SMART, Richard (by 1507-60), of Ipswich, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1507. m. 1528, Catherine, wid. of William Shreve of Ipswich, 5s. inc. William 2da.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, Ipswich 1537-9, 1549-50, claviger 1541-6, 1547-9, 1555-7, portman 1552-d., bailiff 1547-8, 1551-2, 1558-9, j.p. 1547-8, 1551-3, 1554-5, 1557-60.2


Elected to the freedom of Ipswich in 1528, Richard Smart, draper, became one of its wealthiest residents. In 1545 he was assessed for the subsidy on £50 in goods and in 1550 on £80—the highest assessment in the town. At his death he owned three manors in north-east Essex and one in Suffolk, with extensive property in Ipswich.3

Smart’s return to the Parliaments of 1545 and 1555 reflected his local standing. Although in June 1543 he had paid the borough £20 to be permanently exempted from the offices of bailiff and portman, he was at the time of his first election serving as claviger or keeper of the keys of the town chest. In September 1547 he agreed to serve as bailiff, and when he was chosen for the office a second time in 1551 he redeemed the £20 which he had earlier paid to avoid it. Whatever his personal views, he conformed to the prevailing policy over religion. In 1556, according to Foxe, he denounced the wife of a tailor for not attending church since the Queen’s accession, and two years later at the burning of two Protestants he complied with the sheriff’s order to shorten their prayers with the words, ‘On, on, have done. Make an end. Nail them to the stake’. This persecuting zeal was to evaporate on Mary’s death, for thereafter Smart (in Foxe’s words) ‘rendered his life in godly repentance, protesting that if God should suffer him to live, he would never be the man he had been before, what laws soever should come again’.4

Smart died on 25 Aug. 1560, six days after making his will. In addition to lands and plate he left some £355 in money. His wife was to receive a third part of his lands and tenements in Essex and Suffolk, £100 in money and much of her husband’s silver, and his eldest son William two manors, one in Essex and one in Suffolk, together with a house in Ipswich and a share of the silver. From this bequest William was expected to provide 100 marks for each of his sisters, one of whom, Thomasine, was left an additional 100 marks. The remainder of Smart’s lands were shared by his younger sons. His wife and two of the sons were named executors and the will was proved on 16 Oct. 1560.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: John Pound


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Suff. Rev. i. 7; PCC 48 Mellershe; Ipswich ct. bk. 8, p. 246.
  • 2. N. Bacon, Annals. Ipswich, 210, 212, 231-51 passim.
  • 3. E179/181/299.
  • 4. Bacon, 234; Foxe, Acts and Mons. viii. 223, 496.
  • 5. PCC 48 Mellershe.