SMALLWOOD, Robert (by 1509-?59), of Westminster, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. by 1509. m. (1) ?Margaret (d.1552), 1da.; (2) 14 Apr. 1554, Joan Henbury, 2s. 1da.1
Robert Smallwood’s origin and parentage have not been traced. His surname, found in the parish registers of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, was originally borne by John Winchcombe of Newbury who also sat in the Parliament of 1545, but no connexion has been established between Smallwood and this famous clothier or his son John. Smallwood did, however, resemble the Winchcombes in his attainment of gentility: in his younger days he was a beer brewer, but from 1547 he was regularly styled gentleman, and although remaining a member of the London company until his death he had by then leased his implements, carts and horses to another brewer. His elder daughter married a knight’s son and his widow took as her second husband Oliver St. John of Lambeth.2
A resident in Westminster since before 1530, when he leased from the abbey six tenements in Long Ditch, Smallwood was elected for the city, with John Russell II, to the Parliament of 1545, the first to which Westminster is known to have returned Members. At the next seven elections he helped to choose either the knights of the shire or the Members for the city or both, and at the third of them he was himself re-elected, this time with William Gyes. Of his part in the proceedings of the Commons all that is known is that he did not oppose the measures to restore Catholicism passed by Mary’s first Parliament.3
Smallwood made his will on 11 Nov. 1558. He left a diamond and ruby ring to his married daughter and a ‘table’ (panel) carved with the King’s arms to her father-in-law Sir William Norris; his younger children were to receive £100 each on coming of age. He named his wife executrix and gave her all his landed property; his overseers included Nicholas Newdigate and Richard Hodges. Smallwood was buried in St. Margaret’s Westminster on 8 Jan. 1559.4
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Reg. St. Margaret’s Westminster, ed. Burke, 15, 276, 391; PCC 35 Welles.
- 2. London consist. ct. 35 Wymesley; St.Ch.2/27/172; PCC 35 Welles, 27 Streat; Reg. St Margaret’s Westminster, 278.
- 3. Westminster abbey, reg. 2, f. 262v; C219/19/128, 20/79, 80, 21/98, 22/48, 23/85, 24/104 25/71.
- 4. PCC 35 Welles; Reg. St. Margaret’s Westminster, 402.