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Macclesfield old town - cobbled streets on the hillside, silk factories and cotton mills ...Thomas Smyth - a Lord Mayor of Liverpool
Smyth family of Macclesfield and Cheshire

This branch of the Smyth family is directly connected to the Smyth family that was originally from Durham and then of Rosedale Abbey in Yorkshire from where William Smyth, with most of his children, moved to Ireland in the early 1600s. His sons were the progenitors of the majority of the known Smyth lines of Ireland. Click on the "Rosedale Spot" to access a comprehensive history of that lineage - written by American cousin, David Smyth, of the Hutchinson Smyth branch of the family.

This is also the lineage of the composer and militant suffragette, Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) - another celebrated descendant of William Smyth of Ireland. In this connection, Julie (Neal) Summers, a direct descendant of Nina Smyth, who was a 1st cousin of Ethel Smyth, has contributed the results of her family history and research.

Follow Julie's name link or click on the image of Macclesfield adjacent to access her family information. Her page gives a link to Dame Ethel Smyth's details. The Smyth/es lived at The Fence House in Macclesfield.

Writing originally in the Macclesfield Courier and Herald, before his work was collected into a book and published in 1883, Isaac Alan Finney stated:

"Looking round the Green - save the mark, as it was then - you might have observed on its eastern side, from what is now the Bank, at the corner of Sunderland - street to the new Bank at the northern end, a long range of houses, which at that time were chiefly occupied by silk weavers, or other private families; the access to all these houses was by a flight of steps, protected by iron railing, or palisades; underneath were steps, leading from the street down to the cellars, or workshops, or dwellings for poor people. These have all been transformed into shops. On the site now occupied by the new Bank stood a few ancient Tudor houses.

At the south - east corner of Park - green, on the site now occupied by the Free Methodist Chapel, there stood. at the time we speak of, a fine old mansion, of early 18th century erection, built by the Daintry's family, afterwards the property of J. Ryle, Esq., who, with the late John Brocklehurst, Esq., of Hurdsfield House, we recollect as the first members of Parliament for the borough of Macclesfield. In this mansion, on Park - green, resided in succession the Daintrys, after them the Woods, who were at that time large cotton manufacturers in Sutton; they, the Woods, were succeeded by the Wards, all families of note in Macclesfield about this period, but we have now lost sight of many of our old gentry, with whose faces we were once familiar, and who formerly occupied prominent positions in the town as Mayors and Magistrates, in the early part of this century. We might enumerate a long list of families that we have now, as it were, lost sight of, and who have disappeared from the stage of life. Amongst others we may mention the Daintrys, the Ryles, the Woods, the Smythes, the Wardles, the Wards, and Goulds, and many other families who were at one time closely allied, both by relationship and mutual interest, as one family."

Bishop William Smith/Smyth of Lincoln 1496 - 1514  and founder of Bransenose College, OxfordDeveloping connections -

The Woods (Wode) (and also the Vernons) appear on other pages in association with Smyth branches of the northern and midland counties of England. It may be significant also that the minister (Baptist) who officiated at the wedding of James Francis Smythe (1858) in Norfolk - when he married his first wife, Eleanor Cooper of East Dereham - was a Gould, as was, also, one of the witnesses to the wedding.

It may be noted too that the Suttons of Cheshire were one and the same family as Sir Richard Sutton (d.1524) who was associated with Bishop William Smyth - link image above - who was firstly a Bishop of nearby Coventry and Lichfield and then of the vast see of Lincoln which, in those days, included the city of Oxford and its surrounding parishes.Avon river with Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, in the distance

In about 1507, at the close of Henry VII's reign, Bishop William Smyth and Sir Richard Sutton founded a new college in Oxford. They rebuilt Brasenose Hall, added other existing halls to it and, having obtained a charter in 1512 - the third year of Henry VIII's reign - called it The King's Haule and College of Brasennose. The Suttons also held property at Over Haddon in Derbyshire - where further Smyth (as well as Huddleston, Manners and Neville) interests are found. Because of his official association with Arthur, the Prince of Wales, Bishop William Smyth also spent much of his time at Ludlow in Herefordshire and Bewdley in Worcestershire. By 1501 he had become a man of great substance and wealth and bought an estate at St. John's, Bedwardine, near Worcester.

An indication that the Smyths of Cheshire and other neighbouring midland counties remained constantly in touch with the Smyths of Ireland may be seen in a later era - suggested by the fact that the celebrated actor, David Garrick (1717-1779) who was originally a son of Lichfield, had connections to and friendships with the local gentry families. It was, in fact, David Garrick who organised the first ever festival in honour of William Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon, in 1769.

It is stated that Garrick was a particular favourite of Mary Smyth, daughter of William Grattan, a wealthy Dublin goldsmith. Mary Grattan married William Smyth - nephew of Arthur Smyth the Archbishop of Dublin (b.1707 d.1772).

Mary Smyth travelled from Dublin to London for Garrick's last appearances on stage and events so conspired during her stay there that she precipitated one of the biggest public religious rifts between members of any Smyth family establishment. Mary Smyth's brother-in-law, the Reverend Edward Smyth, became the centre of this controversy. It created something of a sensation when he was expelled from his living as a Church of Ireland minister for his espousal of the Methodist cause and his subsequent support of the non-conformist, Wesley, with whom he also worked for a time in London. Full details via the link above."The Ladies of the Vale" - the spires of Lichfield Cathedral

Eventually, and after a stormy (and yet fruitful) life, Edward Smyth died at Chorlton Hall, (Salford) Manchester, on February 6th, 1825. He would, no doubt, have been more than familiar with his "local" Smyth cousins.

Other 'sons of Lichfield' were Elias Ashmole (1617-92) who was the founder of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum in 1677 and the essayist, critic and compiler of a pioneering dictionary in 1755, Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-84).

Further Site Notes

Question - Why, in 1850, would Charles Piazzi Smyth - celebtated Astronomer and member of the "Baden Powell Smyth" family line have been found relaxed enough to sketch Macclesfield church? Was he staying with cousins? This information may be found by searching the records of the British Public Records Office via its extraordinarily comprehensive A2A database.

Here, too, may be found the following snippets of information - contained in the records of the law firm Hand, Morgan and Owen of Lichfileld - which point to Smyth association with the area dating back as far as the fourteenth century.

 FILE  [no title] - ref.  D1798/HM4  - date: 1369-1399
            \_ [from Scope and ContentJohn ate Wode to Wm. Wymor to Thomas le

If Thomas "le Smyth" was simply a 'smith" in general terms (which he may well have been at that time) it seems unlikely that records such as this would have survived into the 21st century unless handed down within a family context at a status level on a par with landowners in need of law services for the settlement of property within a 'gentry' class, especially as the name is linked with Wode/Wood - both of which families are noted as local "class" by Finney, at the head of this article.

These references from the same source also cast light on some of the history of the area and its families in the Tudor and Stuart eras:

  HM 1-615

FILE  [no title] - ref.  D1798/4  - date: 14th - 19th century
               \_ [from Scope and ContentPilaton.
Smyth, Amyse, Littleton. 36 Hen.VIII[1544-5]
               \_ [from Scope and ContentChebsey Rectory. Byrch,
Smyth. 7 Chas.I[1631-2]
Further consideration of this "Smyth" area may be accessed in the context of Julie Summers' research and family information about the Smyth family of The Fence House, Macclesfield. Click on the image of Macclesfield at the head of this page.

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