; b. c. 1625.
A son of Sir Richard Lydall, he was appointed in 1674 to replace Charles Bayly, who had filled the post since 1670. He was recommended by Sir John Griffith, a member of the London Committee, as having “made many voyages to and from Russia and lived many years therein that country.” He had in addition served from 1665 to 1673 as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy.
Before sailing, Lydall received special instructions to suppress private trading by the Company’s servants, a practice that was assuming serious proportions. Arriving late in 1674 the ships (Prince Rupert and Shaftesbury) remained in James Bay, Lydall wintering at Charles Fort (Rupert River) and Bayly at Moose. Provisions at Charles Fort ran so low that Thomas Gorst, the storekeeper, proposed rationing, but Lydall refused. “If we starve we’ll starve together,” he ruled. Since he took passage home next year on the ship that had brought him out, his brief term in the Bay was not a successful one. In fact, when John Nixon became governor in 1679 he tried to mark out a path for his successor, “leest he break his shins as Lydall did.”
Lydall evidently re-entered the navy in 1678 and petitioned for a pension in 1692. Although lacking two years of the stipulated superannuation period he was in ill health and burdened by debt. Records show that his petition was still ungranted in 1695.
PRO, CSP, Dom., 1695; CTP, 1556–1696. HBRS, V, VIII, XXI (Rich). A descriptive catalogue of the naval manuscripts in the Pepysian Library, ed. J. R. Tanner (4v., Navy Records Soc., XXVI–VII, XXXVI, LVII, 1903–22), I, 379.