Martha Roberts - married Francis Smith, a cooper of BristolThe Roberts Family
Keep Going - Go Ahead - Go straight ahead - Go on ... Ewch Ymlaen

Use the coat of arms link adjacent to access the first page of this series.

The following information has been generously contributed by Howard Wayne Roberts who notes that James Roberts is listed as a yeoman in Master-Chester administrative records as may be evidenced by the records of the PRO.

Wayne writes: "The indigenous Roberts family of Bristol are contained in the Visitations of Gloucestershire - here. We are not connected with the Devonshire Roberts family.

Site Note

Writing later, in June, 2004, Wayne has added new research. The results open the possibility that Devonshire Roberts families are connected. See base of page.

Earlier research information from Wayne Roberts

Henry [Roberts] - whom I call H the first - was a naval Captain. If anyone disagreed with him - even other Captains - his duelling pistols would make an appearance. His brother, John was Sheriff and Mayor of Bristol.

Henry married Elizabeth Baynham. Henry - of the 'Chester' Roberts line is responsible for the Kingswood Roberts families as well as families in Wiltshire, The Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Cirencester and Deerhurst. The Chester families were connected with Kingswood from early times, particularly in St.George, and the Baynhams were of Siston House, Yate. The family became quite large. Henry and Elizabeth alone had 7 sons.

Coal attracted us to Bristol and the main line lived at Sayes Manor in Westerleigh. It had  farmland, orchards and, of course, coal mines. In early records, Thomas senior is described as Lord! In about 1666, the family was 2000 in debt. I don't know why, but it was attributed to Thomas (junior) and his wife Ursula. His brother, Nicholas, was thrown into prison and eventually they lost Sayes Manor and the coal mines to pay off the debt. Roberts families in and around Bristol fell apart after this and there is some evidence which suggests that Roberts families were victimised. Maybe it was their non-conformist beliefs. Those in the Forest of Dean fared better. They had married into the Brain (als. Brayne) family and started their mining operations there.

The origins of the family are somewhat blurred. I have been told that we were originally from a place called Ponteland in Denbighshire, but there is no such place in Wales, and Roberts would have been displayed as ap Robert from this early date if we were Welsh. Early 17th century wills in Gloucestershire contain requests to be interred at Derwent Manor near Ponteland in Tyndale Northumberland. Part of Hadrian's Wall, which still exists there, has the rampant lion as depicted on the coat of arms. I understand that the College of Arms has the full pedigree which goes back beyond Stanton Lacy.

This site describes us as a Northumberland family from Ponteland. Henry Roberts of Buckland is probably the son of Henry Roberts and Elizabeth Baynham. Henry left a will in which he requests his body to be interred in the north at Derwent Manor. The image of the arms I have been given has a Welsh motto. If we are Welsh, the black lion could indicate that we are descended from the Princes of Powys Madog. I know of a Roberts family of Montgomeryshire and their arms are similar. Descended from Einion Efell ap Madog, their family motto is "Ewch Ymlaen"."

Making Connections

Evidence shows that the Baynhams were connected to events in 1601 when Devereux, Earl of Essex, (maternal line ancestor of this site) attempted to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. One Edmund Baynham - a crony of the Earl of Essex and a self-declared Catholic - was arrested for causing a riot in the streets of London in 1600. This man was later to set out for Rome to consult the Pope after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 to beg his support on behalf of the arrested conspirators. He took his time reaching Rome and therefore arrived far too late to be of any use. He remained in Europe and was last heard of in 1642. Another, by the name of Edward Baynham, was fencing master to a seventeen year old Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, in about 1567 when Oxford killed an unarmed servant at fencing practice. Oxford evaded any retribution through the help and support of his eventual father-in-law, Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth's long-time, revered minister and counsellor. As further investigation can demonstrate, the Earls of Oxford are related to the maternal line of this Family Vault. Edward de Vere was a cousin to Queen Elizabeth Tudor.

The Baynham family connects (click on the tree below) to the present Royal line of England and to the line of Winston Churchill. A Sarah Spencer Smythe was baptised at Whitchurch, in Bucks. See Sir Edward Smythe of Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire - Lord Chief Justice of Ireland Sir Edward Smythe for further details. She was the daughter of this Sir Edward Smythe and his wife, Mary.

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A number of Smith/Smyth or Smythe links attach to this Royal line - including one Thomas Smyth (1650-1725) - Rt. Reverend Bishop of Limerick, who married Dorothea Burgh, daughter of the Rt. Reverend Ulysses Burgh, Bishop of Ardagh. (de Burgh family qv Burke's Peerage.) and Thomas Smith of Parsons Green. This Thomas (Smith) Smyth became secretary to Robert Devereux, second Earl of Essex, and in 1587 became Clerk of the Privy Council. He was an M.P. in 1588/89 for Cricklade, in 1593 for Tamworth, and in 1597/98 for Aylesbury. He married Frances Brydges, daughter of the fourth Baron Chandos. Their only son died young and their only daughter, Margaret Smythe, married Thomas Carey. She lived until 1663 and took a second husband, Thomas Cecil, first Earl of Exeter.

Baynham and the royals today ...

It is not without significance that a Smith - Sir Thomas Smyth of Hill Hall in Essex ...Sir Thomas Smythe - was Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth Tudor - having first held the same office under the boy King, Edward VI, son of Henry VIII. Edward was the son of Jane Seymour (Seymour ancestors of the maternal line of this Family Vault) and his aunt was Dorothy Seymour, wife of Sir Clement Smythe (Smith) of Cressing Temple in Essex. This Smythe/Smith family is that of Smyth/e - Carrington SmithCarrington (Smith).More about maternal ancestor to this Family Vault - Henry VII -

It is not without significance either to "Smith/Smyth/e" genealogy that one John Roberts of Ashford, Shropshire, married Margaret Johnson, daughter of Richard Johnson, Sergeant-at -Arms to Prince Arthur, first-born son of King Henry VII and his wife, the Princess Elizabeth of York. For details of Henry Tudor's link to the maternal line of this "Family Vault", click on the Tudor Rose, adjacent. This line may be traced back to the early Saxon Kings of Wessex. Prince Arthur died young - soon after his betrothal to Catherine of Aragon.

A man who was very closely connected to Prince Arthur was Bishop William Smyth (Smith) of Lincoln temp. Henry TudorBishop William Smith or Smyth, of Lincoln, who was of The Ancient Family of Smith of LancashireThe Ancient Family of Smith of Lancashire. William Smyth/Smith was educated at Knowsley, under the roof of Margaret Stanley (wife of the Earl of Derby) - no less a woman than the mother of Henry Tudor and grandmother to Prince Arthur. Bishop William Smyth (Smith) became Lord President of the Council of Wales.

Access the Smythe IndexThe sixth son of the marriage between John Roberts and Margaret Johnson was also named John Roberts, styled as "of Bristol and Wysterley". He married Mary Chester, daughter of William Chester of Bristol. A son (and heir) to this marriage was another John Roberts, who married Margaret Boteler (Butler) - a daughter of the noble line of Ormond, which was a title shared in Tudor times (by way of favour and disfavour) between the Butlers and the Boleyns, the latter family being that of King Henry VIII's second (beheaded) wife, Anne Boleyn and mother of Queen Elizabeth Tudor. The seventh son of the marriage between John Roberts and Margaret Johnson was Henry Roberts and he it was who married Elizabeth Baynham, believed to be the daughter of Robert Baynham of Yate in Gloucestershire. Their son, Thomas Roberts "of Ashford" Salop., was born in about 1576.

For a detailed investigation into a variety of the families Smith/Smyth/e who operated in public and royal capacities during the early Tudor era through to Jacobean and the later times of the House of Orange and beyond, click on the image of the unicorn.

Wayne states: "If you go back down the line of the Baynhams, the original name is a corruption of the Welsh surname ap Einion or Eynon. Early intermarriages, though, appear to have taken place with the gentry of Kingswood Forest - e.g. the De Button family, who once lived in Bitton. Note also, this site."Source

Streamed here from the site link provided above - the work of Nigel Batty-Smith (to whom gratitude is extended for his dedicated work on Smith/Smyth/e history in general) the adjacent image also shows a Smyth-Baynam marriage. Joane Smyth, daughter of William Smyth of Brownshill, Gloucestershire, was married to Joseph Baynham of Westbery. This marriage is believed to have taken place in about 1588. Their son, Alexander Baynham, married Elizabeth Oldsworth whose father was Arnold Oldsworth, Clerk of the Hanaper to King James. This information comes from the "Visitation of Gloucestershire" of 1623.

Some of the musical compositions of the time provide some interesting links to Smith/Smyth/e identities of the Tudor era. These listings by Brian Payne - mentioned in other locations on this site - do much to evidence the various branches of the family - connected with Cromwell, Fleetwood et alia.

"Sir John Smiths Almain. Dowland ballet/marsh: Sir John Smith had a military career and was a kinsman of Sir William Smith of Essex who, in 1603, received a grant of the Launde estate formerly owned by Lord Ed Cromwell. Sir William Smith married Brigide Fleetwood and was the nephew and heir of Sir Thomas Smith.

Walsingham (orpharion solo) Sir Francis Walsingham was Elizabeth’s secretary with Sir Thomas Smyth of Hill Hall in Essex ...Sir Thomas Smith, and was instrumental in Cromwell’s application to the Prince of Orange for a commission in the Netherlands. His daughter married three times, first to Philip Sydney, then Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex and finally Richard De Burgh, Earl of Clanricarde, who served in the army with Cromwell and whose family held large estates in central Connaught. Very little is known about Francis Cutting, the composer of this piece, though it has been suggested he may have been the editor and compiler of Barley's Instruction, 11 of his pieces appearing in the book, this one appearing in the section for Orpharion.

Solus sine Sola Dd.9.33: A pavan written by Dowland for Brigide Fleetwood, wife of Sir William Smith, who was granted the Launde Abbey estate from Edward Cromwell, (see above). Brigide Fleetwood erected a memorial to her husband that included information about his life, "who till he was XXX followed the wars in Ireland" and "was chosen one of the Colonels of the Army".

The same Visitation of Gloucestershire has the following Smyth information: (source)

Thomas Smyth of Campden, Gloucestershire, married Catherine (widow of Robert Winter) Throgmorton (Throckmorton). There had been an earlier Baynham/Winter marriage as shown by the "Visitation" pedigree.

Their son, Richard Smyth, married Marianne Elston.There were two daughters of this marraige, Sylvanna and Mary. Other sons were Paule, Lucius (is this the same Lucius? - It is an unusual Smyth first name) and Daniell (all died without issue) and thence a line to Thomas Smyth of the Smyth family tracing back to Cressing Temple - in Essex, a line explored elsewhere on this site. Thomas Smyth married Elizabeth Fitzherbert, daughter and coheir of Eustace Fitzherbert and widow of Edward Smyth of Cressing Temple. This is the line of the Carrington family of Carrington Smith/Smyth whose ancestor was Standard Bearer to King Richard 1st at the Siege of Acre in 1191.

Smythe family linkages and ana;lysis ...The family, Winter holds many keys regarding Smith/Smyth ancestry. As Wendy Garcia Winter points out in her unpublished book, “The Golden Falcon”, Sir Walter Raleigh and the Gilberts were half-brothers, Raleigh and the Winters of Huddington were related through the Throckmortons, the Gorges to the Winters of Dyrham, the Drakes and Winters of Dyrham and Clapton-in-Gordano were related through the Sydenhams and the Hawkins’ were kinsmen of the Trelawneys. Judge Popham, Recorder of Bristol, who promoted colonisation, was related to the Winters of Dyrham and Clapton-in-Gordano, the Winters of Lydney and Sir Thomas Smythe, a fervent coloniser, were related through Sir Andrew Judde, Mayor of London, and Ferdinando Gorges to the Smythes and to Drake through the Champernownes.

In terms of Bristol and Smith/Smyth - John Smyth, founder of the Smyth line of Ashton Court, Bristol - had been elected Mayor some years before John Roberts' term of office. Further information may be gleaned from Smyth of Bristol and Ashton CourtSmyth of Bristol - the Smyth family of Ashton Court - Tudor roots and later generations. The image of the "Flower of Bristowe" (Bristol) - Non-such or Scarlet Lychnis, (Lychnis chalcedonica) leads to a section of analysis and general information about the Smyth/e Smith/e families of Bristol and England in Tudor/Stuart times.

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Roberts Family Research - June, 2004.
Courtesy of Wayne Roberts

I have made some new discoveries. I have asked the College of Arms about the coat of arms. They say it is very early and thus was not granted as such. They say that the arms were assumed by the family. The motto is not connected to it and could change.

The Britton family of Kingswood Chase are the descendants of the Button family - only the name has been corrupted. Sir John Bytton/ Button /Britton died in the very place my great grandmother (Sarah Britton) was born. I also note that they are found in Wiltshire and Devon from an early date when clearly they are linked to Bitton!   I have also found a Hester born to my 4 great grandfather John.   My 5 x great grandfather's late wife was not Betty, it was Clementina Frankcom. They married in St George in 1808. Their youngest child - James - emigrated to America. There was also a George Frankcom Roberts christened at Kingswood School not mentioned in the will. I guess he died young.

There was no Martha born to my 5 great grandfather. I am not sure about the James Roberts who married Betty, but he must have been kin as the following will demonstrate.   I have been trying to establish who Henry's parents were. There was a Henry Roberts who married Mary Munday at St James' Church Bristol in 1629. Munday is a Wiltshire name, but the first time that a Roberts was mentioned in St George or St Phillip & Jacob is when William Roberts and Mary Nicholas were married.

In other similar searches of the marriage of the LDS records, Mary is listed as being born in Castle Gloucester. William was the son of Henry Roberts and Mary. The record here shows the entire family. His older brother, Richard, was christened at Salisbury Cathedral and later married Christian Jeffrey there. According to the book "Inhabitants of Bristol in 1696" Richard had died leaving Christian a widow with one daughter Ann. Her mother -in-law Mary was still living with her daughters. She also had had servants - the only Roberts family noted as having any. William and Mary are shown as having children, William, Dorothy and Elizabeth and another Elizabeth who married William Rogers at Bitton.

John Roberts married Martha Watkins at St Augustine the Less with children George and Mary. Thomas (black sheep of the family) was living as a lodger! All lived in the centre of the town or towards the west, around St Augustine's. I guess they weren't mining coal there!

The son and heir seemed very important to this family, and I guess the elder inherited all - leaving others relatively poor. This left William's son, who married at St Augustine's Cathedral and had one daughter found so far in St George here, although the dates are out.

There are other Roberts' in the book - some I can't trace apart from a Christopher and Ann from Hampshire.   It seems we were originally a Wiltshire/Hampshire family and there is a plethora of Henry Roberts' getting married at Salisbury. Henry Roberts married Elizabeth Burden - others marrying Catherine Munday, Mary Cash, Mary Harris and Ann Atkins. There also seem to have been arranged marriages since the same surnames pop up - particularly Munday and Bradford. Benjamin Roberts married Rachel Bradford in Hampshire, for example. Religion and the close proximity to their church was important to them. In the mid 1600's Francis Roberts of The Close, Salisbury, was titled Gentleman. Jesse Roberts also married at the Cathedral in the early 1700's. The early beginnings appear to be here and here. The same christian names used by my 4 great grandfather are evident including the early use of the names James and Joseph.

So, are we related to the Westerleigh crowd? I don't know. We seem to go back to quite early in Wiltshire. However, Thomas Roberts of Westerleigh did marry Susanna Grub or Crabb - according to the LDS at Salisbury. Also, instead of Ashford in Salop., Henry Roberts is recorded here as being born in Portsmouth.  This may suggest that his father was also a seafaring man!

We had itchy feet and Samuel Roberts married Elvera Burton and went to Nottingham. Some of the children went to the States in the 1600's. Some of John H. Roberts' branches went to Devon, Essex and London. So, yes, we are connected with the Devon Roberts after all. There is also a road that runs from Salisbury to Southampton called Roberts Road.

We are definitely connected with John Roberts Hayward of Siddington - they too had roots in Wiltshire according to the book, "Quakers of the Olden Time". John also had a brother Samuel, and a son Joseph who died in infancy. The book claims we were a Saxon family that held our own against the Normans!

Oade Roberts - named after Thomas Oade, merchant of Bristol, Winterbourne and London - descendant of John Roberts Hayward, drew up the family tree which included a coat of arms, but I guess it may be different - I don't know yet. He was also proud of the Tyndale connection as it meant that William Tyndale was one of their ancestors. Their mansion at Stinchcombe was torched after the civil war.

It is confusing about Martha. At one stage I did wonder if James married twice! The birth of Martha, though, coincides with his marriage to Clementina. I think the LDS site (as good as it is) has a lot of omissions and no doubt false information. If it wasn't for the removal order* I wouldn't know that James was born to Henry and Elizabeth Miller.

I have the Registers of St Augustine the Less, albeit it before 1700. The Roberts (e.g Paul Roberts) - son of William was christened at St Edmunds Salisbury seems to confirm that the James who married Elizabeth Watkins is related. I wonder which one was a Yeoman mentioned in the Chester - Master family records?

The James Roberts who married Susanna Flook had a son at St George called Henry. A Richard Roberts who married Mary Barrett at St George had a son named Joseph!  

The early Devon connection is here also Hyrum comes up again in this Hampshire branch of the family. What I do believe is that the Roberts Hayward connection is here.  The book, "Quakers of the Olden Time" is interesting in that it mentions (in the parish of St George) Bishop George Bull who persecuted John Roberts Hayward. The latter had a commission before St Peter in Siddington. The parish of St George is described as follows:

"They were a rough, sea-faring lot - for St George was a small, separate port."

Apparently, he (Bishop Bull) had a lot of trouble there with "hot-headed Quaker figures". One is reported as shouting "George come down! Thou art a fake prophet and an hireling!"

removal order*

Both James Roberts and his brother, Henry Roberts, were sticklers for leaving wills mainly because, in 1770, the overseers of the poor (St Lukes Church, Brislington) had Henry his wife Elizabeth and their children James, Henry, Mary and Elizabeth, moved to St. George. They obviously never forgot the experience. (Wayne Roberts)

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Francis Smythe, the cooper (Master) Francis Smythe - the Cooper - the husband of Martha Roberts
Ancestor IndexAncestor Index