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Maternal Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother - Smyth or SmithMoreton Corbet
Corbetta Smyth - daughter of William Smyth - Apothecary of Shrewsbury - a Smyth ancestor in the maternal line - qv - The Hastings Legacy

Corbetta Smyth was a life-long spinster and mother of the many children of Lord Willam Manners who was the 2nd son of the 2nd Duke of Rutland (d. 1721). Lord William's brother, John Manners, became the contemporary (3rd.) Duke of Rutland.

Lord William Manners was the second child of some 17 children born to John, 2nd. Duke of Rutland who was twice married firstly (9) to Catherine Russell who died in 1711and secondly (8) to Lucy Sherard who lived for another thirty years after the death of her husband.

The Manners ancestry is also connected by marriage to the family of Levison-Gower; this latter family in turn connects to the Smith family (Robert, Lord Carrington) who married Anne Barnard and whose daughter, Emily Smith, married Granville Charles Henry Somerset, the 2nd son of the 6th Duke of Beaufort (d. 1835) and Charlotte Sophia Leveson-Gower.

A son of Lord William Manners and Corbetta Smyth - John Manners (1730-1792) - married Louisa Tollemache, Countess of Dysart, (1745-1840) 19th century ancestor in the maternal line of this site. Most of the Smyth research and exploration to date (4/2003) has been concentrated on the Smith/Smyth/e male line. It is hoped that it can be shown that William Smyth (Apothecary) is related to one or more of those Smyth/e lines also treated here.

Corbetta Smyth was born in 1708 to William Smyth and his wife Mary. It is possible that Mary's maiden name was Corbet since Corbetta's eldest sister, Elizabeth, is mentioned as having a Godmother, Dame Elizabeth Corbet. A principal branch of the Corbet family lived at Moreton Corbet (pictured above) which was an Elizabethan estate some seven miles north east of Shrewsbury. At that time there was already one ruin on the site, a castle built by Bartholomew Torret in the 11th Century and, today, the Elizabethan house, too, is a ruin - the whole being administered by English Heritage.

Corbetta Smyth's Will is dated 1752 and in the opening lines she immediately states her vital status thus confirming the de facto relationship between Lord William Manners and herself - a relationship which would later affect the status of the children born to them and which would take some years to legitimise. Despite this, the fact remains that the relationship was a genuine one per se. Lord William Manners recognised each and all of his many children by Corbetta Smyth. Conditions of inheritance being linked to stipulations about specific marriage expectations or restrictions are not uncommon and have been known to "force" couples into living and bringing up their children in 'unmarried' relationships in order to avoid losing an inheritance. This is speculation, of course, but there must have been some specific reason why they chose to be unmarried. However, no matter the reason, the relationship was an enduring one.

"I Corbetta Smyth of Parish of Saint James Westminster in the County of Middlesex Spinster do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament in manner and fform following that is to say I give devise and bequeath ..."

Original information Public Records Office - The National Archives of Great Britain; reference:prob 11/802 Image reference:400

Corbetta Smyth appears to have owned property in the St. James area of London (Middlesex). To her unmarried sister, Jane Smyth of Boyle Street in the parish of St. James, Westminster, she leaves an annuity of thirty pounds a year to be paid in equal amounts on each of the four feast days of the year "for the term of her natural life". To the widow of the Reverend Wm. Burgess, "late of Waltham in the county of Essex deceased", she leaves the sum of fifty pounds. Her "gold repeating watch sett with stones" she leaves to her daughter, Augusta Manners, together with all her "wearing apparel cloaths and linnen".

"I give and bequeath my diamond earrings, star and cross - which I sometimes used to lend to my late daughter, Corbetta Hall, deceased, lately wife of Captain George Lawson Hall - to my granddaughter, Corbetta Hall, daughter of my said daughter, Corbetta Hall, when she shall attain her age of eighteen years." (punctuation added)

Corbetta Smyth then leaves instructions that if her granddaughter, Corbetta Hall, should die prior to her attaining the age of eighteen, the bequest should revert to her daughter, Augusta Manners.

The Will continues:

"I desire to be buried at such place as my Executors hereinafter named think proper and I give and bequeath to the poor of the parish where I shall be buried the sum of thirty pounds to be distributed amongst them at the discretion of my said Executors."

The main Instructions:

"I give and bequeath my gold repeating watch made by Bray with the chain and appurtanances thereunto belonging and all my plate unto my son, William Manners and I give devise and bequeath all my said Messuages or Tenaments in Boyle Street Burlington Gardens aforesaid and all the rest and residue of my personal estate of what nature or kind soever not herinbefore by me otherwise disposed of after payment of my debts legacies and funeral expenses unto [husband] the Right Honourable William Manners Esquire commonly titled Lord William Manners Brother of the most noble John Duke of Rutland and my son John Manners their Executors Administrators and Assigns upon trust that they my said Trustees or the survivor of them or the Executors or Administrators of such survivor do and shall sell and dispose of my said Messuages or Tenements as soon as conveniently may be after my decease for the best price that can reasonably be had or gotten for the same assets and shall lay out and invest all the money which shall arise by sale thereof and all the said residue or surplus of my personal Estate in the purchase of Mesuages farms lands Tenaments of inheritance [ ... and ... ] which shall be so purchased subject to the payment of the said annuity or yearly rent of thirty pounds to my said sister Jane Smyth for her life as aforesaid with proper Remedies and Powers for recovery thereof to the use and behest of my said son, William Manners for and during the natural term of his life without impeachment of or for any manner of wast and from and after the determination of that Estate to the use of ... "

Corbetta Smyth ensures that those likely to administer have clear instructions as to what may be done with the inheritance. First, William Manners is given the right ...

"... to take and retrieve the rents issues and profits thereof to his own use during his life and from and after the decease of my said son William Manners to the use of all and every other child and children of my said son William Manners lawfully to be begotten if more than one equally to be divided between or amongst them shared and shared alike and to the use of the several and respective Heirs of the Body or Bodies of such child or children lawfully issuing and in case of the death of any of them without issue then as to the share or shares of him her or them so dying to the use of the survivors or survivor of them if more than one equally to be divided amongst them share and share alike and of the several and respective Heirs of the Body or Bodies of such survivors or survivor lawfully issuing and in default of such issue to the use of my said son Robert Manners ..."

The Will repeats similar stipulations so that in the event of "failure" of one line then the order of "succession" to the Estate is clear: William Manners > Robert Manners > Augusta Manners thence as one unit, shared between the sons, John Manners, Thomas Manners and Russell Manners and the daughters Frances Manners and Catherine Manners, the stipulation being, again, that the amount was "to be divided amongst them share and share alike".

The Russell connection goes back to that family - one of whom, Lord William Russell, son of the first Duke of Bedford, was executed in 1683 because of his opposition to James II and his Catholicism. William Russell was the great grandfather of Corbetta's children.

The Will concludes:

"in witness whereof I the said Corbetta Smyth have to two parts of this my Will and Testament oath part thereof being contained in one skin of parchment set my hand and seal this nineteenth day of December in the twenty sixth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and fifty two"

Witnesses to the Will were Charles Chambers, William Watson and Thomas Brisby. The Will was proved in London on the 8th of June 1753 before Robert Chapman and the Oath taken by the Right Honourable William Manners Esquire "commonly called Lord William Manners"

The mystery must, perhaps, remain. What was contained in or by the parchment?

Information from researcher and collateral descendant, Bob Booth, which comes to this site courtesy of cousin, Alan Tollemache, states that Lord William Manners had ten children to Corbetta Smyth, all of whom were born out of wedlock between 1728 - with the birth of Corbetta Manners - to 1743 when Robert Manners was born. The children were: sons, John, Thomas, William, Russell, Robert (died young) and Robert with daughters, Corbetta (who died before her mother) Augusta, Frances and Caroline.

Bob Booth lists the children and their details as follows:
Corbetta Manners 1728 - 1760 m. 30 8 1748  Capt. George Lawson Hall
John Manners b1730 - 23 9 1792 m. 14 6 1766 Louisa Tollemache
Thomas Manners (married twice) He was b1731 and d. 1 12 1812
He m. 16 2 1758 - Susanna Buckland - buried in Silk Willoughby. The second marriage took place very soon after the death of Susanna, who suffered from a mental condition. It appears that the Reverend Thomas Manners had already started this new relationship prior to her death.
William Manners b1734 - 1827 m. Caroline Pickering
The linked page contains a contextual (undated) PRO (Salop.) reference
to an Edward Pickering who married a Mary Smyth.
Russell Manners b1736 - 1800 m. Mary Rayner
Augusta Manners b1737 - 1828
Frances Manners b1739 - 1817
Robert Manners b1740 died young
Caroline Manners b1741 - 1800 m Jeremiah Ellis
Robert Manners b1743 - 18 4 1810 m Elizabeth

Lord William Manners was born on the 13th of November, 1697 dying on the 23rd of April 1772 as a result of a riding accident.  Bob Booth descends from the second son, the Rev. Thomas Manners. The son of this latter - William Manners - married Frances Whichcote of Aswarby. The Rev. Thomas Manners built Spittlegate House in Grantham (Lincolnshire) for them to use as solicitors' offices and, Bob states, "this carried on for another four generations." He has information on them working for the Duke's (Rutland) household and also for the Tollemaches."

The one that got away ...
Clearly, Corbetta Smyth's daughter, Corbetta Manners, was of the same independent spirit as her mother ... just four years before her mother died, she appears to have eloped!

The following is noted in The University of Nottingham Library - Manuscripts and Special Collections - Portland (London) Correspondence: Letters sent to John Achard, 1743-1764 (Reference Pl C 37/28 10.9.1748) This section consists of personal letters sent to John Achard (d 1770), tutor to William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland and member of the household of the Dukes of Portland. The majority of the letters are in French.

Letter in French from P. Grandey, Hutton Pannel [Hooton Pagnell], to John Achard, Bulstrode, Buckinghamshire; 10 Sept. 1748 Is staying with Mr Warde, Mr Thornhagh's brother in law; the water in Scarborough did him good; they spent a few days travelling round various country houses including those of Lord Carlisle, Mr Duncomb and Mr Aislaby which were in beautiful places and were well decorated; they are to leave tomorrow for Shireoaks and Rufford where Sir George [Savile, 8th Baronet] is expecting visitors. Has been with Mr Thornhagh, Mr Warde and Sir George to Pomfret [Pontefract]; it was pretty but it rained; the ladies visited Lady Kinnoul about a mile away; the Bishop of St Asaph was also there; reports that while they were at Scarborough, Miss Manners left suddenly with Mr Hall, a young officer, and Lord William Manners arrived too late to prevent the marriage.

Since Corbetta Manners was deceased by the time her mother died - having given birth to a third and surviving "Corbetta" generation, it must be presumed that she died in childbirth or as a result of related complications of a second pregnancy. Certainly, no other child of Corbetta Hall is mentioned in the Will.

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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