Ancestor IndexAncestor IndexModern View of Shrewsbury
Thomas Smith/Smyth
Smyth related to the maternal line ...

Thomas was the son of William Smyth - of Woolsthorpe, near Belvoir Castle, (Apothecary of Shrewsbury) and the brother of Corbetta Smyth, the common-law wife of Lord William Manners (2nd. son of the 2nd. Duke of Rutland). It is believed from LDS IGI sources that this is the Thomas Smith who was baptised on the 24th January, 1693 at St. Chad's in Shrewsbury (Salop.) to parents William Smith and Mary - his mother not being mentioned by maiden name. The liklihood of this being his baptismal date is further strenghened by the following information gratefully received (15/4/03) from Alice Blackford, Assistant Keeper of the Archives at Oxford University, who states:

"The average age of students at the time of their matriculation (ie admission to the University) is fully analysed in Volume I of 'The University in Society' (ed Lawrence Stone), in the first chapter entitled 'The Size and Composition of the Oxford Student Body 1580-1909' by Lawrence Stone. According to Stone, by the early eighteenth century the median average age of matriculants was 17 and a half (p30), compared to an average age of 17 in the late sixteenth century. In the late sixteenth century students were matriculating as early as 11 years old; by the late seventeenth century, 14 was the earliest. I can confirm that a Thomas Smith (or Smyth), son of William, of Shrewsbury, gentleman, matriculated from Wadham College on 30 Oct 1709, aged 16."

Bearing in mind the Codicil to his father's Will (qv William Smyth page) one can almost hear the financial conversations around the Christmas hearth that year - amidst the jollity and celebrations - with the young blade, Tom, 'down' for Christmas too, complaining just how expensive life was at Oxford and seeking an increase in his allowance which must have led to this Codicil being put in place!

Thomas' father was an apothecary - Wadham's historical records state: "Notable members of the college in its early years include Robert Blake, Cromwell's admiral and founder of British sea-power in the Mediterranean, and Christopher Wren. Wren attended the meetings of scientifically-inclined scholars which were held by Warden John Wilkins (Cromwell's brother-in-law) in the college in the 1650s. Those attending formed the nucleus of the Royal Society at its foundation in 1662."

This subsequent information on Thomas comes (17/4/03) courtesy of Cliff Davies, Archivist at Wadham College, Oxford:

"He gained a college scholarship (Goodridge Exhibition) in 1712 and 1713, but we have no record of his taking a degree. He had left the college by 1715." He adds, "The Goodridge was awarded for general academic proficiency to students already in residence. That means, of course, classics. It is impossible to tell for that period how honestly it was awarded, how much a matter of patronage and favouritism."

Wadham College appears to have a close connection with Smyth family - especially in an ecclesiastical context - which, in the early 1800s, brings into frame another Thomas Smyth (Thomas Smyth of East Dereham, Norfolk) whose £82,000 Will (a vast fortune in those days) is an extensive and very complicated document accompanied by some seven Codicils - on which probate was granted in 1835. Of the church in East Dereham, Norfolk, it is said in one historical account that "The register dates from the year 1538. The living is a vicarage, yearly value £49, in the gift of the trustees of H. D. Hemsworth esq. and held since 1860 by the Rev. William Smyth Thorpe B.A. of Wadham College, Oxford, who resides at Shropham." William Smythe - Argent a chevron sable between three roses gules seeded or barbed vert - the Coat of Arms.East Dereham 'Smyth' and Norfolk 'Smith'/'Smyth/e' connections have been hovering on the periphery of the paternal Smyth/e line investigation of this site for some time now.

The history of Wadham also states that the architect chosen for the building of the College was William Arnold, "well-known for his work in the West Country (most notably, Montacute House.)". Montacute was built for Thomas Phelips who married Elizabeth Smyth of the Ashton Court (Bristol) Smyth family. Additionally, the Smyth family of Essex (Thomas Smyth, Secretary of State to Edward VI and who later also served at the Court of Queen Elizabeth) was also closely associated with the Cromwells - which family had Smyth as kin and which family was also associated with Wadham. It is also of interest to note that the arms of Wadham contain impaled crests, one showing a chevron and Tudor rose motif identical to the Smyth arms of William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1514 and who founded, with Richard Sutton, Brasenose College, out of the original Brasenose Hall of which, one Matthew Smyth (supposedly related to Bishop William) was the transitional Master.

August 2003 - from Roger Smith - of Corsham, Wiltshire

Roger writes: "Our Family Bible lists my descent from Thomas Smith, who was known as the 'Shropshire Tailor' and was based in Westminster, where he was married to Sharlot Gray 6.1.1719; they had 12 children born/baptised in Shrewsbury, Westminster, and Eltham, Kent. Only one son (Nathaniel Smith b.4/6/1738 at Eltham Palace) and one daughter (Sharlot Smith b.21/7/1730 at Shrewsbury) survived to have offspring.

The section of the Bible detailing his marriage and offspring also contains an entry written in the same hand:- "Mary Maschamp January 18th 1717", with no explanation. I've been unable to find a Maschamp anywhere and believe that 'Muschamp' is more likely.  I wonder if this is apothecary William Smith's wife, Mary, and the entry records the date of her death? The family Muschamp are well documented as being in Ireland, Westminster, and northern England at about the right time.

We do not have, nor have I been able to find, any record of the descent of Thomas Smith, so the Thomas recorded as being the son of William and in the right place at the right time is a very interesting development. Family heirlooms bear the arms of Sir William Smith of Carantock Abbey, Cornwall who was knighted in 1642, and was a merchant in London.

My father told me that we were descended from 'Customer Smith' but he had no idea who Customer Smith was: and that there was a link to Admiral Thomas Smith (Tom of Ten Thousand) d.28.8.1762 - of whom we have a comtemporary sketch - and who could have been half brother to Thomas the Tailor and was reputed to be the illegitimate son of Thomas Lyttleton - also of Shropshire.Sir Thomas Smith - (married to Sarah Blount) - East India Company - son of Customer Smythe - Wiltshire Smyth line

Smythe of Wiltshire - Customer SmytheSmythe of Wiltshire - The Wiltshire line of Thomas "Customer" Smythe, celebrated Elizabethan entrepreneur. His son was Sir Thomas Smith/Smyth/e. For a biography of this equally illustrious man, click on his image (left). He was the third but second surviving son of "Customer" Smythe of Westenhanger, Kent by Alice, dau. of Sir Andrew Judde, Lord Mayor of London.

Site Notes

Writing in July 2004, Roger adds these notes - assembled in association with Gyles Cooper who kindly offered the following information about his descent: " ... family tradition has it that we are descended from a Thomas Smith Cooper, supposedly an illegitimate son of the Admiral. I looked into this quite hard 25 years ago, but found no information on the Admiral's private life, apart from reference to an unnamed mistress. He left no Will, with letters of administration being granted to George Grenville, later Prime Minister."

"Gyles has information on the Admiral. Much of it agrees with what I have, but some indicates that the references I researched years ago were in error, and some add new light. The publication, "At 12 Mr. Byng Was Shot" by Dudley Pope, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1962 (page 21) records that Admiral Thomas Smith was the illegitimate son of a Mrs. Smith, owner of a boarding house and Sir Thomas Lyttleton, who retired from Parliament in 1741. (He died in 1751 and was of Hagley Hall in Worcestershire). 

This rules out my suggestion that Mary Muschamp may have been the wife of William Smith, Apothecary of Shrewsbury and hence mother of Thomas the Clothier. There is no indication of where Mrs. Smith owned a lodging house, but London, Shrewsbury and perhaps Worcestershire are favourites. Presumably, she was a widow and this leads to the question as to whether the Clothier was her legitimate or natural son: if one assumes that he married at 21 he would have been born 1698. Gyles's records put  the Admiral's birth as 1706/7; mine as 1707.  The fact that Lyttleton associated with her and fully supported their son seems to indicate that she was a lady of some standing. I recently downloaded a copy of the will of Sir William Smith of Crantock and there may be useful information to come from that."

Roger's original information continues ...

Nathaniel (mentioned above) was a  sculptor of some repute, and married, firstly, Elizabeth Tarr and by her was the father of John Thomas Smith -  the antiquarian, author and artist ("Rainy Day Smith") whose daughter (name not known) married a Charles Smith [British Museum occasional papers]. My descent is through Nathaniel's second marriage to Jane Micheal. and I have a full account of this through to our great grand children."

Research on Roger Smith's theory is continuing. This is a recent (November 2003) gleaning which may - or may not - be associated:

1794: Nathaniel Smith (1730-1794), MP, governor EICo, son of Nathaniel Smith and Anne Gould; he married Hester Dance. See Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1754-1790. [Two Vols.] London, Parliament Trust of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1964., Vol. 3, p. 448.

He was a posthumous son of Capt. Nathaniel Smith of St Giles, Cripplegate, and spent 12 years in East India Company naval service, rising to commander and captain. He retired in 1771 and was active as an EICo director till he died in May 1794. Namier notes him as chairman of EICo 1783-1785 and 1788-1789. He was deputy-chair of EICo and an MP in 1786. File 9a - 1775-1800 - Merchants and Bankers Listings

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Additional Site Notes

Sir William Smith of Carantock Abbey - The "Abbey" tag suggests that Sir William Smith was another Smyth/e-Smith family beneficiary to property made available as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries. See also In search of Smithdike ...William Smithdike - assistant to Henry VIII and the reputed progenitor of the major Irish Smyth lines. He was granted a lease on Rosedale Abbey in Yorkshire by the powerful Neville family who had acquired it at the time of the Dissolution.

Tom of Ten ThousandCarantock Abbey - "Carantoc founded a religious settlement at Crantock across the river Gannel from Newquay, and then, according to Capgrave, was led by his guardian angel to journey to Ireland to assist St. Patrick in the conversion of that island. In Ireland he cured one of his disciples, Tenenan, of his leprosy by giving him a hot bath. His ministry did not end in Ireland for he is honoured in Brittany as the founder saint of Carantec and the neighbouring parish of Tegarantec, which was probably originally Tref Carantoc. St.Carantoc died in the middle of the sixth century, and Bath Abbey, which held the living of Carhampton, kept his festival on May 16th. The Welsh, Cornish, Irish and Breton calendars commemorate him at this time." (Bowen, Baring Gould and Fisher, Farmer, John). WHS - 1st Hambledon

Thomas Smith - (Tom of Ten Thousand) - was born in England and joined the Royal Navy becoming a junior lieutenant on the Royal Oak in 1727. In 1730 he was promoted captain of the Success and served the navy on the home station as well as the Mediterranean from 1732 to 1740. He was captain of the Romney from 1740 to 1742, where his duty was to protect the Newfoundland fisheries.He was appointed governor of Newfoundland in 1741 and served a single year. He served again as governor and commander-in-chief in 1743. After serving in Newfoundland, he continued his naval career. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Red in 1747 and Vice-Admiral of the White in 1748. After the promotion to Vice-Admiral of the Blue in 1758, he retired from naval service. He died in August, 1762. Might this be the mysterious 'naval' father of Henry Walton Smith? See inset (left) picture of W. H. Smith, 1st. Viscount Hambledon - the son of Henry Walton Smith.

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John Thomas Smith - ("Rainy Day Smith") - is perhaps best known for his edition of the "Cries of London", and "The Antiquities of Westminster", the first English book to be illustrated with lithographed plates. He was a good friend of William Blake and, later in his career, was Keeper of prints and drawings in the British Museum.

Blake's father was a well-to-do London hosier and William was born in 1758. He had been dead some two years when John Thomas Smith wrote, "I believe it has been invariably the custom of every age, whenever a man has been found to depart from the usual mode of thinking, to consider him of deranged intellect, and not infrequently stark staring mad …". In this same 1829 treatise on Blake he declared, "Bearing this stigma of eccentricity, William Blake, with most extraordinary zeal, commenced his efforts in art under the roof of number 28, Broad St., in which house he was born ... ".

Roger Smith, writing in September 2003, notes: "I recall reading one of his [John Thomas Smith's] books years ago, in which he refers to Admiral Thomas Smith as his great uncle. I think his daughter, who married Charles Smith, may have been Jane b.13/4/1794 in Edmonton (London). His other daughter, name unknown, seems to have married Johann George Paul Fischer. John Thomas's son, name unknown, died June 1833 - Cape of Good Hope."

Given the early life of Henry Walton Smith and his involvement with fine collections, this may be a starting point for drawing together a number of possible connections. Henry Walton Smith was disowned by his family when he married Anna Eastaugh, a servant girl from Suffolk. His paternal line has yet to be identified; however, he was closely connected with the actor, David Garrick and with the artist Joshua Reynolds. Born in about 1735, Henry Walton Smith was also connected to the Rogers and to the Cotton families and with Devon/Cornwall. His father was a naval officer. Little more than that is known about his ancestry. This is the line of the W. H. Smith enterprise (bookesellers etc.) and thus of the Viscounts Hambleden.

It is stated that Henry Walton SmithHenry Walton Smith arrived in London at some point towards the latter part of the 18th century 'and became an assistant to Charles Rogers '. Charles Rogers was principally an art collector who worked under William Townson of the Custom House, London, being befriended and greatly influenced by him and, in return, helping him to add to the collection - much of which he eventually inherited from Townson anyway. (Woodes Rogers and his family were painted by Joshua Reynolds before Rogers became Governor of the Bahamas for the second and last time.) When Charles Rogers himself died, in 1784, his nephew, William Cotton (the first of three by that name) inherited this vast collection of artistic and literary works. Much of it was gradually sold off but what remains of it - still extensive - survives today, at Plymouth's 'Cottonian'.

The Cottonian Collection

"The earliest part of the collection, the core of the library, was formed by Robert Townson (1640-1707) who bequeathed it to his son William. He added some prints and drawings, as well as more books, before leaving it to his friend and protégé Charles Rogers (1711-1784). Rogers built on this modest assemblage over the main decades of the 18th century, between the 1730s and 80s. During these years his wealth, social contacts and interest in the Pursuit allowed him to amass a quite remarkable collection reflecting his interests, taste and patronage."

Rogers was something of a self-taught man; Henry Walton Smith, as his assistant, would have been - if Smith/Smyth traits run true - the organiser! It also suggests that Henry's family moved in the kind of circles enjoyed by Rogers and - before him, Townson; they were of a similar 'mindset' in the pursuit of collecting and much interested in antiquities.

When the Royal Academy of Arts was instituted in 1768, Joshua Reynolds was elected as the first President and, in the following year, he was knighted. Eventually, in 1784, he was appointed as principal royal portrait painter to King George III, succeeding Allan Ramsay. In that same year, he exhibited one of the portraits for which he has come to be best appreciated - that of the actress, Sarah Siddons, as the Tragic Muse. Some five years after his appointment as the King's painter, his eyesight began to fail (he was already quite deaf) and he was forced to give up painting altogether. He never married, and his house in Leicester Fields.was kept for him by his sister Frances. He died in 1792 - in the same year as Henry Walton Smith - whom he must have known quite well.

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Thomas Smith (Smith of Derby) - c.1720-1767 - was one of the first professional landscape artists in England. He was the father of John Raphael Smith (1752-1812) who painted minitures and became mezzotint engraver to the Prince of Wales in 1784.

An 18th Century writer, Edward Edwards, wrote of Thomas Smith that he "attained his art by his own industry" and also that he was one of the first artists who explored and displayed the beautiful scenes of his native country. He travelled about a great deal in the Midlands and the North (as far as the Lake District) painting famous views and also country houses whose owners were opening them to respectable visitors and wanted pictures of their property.

Until the invention of photography, paintings, drawings and prints were the only available means of recording the landscape, hence Smith's popularity. The image adjacent shows his painting of "The Cascades at Matlock". Such pictures provide pictorial evidence of the changes in the landscape over time, and serve as a record of the tastes and appearances of people and places in history. Thomas Smith is important for having painted the countryside in the early days of the Industrial Revolution and also for being one of the first to paint scenes of wild country with rocks, waterfalls and ruins that became very fashionable later in the century. In his pictures he recorded the activities of tourists, strolling about, picnicking, admiring the view and, especially, fishing, because Derbyshire was becoming very attractive to travellers at that time. He probably supplied the illustrations for the 1750 edition of the most famous fishing book of all time, Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler . Smith's pictures were very popular and were often engraved for reproduction as prints. These were really the holiday souvenirs of the time.

Chatsworth House (home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire) web site information states that Thomas Smith had pictures of his displayed in three of the very first annual exhibitions of the Society of Artists (which became The Royal Academy) in London. The first exhibition was held in 1760 in the Strand. People could get in free but two years later an admission charge of one shilling (5p) was started. The next year, two much more famous artists than Smith were responsible for hanging the exhibits. They were Richard Wilson, also a landscape painter, and Benjamin West, an American painter of historical scenes and events. No doubt to his astonishment, West had to put up with an unusual way of going about things by his partner. They both disliked the work that was being sent in for display, because when they had finished placing all the exhibits Wilson is reported to have said, "This will never do. We shall lose the little credit we have, for the public will never stand such a shower of chalk and brickdust!" So he sent someone out to get Indian Ink and Spanish liquorice. He then dissolved them in water and washed many of the pictures in that! When this was finished, he exclaimed, "There, it's as good as asphaltum, with this advantage that if the artists don't like it they can wash it off when they get the pictures home!" (Source: Sidney Hutchison, The History of the Royal Academy, 1768-1968, Chapman & Hall, 1968.)

Thomas Smith's picture of Chatsworth "is hung alongside two other paintings of Chatsworth, and together they offer a detailed narrative about the evolution of Chatsworth from Tudor house to Classical mansion. They also show how the house's setting has been altered to create a romantic backdrop to the buildings. Without Smith's picture we would know much less about Chatsworth's appearance in the early 18th Century."

Smith of Derby "made a good living out of his art and was able to buy a six-roomed house in Bridge-gate, Derby, with a coachhouse and stable, described at the time as fit for a gentleman's family" He died at Hotwells in Bristol and was buried in Derby. Related or not, it would seem impossible that Thomas Smith of Derby could have operated at this time without mixing in similar circles as Henry Walton Smith and John Thomas Smith.

Roger adds - (September 2003)

Admiral Thomas Smith - The sketch we have of this Thomas is very faded and is in an old frame. It shows him as a young lad, presumably in the rig of a midshipman of that time.

Sir William Smith - The Lancaster Herald, in 1993, confirmed to me that the arms of Sir William Smith of Carantock Abbey are emblazoned as follows:- "Azure a saltire between four martlets argent."  I think it means a plain blue shield with an X and a silver martlet in each segment of the x.. We have this etched on some items of our property, but not in colour: Also, we have a crest - a hand holding a hammer of some sort, on other pieces of property but this crest is not recorded by the College of Arms. I am trying to get a look at Burke's Armory. The Complete Baronetage states that this William was "presumably a descendant of the family of Smith, of Tregonnack". This family in the Herald's Visitation of Cornwall in 1620, bore the same arms, which are of medieval origin and a crest of "a griffin's head semy of roundles on a chapeau" - established in about 1573. The Lancaster Herald wrote that Sir William left two daughters and heirs. The Smyth family of Tregonnack is also recorded for a number of generations thus:-Arms  of Sir Edward Smythe of Whitchurch, Bucks.

Visitation of Cornwall, 1620. - Smyth of Tregonake St. Germayns - Robert Smyth m. Joanne, dau. of Robert Killigrew. Their son Thomas Smyth m.(1) Wilmot, dau.of Roger Tremayne and had a son John Smyth of Tregonock and he (Thomas Smyth) married (2) Mary, dau. of Sir.....Lenthall of Latchford, Oxfordshire and had a son Robert Smyth of Trewynt, in Blysland. Arms:- B. a saltire arg. between 4 martlets or.

The mention of Smith/Smythe and the hammer motif in the family arms, is reflected in the adjacent set of arms to be found at St. John's Whitchurch in Buckinghamshire - see image right - also may be used as a link to that page.

Sir William Smith of Crantock (modern spelling) is recorded by tradition as being a cadet of the house of Tregonnack. The hammer in the crest of this line may perhaps be a reference to mining  - in which Customer Smythe's decendants had Cornish interests - and Sir William may have been connected to this.

The letter I received on 6th April 1993  from the Lancaster Herald at The College of Arms, stated "He was a merchant in London who named himself of Carantock Abbey having purchased an estate there which either he or his children sold. No memorial of him remaning in Cornwall.  He was a merchant in London & left 2 daurs. & heirs."

I have these notes from the Corsham Civic Society - discussing present street names: "Hatton Way - Sir Christopher Hatton was a favourite of Elizabeth 1. He owned the site of Corsham Court and later sold it to Thomas Smyth." And, relating to a tour of the Court - hosted by James Methuen-Campbell - the present incumbent:- "The restored remains of the Medieval House, pulled down in the 1500s, are next on the tour, followed by the Dovecote which, although difficult to date accurately, is thought to predate the Tudor House."

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Corbetta Smyth

Smythes of Acton Burnell - family of Maria "Fitzherbert" SmytheShropshire Smythe Sir William Smythe and Isabella Nevill/e of Elford, StaffordshireStaffordshire Smythe Smyths of Cheshire ...Cheshire Smythe

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