George R Smithson.

Genealogical notes & memoirs of the Smithson family online

. (page 1 of 16)
Online LibraryGeorge R SmithsonGenealogical notes & memoirs of the Smithson family → online text (page 1 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

—iX^ -.'-'

"'' - '"'

: c.


-«— .^














REV. W. BALL WRIGHT, M.A. Trin. Col., Dub.

Vicar of Osbaldwick, York




38 Great Russell Street




The following notes about various branches of the Smith-
son family have been collected by me during the last four
years, and to prevent loss (which is so liable to happen
to a quantity of miscellaneous manuscript) it has been
suggested that I have them put into print, in simple book

Although the writing of these pages may seem to have
been easy, as now arranged, yet the gathering of the
materials for them has entailed a considerable amount of
solid work.

Large areas of ground had to be covered before one
arrived at proof of even one well-attested link which would
be of importance.

Besides the Parish Registers which I have examined at
a large number of churches in Yorkshire, Cumberland,
Westmorland and Durham, many wills have been copied
at the York Probate Office, also the Principal Probate
Office (Somerset House), and the Probate Offices of
Carlisle and Durham.

The Diocesan Registry at Carlisle has been very helpful


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

with transcripts of some of the Cumberland Parish

The Record Office in Chancery Lane, E.C., and the
British Museum have been largely consulted for old refer-
ences to Deeds, Court Rolls, Chancery Bills, etc., and the
Marriage License Bonds at York have been searched for
a considerable period, also some at Carlisle.

I w^as much interested in reading ' The Bewleys of Cum-
berland ' by Sir Edmund Thomas Bewley, and decided, if
possible, to trace back our branch of the family beyond
John Smithson of Preston Patrick, near Kendal, who was
the first of the Cumberland Smithsons to join the Society
of Friends, presumably about 1740.

I should mention that I got a very valuable clue about
our family, from a King's Bench Roll of 1533 referred to
in Sir E. T. Bewley's book.

We had very clear records back to the above John
Smithson, the writer's great-great-grandfather, who died
and was buried at Preston Patrick in 1795. Our tradition
was that he was born in Yorkshire, and so I commenced
my searches in the North Riding of that county.

Although he was not born in Yorkshire, but in Cumber-
land, as I subsequently found, the tradition as to York-
shire origin proved to be correct, but much more remote
than his generation.

I have been much assisted in my work, especially in the
early stages, by Mr, John S. Smithson, and my sincere
thanks are tendered to him. The Rev. Wm. Ball



Wright, M.A., who is kindly editing these notes (and who
for some time has interested himself in our name owing
to a believed ancestral connection with one branch of the
Yorkshire Smithsons), has been invaluable with advice
and help, and with his great experience in similar work
has throughout greatly assisted me. I take this oppor-
tunity of expressing my great obligations to him.

I have received much kindly help from many of the
clergy in Yorkshire and Cumberland and elsewhere, in
giving me access to their Parish Registers, and I should
Hke especially to thank the Rev. Ernest A. Stockdale,
Vicar of Middleton Tyas, and the Rev. S. Gilbert Beale,
Rector of Romaldkirk.

H. M. Sanderson, Esq., the present owner of Moulton
Hall, near Richmond (Yorks), has been most kind in
supplying interesting facts concerning that property and
the Manor House adjoining, and I am most grateful to

Mr. Charles H. Smithson has rendered valuable help
in photographing for reproduction in this book a number
of old houses and places connected with the notes and

The collection of the data for this little work, although
laborious, has throughout been a matter of the greatest
interest to me, and I hope it will prove so to those
members of the family who, like the writer, did not know
much of the family history, and for whom it has been


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

I have traced the grants of several coats of arms, to
which reference will be found in the course of the work ;
but those appearing on the frontispiece appear, without
doubt, to be the oldest from all the available evidence.


November^ 1906.




LAND - - - - - - 5






CARLISLE - - - - - -55

APPENDIX - - - - - - 59




SMITHSON COAT OF ARMS - - - FrotiHspiece


SMITHSON, PRIOR 1 49 1 TO 1 5 24 - - - 12


RICHMOND, YORKS - - - - -24






An investigation of ancient documents both public and
private shows the various famihes named Smithson to be
of good old yeoman stock, and to have been long scattered
over many counties far apart. The name, however, is
principally and originally found in Yorkshire, and appears
throughout the three Ridings. The name is of Anglo-
Saxon or Norse origin, and means simply the son or
descendant of the Smith. A Smith or Smythe was,
broadly speaking, a smiter of metals, whether gold, silver,
or iron, and played an important part when warfare was
chronic and all weapons were wrought by hand, and when
husbandry was the great means of living both for high
and low, and when in Greece and Rome, Hephaistos or
Vulcan, the celestial Smith, was thought to be the most
useful of the gods.

There is an early notice of an individual named Smyth-
son in the county of Durham. At Nun Stainton or
Nun Alonkton, in the parish of Aycliffe, in 1265, the Prior
and Abbey of Durham had let to John Smythson a house
and lands. This is alluded to in a charter of 1382 printed
in a volume of the Surtees Society's publications. Also a
Hugh le Smytheson and others are cited in 1260 at Liver-
pool to appear in an action, and William le Smyth-
sonne of Thornton Watlas, near Bedale, is defendant in a
plea for depasturing cattle there in 1265. The Newsham
family of Smithsons, in the parish of Kirby Ravensworth,
have, according to ancient deeds and charters, been con-
nected with that place since the reign of Richard II. The


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

wills in the York Probate Registry now go back to 1389,
but there is no Smithson will extant before that of John
Smythson of Huby (c/. Appendix), in the parish of Sutton
in Forest, proved in 1504. After that there are many
wills showing that in the Tudor period there were yeoman
families of the name in the parishes of Malton, Norton,
Kirby Misperton, Thornton-in-Pickering, Appleton-le-
Street, Normanton, Altofts, Methley, Ossett, and others;
while from the Richmondshire wills, of which many
perished before they were transferred to Somerset House,
it appears that early in the sixteenth century there were
families of Smythson or Smithson, connected by blood,
at Newsham, Gailes, and Dalton, in the parish of Kirby
Ravensworth ; also at Romaldkirk, Aldborough, Borough-
bridge, Bedale, Jervaux, Burton Leonard, Kirk-Stainley,
Cowton, and Richmond ; also at Gatherley and Moulton,
in the parish of Middleton Tyas. In the West Riding
they appear to have branched out into Kettlewell, Gar-
grave, Slaidburn, and Horton-in-Ribblesdale, as many
interesting wills as well as parish registers attest.

Some of these families were constant in their adherence
to the Papal Communion long after the Reformation, their
names being recorded in the Lists of Recusants, and
among the prisoners in York Castle committed to prison
for their faith : there were not a few before the Reforma-
tion who were clergymen, being Vicars of Middleton Tyas,
Eryholme, Terrington, Hunmanby, Sherburne, and other
parishes in Yorkshire, and of Clyborne in Cumberland.
After the Reformation they are found holding preferment
at Fewston, Berwick-on-Tweed, Headingley, in Ireland,
and Lincolnshire. A Thomas Smithson was Prior of
Hexham Abbey from 1491 to 1524, and held the Prebend
of Salton, in York Minster, annexed to the Priory of
Hexham. He was the last Prior but one. Salton is six
miles south of Kirby Moorside. A William Smythson


General Historical Summary

was Prebendary of Fenton, in the Diocese of York, in
1530, and is described in a patent as ' William Burbank
als Smythson.' Charles Smithson was a distinguished
Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, and also incor-
porated at Oxford University. He became a Canon of
Lincoln, and was Chaplain in 1672 to the Duke of Mon-
mouth in his expedition against the Dutch. Some of the
name were well known in the law. In 1636 a Mr. Smith-
son was a Sergeant-at-Law, and a Mr. Charles Smithson
of Carlisle was a noted lawyer there in the reign of Queen
Anne, and a friend of Bishop Nicholson.

In trade and commerce the Smithsons were active and
successful. In those days, when nobles and gentlemen
paid as much for fine dress as their wives, clothing was
a very profitable line of business, and so from the reign
of Henry VIII. onwards we have notices of prosperous
merchants, younger sons, of the name, who in London,
Yarmouth, York, Leeds, Hull, and Richmond made
money and had lands. Some of them lived in the
parishes of St. Michael-le-Belfry, Holy Trinity, Mickle-
gate, and St. Crux, and intermarried with the Beckwiths,
Belts, and other well-known York families. In Rich-
mond, Yorks, Francis Smithson was a successful draper,
and engaged in the working of lead-mines in Swaledale.
He was brother of Hugh Smithson, who became a haber-
dasher in London and amassed a fortune, was an adven-
turer in Irish lands, and, finally, purchased the estate of
Stanwick from the Cathericks, and in return for financial
help rendered to Charles II. at the Restoration was
created a Baronet. Another brother, Bernard Smithson,
was an apothecary in London.

The family settled at Newsham, in the parish of Kirby
Ravensworth, near Richmond, Yorks, were steadfast
Roman Catholics, Sir Hugh and Francis, his brother,
being the first to accept different views. Sir Hugh con-

3 B 2

Memoirs of the Smithson Family-
formed after the Restoration to the Established Church,
while Francis became a member of the Society of Friends
(a Quaker). His will (see Appendix) is a very interesting
one. Two generations previously the Rev. Anthony Smith-
son settled in Cumberland under his kinsman William
Burbank, Archdeacon of Carlisle, and was successively
secretary of Cardinals Bainbridge and Wolsey. Anthony
and his brother John were the founders of families of
Smithsons in Cumberland, which it is proposed to give
some account of in this work. The Smithsons of Moulton
Hall, near Richmond, conformed to the Reformed faith,
and thus became prominent in that district before their
kinsmen at Newsham, who were of the senior branch.
The Newsham family was descended from an Anthony
Smithson of Newsham in the time of Henry V. ; and his
younger brother, Robert Smithson, who was a man-at-
arms at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, was the ancestor
of Leonard Smithson, the builder of Moulton Hall, and
ancestor of a line which intermarried with the Calvert,
Fairfax, Mer3'ton, Pepper, and Saville families, but which
seems to have become crippled through extravagance, and
is probably extinct in the male descent. It is, however,
an interesting fact that Moulton Hall is now in the
possession of a Mr. Sanderson, connected perhaps with
the Sandersons of Toft Hill, who intermarried twice with
the Smithsons.

Kipling Hall was the residence and property of Sir
George Calvert, Secretary of State to King Charles I.,
and, after his secession to the Roman Church, created
Lord Baltimore. His sister married Christopher Smith-
son of Moulton, eldest son of Leonard Smithson. This
may account for a Thomas Smithson being found in
Talbot County, Maryland, as a naval officer, in 1694 ;
the Calverts, Lords Baltimore, having been Lords Pro-
prietary of the Colony of Maryland.




William le Smythsonne of Thornton Watlas, near
Bedale, who was defendant in a plea for depasturing
cattle at Thornton Watlas in 1265 (49 Hen. III.), had
two sons, of whom —

I. Robert Smytheson was residing at Thornton Watlas
in 1286 (14 Ed. L).

II. Wm. le Smytheson lived at Kerperby in 20 Ed. I.,
was married, and had issue.

The elder son, Robert Smytheson of Thornton Watlas,

who married , and had issue (together with two

other sons, Wm. of Ainstable, Co. Cumberland, who paid
subsidy i Ed. III., and was a defendant in a plea of debt
18 Ed. III., and Roger Smithson of Lynton, i Ed. III.,
living 18 Ed. III., whose son, Thomas Smithson — married,
and had issue — plaintiff in a plea of land, 40 Ed. III.)
an elder son, viz. :

Peter le Smytheson of Thornton Watlas, who paid

subsidy in i Ed. III. (1327) ; married , and had issue

two sons —

1. Robert Smithson of Thornton Watlas, defendant
with his father in a plea of assault at Burrell, g Ed. III. ;
summoned, together with Hugh de Thoresby, before the
King to answer for their redemption, 22 Ed. III. He
married , and had issue three sons, of whom below.

2. William Smithson of Thornton Watlas, defendant
in a plea of trespass, 19 Ed. III. ; married, and had issue.


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

Of the three sons of Robert Smithson above mentioned,
the second, Hugh Smithson of Barton, sold one messuage
in Liverpool, which he had in right of his wife Eleanora,
in the fourth year of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster,
1365. The third son, Robert Smithson, was residing
at Dalton, 44 Ed. IIL The eldest son of Robert
Smithson, sen., of Thornton Watlas, was named William
Smithson, who moved to Newsham, in Broghtonlith,
and against whom John de Richmond claimed £"20
damages for depasturing cattle on his lands at Newsham,
etc., 44 Ed. IIL (1370). The above William married

, and had issue four sons — William, John, Robert

and Roger. Of these the second, John Smithson of
Altofts, near Wakefield, was defendant in a plea touching
lands of his wife's inheritance, 4 Hen. IV. (1403-4).
He married Cecilie, daughter and heiress of Adam
Bates of Whitwood, Co. York, and had issue. From
him was descended Thos. Smythson, jun., of Altofts,
whose will was proved at York in 1530 (c/. Appendix),
and mentions his son Gilbert, etc. Also from him
probably came Thomas Smythson of Normanton. Will
proved at York, 1543, and mentions his sons William,
Thomas, Robert, and James.

The third son of William, Robert Smithson of Altofts,
held lands of his brother John, and was defendant in
divers pleas — 4 Hen. IV., 4 and g Hen. V., and
17 Hen. VI. He was married and left issue.

The fourth son of William, Roger Smithson of Gilber-
dike, Co. York, was plaintiff in a plea of trespass,
4 Hen. IV. He married and had issue.

The eldest son of Wm. Smithson of Newsham was
Wm. Smithson of Newsham-in- Broghtonlith, called upon
the records Wm. Sm.ithson of Newton-in-Brogtonlith,
sen., 20 Rich. II. was defendant in a plea at the suit of
the Abbot of Rivalle touching lands in Rethe-in-Swaledale,


The Smithson Family of Newsham

19 Rich. IL, 2 Hen. IV., and 6 Hen. IV., etc. He
married , and had two sons, Wilham and John.

Of these, the younger, John Smithson of Newsham,
husbandman, was hving 6 Hen. V. and 10 Hen. VI.;
married, and had issue.

The elder son, Wm. Smithson, jun., of Newsham,
seized of lands in Yafford in right of his wife, where
he resided 4 Hen. IV., was one of the jurymen at an
inquisition taken at Richmond touching the Manor of
Fletham, 5 Hen. IV., and is styled upon the records
as yeoman, franklyn, and gentleman, as also forester ;
ob. temp. Hen. V. In the ' Annals of the House of Percy '
by De Fonblanque, privately printed, an eighteenth-century
statement is quoted, which says that 'a parchment Deed is
now in the possession of Sir Hugh Smithson (subsequently
Duke of Northumberland), from which, together with the
Ruins of the Mansion Seat and part of the estate, it
appears that William Smithson, gent., there lived in the
Reign of Rich. II., and by several subsequent deeds, that
the family continued in the same place.'

The above-mentioned Wm. Smithson, jun., married

Matilda, daughter and coheiress of of Yafford by

Beatrix his wife, daughter and heir of Henry de Bellerby
by Alicia his wife, and had issue three sons, Hugh,
John, and Robert. Of these John, the second son, of
Walbourne, near Leyburn, was defendant in pleas of
trespass, 24 and 29 Hen. VI. Robert, the third son, of
whose descendants we shall treat in another chapter, was
a man-at-arms at the Battle of Agincourt, 3 Hen. V., and
was at the muster at Southampton, May 7, 8 Hen. V. ;

living 29 Hen. VI. (1450-1). He married , and had

issue Robert Smithson of Gatherley, in temp. Hen. VI.
and Hen. VII.; living 12 Hen. VIII. (1520-1) ; ancestor
of the Smithsons of Moulton and Kipling.

The eldest son of William Smithson of Newsham was


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

Hugh Smithson of Newshain, plaintiff, with AHcia his
wife, in a plea of debt, 12 Hen. IV. ; seized of lands in
Newsham, 29 Hen. VI. ; and tenant of lands in Newsham

to John Catterick, Esq., of Stanwick. He married ,

and had issue two sons, Anthony and Thomas Smithson.

Of these Thomas Smithson of Cowton Grange, then
in the parish of Middleton Tyas, defendant in a plea of
trespass at Middleton Tyas, 12 Hen. VIII. (1520), was
ancestor of the Smithsons of Cowton. He maried Eliza-
beth , and had issue Brian, Christopher, John, and

Thomas, sons ; and Isabel, Phillis, and Margaret,
daughters. His will was proved, 1543, at Richmond.

Anthony Smithson of Newsham, the elder son of
Wm. Smithson, held the lands under William Catterick,
Esq., of Stanwick, temp. Hen. VII. ; and also had
lands in right of his wife. He married Alicia, daughter

and heir of , a widow, ig Hen. VIII., held lands

in Newsham of William Catterick, Esq. By her he had
issue : Ralph, John, Christopher, Anthony, Henry, and

Of these Ralph Smithson of Newsham held lands
there in farm under Anthony Catterick, Esq. He paid
the subsidies 14, 15, 34, 35, 37 Hen. VIII. Will dated
January 16, 1550, proved June 13, 1553, makes his
two sons, William and Thomas, executors (witnesses :
Anthonie Cattericke, Esq., France Cattericke, gentleman,
and John Thompson, Giles Appieton, and Oliver Appleton,
with other more). He married Margery, daughter of
Alexander Makeres of Makeres of Barningham Hall.
Will dated December 7, 1553. By her he had issue:
William, Ralph, Thomas, John, George, Francis, and

Of these the second son, Ralph Smithson of Newsham,

Will dated May 5, 1582, married Margaret , living

1582. Pie had issue by her : (i) Ralph of Newsham,


The Smithson Family of Newsham

ob. 1615, m. Eleanor (goods administered by

husband), and had issue : (2) John, (3) Henry, (4) Francis,
(5) Anthony), (6) Margaret.

The third son of Ralph Smithson was Thomas, who
was executor of his mother's will, 1563.

The eldest son of Ralph Smithson, William Smithson
of Newsham, held lands under Anthony Catterick, Esq.,
5 Ed. VI.; sold lands in Barningham, 6 Elizth., con-
jointly with Eleanor his wife ; paid subsidy in Newsham
and Melsonby, 8 Elizth. ; was tenant of Anthony Cat-
terick, Esq., 28 Elizth. He m. Eleanor , and had

issue: William, Anthony, Robert, Ninian, Christian, and

Of these, Anthony Smithson of Newsham, tenant to
Anthony Catherick, was ancestor of the Smithsons of
Stanwick, and of Sir Hugh Smithson, Bart., created Duke
of Northumberland after his marriage to the heiress of the

We now return to Rev. Anthony Smithson, the fourth
brother of Ralph Smithson of Newsham, and fourth son
of Anthony Smithson of the same.

From a De Banco Roll of the 26 Henry VHI. (i534)»
we learn that Rev. Anthony Smithson, clerk, of Clyburne
or Cliburn near Penrith in Cumberland was, together with
Rev. Robert Smithson, late of Tyrington or Terrington,
Yorks, and John Smithson, yeoman, of Alenby, Cumb., one
of the co-executors of the Will of Rev. Wm. Burbank,
senior. Archdeacon of Carlisle. Dr. Wm. Burbank was a
very famous Divine, Secretary to Cardinal Bainbridge, then
to Cardinal Wolsey, and patron and friend of Erasmus.
His history will be told in another chapter. The three
executors must have been nephews or near kinsmen of
Dr. Burbank. The wills and parish registers in Cumber-
land do not reach back far enough to enable one to put
the matter so clearly as in other parts of this pedigree,


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

but we find in the latter half of the sixteenth century
that a family of Smithsons was settled in the parish of
Torpenhow, on the lands of Bothel and Blennerhasset,
and also that the name Anthony shows that they were
descendants of the parson of Cliburn.

Rev. Anthony Smithson, clerk, of Cliburn, Cumberland,
younger son of Anthony Smithson (I.) of Newsham, and
brother of Ralph Smithson of same place, married about
that time (the rule of clerical celibacy never being of
obligation in that diocese), and probably had three sons,
who were the founders of the Smithsons of Bothel and
Blennerhasset in the parish of Torpenhow, and of the
Smithsons of Uldale parish, while John Smithson, the
brother of Rev. Anthony, founded the Smithson family of
Ellanby in the parish of Skelton. The Smithsons settled
in the parishes of Bridekirk, Caldbeck, AUhallows, Ireby,
and Aspatria, were offshoots of one or other of these

Rev. Anthony Smithson m., and had issue :

I. Richard Smithson of Bothel m., and had issue :

(I.) Anthony Smithson of Bothel, m. Jane, and
had issue (w. pr. 1579 at Carlisle) :

1. Richard Smithson of Bothel md.

Ellenor, and had issue (supervisor to
father's will, 1579 ; w. pr. 1607) :

(i) Wm. Smithson.

(2) Anthony Smithson, paid hearth-
money, 1662.

2. John Smithson, executor of his father

Anthony's will, 1579.

3. Janet, m. Wilson.

4. Thomas Smithson, believed to have

gone to Ireby, of whom below.

5. Robert Smithson.

II. Matthew Smithson (?) of Uldale m., and had issue:


The Smithson Family of Newsham

(I.) Anthony Smithson of Anertree, Uldale, m.

Janet Slack, and had issue (w. pr. 1578) :

I, John Smithson of Awkatree (w. pr.


(II.) James Smithson of Crosby Ravensworth, m.

Margaret Fairer (?), and had issue (w. pr.

1583) ••

1. John Smithson m., and had a dr.

2. Matthew Smithson (supervisor of will

of Anthony, his uncle).
III. Robert Smithson of Kirkland, Torpenhow, m., and
had issue :
(I.) Anthony Smithson of Kirkland, m. Agnes
Plascayt (?), and had issue (w. pr. 1576):

1. Richard Smithson.

2. Robert Smithson.

3. Janet Smithson.

4. Margaret Smithson.

(II.) William Smithson of Tallentier in psh. of
Bridekirk, gr. admon. 1574, m., and had issue
a dr., Helene.
We now return to Thomas Smithson, the third son of
Anthony Smithson of Bothel.

Thomas Smithson, traditionally settled in the psh. of
Ireby, m., and had Thomas Smithson, who settled in
the parish of Caldbeck, died 1670, and was buried at
Caldbeck. He married Frances, who d. 1673, and is
buried at Caldbeck, and by her he had issue, with two
drs., viz. :

I. Jennet Smithson, who d. 1701.
II. Elizabeth Smithson, born c. 1650, m. Thomas
Jackson, 1672.

I. Thomas Smithson, junr., of Caldbeck, born 1645,
mentioned in his son Joshua's will, 1720, buried 1735,
m. Jane Ritson in 1680, and had issue three children, viz.:


Memoirs of the Smithson Family

1. John Smithson of Caldbeck, bap. 1685, bur. 1759 ;

m. , and with a daughter had issue also a

son :

(i) Joshua Smithson, born 1721, d. 1787 ; m.

Ann , born 1717, and had issue :

[i] Joshua Smithson, 1759, of Croydon,
died 1803.

2. Joshua Smithson of Woodhall, bap. 1688, died 1720 ;

w. pr. same year; m. Jane , afterwards, widow

of Felside, bur. 1735, and by her had issue an only

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryGeorge R SmithsonGenealogical notes & memoirs of the Smithson family → online text (page 1 of 16)