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From David Smyth - family historian - Smyth Family Records
David Smyth's Endnotes.

December 2003 - The Huguenot Connection in Ireland: Crommelin and Lavalade Families

(The following details are taken from “The Huguenots of Lisburn” by E. Joyce Best and an article in Irish Family History by Mona Germaine-Dillon).

Archdeacon Francis Hutchinson’s marriage to Magdalene Crommelin in the 1730s introduces some interesting French Huguenot ancestry into the Hutchinson-Smyth family history. The Huguenots were French Calvinist Protestants who had been tolerated to some extent for a century or so by the Catholic monarchy under the terms of the Edict of Nantes, until on October 18, 1685, Louis XIV revoked the Edict. The Huguenots were then subjected to brutal religious persecution and at least 200,000 of them left France for the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Britain.

Among the refugees were Louis Crommelin and his brother (or perhaps first cousin) Alexander Crommelin. The Crommelins fled from Armandcourt in Picardy to Holland, where Louis became so well established in the linen trade that William of Orange, on becoming King of England, invited him in 1697 to set up shop in Ireland. This he did in 1698, moving to Lisnegarvey (Lisburn), bringing with him looms and about seventy people, and investing thousands of pounds in a linen manufacturing industry.

While still in Holland, Louis’s brother (or cousin) Alexander had married Madeleine De La Valade, the daughter of the Comte De La Valade, a French noble who held lands in Languedoc. Her brother Charles De La Valade and another brother (unnamed), were Protestant pastors and had to flee their country at the Revocation. They escaped to Holland with their younger sister Madeleine, and after her marriage to Alexander Crommelin they all moved to Britain. Alexander and Madeleine were the parents of Magdalene, who married Archdeacon Hutchinson.

In 1704 Charles De La Valade became pastor of the French church in Lisburn, a post he held for more than forty years. He died in 1756 and was succeeded by his brother, followed by a great nephew, upon whose death in 1812 there was no further need of a French-speaking chaplain, the Huguenot refugees having been completely assimilated into the local community.

In 1701 Louis Crommelin established the first mass bleaching establishment in Ireland at Hilden, on the outskirts of Lisburn. In 1707 a fire burned most of the town down to the ground, but Crommelin’s business survived the disaster. The Irish parliament was so impressed with Crommelin’s work that they passed unanimously a resolution of public thanks to him in recognition of the debt owed to him by the Irish people. Louis died in 1727 and his wife Anne in 1755 (at the age of 96). It is not currently known when Alexander and Madeleine Crommelin died.

David Smyth added (March 2003) - on the Family Coat of Arms ...

As far as I know we are not legally entitled to a family coat of arms, but there is apparently nothing illegal about private use in the home provided no public display is made and no false representations are made.

Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland lists several Smyth coats of arms. We seem to be most closely related, from Generation 7 onward, to the Smyths of Drumcree, Gaybrook and Ballynegall, whose coats of arms would be the appropriate choice for a framed picture in the living room.

Smyth of Gaybrook shield: Argent, on a bend, between two unicorns’ heads couped azure, three lozenges or. Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or, a unicorn’s head azure. Motto: Exaltabit Honore.
Seat: Gaybrook, Mullingar, Westmeath
Smyth of Ballynegall:  Same as Smyth of Gaybrook.
Seat: Ballynegall, near Mullingar, Westmeath.
Smyth of Drumcree. (This combines the arms of the Smyth and Curzon families): Arms – Quarterly: 1st and 4th argent, on a bend between two unicorns’ heads couped azure, three lozenges or, a canton ermine, for difference, for SMYTH; 2nd and 3rd argent, on a bend sable three popinjays or, collared gules, a rose for distinction, for CURZON. Crests – 1st: out of a ducal coronet or, a unicorn’s head azure, charged with a lozenge of the first, for SMYTH; 2nd: A popinjay rising or, collared gules, a rose for distinction, for CURZON. Motto: Exaltabitur Honore.
Seat: Drumcree House, Killucan, Westmeath.
Smyth of Ballynatray: Arms – Argent, on a bend, between two unicorns’ heads erased azure, armed, crined, and tufted or, three lozenges of the last, a crescent gules for difference. Crest – Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi-bull salient argent, armed and unguled or, and charged with a crescent gules for difference. Motto – Cum Plena Magia.
Seat: Ballynatray, Youghal, Waterford.
Ballynatray HouseSite Notes


Ballynatray House - it has been written - goes back as far as the 6th century, when St Molanhfide chose it as the site for the abbey which he built on an island in the river and which now forms part of the property. Five hundred years later, Raymond Le Gros, Strongbow's companion-in-arms, chose the location for his castle at Temple Michael, the ruins of which still stand there. In the 16th century Sir Walter Raleigh sold Ballynatray to the Earl of Cork, then living upriver at Lismore Castle.

One source states: "It eventually passed to his son-in-law, Grice Smyth, who built the present house on the site of an earlier castle. He was largely responsible for creating one of the most beautiful parks in Ireland. He also built a causeway to the island on which Molona Abbey stands."

The house and estate - like so many of the fine old houses of Ireland and Wales particularly - was left empty for many years until the Boissevain family acquired the property and had it renovated to style and period - the success of which now makes it, some say, the equal of any of the great European houses. The new owners also replanted woodlands (putting in more than 150,000 broadleaf trees) and upgraded the formal gardens, the avenues, outhouses, farm buildings and the walled garden.

Family historian, Richard Hodgson, writes:
"As far as I can see, the first Smyth given the christian name Grice was born about 1672, the great grandson of Richard Smyth and Mary Boyle. It is unlikely that there were any earlier Grice Smyths because this one’s unusual first name presumably came from the surname of his mother, Alice Grice. Richard Smyth was not the son-in-law of the 1st Earl of Cork, but his brother-in-law.
I have seen information that the Grice Smyth who built the current house did so in 1795. He would be the grandson of the first Grice. This information also said he inherited it from the Earl of Cork (without giving a relationship).The 1st Earl of Cork did buy nearly all Sir Walter Raleigh’s Irish estates. I suppose it is possible that the (.pdf file) 1st Earl of Cork let his brother-in-law’s family live at Ballynatray but only in the 2nd Grice Smith’s time did the Smyths actually inherit it."


It was Grice (2) Smyth's daughter, Penelope Caroline Smyth who fled to Gretna Green in 1846 to marry Carlos Ferdinando Borbone, the Prince of Sicily and son of the King of Naples. Gretna, the first stagecoach stop in Scotland after the bordering city of Carlisle, became popular when the Marriage Act of 1754 made marriage under the age of 21 without parental consent illegal in England. The couple went on to marry a further three times - in Madrid, in Rome and in England - but their union was never recognised under Sicilian law because the King of Naples withheld his consent. Penelope Smyth was so beautiful that she featured in a book called 'Some Fair Hibernians'. (Gerard, Frances H., Some Fair Hibernians, suppl. vol. to Celebrated Beauties, supra (1897), 279pp.)

Prince Carlo Fernando of BOURBON des DEUX-SICILES - Prince de CAPUA - born Palermo 1811 - d. Turin 1862 - married at Gretna Green 1836 - Penelope SMYTH, given title of Duchess of MARESCATA (1815-1882). Their 2 children were 1. Francesco di BORBONE, Comte di MASCALI (1837 - 1862) and 2. Vittoria di BORBONE, Comtesse di MASCALI (1838-1905).

Smyth of Headborough: Arms – Argent on a bend between two unicorns’ heads couped azure, three lozenges or. Crest – out of a ducal coronet or, a demi bull salient sable, armed and unguled or. Motto: Cum Plena Magia.
Seats: Headborough, Tallow, and Monatrea, County Waterford.

(In heraldic terminology Argent = silver, Or = gold, Azure = blue, Gules = red, Sable = black).

Burke also lists Smyths of Ballyrane House, Killinick (County Wexford); of Barbavilla (County Westmeath); of Glananea, Collinstown (County Westmeath); and of Termonfeckin (County Westmeath).


David Smyth adds (March 2003) - on the Motto -

The website lists eighteen Smith-Smythe-Smyth coats of arms, five of which are variants of the ones described above by Burke, having as a common feature a unicorn’s head, and are evidently linked to various branches of our family. My father had a signet ring with a coat of arms incised in it. He did not seem to know anything much about it or its origin, but it consists of a unicorn’s head encircled by the motto Exaltabit Honore, which would seem to derive from one of the designs described above by Burke.

Judge Robert Staples Smyth in the UK, the head of the Gaybrook clan and my seventh or eighth cousin, tells me that the motto Exaltabit Honore comes from Psalm 112, “His horn shall be exalted.” He adds, “We are supposed to have gained it at the siege of Acre, where our ancestor behaved with such courage that Richard Coeur de Lion took off his crown and placed it over the helm, bearing a unicorn’s head, of our ancestor.”

The pertinent lines from Psalm 112 are:

Dispersit dedit pauperibus iustitia eius manet in saeculum saeculi cornu eius exaltabitur in gloria
He hath distributed, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever and ever: his horn shall be exalted in glory.

            However, a more likely candidate seems to be Psalm 92, in which the actual words “horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn”appear, and the belligerent reference to enemies seems more appropriate to a Crusader.

quoniam ecce inimici tui Domine quoniam ecce inimici tui peribunt et dispergentur omnes qui operantur iniquitatem
For behold thy enemies, O Lord, for behold thy enemies shall perish: and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
Et exaltabitur sicut unicornis cornu meum et senectus mea in misericordia uberi
But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy.

It should be noted that in both psalms the Latin verb is “Exaltabitur” (will be exalted) rather than “Exaltabit,” (will exalt). So if either of these psalms is in fact the origin of the motto, the Smyth-Curzon family of Drumcree seems to have it right with “Exaltabitur Honore.” And we might conclude that the Exaltabit Honore Smyths’ motto is either from a different source or else their Latin is not very good.

The origin of the Smyth coat of arms belongs to an age for which at present I have no documentary evidence. The siege of Acre takes us back to the Third Crusade and the years 1189-1191. Apparently one of our forebears was fighting in the Holy Land, but who was he? If any Smith or Smyth was at the side of Richard Coeur de Lion it seems more likely that he was shoeing horses rather than tilting lances against the Saracens. And in any event this leaves a gap of three hundred years between the Third Crusade and anything I have been able to trace in England and Ireland. Everything in between is a genealogical blank to me and I have no connecting link. However, there are some tantalizing clues. Richard the Lion Heart had a standard-bearer called Michael Carrington who died in the Holy Land. One of this man’s descendants, John Carrington, got himself into so much political trouble that according to Burke,  “in the beginning of the reign of Richard II he was forced to expatriate himself, and after residing sometime abroad, to assume for security the very general surname of Smyth.” John Carrington died in 1446, leaving, among other children, Hugh Smith, his heir, ancestor of the Smiths, Lords Carrington, a family that became extinct in the male line in 1706.

It would be tempting to speculate therefore that the Smyth who won distinction at the Siege of Acre was in fact a Carrington, whose descendants for some cloak and dagger reason  later assumed the name Smyth. This would be a tenable proposition perhaps if the Carrington coat of arms featured a unicorn and a crown, but unfortunately the Carrington-Smith arms are described as: Quarterly; 1st and 4th argent. a cross gules between four peacocks ppr; 2nd and 3rd argent. on a bend sa. six swords in saltier of the 1st. Crests-1st. A peacock's head erased, issuing out of a ducal coronet, 2nd an arm embowed in armour holding a sword. Motto: Spero Meliora. No unicorns, the wrong motto. And so, unless further documentary evidence comes to light, some other explanation may have to be found for the Smyth coat of arms.


In association with research from this site and by further investigation, David Smyth has the following comments on Smithdike and possible connections to the Smith/e Smyth/e lines of Medieval and Tudor England. (March 2003)

The Ancestry of William Smithdike - some Conjectures and Speculations

Tracing the ancestry of the William Smithdike who took over the administration of the Rosedale estate in the 1530s is at present a matter of pure speculation. There is no documentation available and the Smithdike name itself is a mystery. All we have is that - according to the History of Rosedale Abbey - William Smithdike was “of the household of the king.” The king at the time being Henry VIII. However there are some clues that may be worth pursuing.

Pat Patterson’s genealogical web site mentions a John SMYTHE. Born 1480-90 (guesstimate), before 1496 surely. Married Joan BROUNCKER / BRUNKER circa 1518; guestimate. Died 1538. "Aged 31 and more" at the death of his father; likely enough more, 31 yrs proven. Resided at Corsham, Wiltshire. Occupation between 1509 and 1546 "assistant to Henry VIII" - no more info, no dates - but then likely to have spent time in London and Westminster. Occupation clothier. Heir: on 27 Mar 1527. Circa 1528? "After the death of the said Richard Smyth, the said Wm Wilforde & his co-feoffees were seised of the sd premises to the use of the sd John Smyth. ... "The sd John Smyth being so seised enfeoffed thereof Tho Crumwell, John Bylsdon, Rd Ryche, Guy Crafforde, Wm Gynkes, Rd Holte, John Bodnam, & John Stuk'ey: to hold to them and their heirs to the use of the sd John Smyth & Joan his wife, & the heirs of the sd John Smyth for ever." Probate on 8 Oct 1538 Wiltshire PCC 21 Dyngeley.

It appears that William Smithdike was probably born around 1490 to 1500, since Burke’s Irish Family Records states that his son Thomas was born in 1520. John Smythe could possibly have been his brother or cousin. If there is in fact a connection here, we can trace the ancestry back another generation, to John Smythe’s father Richard, who, according to Pat Patterson’s website, was: Richard SMYTHE. Born circa 1460. Died 27 Mar 1527 London.

I've found this likely-looking connection but checking the London Merchant Tailors' Company records available here offered nothing to confirm this link. It remains purely speculative. Occupation from 1480 to 1527 guesstimate, Merchant Tailors' Company, London. Before 1524 resided at Fryday Street & Watlyng Street, London, parish of St John the Evangelist. Richard Smythe owned a number of properties, apparently in London, and Patterson continues:

"All the said premises are worth per annum, clear 29. Richard Smyth died at London, 27 March, 18 Henry VIII (1527); John Smyth is his son and heir, and was then aged 31 years and more." Inquisition p.m. 21 Henry VIII, No. 21.

At this point this particular ancestral trail appears to come to an end, at least for now.However, moving forward in time now from John Smythe, to his son Thomas, we have this from Pat Patterson’s web site:

Thomas SMYTHE. Born 1522 Corsham, Wiltshire. Married Alyce JUDD circa 1555. Died 7 Jun 1591.

Between 1539 and 1540 London "Supported by a small inheritance from his father, who Died 1538, Smith gained his freedom of the Haberdashers' Company and subsequently of the Skinners', the company of Sir Andrew Judde, a wealthy City merchant and Kent landowner, whose dau, Alice, he married abt 1555." Occupation before 1555 Merchant Adventurer. He and Alyce JUDD had 13 children. "Secure in business and society - he was a Merchant Adventurer, Muscovy merchant, and MP at the time of his marriage - Smith abandoned a conventional career in commerce when he took up the collectorship of the subsidy on imports at the port of London in 1558. Through his association with the customs, which earned him the title of 'Customer', Smith entered the realms of government finance and court patronage and politics. The move was highly profitable, particularly after the negotiation of his first lease of the duties on imported goods at London in 1570. Over 18 years it is estimated that the farm yielded around 50,000 pounds net profit." …
In 1573 from Robt Dudley, Earl of Leicester, "subleased the farm of the duties on the import of sweet wines after 1573" in London. Resided at Corsham, Wiltshire, "Some of the profits of the (customs) farm were put into land in Kent, where he added substantially to properties acquired through marriage, and in Wiltshire, where he built a fine house at Corsham." Occupation "He was particularly active in the affairs of the Societies of the Mines Royal and of the Mineral and Battery Works, either as manager or as lessee of their rights" … Died 7 Jun 1591 "a wealthy man" "survived by Alice and their 6 sons and 6 daus." Buried in 1591 Ashford, Kent. Probate on 29 Oct 1591 PCC 78 Sainherbe.

This biography of Customer Smyth raises some interesting points. He too was well connected with royalty – he held a lucrative post under Queen Elizabeth, following in the footsteps of his ancestor John, who had been “assistant to Henry VIII.” Customer Smyth also took an active interest in mining enterprises. Rosedale Abbey is the site of one of the oldest iron works in England, which may have come to his attention. He was a contemporary of our own Thomas Smyth (born 1520), the second generation of our family at Rosedale Abbey. And Customer Smyth had some sort of business relationship with Robert Dudley, from whom he “subleased the farm of the duties on the import of sweet wines after 1573.” It will be recalled that in 1576 Robert’s brother Ambrose Dudley took over the lease of Rosedale Abbey.

All of which raises some interesting possible connections but provides as yet not a shred of documentary evidence that we are related to Customer Smyth and his ancestors.

At Generation 5, we know from the Burke genealogy  that the William Smyth who went over to Ireland from Rosedale Abbey was the third son of James Smyth and Helen Sayers, but unfortunately we do not know the names of his two older brothers. It is a pity, as that knowledge might possibly establish a connection with the Neville family in that generation.

A clue to this is to be found in The Diary 1603-1623 of William Camden, which provides an intimate insight into the Court life and times of King James I. An entry for January 27th., 1618, for example, presents this Smith/Neville conundrum - "Sir John Dacomb, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, died, whose daughter married Thomas Smith, or Neville, son and heir of Sir Thomas Neville of Holt in the County of Leicester."

A Charles Duncombe bought the Rosedale estate from George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, at some point between 1620 and 1628.  Was this Thomas Smith a brother of our William Smyth? And was Dacomb a variant of Duncombe in that era of free-form spelling? And above all, why does the diarist refer to Thomas Smith as “Thomas Smith, or Neville, son and heir of Sir Thomas Neville? If he was the legitimate son and heir, how does the Smith name come into play?

Another possible ancestral link might be searched for in the life of William Smith or Smythe, Bishop of Lincoln from 1496 to his death in 1514, an influential figure at the royal court, and the founder of Brasenose College, Oxford. Bishop Smythe, who was probably born about 1450 or 1460, is of interest here because he had very close connections with King Henry VII from the very beginning of his reign in 1485. This Smythe may well have had some family relationship with the Rosedale Smyths because he was most definitely “of the household of the king.” And he was apparently well known for handing out preferments to his relations, one of whom, Matthew Smythe, he appointed principal of Brasenose College, for example. The precise relationship, if any at all, to the Smyths of Rosedale  - whether through his sons, nephews or cousins - remains to be established, but it seems to be a possibility deserving further investigation.

Smythe may have been brought up and educated at the expense of Margaret Beaufort. This lady was not only the mother of Henry VII, the first king of the Tudor dynasty. Her family, the Beauforts, were also related to Ralph Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland who, according to Burke, leased the Rosedale property to William Smithdike in the 1530s.

In 1485, just after the Battle of Bosworth that set Henry VII on the throne, Smythe was made Keeper of the Hanaper of Chancery. The duty of the Keeper was to record fees paid on the writs that began every action at common law. In this capacity, William Smythe would have been apprised of each and every action to be heard and, as such, would have been a useful source of information for a new king grappling with insecurity. The office was so named because the writs, and the returns to them, were kept in a wickerwork box called a hanaper - or hamper. Two daughters of King Edward IV (died 1483) were also entrusted to William Smythe's keeping. He was a member of the Royal Council and in 1501, five years after he had been translated to the important Bishopric of Lincoln, he became Lord President of Wales. This was a man at the very cusp of royal favor. By the early 1500s he was also a man of great wealth. William Smythe was one of the executors of Henry VII's will but retired from public life just after this King's death in 1509.

Smythe himself died in 1514, a quarter of a century before the dissolution of the monasteries and the handing over of Rosedale Abbey to private owners. So if there is any connection to be made between him and the Rosedale Smyths, it is probably to be found in the next generation - his sons or nephews, of which at this time we have no record.

If a relationship should eventually be verified, Bishop Smythe’s family can be traced back for a couple of generations. He came from a  well-to-do family, being (according to the Bishop’s biographer Ralph Churton)  "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. Churton conjectures  from the patronage early bestowed ... by the  mother of Henry VII  that he was brought up at a school in which were educatedcertayn young gentilmen at her findying.”

This family site fully agrees with David Smyth's interpretation. The "Smith" identity of William Smithdike would unlock a considerable number of research avenues!

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