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Wootton Hall  - photograph courtesy of John WebbThe Smyth Family of Wootton Hall
Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire

"Carrington or Smyth of co. Warwick, England"

Visitation of Warwick and Leicester, confirmed by the Deputies of Camden, Clarenceux, to Francis Smyth of Wooton, grandson of Sir John Smyth, and 5th in descent from John Carrington or Smith, died in 1446, who was 5th in descent from - Sir Michael Carrington - Standard Bearer to Richard I - died in the Holy Land.

The adjacent photograph shows a modern era image of Wootton Hall, built just a few decades after the death of Francis Smith/Smyth. Click on the image to access the work of John Webb where may be found significant and wide-ranging information about this beautiful area of England - home to many celebrated families in history - including Smith/Smyth and Shakespeare. John Webb's photographs are particularly helpful in documenting some of the homes of these important early families. On the page devoted to Wootten Wawen may be seen the tomb of Francis Smith/Smyth. He died in 1604.

Carrington/Smith - Smyth/e

ARMS: Argent (silver), a cross Gules (red), between four peacocks Azure (blue). CREST: A peacock's head erased Azure (blue), ducally gorged Or (gold).

Note also that one Smith family of Dublin was certainly connected to Carrington/Smyth/e family. The coat of arms of this Dublin family bears related devices: Arms of Alderman John Smith, Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1677. Peacocks are a feature of the Smith-Carrington family.Smith Carrington

It is believed that a branch of the (Carrington) Smyth family settled at Wootton Wawen some time before the original Hall was built in 1687. There is, for example, a Monumental Brass to be found via The Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology website for Lady Agnes Smyth, wife of Sir John Smyth, which is dated 1562.

The Smyth family of Wootton were staunch Catholics - which, after the Reformation, left many Catholics in political danger and spiritually starved. This may be further evidenced by a note from St. Gregory's Parish Website ...

"St Gregory’s is served today by the Benedictine monks of Douai Abbey, located in Berkshire. The English Benedictine Congregation has provided parish priests for Stratford-upon-Avon continuously since the church was completed in 1866 and for many years before that – when England was missionary territory. The monks, living as chaplains to the Smythe family at Wootton Hall, Wootton Wawen, some 6 miles from Stratford, looked after the spiritual needs of the parish, often in conditions of difficulty and danger."

Monumental Inscriptions - The following names are mentioned on local Monumental Inscriptions: Sheridan, Smith, Smythe. Given Smythe family professional connections with the family of Sheridan (qv Smythe of Cheshire and also the line of Henry Walton Smith) this conjunction of names is significant. The names were taken from the fiche of Monumental Inscriptions for Our Lady & St. Benedict R.C. Churches in Wootton Wawen - Fiche number I263 sold by BMSGH where they appear as transcribed by Ken Hallock. Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry. From St. Peter’s Church in Wootton Wawen - the names Smith, Smith-Carrington and Smyth may be seen associated.

Note about the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Redditch

One source states: "The Church was one of the first Roman Catholic Churches to be built in the country after the Reformation and was erected soon after the passing of the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829. There had apparently always been a strong Catholic community in Redditch and they were quick to wish to avail themselves of the opportunity this new freedom gave them to have their own church.

The local aristocracy was approached, including the Throckmorton’s and the Plymouth’s and the recently established Downside Priory at Bath. Dowager Lady Catherine Smythe of Wootton Hall in Wootton Wawen donated the land. One of the sons was a priest at Downside. (Wootton Hall, built in the 1600s, had always been occupied by Catholic families)."

Site Note: After exile from France and the Revolution, Downside became the home of the School and Priory - having first been settled at Acton Burnell which belonged to the Smythe family of Shropshire (qv via Smythe Index) - originally from Esh/e Hall in Durham.

That source continues: "A donation of 3000 was made by the Rev. Charles Bruno Tunstall, a native of Redditch, which enabled the work to commence almost immediately.  Fr Tunstall lies buried in the old Catholic cemetery in the Presbytery garden and is commemorated by a statue of St Joseph and a memorial brass.  (This needs checking – could it be that there was a section of the old cemetery in Plymouth Rd that was specifically for catholics? [Source question])

Work commenced on 11th February 1833. The architect was Mr Thomas Rickman of Birmingham and the church was built of Bromgrove Sandstone, probably from the quarry at Hilltop. The Church was opened on the 24th April 1834 by the Rt Rev Dr Walsh, Bishop of the Midland District. Grand High Mass was said by the Rev Alexius Pope, who was accompanied by the choir of St Peter’s Chapel, Birmingham and a number of other gentlemen. The sermon was delivered by Dr Walsh.  The collection amounted to 100. Sir Charles Throckmorton and Sir Edward Smythe were among the congregation."

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