SMITH, Matthew (by 1537-83), of the Middle Temple, London.

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 1537, 2nd s. of John Smith of Bristol, Glos. by Joan, da. of John Parr; bro. of Hugh. educ. M. Temple. m. Jane, da. and coh. of Thomas Tewther of Ludlow, Salop., wid. of Bartholomew Skerne of Lincs., 1s. 1da. suc. bro. 2 Mar. 1581.1

Offices Held

Treasurer, M. Temple 1570-4.

J.p. Som. 1582-d.


Both Matthew Smith and his elder brother Hugh received a legal education, one at the Inner Temple, the other at the Middle Temple, the elder in preparation for the life of a country gentleman, Matthew as the start of his career as a lawyer. Matthew Smith was admitted in December 1551 to the chamber of John Mawdley II, treasurer of the Middle Temple. He was never called to the bar, being specifically exempted in 1563, and was never a reader, but he undertook the treasurership in four consecutive years and eventually became one of the masters of the bench. It was as an aspiring man of the law that he was returned as senior Member for Wareham to the last Marian Parliament; he owed this single appearance in the House (as had his brother earlier) to his uncle Thomas Phelips who had sat for the borough on several previous occasions but who in 1558 procured his election at Poole, thus leaving a place vacant at Wareham for Smith.2

Smith was bequeathed a manor in Gloucestershire and a house in Bristol by his father in 1556. The lands which he bought himself all lay (except for a manor in the city of Gloucester) in Somerset. On the death of his brother he inherited Long Ashton and other manors in Somerset and in 1582 he became a justice of the peace there. He died on 10 June 1583. In his will, dated nine days earlier, he asked for burial in Long Ashton church, stipulating that ‘no heralds be hired to be thereat’ and that the funeral should not cost more than 200 marks. He provided generously for his wife, left his daughter £2,000, and offered the master of the wards £50 if the wardship of his young son and heir were given to his overseers, Roger Kemish, John Popham and (Sir) William Wynter.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Helen Miller


  • 1. Presumed to be of age at election. Collinson, Som. ii. 292-3.
  • 2. M.T. Recs. i. 84-264 passim.
  • 3. CPR, 1555-7, p. 412; 1560-3, p. 615; Collinson, ii. 81, 372, 422, 425, 441; C142/201/120; PCC 9 Butts.