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 ..."
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".
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:
The main Instructions:
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 ...
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 Will concludes:
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.
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 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.
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.