SMITH, Thomas IV (1525/26-94), of Blackmore, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. 1525/26, 1st s. of John Smith of Blackmore by Elizabeth, da. of William Trymnell of Orley Hall, Worcs. m. (1) one Colshill, 1s.; (2) settlement 28 Oct. 1562, Margaret, da. and h. of John Turner of Cressinghall, Essex, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1544.1
There is at least one among the many Thomas Smiths of gentle status during the early 16th century who can be connected with the duchy of Lancaster. He was Thomas, son of John Smith of Blackmore, Essex, and nephew of (Sir) Clement Smith. One of the ‘most especial friends’ whom Sir Clement appointed executors of his will dated 13 July 1552 was Robert Rochester, later chancellor of the duchy. Rochester died in 1557 and was succeeded as chancellor by his nephew Sir Edward Waldegrave, although the chancellorship was vacant at the time of the election for the Parliament of 1558. This identification of the Member for Wigan accords with the pattern by which a number of Essex gentlemen connected with Rochester, Waldegrave, or both, were returned for duchy boroughs during Mary’s reign, and is thus to be preferred to the suggestion that it was a namesake who seems to have sat in all the previous Parliaments of the reign. It is even less likely, against this background, that the Member should have been, as has been suggested, of an obscure local family. Thomas Smith of Blackmore was presumably, like Sir Clement Smith, a Catholic, and his being so, while an advantage in 1558, might also account for his later obscurity.2
John Smith, who had been Cromwell’s auditor, had property in Berkshire, Gloucestershire, London, Norfolk and Worcestershire, as well as in Essex, much of it held on lease. In his will of 10 May 1543 he provided that his children and wards should be ‘brought up honestly and diligently at school till they and every of them shall have convenient learning in the Latin tongue and after that by the discretion of my executors to learn the laws of this realm or with some auditor or in some other offices toward the law whereby they may be the better able for to live honestly according unto the laws of God’. Thomas Smith’s wardship, with an annuity of £20 out of lands in Blackmore and Ingatestone, was granted to the father of Sir Thomas Lovell II in June 1546. Smith obtained livery of his inheritance a year later. Nothing has come to light about his part in the succession crisis of 1553 but in the autumn he sued out a general pardon as Thomas Smith of Blackmore, esquire. Apart from his sale of the Ingatestone property in 1565 to (Sir) William Petre and an unsuccessful attempt to demolish the nave of the former priory church at Blackmore while building a new house on the site of the priory, it is difficult to disentangle his career from those of an indeterminate number of contemporaries of the same name. In 1592 Smith and his second wife witnessed the will of their son Thomas who predeceased them. Two years later he died and was buried in the priory church where a funeral monument with recumbent alabaster effigies was subsequently erected in the south chapel to the memory of him and his wife.3
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. Under age in June 1546 but of age a year later. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 173, 303, 487-8; Vis. Worcs. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 137, although, according to this, Elizabeth Trymnell married Thomas Smith; PCC 21 Pynnyng.
- 2. PCC 28 Powell; J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 564.
- 3. PCC 21, 26 Pynnyng ptd. Trans. Essex Arch Soc. iii. 55-63; M. Dewar, Sir Thomas Smith, 2n; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 142; 1553-4, p. 414; 1560-3, p. 404; 1563-6, pp. 265, 307; Arundell Castle ms G1/7; C. S. Simmons, Priory Church of St. Lawrence, Blackmore, unpag.; Pevsner, Essex, 89; RCHM Essex, ii. 17; Essex RO, D/AEW, 10/92.