Medieval Smyth and the Siege of Acre 1191 - A Smyth/e ancestor was knighted by King Richard Ist at the siege of Acre.

The Siege of Acre - illustration c.1280 - Biblothèque Municipale de Lyon, France

Ancestor Index Ancestor Index

An internet history of the name Smith (Smyth/Smythe) states "One of the earliest recorded Smiths was an Ecceard Smith who lived in County Durham in 975 AD, although the name was spelt differently with a runic symbol used instead of the 'th'."

The following information comes from Mary (Winter) Garcia's book, 'The Golden Falcon'

"Sir William Petty was an eminent physician, "celebrated for his proficiency in every branch of science". He designed and built a flat-bottomed ship with two keels which sank during a storm in the Bay of Biscay with other vessels His map of Ireland was the most accurate ever drawn and he was Surveyor of Forfeited Lands in Ireland during Cromwell's Protectorate. 

Evelyn wrote of him:
22.3.1675: "Supp'd at Sir William Petty's with the Bishop of Salisbury and divers honourable persons. We had a noble entertainment in a house gloriously furnish'd; the master and mistress of it were extraordinary persons. Sir William was the sonn of a meane man somewhere in Sussex and sent from schole to Oxon, where he studied philosophy, but was most eminent in mathematics and mechanics: proceeded doctor of physick and was grown famous as for his learning.  Sir William came from Oxon to be tutor to a neighbour of mine; thence when the rebells were dividing their conquests in Ireland, he was employ'd by them to measure and set out the land, which he did on an easy contract, so much per acre. This he effected so exactly, that it not only furnish'd him with a great sum of money, but enabled him to purchase an estate worth £,400 a yeare. He afterwards married with the daughter of Sir Hadress Waller; she was an extraordinary wit as well as a beauty and a prudent woman."

His second son, Henry Petty, was created Baron Shelburne in 1669.  His heir was John Fitzmaurice (d. 1761) who was the second son of Shelburne’s sister Anne, Countess of Kerry.  His son William became earl of Shelburne in 1761. Their property Loakes House or Wycombe Abbey passed to Francis Smith, 1st Lord Carrington in 1798.  There was a marriage between a Winter and a Petty, ancestors of the present family of Winter-Petty of Canada."Smith Carrington

"Carrington or Smyth of co. Warwick, England"

Visitation of Warwick and Leicester, confirmed by the Deputies of Camden, Clarenceux, to Francis Smyth, of Wooton, grandson of Sir John Smyth, and 5th in descent from John Carrington or Smith, died in 1446, who was 5th in descent from - Sir Michael Carrington - Standard Bearer to Richard I - died in the Holy Land.

ARMS: Argent (silver), a cross Gules (red), between four peacocks Azure (blue). CREST: A peacock's head erased Azure (blue), ducally gorged Or (gold).

Note also that one Smith family of Dublin was certainly connected to Carrington/Smyth/e family. The coat of arms of this Dublin family bears related devices: Arms (right) of Alderman John Smith, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1677. Peacocks are a feature of the Smith-Carrington family - and (left) Arms of Smith of Dublin, "descended from a Yorkshire family". The "castellation" device should be noted as common to both.

The unicorn, where it is combined with the coronet as well - signifying a clear link to a coat of arms described by David Smyth at the head of the "Smyth and the Unicorn" page, linked below - is very much a feature of the Curzon/Smith arms pictured here. Additionally, the motto is shared with that of the arms described by David Smyth. The Curzon/Smyth family has its Irish origins as "of Drumcree, County Westmeath". The ox head is also a common "Smith/e - Smyth/e crest. See "Smyth and the Unicorn" pages, linked below. For information on a wide range of Ireland's "Smith/e -

Smyth/e arms and families, click here.

Smyth and the Unicorn - an investigationSmyth/e & the Unicorn
Consideration of the Unicorn armorial device .... Click

As a contemporary family of 'Sir Smyth' of Acre, the following Lawrence family history is revealing. This Lawrence family history was compiled by Paul E. Lawrence (USA). See source link at base of page.

Notes from "The Lawrence family of Ashton Hall" - Lancashire, England

" ... two conflicting genealogies [exist] for the ancestry of the Lawrences of Ashton Hall. The first is the most commonly published ancestry by H. G. Somberby and others. According to this genealogy, the Lawrences of Ashton Hall are descended from a Robert Lawrence born about 1150 A.D., or about 1155/60 A.D., depending on the writer, in the vicinity of Lancaster, England. One source indicates that his father also was named Robert and worked as a silversmith for the Lord of Lancaster Castle. Lancaster Castle was established about 1100 A.D. on the remains of three Roman forts ...

Robert Lawrence joined the Third Crusade in 1187 A.D. led by Richard Coeur de Lion. He traveled by ship first to Cyprus and then to the lands that later became known as Palestine. There, he took part in the siege of Acre. One version indicates that he scaled the walls of Acre with four other men and opened the gates to the armies of the Crusades. Another version indicates that he was the first to raise the flag of the Crusades on a Palestine hill during the siege of Acre. For his deeds he was knighted by King Richard in 1191 A.D. and was given Ashton Hall.

Another writer indicates that Robert Lawrence was created a Knight-Banneret (a military Knighthood and the highest grade in the Middle Ages) and was allowed to bear arms, "argent, a cross ragulée gules," - a red cross of trunks of trees having pieces like couped boughs projecting from the side in a slanting direction, on a silver shield. This Arms is registered with the College of Arms in London, England. Sir Robert Lawrence also is referred to as Robert de Lancaster in some texts. This probably is more accurate as surnames did not come into common use until the late 1200s or early 1300s.

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of England, Ashton Hall is the seat in the township of Ashton-with-Stoddy, Lancashire, between the Preston and Lancaster railway and the estuary of the Lune, about 2 and 3/4 miles south of Lancaster. Ownership of Ashton Hall eventually passed by marriage to the Dukes of Hamilton.

One source indicates that within the halls of Ashton was a silver cup adorned with the motif of Roman armies and the Roman General, Julius Agricola who was born in the year 40 A.D. Legend indicates that General Agricola arrived in Lancaster in the year 89 A.D. where he and his armies built the first wooden fort upon a hill where Lancaster Castle stands. During his stay, he met and fell in love with a young British girl by whom he had a son. He was unable to take the girl and child with him when he returned to Italy where he had a large estate, wife, and children. He gave the cup to the girl as a legacy. The son supposedly became the first silversmith in a long line of silversmiths and, according to legend, was the direct ancestor of the above Robert Lawrence. No basis for the legend appears in existing records but no doubt the thousands of Romans marching through England left some genetic connections behind.

Legend in this area has its part to play - and its truths as well. See, for example, the story of the Cuerdale Hoard - a priceless treasure trove buried, it is estimated, between 905 and 910 and discovered locally during the 19th century. By 'legend' it had always been 'known' to be there.
"The local tradition was clear and insistent. Anyone who stood on the south bank of the River Ribble at Walton le Dale, and looked up river towards Ribchester, would be within sight of the richest treasure in England. Nobody knew how the tradition had originated or how old it was. Nobody knew what the treasure might consist of, or precisely where it might lie. The skeptics naturally scoffed, especially when diviners paced the riverside meadows, hazel twigs, willow branches and silver chains limp in their hands. One day in 1810, it was recorded, a farmer deep ploughed his furrows twice in the hope of turning up a buried treasure. His reward was no more than a weightier crop that autumn. So much for local tradition. But one evening in May of 1840 the long-standing fiction was found to be fact." (UK Detector Net)Ashton Hall

Of Ashton Hall, Paul Lawrence later writes, "In 1066 Ashton was one of three manors of Cliber, Machern and Gillemicheld and appears to have been accessed of two plough-lands. (The other two manors, Ellel and Scotforth, retained their connection to Ashton being held by the Lancaster family.) Afterwards, it was granted to Count Rogers of Poitori and a little later formed part of the lordship held by the Lancaster family, being held by knight's service. In the time of Henry II (1154-1189) William de Lancaster I granted half a plough-land to Gilbert de Ashton to hold by service of half a mark yearly. The second moiety wash shared or inherited by the families of Stableton and Metham, Thweng and Pedwarding, and appears to have been acquired by the Lawrence family of Lancaster.

In 1226, the Millfield at Ashton rendered 5s. a year to the king. in 1323 it was held by many free tenants, who in all paid 5s. to the earl. This Millfield contained 20 acres. Tenants were William and Randle le Gentyl and John and Alice Lawrence.

The free tenants in 1301 were Roger de Slene; another who had a messuage and 5 acres for a rent of 20d.; Lawrence son of Thomas who rendered 6s. 8d. yearly; John de Ashton who held a messuage and 4 oxgangs of land and paid 6s.8d. rent; and Randle who paid 7d. In 1292 Gervase de Ashton claimed land against a Lawrence de Ashton. In a list of free tenants some 40 years later are recorded: William son of Lawrence, 2s. 6d.; the same William, for Brantbreck, 1d.; Alan de Ashton, 17 1/2d.; John Ward, 2s. 6d.; John, son of William the Clerk, 20d.; Gervase del Green, 20d.; Henry Alcok 5 1/2d.; in all 14s. 6d.

Traces of the Lawence estate in Ashton appear in inquisitions of some of the heirs, though the tenures are not always recorded. By some agreement, the manor descended through Boteler (Butler) of Rawcliffe to Radcliff of Winmarleigh, and so by marriage to Gilbert Gerard who purchased the other moiety from the Crown. Thus the whole became united in him and his descendants, the Gerards of Bromley and the Dukes of Hamilton. (Richard Skillecorne held part of it of the king in cocage in 1534. Thomas Regmaiden in 1520 held the reversion of the fourth part of the manor. John Boteler in 1534 held the manor of the king as duke in socage.) Sir Gilbert died in 1593 holding the manors of Ashton, Stodday, and Scotforth of the queen as of her crown of England in a fee farm by the hundredth part of a knight's fee and a rent of £16.11s. 4d. In August 1648, the Duke of Hamilton stayed a night at Ashton Hall which was, in later years, to become the inheritance of this family."

Top of Page

James Lawrence married (about 1252) Matilda de Washington, dau. of John de Washington. The Washington family was originally from Durham and established itself in north Lancashire during the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century they moved south to Northampton and later westward to Virginia. (The Smyth family, later of Ireland, is related to the Washington family via the Layton family of Yorkshire.)

William Lawrence (of Ribbleton) was the son of Lawrence de Lancaster. He married the widow of Geoffrey de Cuerdale, Alice de Haydock, daughter of John de Haydock, circa 1314. William had died by 1356. Edmund Lawrence d. 1381, m. (1) Alice de Cuerdale, m. (2) Agnes de Washington, dau. of Robert de Washington.

Cuerdale is a short distance from Cuerdley in Lancashire which is where the Smyth family was seated; grandfather of Bishop William Smyth which latter was educated for some of his youth at Knowsley "under the roof of Margaret Beaufort" - mother of King Henry VII.
According to Ralph Churton, Bishop William Smyth (Bishop of Lincoln 1496-1514) was "the fourth son of Robert Smyth of Peelhouse, in the parish of Prescot, Lancashire. His grandfather was Henry Smyth, a country squire, seated at Cuerdley. The date of his birth and the place of his education are alike unknown."
Bishop William Smyth would have been born in the mid 1400s. His grandfather, Henry Smyth, would therefore have flourished in the late 1300s and during the early decades of the 1400s. See later mention of a Henry Smith connected to the Lawrence family.

In 1324 Richard de Hoghton held a moiety of Ashton by the service of 5s. while Lawrence Travers and William Lawrence (in right of their wives) held the other moiety by 5s. also. William was a member of Parliament and Steward to the Earl of Lancaster. He founded a family line seated at Ribbleton. In 1354, William and his wife made a settlement of their estate in Thornton, Great and Little Layton, a moiety of the manor of Ribbleton, and a fourth part of the manor of Ashton. The remainder, after their children John and others, as far as Ashton was concerned went to the right heirs of Alice; and Ribbleton to Joan, daughter of Geoffrey de Cuerdale for life. Joan was then the wife of Thomas de Molyneux and much of her estate went to the Osbaldeston family. This indicates that William had held Ribbleton in the right of his wife, Alice.

Smyth family appear to have been "sought-after" stewards. A later generation (John Smyth of Nibley, born in Leicester) was Steward to the Berkleys in Gloucestershire. His son, another John, followed him in the position.

The child of Alice de Haydock and Geoffrey de Cuerdale was John de Cuerdale. He married Dionisia (Unknown) and they had two daughters, Alice born by 1353 (married Edmund Lawrence 1381) and Joan who married Thomas de Molyneaux.

This latter family was later to host - at Lady Molyneaux's house in London - the 18th Century wedding of Sir Carnaby Haggerston of Haggerston, Co. Durham and Frances Smythe, daughter of Walter Smythe and the sister of Maria Smythe (Fitzherbert) whose controversial marriage to King George IV produced a daughter, Marianne Smythe. This particular Smythe line traces back to Eshe Hall in Durham as well as to Acton Burnell in Shropshire. It also connects to the Sefton family which appears in various pedigrees associated with Smith/Smyth/e. Marrianne Smythe married into the Stafford-Jerningham family of Norfolk. Her son was the 10th Baron Stafford.

Top of Page

Enhanced and edited from original digital images courtesy of Tina Nevin.

Click here for a possible identification ... !

Henry Smyth and his wife Joan

Panel from an Altar Frontal or Dossal - Wall-mounted picture frame - Original is at Victoria & Albert Museum Textiles Dept., # T194-1911 "Panel from an Altar Frontal or Dossal. Velvet with applied motifs of linen embroidered with silver-gilt and silk threads and with sequins in couched work and split stitch. English 1470-1500" V&A description.

These images may be portraits of ancestors of this Smyth line.

At the time, Tina Nevin says, she was mainly interested in the use and manufacture of spangles. Gratitude is expressed to her for 'finding' these "Smyths".

"The two fragments," - writes Tina - "were originally from larger embroideries. The upper pair of figures are dressed in mid-C15th style, whilst the lower pair are in the fashion of the late C15th. The Latin scrolls identify the [left] pair as Henry Smyth and his wife Joan, (click image) and the [right] pair as Thomas Smyth and his wife Joan.

The flowers to the right are conventional flowers popular for English church vestments and furniture of the second half of the fifteenth century and first part of the sixteenth century up until the Reformation.

The sequins/spangles are made of gold, and look like little round donuts - almost like French beads, but flatter depth-wise. From looking at the backs of other similar spangles, rather than beads, these will be hammered or punched convex circles of thin gold. They are all attached with two stitches in tan silk on either side of the spangle, and are approximately 3 mm (2/16ths inch) wide."

During the early years of the fifteenth century, a Smyth/e daughter was born. Of unknown first name, she is noted as "Inconnu/e de Smythe", born in 1411 at Bedford. The family source (Nelson family) states that she married Sir Robert Spencer, son of Edmund de Beaufort Plantagenet and Eleanor de Beauchamp. Sir Robert Spencer was born in about 1435 in Spencercombe, Devon, England and died in 1502-1510 in Spencercombe, Devon, England.

This is a little at variance with this lineage, to be found via the LDS IGI archives: William de Spencer > John > Nicholas > Thomas de Spencer who had a son, Henry Spencer, born at Badley, Northants. Henry Spencer married (about 1417) Isabel Lincoln, daughter of Henry Lincoln. The son of this marriage was Thomas Spencer (b. about 1420) whose son was Robert Spencer. Robert Spencer, born at Colmworth married (about 1431) unknown Smyth who was born in about 1410 at Bedford. Robert Spencer died in about 1477. A later generation Robert Spencer married an unknown Smythe in 1534 at St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

A link with Beaufort and Beauchamp is significant in that the period of the Wars of the Roses and the early Tudor era placed the Smyth/e family and the Neville family in close association. The Nevilles and the Beauforts and Beauchamps were high ranking and powerful families of the day. 'Warwick the Kingmaker' was a Neville.

Another Smythe daughter, Alice Smythe, born in 1476, the daughter of John Smyth of Podbrook Hall (some say Padbrook) in Suffolk, was married to Thomas Cavendish the son of Thomas de Cavendish of Suffolk and Catherine Scudamore. The Scudamore family held extensive lands in Herefordshire and would have been associated with the family Lygon - a daughter of which latter family is reputed to have married John Smyth/e, the brother of Thomas (Customer) Smyth/e - originally from Wiltshire and later of Kent. As an interesting aside, in the mid twentieth century a Herefordshire Scudamore rode the Grand National (steeplechase) winner - an achievement ranked highly in British sporting 'Halls of Fame'.

Alice Smythe died in 1515 - almost ten years before her husband, Thomas Cavendish, who died in 1524. Thomas Cavendish had a brother, George Cavendish, who married Margery Kemp. George Cavendish entered the service of Cardinal Wolsey who had succeeded Bishop (d. 1514) William Smyth as Bishop of Lincoln. This suggests that the family of Alice Smythe may have been related to William Smythe since family connections and the preservation of family "precincts" were as much a part of Tudor life as they were in later generations.

The Cavendish line appears again in the modern era as being connected to the broken genealogy (Upton/Way/Edwards) of the Bristol Smyth family line of Ashton Court. Current Cavendish family of this line has the name Francis Smythe in brackets adjacent to the Cavendish family name.

Top of Page

The Lawrence family history continues ...

Agnes Lawrence, daughter of Robert Lawrence (Gentlemen of Ribbleton) and Isabell Rigmaiden (qv below) married Henry Smith . Henry Smith died after 1550. Their son was William Smith who died after 1593. Records state that William Smith and Mary Smith, widow, (relationship unknown) held lands in Ribbleton and estates in Layton and Stainall in 1593. (The Smyth/e family was also associated with Stainforth in Yorkshire.)

Isabell Rigmaiden was the daughter of Nicholas Rigmaiden Esq, of Wedacre and Margaret Lawrence. Isabell Rigmaiden was born in about 1485. She married Robert Lawrence. Records show that Isabell, widow of Robert Lawrence, and their two daughters were to pay 26s. 8d. a year to James Walton of Preston and provide a man and a harness for king's service. Their children were Margaret Lawrence (1507-c.1550) and Agnes Lawrence (1510 - c.1550) - the latter married Henry Smith.

Margaret Lawrence married Hugh Farington (d. 1550) In about 1550, a division of the Lawrence estates was arranged. Margaret, widow of Hugh Farington, and Richard their son and heir were to have a moiety of Ribbleton and the land in Goosnargh while Henry Smith, Agnes his wife and William, their son and heir apparent, were to have lands in Ribbleton and the estates in Layton and Stainall. The Farington family was seated at Ribbleton for some time, pedigrees being recorded at the visitations of 1567, 1613, and 1665.

Source of the above Lawrence Family information

  • It may be significant also that the Smyth/e seat in Bristol was called Ashton Court settled by one John Smyth, a wealthy Bristol merchant.
  • N.B. also - origins of the Dacre family surname (family connected (inter alia) with families of Neville and Smyth/e) - (de) Acre (of Acre) = d'Acre > Dacre.
  • York University Centre for Medieval Studies records - BIHR PR 5 235r 1484 William Smyth of the hospital of Newton in Holderness buried in the parish of St Mary Paull: 12d. and 6s.4d. to Holy Cross chapel. Also - BIHR PR 9 412v 1528 Thomas Smyth of the parish of St Nicholas: 10s. to the four gilds.

Top of Page

Ancestor Index Ancestor Index Smythe family linkages ...
David Smyth's History of SmythThe line of Customer Smythe ... Customer (Wiltshire) Smith/e-Smyth/e
Smyth of IrelandSmyth (Durham and Yorkshire) of Ireland Smyth/e of EssexEssex Smyth/e
Smyth of Bristol and Ashton CourtSmyth of Bristol Smythes of Acton Burnell - family of Maria "Fitzherbert" SmytheShropshire Smythe

Family Archives Index Page - New Window