SMYTH, George (c.1599-1641), of Morville, Salop
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Family and Education
b. c.1599,1 1st s. of John Smyth of Morville and 1st w. Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Vernon of Haslington, Cheshire.2 educ. I. Temple 1617.3 m. settlement 20 Feb. 1614, Jane (bur. 1 Oct. 1643), da. of Sir Hugh Brawne of Newington Butts, Surr. 1s.4 suc. fa. 1636.5 d. 8 Nov. 1641.6
During the mid-Tudor period Roger Smith†, a sewer to Henry VIII and great-grandfather of the 1624 MP, exploited his connections with the Dudley faction at Court to acquire 1,000 acres of ex-chantry land at Morville, three miles west of Bridgnorth, and substantial property in the borough itself.7 In 1621 his grandson, this Member’s father, joined the town’s Mercers’ Company, serving as warden during 1622-4. Elected one of the borough bailiffs at Michaelmas 1623, he was ideally placed to secure the return of his son to Parliament at the general election the following January, succeeding Sir John Hayward, who had recently married a Kentish widow and was selling his Shropshire estates. Smyth may have promoted his son’s return as a calculated snub to Hayward, whom he had formerly served as manorial steward, as the two men were then in dispute over the reckoning of their accounts.8
Smyth made a single recorded speech in Parliament on 7 May 1624, during a debate on a charge of malpractice levelled against lord keeper Williams over his conduct of a Chancery case. When Arthur Pyne attempted to excuse Williams’s conduct, Smyth retorted, somewhat precociously, that ‘it did better become young men to hear than speak. The gentleman that spake last ..., had it [the lawsuit] been his own case, would have thought otherwise’.9 Smyth did not sit in Parliament thereafter, although it was presumably through his father’s interest that his uncle, George Vernon, was returned for Bridgnorth at the following two elections.
Smyth’s father died in 1636, leaving his estate saddled with a substantial jointure to his second wife, whose administration of her late husband’s estate caused some friction within the family. In May 1641, shortly after her death, Smyth mortgaged his main estate at Morville to Edward Acton† for £2,500, and before he could retrieve his financial situation he died, on 8 Nov. 1641. His only son was killed at Edgehill, and thereafter his remaining estates passed to his sister, Jane Weaver of Bettws, Montgomeryshire.10
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Simon Healy
- 1. Birth assumed from parents’ marriage settlement (21 Mar. 1598): C142/268/137.
- 2. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 439-40; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. lix), 243.
- 3. I. Temple Admiss.
- 4. C142/620/65; Salop RO, Morville par. reg. transcript; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. lx), 13.
- 5. Salop RO, Bridgnorth St. Leonard’s par. reg. transcript.
- 6. C142/620/65.
- 7. HP Commons, 1509-58, iii. 337; C142/135/10.
- 8. Mercers’ Hall, London, Bridgnorth Mercers’ Order Bk., ff. 12v-13v; Salop RO, BB/B6/3/1/4; SIR JOHN HAYWARD; C2/Jas.I/S37/2.
- 9. Holles 1624, p. 90.
- 10. C8/51/73; C142/620/65; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. iv. 300-1.