Ancestor Index Ancestor Index
Smythe of Eshe HallThe Smythe Family of Eshe Hall, Durham
and Acton Burnell in Shropshire

Acton Burnell Castle

From the "Castles of Britain" information web site - "Construction began on the Castle here around 1283 on the instructions of Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells.  A licence to crenellate was granted the following year and the Castle was completed by 1286.  In 1316 it passed to the de Handlo family who assumed the name Burnell.

It remained occupied until it passed to Lord Lovell in 1452 who soon abandoned it in favour of more comfortable properties.  However, the Castle was later passed to the Crompton family who seem to have made it habitable once again and it was occupied until around 1672, when the Smythe family finally moved out.

The Castle, which is a quite unusual building being more fortified hall than anything else, has survived years of neglect very well, with only one tower (the North West) having completely vanished.  Today it is owned by English Heritage and is accessible at any time of day."

The 'lost' family of Smythe ...Little Crosby and Great Crosby - Smythe arms shown impaled with Blundell and the County of Lancaster associated ...

" ... Colonel Nicholas [Blundell] was lord of the manor of Little Crosby from 1854 to 1894 and was a Justice of the Peace and the Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Lancaster.  In November, 1847 he married Agnes Mary, the second daughter of Sir Edward Smythe, 6th Baronet of Acton Burnell, in Shropshire. The Colonel seemed to be very fond of displaying his coat-of-arms, and it can be seen in several places in Little Crosby and Great Crosby.Arundell of Wardour It is almost certain that soon after his marriage, the name of the Inn was changed from the “Ten Billets” to the “Blundell Arms”, and at the same time the sign of the “Ten Billets” was removed and replaced by that of Colonel Nicholas Blundell showing the Blundell of Crosby Arms impaling, or side by side with, the Arms of the Smythe Family, which was a black shield with three white roses arranged two and one.  Above this coat-of-arms was the crest of the Blundells of Crosby, a half lion sitting up and holding a cross in its paws."

A 1998 educational thesis by Mrs Mary Grace Harvey - completed as part of the her course at the School of History at Keele University - is titled "Regis Semper Fidelis: a study of the Smythe Family of Acton Burnell Shropshire 1750-1850" If the description of the Smythe arms (linked to Blundell above) and the motto "Regis Semper Fidelis" are placed side by side, (albeit "Regi" vs. "Regis") the following conclusion may reasonably be drawn - this is the supposed "lost family" of Smythe ... or is it?

The Lost Family of Smythe - 'Regi Semper Fidelis' - "This crest is reputed to be the arms of the 'lost' family of Smythe, 'heirs of Thomas, 1st Lord Arundell of Wardour'." Click on the Smythe crest to follow hypothesis. The Arundell crest (right) gives a brief overview of one particular title accorded to each and every male and female descendant of Thomas Arundell. Inter alia, the site-related family names of Anstruther and Hanbury-Tracy - as well as Smythe - appear in the descendant lists.

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A daughter of this Smythe family was the wife (though some would argue otherwise) of a King of England.
Also see additional Smyth/e notes at the foot of this page ...

The Shropshire line stems from John Smythe (of Eshe Hall Durham) who married Margaret Bulmer, a daughter of Sir Bertram Bulmer and Isabel Tempest and there is, once again, a connection with the Smythes and Durham shown here. Margaret Bulmer, was born in 1606. She was one of 15 children and was christened on 26 Aug 1606 at Ryton, Durham.

For further notes on this branch in Durham, and its Tudor links, click on the image of Acton Burnell, at the head of this page.
Site Note:
Eshe, Ashton Hall (Lancs.) and Ashton Court Bristol ... Smyth/e family links through names ? Eshe/Ash. O.E. Eshe = Ash? The latter, Ashton Court, was Arundel family property until the middle of the sixteenth century.

Bertram Bulmer was born in 1579 at Tursdale, Durham. He was buried on 6 May 1638 in St Oswald's, Durham. He married Isabel Tempest on 30 Jul 1600 at Ryton, Durham. Isabel Tempest was born in 1583. She was christened in Jun 1583 at Ryton, Durham. She was buried on 8 Jun 1663 in York. Their eldest son, William Bulmer, married (1625) Dorothy Sayer. She is possibly of the same family (a later ? generation) as Helen Sayers who married James Smyth of Rosedale Abbey. NB the link between the Vanes of Raby Castle (the original seat of the Neville family) and the Tempest family - later associated and connected in the surname "Vane-Tempest".

The youngest son of John Smythe and Margaret Bulmer was Sir Edward Smythe - born circa 1624 and created Baronet in 1660/61 after the Restoration. He married Mary Lee (born circa 1628), daughter of Sir Richard Lee of Langley, Shropshire. The image above is of the original medieval fortified manor house - known as Acton Burnell Castle. 'Burnel' and, later, 'Lee' ownership of the demesne stemmed from the Conquest. The ruins were later used as a "folly" by the Smythe family - a feature of the approach to the later (19th century) mansion. There is also a Bulmer connection with the Nevill/e family which may be also explored by following this link. The Bulmers became a well-established Herefordshire family - renowned for cider making - a beverage that is still available in the modern era.

For a comprehensive and highly detailed record of the Smythe family of Shropshire, visit the Shropshire Branch of the British National Archives. The records are significant in that they also establish a clear link between this Smythe branch of the family - originally of Durham - and the family of Customer Smyth/e through his sons, Sir Thomas and Sir Richard Smith/e Smyth/e - both of whom purchased interests in local Shropshire Estates in the same era. Most of the Irish Smyth/e families, it is also known, stem from the Durham and Yorkshire branches of Smyth/e.

The Shropshire Smythe Archives - this file weighs in at just under one Mb but is rich in history and contains material dating from the 11th century through to the twentieth.

The following pedigree information, for example, is recorded:

      FILE - Pedigree of the Bulmer family of Tursdale, Co. Durham, temp. Elizabeth, continued in 1900 at the command of Sir John Walter Smythe of Acton Burnell, bart. by Everard Green, Rouge Dragon. - ref.  1514/3/3  - date: N.D

      FILE - Crest and coat of arms of the Smythe family, painted on silk, showing 16 quarterings. - ref.  1514/3/4  - date: N.D

      FILE - Pedigree of descent of various Salop families and of the Smythes by the marriage of Sir Edward Smythe, 4th baronet, with Maria Giffard; from Malcolm, 3rd King of Scotland 1057, who married Margaret sister to Edgar Atheling, from Walthe of, Earl of Huntingdon, Northampton and Northumberland, beheaded in 1075, who married Judith niece of William the Conqueror; from William de Warren Earl Warren, d. 1089, who married Princess Cundred daughter of William the Conqueror, and from Lucia, sister, and Edwyn and Morcar. - ref.  1514/3/5  - date: N.D

      FILE - Pedigree showing descent of the Smythes from Sir Simon de Burley, knt. of Burley, Co. Hereford, by marriage of Sir Edward Smythe, 1st bart. with Mary Lee. Finishing with Sir Charles Frederick Smythe, 7th bart. born 1819. - ref.  1514/3/6  - date: N.D; 19th Century

      FILE - Pedigree showing descent of the Smythes, by the marriage of Sir John Smythe, 3rd bart., younger son, with Constantia Blount, from William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Ending with Sir Charles Frederick Smythe. - ref.  1514/3/7  - date: N.D

      FILE - Pedigree showing descent of the Smythes by the marriage of Sir Edward Smythe, 1st baronet, 1660, with Mary Lee, daughter of Sir Richard Lee, from William the Conqueror, by the marriage of Margaret, daughter of Edward I with a Bohun, &c. - ref.  1514/3/8  - date: N.D

"This collection of documents deposited in the Salop County Record Office by Captain Bruce-Smythe, was in Acton Burnell Hall when it was gutted by fire in 1914. The documents survived with only a little damage done to the parchment by the heat which, however, melted many of the seals, and the wax stuck many of the membranes together. These have now been separated and unfolded, and very little of the writing has been lost. These records were then kept at Cound Lodge until sometime in the 1920's when they were put into storage in the premises of Messrs. W.H. Smout & Son Ltd., Castle Cates, Shrewsbury. With Captain Bruce-Smythe's permission, they were deposited in the County Record Office at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury, on the instructions of his Agent, Mr Gordon Miller, in May 1967."

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Mary Anne (Maria) SmytheWalter Smythe - father of Mary Anne (Maria) Smythe

Walter Smythe was born in 1735. He was a second son of Sir John Smythe (3rd Bt.- b. 1710) of Acton Burnell and Constantia Blount. His grandfather was Sir Edward-Joseph Smythe (d. 1714).

The family were staunch Catholics in an age that denied the holding of public office (inter alia) to Catholics. Walter Smythe married Mary Errington, daughter of John Errington and a half-sister to the Earl of Sefton - who played an important rôle in the life of Mary Anne (Maria) Smythe (later) Fitzherbert who married George, Prince of Wales - later King George IVth of England. More about Maria may be accessed via her portrait, adjacent.

Walter Smythe and his family lived at Brambridge House near Southampton in Hampshire. There were six children of the marriage, Mary Anne (Maria) Smythe being the eldest, born in 1756. Her brother, John (Jack) never married; however, a child, supposedly his daughter, called Marianne Smythe, was brought up by Maria. This latter is now accepted as having been her own child, fathered by her third husband, George, Prince of Wales, George IVth of England. Their daughter, Marrianne married into the Stafford-Jerningham family of Norfolk.

Mary Anne Smythe's sister, Frances Smythe, was married by special licence (Archbishop of Canterbury) to Sir Carnaby Haggerston Bt. (born 1756) of Haggerston Co.Durham.

They were married "in the dwelling house of the Hon. Mrs. Molyneaux, John Street, Berkeley Square, London" in 1785. Sir Carnaby Haggerston died in 1831. Walter Smythe died in 1788.

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There is a "Smythe House" at Downside School near Bath (after their first year at the school, students are allocated to different "houses" to which they belong for the remainder of their time at the school) which is named after Sir Edward Smythe who died in 1811. The present (2002) Headmaster of the school, Dom Antony Sutch, to whom thanks are extended, writes:

"The Smythe of our Smythe is the man who very kindly lent us his house at Acton Burnell, in Shropshire, when we were kicked out of France in the French Revolution and before we found our own place, which is now Downside. He was an Old Boy of the school. The man in case was Sir Edward Smythe. He died in 1811 and we had to move three years later to Downside. We have a marvellous portrait of him in our school refectory."

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Further entries of note/connection?

Records of the Parliament Office, House of Lords
   Records of the Private Bill Office, House of Lords
      House of Lords: Private Bill Office: Original Acts
         Private Acts, 2 George II -
FILE - Private Act, 2 George II, c. 26 - ref.  HL/PO/PB/1/1728/2G2n62  - date: 1728
               |_ [from Scope and Content] An Act to enable
James Moore, (see below) and his Issue Male, to take the Surname of Smythe, according to the Will of William Smythe Esquire, deceased, and for vesting in Trustees, two thousand three hundred and sixteen Pounds sixteen Shillings and ten Pence, South Sea Annuities, Part of the Estate of the said William Smythe, to be sold for the Purposes therein mentioned.

Records of the Parliament Office, House of Lords   Records of the Private Bill Office, House of Lords
      House of Lords: Private Bill Office: Original Acts
         Private Acts, 17 George II -  
FILE - Private Act, 17 George II, c. 33 - ref.  HL/PO/PB/1/1743/17G2n76  - date: 1743
               |_ [from Scope and Content] An Act to enable William Moore Esquire, to sell an Estate purchased under the Will of William Smythe Esquire, and to lay out the Money thereby arising, with other Money therein mentioned, in the Purchase of another Estate, to be settled to the Uses of the said Will.

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From the internet:

Middlesex: Westminister Abbey - Register for Westminster Abbey
 Weddings in K. H. 7ths Chappell.
  Weddings in K. H. 7ths Chappell.
   May 1660.
County: Middlesex
Country: England
04 Nov 1696
Arthur Moore, of St. Bride's, London, widower, and Theophila Smyth, of Epsom, co. Surrey, single woman. - Mar. Lic. Vic. Gen. 04 Nov 1696 , for Arthur Moore, of St. Bride's, London, Esq., widower, aged about 30, and Theophila Smythe, of Epsom, Surrey, spinster, about 20, with consent of her father William Smythe, Esq.--

Arthur

He is supposed to be of humble Irish descent, but acquired considerable social and political standing, and is often named in the political pamphlets and squibs of his time. He appears to have been one of the Comptrollers of the Army Accounts, a Director of the South Sea Company, and M.P. for Great Grimsby. He appears also to have succeeded his father-in-law as Paymaster of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners, in 1720 , which office was transferred seven years later to his sons James and Arthur jointly. He was first married, 17 Mar 1691-2 , at St. Bride's, London, to Susanna, eldest dau. of Dr. Edward Browne (eldest son of Sir Thomas Browne, author of "Religio Medici"), President of the Royal College of Physicians, by whom he had only two daus., viz. Jane. baptized at St. Bride's 29 Aug 1693 , and buried there the next day, and Susanna, baptized 20 Jan and buried there 07 Feb 1694-5. The mother was also buried at St. Bride's 02 Mar 1694-5 ; but they all appear to have been afterwards removed to Northfleet, Kent, where they have a monument. He died 04 May 1730 , and was buried at Fetcham, co. Surrey. His will, dated 06 Nov 1729 , was proved 30 May 1730.

Theophila

She, his second wife, was dau. and heir of William Smythe, of the Inner Temple, Esq., Paymaster of the Band of Pensioners, by Lady Elizabeth eldest dau. of George first Earl of Berkeley. Her will, dated 12 Oct 1738 , was proved 26 Jan 1739-40. Their eldest son William (baptized at St. Andrew's, Holborn, 04 Jun 1699 ) succeeded to his father's, uncle's. and grandfather's estates, and was M.P. for Banbury. He died, without issue, 24 Oct 1746 , making his heir Frederick, afterwards the celebrated Lord North. The second son, Arthur. was baptized at St. Giles in the Fields 01 Aug 1700 , and buried there 07 Jun 1734. The third son, James, assumed his grandfather's name of Smythe, and is frequently mentioned as one of Pope's antipathies. He died 18 Oct 1734. There were three daus. by this marriage: Theophila, baptized at St. Andrew's, Holborn, 09 Jun 1698 , and buried at St. Giles in the Fields 30 Aug 1703 ; Elizabeth, baptized at St. Giles in the Fields 02 Jun 1701 , who probably married Wyriot Ormond named in her brother James's will; and another Theophila, baptized at St. Giles in the Felds 23 Nov 1704, and buried there 17 Jan following.

Middlesex: - Calendar Sessions Books, 1689-1709
 Additional Baptisms.
  Sessions Books.
   Sessions Book 525--October, 1695.
County: Middlesex
Country: England
Order for Thomas Chambers, esquire, late treasurer of maimed soldiers for the hundreds of Elthorn, Spelthorn, and Isleworth, to pay to
Sir John Smyth, baronet, the present treasurer, £34 19s. 7d. to balance his account. p. 58

John and James - both Treasurers?

Middlesex: - Calendar Sessions Books, 1689-1709
 Additional Baptisms.
  Sessions Books.
   Sessions Book 525--October, 1695.
County: Middlesex
Country: England
Order to
Sir James Smyth, treasurer for the maimed soldiers and mariners within the hundreds of Ossulton, Edmonton, and Gore, to pay 40/- to George Russell as an honorary gift, upon proof that the said Russell is aged and infirm and a fit object for charity p. 44

Middlesex: - Calendar Sessions Books, 1689-1709
 Additional Baptisms.
  Sessions Books.
   Sessions Book 531--April, 1696.
County: Middlesex
Country: England
Appointment of Joseph Offley, esquire, as treasurer for the maimed soldiers in the hundreds of Ossulston, Edmonton, and Gore. The said treasurer is to take over the accounts of
Sir James Smyth, knight, who held the appointment during last year.

Ancestor Index Ancestor Index
Smythe family linkages ...Smyth/e - The Siege of Acre and medieval family researchMedieval Smyth The line of Customer Smythe ... Customer (Wiltshire) Smith/e-Smyth/e
Smyth of IrelandSmyth (Durham and Yorkshire) of Ireland Smyth/e of EssexEssex Smyth/e
Smyth of Bristol and Ashton CourtSmyth of Bristol Smythes of Acton Burnell - family of Maria "Fitzherbert" SmytheShropshire Smythe

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