Ancestor Index Ancestor Index
Smythe Family of Methven
A contemporary note by Corey E. Medema in America

" ... the family castle and estate lands in the Shire of Perth, Scotland were recently liquidated. The infamous *Methven Cup did not escape this fate either. Its destination is public exhibition in London ...

My Maternal Grandfather was the eldest son of Lord Smythe of Methven.

He travelled to the United States for school and eventually to oversee the family's copper and tin mining interests in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan. During the Depression, Bolivia entered the international copper and tin market -- the ease with which such commodity could be transported vis--vis the Panama Canal and vastly lower labor rates coupled with the size of the Bolivian deposits spelled ruin for the Smythe family fortune.

My Grandmother was also of Norman descent, albeit Swedish nobility, which translated loyalties to political affiliation with the Teutonic knights and eventually with the passing of Swedish hegemony over the Baltic to Russia, after the loss of Gustav Adolphous, her family consolidated their holdings in Swedish Pomerania and incorporated effectual loyalty as Junkers to the House of Brandenburg, Prussia. Nonetheless, ties with Sweden were maintained through arranged marriages, commerce, court appointments between the two powers, etc.

Grandmother came to the United States to study and become an accountant for her family's affairs. It was these circumstances which brought about my mother's parents to mutual union much, to my Great-Lord Grandfather's misgivings and outright protests. Interestingly, my father's mother was my Great-Lord Grandfather's cousin - being a Lamb she, was descended from the Lords Melbourne (same Lambs our dear but, alas, deranged Lady Caroline came to be associated). My paternal grandfather's marriage to a Lamb being so arranged due the family's long-running loyalty to the House of Orange and that of Hanover, not to mention their financial liquidity due to several hundred years of Printing (Medieval Guild Masters) and their christian service during the Crusades of Reconquest in Iberia under the Spanish Monarchs (which ruled the Netherland and its well known Norman tribes to the North). Medema originally being (le or de) Medem, a name reflecting regional nobility - but culturally altered to avoid persecution during the Reformation and during/after the Revolution with Spain (Independence). My dear mother now passed and no other direct descendants living, I - an only son at 35 - am the last of this branch's original blood line. My father's family being well endowed with a male heir to the family fortune (youngest uncle--Guild Master with son), it falls upon me to "take-up" my mother's House and its name.

Like many before me, I have served as an officer in the cavalry. I have a Bachelors of Science from Indiana University and a Masters from USC. I live in Santa Barbara, CA and have remodelled two UC Science buildings and built one new one here at our local campus. In addition, I have undertaken several extensive estate restorations, high-end commercial projects, military laboratory contracts and the oversight of restoration to the Gothic style, stone quarried Episcopal Church here in town. I also worked with our county as an assitant planner, out of undergraduate school, on permit compliance and system safety for offshore and onshore oil/gas facilities. Yes, I am a veteran as well. I am not yet married but, have a fine house not far from the mission and close to St. Francis hospital. Per family tradition, I keep close ties with the Benedictines."

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* The Methven Cup - a remarkable silver bowl and foot - attached to each other
by a rock crystal stem which belonged to Margaret Beaufort. It was used on special occasions at Methven.
 
"... now in the Los Angeles County Museum, California, USA. Dating from about 1530, its silver mark (it has only one) has never been fully explained but it is probably that of the Edinburgh goldsmith, John Vaitch." (Stewart Society Website)

Site Note: Margaret Beaufort died in 1509 - the silver mark date of 1530 therefore suggests that further embellishments may have been made in Edinburgh ... if the mark has been attributed cautiously ...

Research question - why "infamous" in relation to this cup?

N.B. Bishop William Smyth/e was the executor of the Will of Henry VII (son of Margaret Beaufort) and - in 1492 - with Richard Foxe (Bishop of Exeter) and Sir Elias Dawbeney - had been made co-foeffee of the estates in Somerset and Devon for the performance of Lady Margaret Beaufort's Will. (Dictionary of National Biography) Might the Methven Cup have passed into Smyth 'ownership' at this time (1509) thus strengthening the potential for a link between the Braco/Methven Smyths and Bishop William and/or his relatives? Which is the line of Thomas Smyth - who was appointed Apothecary to James III of Scotland, as appears in a charter dated 29 January 1477?