SMITH, Christopher (by 1510-89), of London and Annables, Herts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1510, yr. s. of Robert Smith of Waltham, Lincs. by Eleanor, da. and coh. of William Lilbourne of Fenby, Lincs. m. c.1540, Margaret, da. of John Hyde of Aldbury, Herts., 2s. 4da.2
?Servant of Henry, Marquess of Exeter in 1532; clerk of the Exchequer by 1545, of the pipe by 1551-d.; j.p. Herts. 1562-d.3
Christopher Smith’s father-in-law was clerk of the pipe in the Exchequer from the late 1520s until his death in 1545. Smith married his daughter about 1540, but he had probably known Hyde some years before this and could himself have been working in the Exchequer in the 1530s: he stood as surety to Hyde in an undated grant which has been assigned to 1531. He may have been the Christopher Smith, servant to the Marquess of Exeter, who was admitted to the freedom of London in 1532. Although Hyde’s chief residence was in Hertfordshire he also had a house in Dorset, at Hyde near Bridport, and a connexion between Smith and this borough may be seen as early as 1545 when he delivered into Chancery the findings of the inquisition held at Bridport after the death of William Chard.4
Smith used his alliance with the Hyde family to influence parliamentary elections at Bridport. He seems not to have thought at first of his own election there, but he probably had a hand in the return of Richard Watkins in 1545 and of Henry Gates in 1547. He himself was elected in 1547 by Saltash, a borough which had not hitherto returned Members. He had no ties with Saltash, but as a clerk in the Exchequer he presumably had the backing of Somerset as treasurer. Early in 1553 Smith and Thomas Hyde (who as the son of John Hyde had inherited his father’s property in Dorset) wrote to their ‘very loving friend’ John Alford, one of the bailiffs of Bridport, on behalf of Peter Osborne† of the Exchequer, who was prepared to serve without wages. In the absence of a return for Bridport it is not known whether their nominee was chosen, but later in the same year Smith himself sat for the town. He was not to do so again, but in 1558 (when two outsiders were chosen at Bridport) he appears initially to have found himself a seat for Scarborough; his name was one of the two entered for that borough in the Crown Office list, although it was afterwards struck out and Richard Josselyn’s inserted. Josselyn may have been adopted as a neighbour of Smith’s kinsmen in Hertfordshire.