SMITH, John I (by 1489-1561), of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.
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Family and Education
Churchwarden, St. Giles, Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1510; bailiff for commonalty 1519-20, for the Twenty-Four 1521-2, constable 1520-1. receiver 1522-3, mayor 1523-4, 1524-5, 1535-6, 1539-40, 1541-2, 1543-4, 1550-1.2
John Smith, yeoman, was returned to the Parliament of 1542 with Henry Broke, with whom four years earlier he had leased the ex-Dominican friary at Newcastle. His identification with the townsman of that name is established by a second lease made in favour of Smith and his son Richard on 4 May 1540, for although in the new grant John Smith was erroneously called yeoman of the guard Richard Smith of Newcastle was to hold the friary after his father John’s death in 1561. The date of the second lease suggests that Smith could have been a Member of the Parliament of 1539 then in session, for which the names of Newcastle’s representatives are lost. As mayor in 1542 he returned himself to Parliament. Nothing is known about his part in the Commons, but his recollection of the experience may have led him to nominate his sons John and Richard for election after he himself had withdrawn from an active part in municipal affairs. His name appears after that of the mayor on the indentures for the town to the Parliaments of 1545 and April 1554.3
Smith followed his father Richard, who had been mayor four times, in the service of Newcastle. Nothing has come to light about his trade or profession unless his assessment at 40s. on lands and fees suggests legal knowledge or service to a local magnate. Either conjecture could be further supported by the designation esquire used by him on making his will, but this may only reflect his social aspirations after enlarging his modest inheritance: two of his sons and his descendants were to go a stage further by claiming gentle birth. By his will made on 8 Mar. 1561 and proved on 5 May following he asked to be buried in the Lady chapel in Newcastle church and left his daughter Catherine £50 and his wife Ellen a life interest in his lands with the consent of his son Richard whom he named co-executor with Ellen.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: N. M. Fuidge
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii(2), 130; Lichfield consist. ct. wills 1561.
- 2. T. Pape, Newcastle-under-Lyme, 8, 180-2, 186, 188, 191. William Sneyd was mayor in 1544-5 (C219/18C/107) and not Smith as listed in Pape, 188. J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parlty. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), i. 313 mistakenly gives Smith his son’s mayoralty in 1555-6.
- 3. VCH Staffs. iii. 272-3; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; C219/18C/107, 22/70.
- 4. Pape, 8, 38. E179/177/143; LP Hen. VIII, xiv; Lichfield consist, ct. wills 1561.