Much of the Bristol Smyth information on this page is extracted from "Rise of a Gentry Family - Smyths of Ashton Court c. 1500 - 1642" by J.H. Bettey - published by the Bristol branch of the Historical Association, the University of Bristol, 1978. This work is meticulously researched and sourced.
|The Bristol Smyth line traces back to a John
Smyth from Aylburton, near Lydney in the Forest
(Gloucestershire) and the family continued to own land
there until the early sixteenth century. The Winter
family - outlined in a history via the Forest of Dean
link above - was closely associated with the major
families of the period and was deeply involved in the
various adventures to the New World. See 'The
Golden Falcon', the
comprehensive internet book published by Wendy F.
García (née Winter) - to whom gratitude is
expressed for offering the use of any of her material
required for this site. See especially Ch. XVI -
Was John Smyth of Aylburton of local stock or was he perhaps connected with other branches of Smith/Smyth? Warwick/Stratford, Stafford/Lancashire/Cheshire ... the list is a wide one. For example, according to biographer 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."
Might John Smyth of Aylburton have been another son of Robert Smyth? If there were (at least) four sons, of "Squire" stock, it is likely that one or more of them would have needed to move away in order to seek a living. Smyths, in any case, seem to have had little fear of travel and settling in new areas - and the Forest of Dean was a commercial centre for the production of iron. In Tudor and Stuart times, about one sixth or so of the national output was centred on this area.
It is known that in the late fifteenth century, the two sons of John Smyth of Aylburton moved to Bristol. One of these was called Matthew Smyth. The name Matthew Smyth is significant in that a man by that same name, born in Lancashire, was the last Master of Brasenose Hall, Oxford and so became the first Master of the newly created Brasenose College, Oxford (founded from Brasenose Hall by Bishop William Smyth of Lincoln and a business colleague, Sir Richard Sutton) in the early fifteen hundreds. This Matthew Smyth is reputed to have been a relative of the Bishop of Lincoln.
William Smyth was first of all Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. He became a member of the Prince of Wales' - Prince Arthur's - council in the Marches of Wales and in 1501, five years after he had been translated to the important Bishopric of Lincoln, he became Lord President of Wales. Because of his association with the Prince of Wales he spent much of his time at Ludlow in Herefordshire and Bewdley in Worcestershire. In 1501 - a man of great substance and wealth by this time - Bishop William Smyth bought an estate at St. John's, Bedwardine, near Worcester. None of these counties lies far from the Forest of Dean and close by is the Beauchamp (Neville) county of Warwickshire and the town of Stratford-on-Avon.
This site states that a William Smith of Stratford had several sons - of whom two were named William. The younger William was a student at Winchester College and was nephew to John Watson, the then Bishop of Winchester, whose will was dated 1583. The Smith of Stratford site - linked above - states that the children of William Smith and Alice (Watson) (Savage) Smith were:
The researcher states that references for the above "are found in the following works by Edgar I. Ripp, Life Trustee of Shakespeares Birthplace: Shakespeares Stratford, 1928, 85pp., Oxford University Press; Shakespeare's Studies, 1930, 176 pp. (Ibid); Shakespeare, Man and Artist, 1938, 938 pp. (Ibid); and in the Parish Registry of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Stratford."
Another Elizabethan Smith/Smythe was Customer Smyth whose brother, John Smyth, is reputed to have married the daughter of John Lygon of Richard Castle in Herefordshire. Their father, another John Smyth, originally of Corsham in Wiltshire married Jane Brounker and he was High Sheriff of Essex as well as being an assistant to King Henry VIII. Jane Brounker was left a widow in 1538. See below - the Wiltshire Smyth/e "Smithdike" possibilities in relation to Leeds Castle, Kent, temp. Henry VIII.
When Matthew and his brother Thomas Smyth - sons of John Smyth of Aylburton - moved to Bristol they worked as hoopers or makers of bonds for casks and barrels. They also engaged in trade, dealing in cloth which was sent to Ireland, and importing wine and small quantities of fish.
Both men did well for themselves in Bristol. By the time he died in 1542, Thomas Smyth had acquired property outside the city at Shirehampton as well as a number of tenements within the city itself. However, he regarded himself primarily as a tradesman rather than a man of property and described himself in his Will as a "hooper". He left most of his property to his son, John Smyth. The latter is described in his father's Will as "the Shewmaker".
The elder son, Matthew Smyth, was the man who set about building up the substantial family fortunes. Soon after his arrival in Bristol in the late fifteenth century, he married Alice John, the daughter and heiress of Lewis John, a Bristol merchant and through this marriage he gained a house in Corn Street. Their daughter, Elizabeth Smyth, married Thomas Phelips, son of Richard Phelips, M.P. for Melcombe Regis in Dorset. The youngest son of this couple was Sir Edward Phelips, a prominent lawyer, Speaker of the House of Commons in 1604, Master of the Rolls in 1611 and the builder of Montacute House.
The only surviving son of Matthew Smyth and Alice John was John Smyth, known for his meticulous administration. He kept a ledger covering the years 1538-1550 - not to be confused with that of John Smyth/e of Nibley in Gloucestershire - and whilst it cannot be stated with certainty, it is thought that his wife was a wealthy young widow by the name of Joan Hoper, daughter of Thomas Hoper of Bridgewater (Somerset). She had married one of the wealthiest of Bridgewater merchants, Simon White, who died in 1529.
John Smyth - successful merchant of Small Street, Bristol - (see Smyth of Bristol pages) - was not averse to engaging in some shady dealings which would have augmented the family coffers. He was part of a successful smuggling enterprise. According to a study in the modern era by Dr. Jones of Bristol, " ... of fifteen Bristol merchants from the 16th century recently identified as being involved in a smuggling ring, ten served as mayors, sheriffs or MPs of the city. Some were all three. Others included customs officers, a mayor of Gloucester and even senior officials in the navy. The Bristol men included some of the city's most important 16th century figures including John Smyth, who founded the fortunes of the Smyth family of Ashton Court, and Nicholas Thorn, a major Bristol benefactor and the son of Robert Thorn, the principal Bristol backer of Bristol's early voyages of discovery to North America." John Smyth was a Sheriff of Bristol (1532-33) and twice (1547/1554) Lord Mayor. He died in 1555. He and his wife Joan had two sons, Hugh Smyth and Matthew Smyth. Hugh Smyth married Maude Byccombe and there were children of this marriage.
There was, as the biographer quoted above - Ralph Churton, mentions by way of conjecture, an association between one Hugh Smyth and Lord Strange, son of the first Earl of Derby. The name Hugh is not uncommon as a forename in the Ashton Court line of the Smyth family.
Following the Bristol, Ashton Court line of the second son, Matthew Smyth, who married Jane Tewther (the soft 'd' in the Welsh pronunciation of the name 'Tudor' produces the name 'Tewther') it is recorded that they had two children, Sir Hugh Smyth and Ann Smyth and it is through Matthew Smyth that the Bristol line descends. He entered the Middle Temple in London as a practitioner of Law and remained a lawyer throughout his life, achieving considerable prominence. His name occurs frequently in its records. In 1558 he was Master of the Revels.
His son, Sir Hugh Smyth of Ashton Court, knighted in 1603, married Dame Elizabeth Gorges who was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Gorges of (then Langford) Longford Castle in Wiltshire. Sir Thomas Gorges had been a Gentleman Usher at Court and marrried an acknowledged beauty of the day, the Swedish-born widow of the Marquess of Northampton. She had previously been one of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honour. The original sections of 'Langford' date from between 1584 and 1591.
There were five daughters of the marriage between Hugh Smyth and Elizabeth Gorges; and they had one son, Thomas Smyth. Thomas Smyth's father died in 1625. His mother re-married - to her cousin, Sir Ferdinando Gorges. It is known that Sir Ferdinando Gorges and the family of Smith/Smyth/Smyth of 'Customer' Smythe were closely linked and involved in the development of the American colonies.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges had an elder brother, Dr. Thomas Gorges DD, who was overseer to the Will of his brother's widow - the above named Dame Elizabeth, of Ashton Court. (Their father was Sir Edward Gorges.) Thomas Gorges was baptized at Wraxall, Somerset, on 14th February, 1602-3, was Vicar of Wraxall, Archdeacon of Winton, and Prebend of Westminster. He died s.p. on 12th December, 1667 and was buried with his wife Frances Dayrell - who was the widow of Robert Hovenden of Oxford - in the south aisle of Westminster Abbey. ("New England Historical Genealogical Register, 1900")
The son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges was John Gorges. In turn, he had a son, Ferdinando Gorges, named after his grandfather. The Will of John Gorges of the Parish of St. Margaret's Westminster [London], Middlesex, Esquire, includes a bequest to his son, Ferdinando of his "lands in White church als Haselrig, co. Somersett " 05 Mar 1656/7 - 01 Jun 1657 (P. C. C. Ruthin, 213) He was married (22nd May 1660) at St. Bride's, London, to Mary Archdale, the daughter of Thomas Archdale and Mary Neville. Thomas Archdale was the son of Richard Archdale and Judith Thorpe. Judith Thorpe was a first cousin of Margaret Combs, née Archdale.
The Gorges family of Wraxall, (Somerset) The male line devolved on Ferdinando Gorges of Ashley (1663-1738) whose two sons Richard and Ferdinando died young when it was settled on Richard Gorges MP (b.circa 1708) of Kilbrew and Ballygawley, Co.Tyrone, Ireland. The Smyth family was widely represented in Ireland by this time. See the Smyth of Ireland link at base of page.
Site Note An earlier Ireland connection with Smyth ... and an 'unfortunate incident' in London.
Middlesex: - Calendar to the
Sessions Records, 1614-1615
Additional Baptisms. Middlesex Sessions Records.
Site Note Gorges family - a 'spot of bother' in London - and a member of the London Smyth family (presumably connected to the Gorges family via Bristol or London) to the (expensive) rescue.
|Elizabeth Smyth (Dame Elizabeth Gorges)
Of the children of Elizabeth Smyth, Helen Smyth married Sir Francis Rodgers and Thomas Smyth, (born 1609) was married (1627) to Florence Poulett. The children of Thomas Smyth of Ashton Court and Florence Poulett were Florence Smyth, Anne Smyth and Sir Hugh Smyth who married Dame Ann Ashburnham. Florence (Poulett) Smyth was widowed and later married Thomas Piggott.
This information from LDS IGI Medieval Families Unit - Thomas Smith (Sir Knight) - born about 1600 at Hatherton in Cheshire - married Mary Smith, daughter of Hugh Smith (Sir, Knight) of Long Ashton, Bristol. Their son, Francis Smith, was born at Stratford Bow, (Middlesex) London and died in 1663 - just a short time after he was granted the 1659 probate of Elizabeth Gorges' - his grandmother's - will. His father, the above-mentioned Thomas Smith, died in about 1666.
The Cheshire link may be significant in establishing a Smith/Smyth/e family which provided a Lord Mayor of Liverpool in the 18th century - qv Dame Ethel Smyth's biography and family information page on this site. She is descended from a Thomas Smyth of Cheshire and from the Irish Smyth family, originally from Durham and Yorkshire. Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Thomas Smyth, married Eliza(beth) Blagg.
The Will of Sir Thomas Smith (Smyth) of Bidborough, first Viscount Strangford - son of Customer Smythe
Dame Sara Smyth (Sara Blount) later married Robert Sydney, Earl of Leicester. Their daughter, Lady Barbara, married Sir Thomas Culpepper, Lieutenant of Dover Castle and of St. Stephen's, "otherwise Hackington,Kent" (Hasted, Kent, fol. ed. iii. 595-6, iv. 76).
Further food for thought - adapted from the Spring family genealogy -
Sir Thomas Fleetwood was Master of the Mint. He was born at Heskin, Lancashire, in 1518. He died on November 1st, 1570, and he was buried at Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire. He married first Barbara Andrews. Sir Thomas Fleetwood and Barbara Andrews had two known children. He married second Bridget Spring, the daughter of Sir John Spring and Dorothy Waldegrave. Bridget Spring married second Sir Robert Wingfield of Letheringham, Suffolk who died in 1596. Sir Thomas Fleetwood and Bridget Spring had nine known children. A Monumental Inscription at Chalfont St. Giles (Bucks.) recorded the birth of Thomas Fleetwood at Heskin, Lancashire, his death on November 1st, 1570, his two wives, Barbara, and Bridget, daughter of Sir John Spring, and that he had eighteen children.
Additional Notes - 12/2002
A line of the Hanbury family married into the Tracy family and the resulting Hanbury-Tracy line forms part of the maternal ancestry of the children of the marriage of Dicky Drew-Smythe and Jean Dionis Anstruther. It is believed that the Maitlands also connect through marriage to the Anstruthers, Maxtones and Grahams in Scotland.
From the records of Antony Maitland ...
"The Manor of Hanbury lies 3 miles East of Droitwich and at the time of the Doomsday survey belonged to the Bishopric of Worcester, and so remained until the time of Queen Elizabeth when the Manor and Advowson passed to the Crown in 1562, in exchange for certain tithes. The Queen then granted then to Sir Francis Knollys who gave them to his son-in- law, Sir Thomas Leighton, who sold them in 1630 to Edward Vernon, son of the Rector of Hanbury. In this family they still continue. The original Hanbury's held their lands in fief from the Bishop of Worcester.
The eldest son of John de Hanbury of Hanbury, 1407/1453, William de Hanbury of Hanbury, continued the line of Hanburys of Hanbury Hall. John's third son was Richard Hanbury, who moved six miles North-west to Elmley-Lovett. His only child:- Richard Hanbury (2), occs. 1457, died 1481, married Catherine Smythe, who bore him a son, Richard (3). (His second wife, Margery Tyntes, bore him 3 sons, Henry, John and Thomas, who moved away and founded the Hanburys of Hampshire and Ombersley.) Richard Hanbury (3), of Elmley-Lovett, married the daughter of Philip Bassett. In 1524 Henry VIII granted him "the farm of the site of the Manor of Elmley Lovett previously owned by John Bassett, with which were included many other parcels of land within the Royal Manor of Elmley Lovette. His first son John follows next. His second son Thomas Hanbury (died 1557) married Joan Poole of Elmley Lovett who died a widow in 1591 and, like her husband, is buried in Elmley Lovett churchyard."
[The Smyth family of Bristol also had marriage links with the family Tyntes.]
Anthony remarks: "It is odd to reflect that 400 years after this first Hanbury-Poole marriage history repeated itself when a descendant of the same family Jillian Hanbury married Richard Poole in far off Virginia, U.S.A. in 1957."
According to records of the Combs family (to whom gratitude is expressed for this information) "Elmley-Lovett is a parish in the lower division of the hundred of Halfshire, county of Worcester, 4 miles SE of Stourport." More significantly, it is stated in their records that, "This place gives the title of Viscount to the LYGON family." John Smythe, the elder brother of Thomas "Customer" Smythe, married a Lygon family daughter, of Herefordshire.
The Combs family records for Elmley-Lovett continue thus with an early ancestor:
The Blount family was connected by marriage to Sir Thomas Smythe, son of Customer Smythe (quotation from the Wiltshire Smyth/e pages of this site) "Sir Thomas Smythe of Bidborough, Governor of East India Company, Treasurer of Virginia Company (1558-1624/5) = Judith Culverwell (d/o Richard Culverwell) = (2) Jone Hobbs (d/o William Hobbs) = (3) Sarah Blount (d/o William Blount) (She later married Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester (m 1626) ." It should also be noted that a later generation of the Smythe family (Sir John Smythe 3rd. Bt. of Acton Burnell - born 1710) married a Blount daughter - Constantia.
The Combs family records for Elmley-Lovett conclude with this note (and some useful links):
(Lovett Memoirs). Also note that Thomas COMBE m (2) Mary BONNER, d/o Anthony and Bridget SAVAGE Bonner, gd/o Christopher and Ann LYGON Savage, and widow of William YONGE (See also Combs-Lovett Families of Berkshire and Buckingham).