The adjacent image of the Winchester College crest is used by the kind permission of the Warden and Fellows of Winchester College.
Information from the archives of Eton College, which was founded in 1440, lists a number of Smith/Smythe Head Masters during the first years of its existence. The earliest of these men was Clement Smith/Smythe who was at Eton from 1453 to 1470 - with a break of a few years within those dates when he went to Winchester College as Head Master between 1464 and 1466/7. Winchester was founded in 1382 by William de Wykeham with its first scholars attending from 1394. Clement Smyth was appointed a Canon of Windsor in 1467, but exchanged his canonry for one at St. John's, Chester in 1471, which took him away from Eton. The next Smyth to be Head Master at Eton was John Smyth in 1502/3.
Interestingly, the Patron Saint of Smiths is St. Clement. His Saint's Day is the 23rd of November when "explosions of gunpowder are made on country blacksmiths' anvils. It is viewed as the blacksmiths' holiday. The accepted legend is that St. Clement was drowned with an anchor hung to his neck, and that his body was found in a submarine temple, from which the sea receded every seven years for the benefit of pilgrims. Thus he became the patron of anchor forgers, and thence of smiths in general." (Internet source)
Clement Smyth was originally from Southwark - then just an outlying village near London - on the south bank of the Thames. He had, himself, been a scholar at Winchester and would have been one of the earlier scholars to be admitted there.
Writing in October, 2003, Suzanne Foster, Archivist at Winchester College, has been kind enough to contribute the following information:
"Clement came from Southwark and was admitted to Winchester College as a scholar in 1439. This is all the original register records, but we have a printed version of the register to which several of my predecessors have added notes. These notes record that after Winchester, Clement was elected a scholar of New College in Oxford in 1443/44 and became a fellow of New College from 1446-1453. He was then headmaster of Eton from c1454 to 1458, followed by headmaster of Winchester from 1464-1466, then back to Eton as headmaster in 1468 to 1470 - and a canon of Windsor in 1469 ... I have also checked the various histories of Winchester College and these only state that he was headmaster here 1464-66. One, A.F.Leach, states that Clement had been schoolmaster at the newly founded college at Higham Ferrers, founded by Henry Chicheley in the mid-15th century, but Leach does not say where he obtained this information." A. F. Leach, History of Winchester College (1899).
Wykeham of Winchester College was both Bishop of Winchester and Chancellor to King Richard II. In 1373, Wykeham "agreed with Richard de Herton, that for ten years, beginning from Michaelmas of the year above mentioned, he should diligently instruct in grammatical learning as many poor scholars as the Bishop should send to him, and no others without his leave; that the Bishop should provide and allow him a proper assistant; and that Herton, in case of his own illness or necessary absence, should substitute a proper master to supply his place." source
It may be assumed that, since de Herton was to instruct "as many poor scholars as the Bishop should send to him", Clemment Smyth was not a member of a wealthy family per se. Nevertheless, he would have been a child of a man who moved in circles close enough to Wykeham for the boy to have been brought to his attention and so would therefore have been a son of a family of higher standing than many - much as in the same way that the later Bishop William Smith (of Lincoln) was brought into the school of Margaret Beaufort at Knowsley, in Lancashire, when he was of school age.
Of Winchester (and Oxford) the on-line 1911 Encyclopaedia declares that the original statutes "have not come down to us" but those which "governed the colleges until 1857 were made in 1400. They state that the colleges were provided to repair the ravages caused by the Black Deaths in the ranks of the clergy, and for the benefit of those whose parents could not without help maintain them at the universities, and the names of the boys appointed by Wykeham and in his time show that poor and indigent meant the younger sons of the gentry, and the sons of yeomen, citizens of Winchester or London, and the middle classes generally, who needed the help of exhibitions."
The attribution of the name de Herton appears in the late 1200s attaching to an earlier Richard de Herton who was a Canon of Lincoln and also in the Finchale Priory records where a charter was witnessed by one Roger de Herton - an (so stated) undated document described as:
Suzanne Foster notes from the Winchester Archives that Richard de Herton was appointed by Wykeham to teach in September, 1373 for a period of ten years. "The document by which Herton was appointed gives no indication of where he was from. The document is dated from Marwell, near Winchester, one of the bishop of Winchester's estates and Herton appeared in person. The document describes him as 'the venerable and discreet man, Master Richard Herton, grammarian'. Schoolmasters had to be licenced, I think, and Herton was a clergyman, so, if he came from Yorkshire, he may have been ordained/licenced there [and there may possibly be be records to show this]. The witnesses were John Buckingham, a canon of York, Sir John Campden, a canon of Southwell in York diocese and two others, described as notaries public, Henry Thorp and John Kelsey. This may just be coincidental - witnesses to documents were usually just those who happened to be close by. The two canons may have been absentee clergy [from York], which wasn't uncommon."
Herton (Yorkshire) was in the parish of Bossall, North Yorkshire - the North Riding - in the wapentake of Bulmer and the deanery of Bulmer, parish of St Botolph. Peculiar of the Bishop of Durham. In township of Buttercrambe. Castle: Constable. 1334 lay subsidy: 18s. (with Barmby). 1377 poll tax population: 33. Fair (Buttercrambe): 1343 June 1 day November 1 day from 1353 June 3 days. Market (Buttercrambe): 1343 Monday, from 1352 also Wednesday grantees: Thomas Wake of Lydell and Thomas de Holland and wife. Fair saints' days: St Botolph, St Leonard. (Source: University of York, Centre for Medieval Studies.) Herton (or another Herton) is also stated as "Northumberland". Bulmer, as a family name, is associated by marriage to that of Smythe - of Eshe Hall, Durham in a later century. See Shropshire Smythe - of Acton Burnell - formerly of Durham. Click on the image for "Eshe Hall" details.
The former britannia.com source also states that "William De Wykeham, or of Wykeham, was born at Wickham in Hampshire, in the year 1324, and, as his biographer Bishop Lowth (Bishop of London, 1777-87) (R. Lowth, Life of Wykeham, I736) has shown, some time between the 7th of July and the 27th of September. There is reason, however, to believe that he did not take his name from his native village, the same name being borne by several of his relations living in his own day who do not appear to have been born there. All that is certainly known about his father and mother is that their Christian names were John and Sybil. If his father bore the name of Wykeham, he appears to have also passed by that of Long or Longe and to have had an elder brother who was called Henry Aas.
Lowth thus sensibly remarks upon this obscurity of the name of so distinguished a man: "If we consider the uncertain state of family-names at the time of the birth of Wykeham, we shall not think it strange that there should be some doubt with regard to the surname of his family or even if it should appear that he had properly no family-name at all. Surnames were introduced into England by the Normans at the Conquest: "But certain it is," says Camden, "that as the better sort, over from the Conquest, by little and little, took surnames; so they were not settled among the common people fully until about the time of Edward the Second."
The on-line 1911 Encyclopaedia has this to contribute: "WILLIAM OF WYKHAM (1323-1404), English lord chancellor and bishop of Winchester. William de Wykham, as he is called in earlier, William Wykeham in later life, has been variously guessed to be the son of a freedman carpenter, and an illegitimate son of ' Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer (Notes and Queries, loth (Lowth?) s. i. 222)."
This latter conjecture is intriguing. Queen Isabella forms one strand in the maternal line of this site (as do Mortimer kin) and from her the line descends to Neville family (frequently inter-married with Smith/Smyth) and thence to Henry VII. Henry's mother was Margaret Beaufort - great granddaughter of John of Gaunt (134099) Duke of Lancaster; fourth son of Edward III and brother of the Black Prince. In 1396, John of Gaunt married Catherine Swynford, many years his mistress, and had children by her, under the name of Beaufort, later declared legitimate. He died soon after the king had exiled his eldest son, the Duke of Hereford - later Henry IV, first of the royal line of Lancaster.
It is well documented that Queen Isabella was not happily married to Edward II - as may also be witnessed in the modern era film, "Braveheart"; however, whether she carried William Wallace's child, as suggested in the film, may also be conjectured - but, certainly, the potential for illegitimacy was ripe.
Research via LDS IGI shows that a (first name unknown) Wykeham was born in about 1462 and was married in 1477 to Joane Rede who was born in about 1464 at Chinnor in Oxfordshire. Her father was Edmund Rede (born in about 1428). Edmund Rede was also the name of her grandfather, born in about 1397. Through this line may be found Christina James, born in about 1401. This latter was the daughter of Robert James and his wife, Catherine de la Pole (born in about 1372) the daughter of Edmund de la Pole of Hull in Yorkshire, born in about 1335 and his wife, Elizabeth Haudlo (Hadlow).
Note: Acton Burnell Castle in Shropshire - later seat of the Smythe family of Eshe Hall, Durham - is stated to have passed in 1316 "to the de Handlo family who assumed the name Burnell" ...
Edmund de la Pole's father was William de la Pole who was born in about 1302, the son of William de la Pole. This particular Wykeham family line appears to have been from Yorkshire by origin and is thence found in Oxford and in London; there is, of course, a Wykeham in Lincolnshire. The de la Pole connection should be noted since its connection with Smith/Smyth is known - and was perpetuated in (Scout Movement) Baden-Powell's insistence on the Powell element of that family's name being pronounced as "Pole". More pertinent is the link with Margaret Beaufort herself ...
The 1911 Volume continues: "In sober truth (Life by Robert Heete in Reg. Winch. Coll. c. 1430) he [William de Wykeham] was born at Wickham, Hants, in 1323 or 1324, son of John, whose name was probably Wykeham, but nicknamed Long, who was "endowed with the freedom of his ancestors," and "according to seme" had a brother called Henry Aas. His mother Sibyl was "of gentle birth," a daughter of William Bowate and granddaughter of William Stratton of Stratton, Hants. His education at Winchester, no doubt in the Great Grammar school or High school in Minster Street, was paid for by some patron unnamed by the biographer, perhaps Sir Ralph Sutton, who is named first by Wykeham among his benefactors to be prayed for by his colleges. [Later Sutton family - Sir Richard Sutton - was close to Bishop William Smith/Smyth of Lincoln. Together, they founded Brasenose College, Oxford.] That he was, as stated by Archdeacon Thomas Martin, the author of a Life of Wykeham, published in 1597, taught classics, French and geometry by a learned Frenchman on the site of Winchester College, is a guess due to Wykehams extant letters being in French and to the assumption that he was an architect. After some unspecified secular employment, Wykeham became under-notary (vice tabeilio) to a certain squire, constable of Winchester Castle, probably Robert of Popham, sheriff of Hampshire ..."
Wykeham also founded New College, Oxford. The current Winchester College web site declares that these colleges (Winchester and New College, Oxford) "... were on a scale hitherto undreamed of in English education and became the model for Eton and King's College, Cambridge later in the fifteenth century."
From the Winchester site, it may also be seen that the College Arms (top right) are described thus: "The central shield depicts the Arms of Winchester College, surmounted by the Mitre of Bishop William of Wykeham, Founder of the College and Bishop of Winchester. The Arms of the College are surrounded by the Founder's sash in his capacity as Prelate of the Order of the Garter ('Honi soit qui mal y pense' - 'Evil be to him who evil thinks'), and below is his motto 'Manners Makyth Man' which is also the College Motto."
It should not go unremarked that the arms (shown adjacent) of Bishop William Smith/Smyth who was born in Lancashire in about 1460 - are strikingly similar to the motif depicted on the Winchester shield. See also The Ancient Family of Smith from Lancashire from which line, Bishop William Smith/Smyth descends.
Buckden Towers, Lincoln - an enigma -
It is generally known that heraldic devices and escutcheons were - and are - carefully monitored and fiercely guarded - belonging to "the man" and not necessarily being specific to "the family" - though the same arms may descend (perhaps with a slight modification) to the heir on the death of the holder. Thus, it may be assumed that the arms of William de Wykeham (unmarried and with no direct heir) would have been specific to him and passed (if such was the case) to his nearest descendant. His heir was his great nephew, Thomas Wykeham, whom he had educated at Winchester and New College and who inherited Broughton Castle and estates, later held by descendants in the female line, the family of Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (peerage of Saye and Sele).
So, back in time to 15th Century Lincoln where Buckden Towers was (as it had been for some time, as Buckden Palace) the home to the Bishops of Lincoln. Construction of the Tower itself was completed by Bishop Rotherham in 1480 prior to his translation to the archbishopric of York. However, Bishop John Russell (1480-1494) was responsible for the majority of the extensive rebuilding on the site.
A current web site, from which this information is drawn, (based on "A History of Buckden Towers" by Mary M. Sweeney, BA - Fourth Edition, 1990) states that these arms (right) can be seen on the Inner Gatehouse (1480) and on the south gable front. They are stated as being the arms of Bishop Russell and that "The new chapel was the work of Bishop William Smith (1495-1514) who was also one of the founders of Brasenose College, Oxford."
A simple comparison between the Winchester College shield (Wykeham) and the shield shown adjacent (reputed to be the arms of Russell) and a comparison between these two shields and the shield of Bishop William Smyth/Smith of Lincoln leaves unanswered questions.
If a Russell shield with a gold double chevron device exists, the source of that information would be welcomed. In the meantime, it is found that the family of de Chaworth (Thomas) ( de Chaures) is represented as holding insignia containing "two chevrons or" which may be significant - whilst two "black" chevrons apply to the Lambournes, William de Lambourne (Willem de Lamburne) - according to the St. George's Roll. The de Chaworth family moved in high "Plantagenet" circles.
It was more usual for a bishop to combine the arms of his diocese with his own family coat of arms in the same way that the arms of a man and wife would be combined: by impalement. This meant that the shield was divided down the middle, with the arms of the Diocese on the dexter (right) side and the bishops personal arms on the sinister (left) side - viewed from the rear. The shield of Robert Neville, an early Bishop of Durham, is a classic example of this.
It is interesting to note, too, that the portrait of Bishop William Smyth (adaped left) which appears on the Brasenose College web site, has been altered from an original. It lacks a shield (with devices as seen in the Smyth shield above left) whereas the original picture contains this shield in the space indicated here. It bears a close resemblance to the shield of several different branches of Smith/Smyh as may be seen by visiting other Smith/Smyth/e pages on this Family Vault site.
The Chicheley/Chichele family was also connected to Smith/Smyth family. Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of Wykeham's own scholars, whom he had himself seen educated at both Winchester and Oxford. "Following his master's great example, Chicheley built a chantry and hospital at Higham Ferrers, and founded All Souls College at Oxford." Henry Chicheley died unmarried in 1400. William Chicheley, his next brother, married Beatrice Barret, and had issue, with other children, Agnes, who married William Keene, Esq., of Kent; their daughter, Bridget, married Sir William Trussell, Kt. and had Sir Edward Trussell, Kt. Banneret temp. Henry VII who married a daughter of Sir John Dun, Kt., and had issue, Elizabeth, m. to John Vere, Earl of Oxford, temp. Queen Elizabeth, who married Mary, sister of Sir Thomas Golding, Kt.; their daughter, Mary, m. Peregrine Bertie, Lord. Willoughby d'Eresby, (who for a while took care of Captain John Smith of Lincolnshire as an orphan) whose; son, Robert Bertie, Earl of Lindsay, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Montague: issue, Montague Bertie, Earl of Lindsay ... all peripheral to Smyth/Smith family of their times ... Sir Robert Chichele, for example, appears in the Smythe ancestry - this family being originally from Corsham in Wiltshire - the line of Customer Smyth/e or Smith. Katherine, his daughter, married Sir Rowland Hayward. See Smythe of Wiltshire.
This biographical source for Wykeham also reports that the parents of William de Wykeham were "held to have been poor but of creditable descent and reputable character. When their son became a dignitary of the church, he employed a seal with heraldic bearings and a quaint motto; but it is believed that these honours were not hereditary. Lowth holds that his relations were of the common people, and adds, "I am even inclined to think that he himself disclaimed all farther pretensions. The celebrated motto which he added to his arms (of which probably he might have received a grant when he began to rise in the World), I imagine was intended by him to intimate something of this kind, Manners makyth Man, the true meaning of which, as he designed it, I presume to be, though it has commonly been understood otherwise, that a man's real worth is to he estimated not from the outward and accidental advantages of birth, rank and fortune, but from the endowments of his mind and his moral qualifications. In this sense, it bears a proper relation to his arms and contains a just apology for those ensigns of his newly acquired dignity. Conscious to himself that his claim to honour is unexceptionable, as founded upon truth and reason, he in a manner makes his appeal to the world; alleging that neither high birth, to which he makes no pretensions, nor high station upon which he does not value himself but, "Virtue alone is true nobility."
From sources quoted above it would seem that William de Wykeham was recommended by his first patron, Nicholas Uvedale, Governor of Winchester Castle, to Bishop Edingdon, and by both was made known to King Edward III. It was Nicholas Uvedale who had funded Wykeham's education at Winchester Cathedral Priory from where he became secretary to Uvedale and secretary to the Constable of Winchester Castle - details of which are stated in a written account compiled in his own time. Another biography of Wykeham states that he is thought to have been " the son of a serf " although it would seem unlikely for someone so born to achieve the kind of patronage and preferment that came his way if his heritage was as stated. The rigid social divisions of the time would have made it very unusual; the mingling of high-born blood with serfdom through an illegitimate birth might have been more likely - and less unusual - and Uvedale's patronage suggests that the high-born element may have been very "high" indeed - so possibly back to Mortimer and Queen Isabella!
This biography continues: "Entering the service of the royal court in 1347, he supervised the building of additions to Windsor Castle and rapidly gained influence at the court of Edward III, becoming royal secretary and lord privy seal (1364). He received benefices in all parts of England but was not ordained a priest until 1362. In 1366 he was appointed Bishop of Winchester, and he was made Lord Chancellor the following year. The debility of the aging Edward III and the strife of factions made his political position extremely difficult. In 1371, William was dismissed, largely as a result of the rising tide of anticlericalism. Opposing John of Gaunt he supported the attack made on Gaunt's court party in the Good Parliament (1376). As a result he was charged (1376) with previous misuse of government funds, deprived of his temporalities, and harried for almost a year. On Richard II's accession (1377) he was exonerated and devoted most of his remaining life to his episcopal duties, although from 1389 to 1391 he again served as chancellor. His most lasting importance lies in his two great foundations, New College at Oxford (1379) and Winchester College (opened 1394), one of the most famous English public schools. He rebuilt the Norman nave of Winchester Cathedral and repaired many churches of his diocese. A conservative but conscientious churchman, William was a vigorous clerical reformer."
William de Wykeham died at about eight o'clock on the morning of Saturday 27th September 1404. He was buried in Winchester Cathedral, in a fine Chantry Chapel he had prepared some years before and his expansive building works were carried on by his successors.